Overview Wawaloli Beach (#2 on map): White sand, tidal pools, cliffs, and rocky shoreline. You can hike along the shoreline or have a picnic. Parking, restrooms, showers. Hazardous footing, currents, and (sometimes large) waves.
Bring your camera! When the waves are large they hit the lava walls and shoot spray straight up so high you can see it from homes at 1,000 foot in elevation. Worried about looking like a tourist if you have your camera? Here is how you tell visitors from locals… tourists take 10 pictures per minute – locals only take 5 pics per minute.
Address: Makako Bay Dr, Near The 94 Mile Marker, Kailua Kona, HI 96740
Directions to Wawaloli Beach: Get onto Continue onto HI-19. If coming from downtown Kailua Kona then turn left onto Makako Bay Drive. If coming from the airport then turn right onto Makako Bay Drive.
Use the entrance road to the Natural Energy Lab Hawai`i (NELHA) and Hawai`i Ocean Science and Technology (HOST) Park which opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m.
Locals Tip: The best viewing area for large ‘wave splashes’ (when there is a swell) is right in front of the restroom area. Just park adjacent to bathrooms, in the parking lot, and be careful walking across the lava towards the ocean. Be careful for two reasons: 1) the lava is uneven and you can slip and fall, and 2) if get too close to splashing waves, a rogue wave could come and sweep you from your viewing perch.
Click the image below to go to map for Wawaloli Beach directions.
This is one of the ‘secret’ (not so secret that I can’t share with you) beaches in Kona… but it really isn’t a beach like you might expect. There is some sand there, but the sand stops at the ocean where the lava rock drops off into the Pacific. In short, you can’t/shouldn’t swim here but if you want the place for an ‘ohana BBQ (there are some shade trees, picnic tables, and grills), to sunbathe or watch the massive wave spray on large days, then this is for you. The parking is plentiful.
Locals Tip: Please note there is a large area shallow ‘pool’ carved out of lava. This is good for children (PARENTS – watch for large waves overtaking the lava walls) or you can explore all the cracks and crevices.
Some people fish here but do so at your own risk when there is an ocean swell. You can get swept right into the ocean.
You can see the parking, the sand, and a few trees in the image below. You can also see how rugged the coastline is with jagged lava.