Waialea beach is one of the more popular white sand beaches on the Big Island. Especially so during the summer months, because of the sun, shade and good snorkeling. Waialea beach is also called “69 beach” because of the number 69 utility pole close to the parking area of this beach.
Waialea beach fronts a small residential area. The white sand of Waialea beach erodes during the winter due to strong surf, but is pristine during the summer. There is plenty of tree cover providing shade and privacy.
There is no life guard on duty, but there are showers and restrooms.
Snorkeling and diving at beach 69
Waialea bay was designated a marine life conservation district (MLCD) back in 1985.
In the bay itself you can find a rich diversity of marine life, which makes it a popular site for snorkel and SCUBA activities. The best reefs are on the southern side of the bay but there is also plenty of coral around the large rocks rising out of the water inside the bay, and close to the rocky point on the right (north) side of the beach.
Humpback whales often appear outside the bay during winter.
Ala KahaKai Trail
There is also a moderate difficulty hiking trail crossing Waialea beach that follows the coastline over ancient fishermen`s trails and Hawaiian Kingdom roads. The Ala Kahakai trail provides access to some of the most pristine shoreline remaining in Hawaii, as well as numerous anchialine ponds.
This trail forms a 15.4 mile loop along the coastline, and Waialea beach is about halfway the loop. Find out more about the Ala Kahakai trail at the Hawaii state park website.
Directions to Waialea Beach
The easiest way to reach Waialea beach from Kona is to take highway 19 north about 23 miles past the Waikoloa resorts. Turn to the left on the exit after you pass the resorts, onto Puako Beach Drive. You have gone too far and need to turn around if you see the exit to Hapuna Beach.
Once you are on the Puako beach drive, take the first right onto the Old puako road. Read the numbers on the telephone pole and turn left between poles 69 and 70 (about half a mile).
Payed parking is available near the beach. Non-residents pay an entrance fee that is calculated based on the number of people in the party and if they have a vehicle (fees are currently $10 per vehicle and $5 per person).
There are plenty of great beaches close to Waialea. Read more about beaches in south Kohala on our website.