When I told friends that we were going to the Big Island of Hawaii, almost everyone told me that we had to go to Waialea Beach, also called Beach 69 and Waialea Bay Beach. They raved about the white sand beach and some even told me that the beach is their favorite beach on the entire island. I even did some research myself and learned that Waialea Beach is one of the most popular white sand beaches on this island of Hawaii.
Waialea Beach is also called Beach 69 or 69 Beach after the number on a utility pole that used to be next to the parking area for the beach.
But we had a different experience. We went to Hawaii in February and the beach didn’t look like the pictures I saw at all. Apparently the beach is a totally different beach in the winter than in the summer.
- In the summer, Waialea Beach is a large stretch of beautiful, pristine white sand beach lined with trees that provide welcome shade.
- In the winter, Waialea Beach erodes almost completely because of the strong surf. Also, at high tide, there isn’t much beach left.
Maybe it was because it was winter and the beach was mostly gone, but when we visited Waialea Beach, there were only a few other people there.
It was quiet, secluded, rugged, and fabulous.
We found small patches of sand to search for shells, we hunted through the rocky lava and coral coastline for treasures, the kids climbed on trees, and we relaxed in the shade with an absolutely incredible view.
Located on the beautiful Kohala Coast, between the Hilton Waikoloa Village and Hapuna Beach, Waialea Beach has a mix of Kiawe Trees, lava rock, giant pieces of driftwood, sandy beach, and tide pools. It is a popular destination for families who want a beach day, and because the diversity of marine life in Waialea Bay is among the best in all of Kawaihae Bay, sought-after location for snorkeling and SCUBA diving.
Know Before You Go
- Waialea Beach is 23 miles north of Kona, just past the Waikoloa Beach Resort. Take Highway 19 to Puako Beach Drive, turn right on Old Puako Road, then turn left after about half a mile to reach the parking lot. If you see the exit for Hapuna Beach, you’ve gone too far.
- There is high surf and very little beach in the winter, but in the summer Beach 69 is mostly calm and a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling.
- Humpback whales are often seen outside the bay during winter.
- There are showers and restrooms available near the parking lot.
- There is no life guard on duty.
- Waialea Bay is located in the southern portion of Kawaihae Bay on the Kohala Coast and is part of a Hawai’i Marine Life Conservation District.