Safe Keiki Beaches Near Kona


Old Airport Tidepools

“Where can my four year old play safely on an island filled with sharp lava?”  “Where can I let my five year old explore without worrying about him getting hit by monster waves?”

These are a few of the questions I get all the time on my “365 Things to Do in Kona” Facebook page. (You can leave questions of your own there, too!)

I thought I’d put a few of my recommendations together for everyone.

Top BEST BETS for Keiki beaches near Kona

1. Kukio “keiki” beach- A public beach,  located 5 miles north from Kona International Airport, is located just outside the private, gated community, of Kukio, which means, you have to check in with security guard shack to enter.  There are also limited parking spaces, 27,  so if you are planning, carpool and go early.


Kukio Beach Lagoon

This is one of the few public beaches where you will find soap, paper towels, and clean restrooms. (go’s in the neighborhood with the billionaires, so its a nice amenity that Kona beaches don’t see often enough).  The swimming area is ideal for keiki’s and toddlers, with little wave action. For the older kids and adults, there is a bay to the right of the little keiki lagoon that has excellent snorkeling. But beware…there is a drop off at the end of the lagoon that scared the heck out of me..I wrote about it here.

The walk from the parking lot to beach is approximately 50 yards of paved sidewalk. Be sure to stay on the path due to Hawaiian sensitivity issues. Security is constantly monitoring area. (again, because Michael Dell and other financial luminaries live nearby!)

Kona Keiki ponds (click for pic)

Keiki Ponds in Kona

Keiki Ponds in Kona

2. Kona Keiki Ponds – This is another gathering spot for families with small children, especially when West Hawaii beaches are closed due to high surf. The ponds are located behind the public swimming pool near downtown Kona. Look for where the foot ball field is behind the community pool and park there and walk across the field and find the path that leads to the beach. You can see in the photo I pulled from Google maps, that this hidden beach is in front of a variety of vacation homes. Kids love to float around here with their toys and there is plenty of exploring to do here.

3.  Tidepools at Old Airport -I personally love to play in the tidepools at the Old Kona Airport and so did my kids growing up. Park near the first yellow gate and see the lone palm tree and there are great tide pools on either side of that palm tree. And yes, they are deep enough to get a good soak and kids can see the minnows, shrimp and shells there, too. Bring an umbrella as there is no shade except for that one palm tree. Check the tide schedule, too. Best time is more than half way past low tide on its way to high tide.

MORE: Kahaluu’ Beach in Keauhou is great for kids to learn how to snorkel and play at the waters edge easily. (That is where my baby/toddler played–now he’s 13 and never fell on the lava and cut himself!) Lots of turtles there to show the kids, too.

At Magic Sands beach/La’aloa Beach there is a little sandy area to the far north of the beach. Depending on what has happened to the sand, that area is shaped like a children’s pool and kids can play safely in there. Keep them away from the ocean if the waves are up. This little place is perfect as almost a mini sand box.

You can also go to the Fairmont Orchid hotel on the Kohala Coast where they have a shallow lagoon and you can see that property which has hammocks you can swing in and you can enjoy dinner and drinks right on the ocean.

Feel free to leave comments for other suggestions for parents looking for a place they can catch some rays, relax and know their children are having an enjoyable Hawaiian experience, too!


Julie Ziemelis is a lifestyle blogger, Vlogger and trusted real estate advisor. If you are looking to relocate to Hawaii Island, check out our real estate channel at “365Hawaii Real Estate Minute”  

You can also learn more about the local real estate market by watching our weekly real estate show on our private Facebook group. Want to join and not already working with a Realtor? Email [email protected].

Julie Ziemelis, Keller Williams Realty/Big Island Division


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Meet the Author

Julie Ziemelis

Julie Ziemelis is an entrepreneur, business owner, author, blogger and vlogger in Kailua Kona. She created and moderates the “365 Things to Do in Kona” page and the Kona Newbies group on Facebook. She blogs at and and vlogs with her husband, Eric, at “365Hawaii” on YouTube. Julie also authored the books, “How to Move to Kona” and the “Insiders Guide to Buying Real Estate on the Big Island of Hawaii”. You will most likely find Julie in Kona hiking, running, biking, taking photos and sharing Aloha.

Leave a Question or Comment About this Topic

  • noel says:

    I’m not sure if it is kiddie safe, but I loved how isolated and rarely visited He’e ia cove is in Keauhou. Also loved walking around the neighborhood there and check out the real estate.

  • Not really kiddie fact, I was beaten trying to stand at the water’s edge by all the rocks that kept being brought up by waves. I have been in that water exactly once in ten years. However, it IS beautiful to walk up to the cliff and see the sunset and big surf when it comes in.

  • Bob Alcantara says:

    Perhaps time and tides. When we’ve been there it has been calm and very safe for children of all ages.

    • Time and tides for most of the beaches. I WILL say though that Heei Bay is not a good kids beach. I only see surfers there and again, it’s got rocks from the top of the beach down into the water, so tides not withstanding, it’s not a good children’s swim beach.

  • Iriz says:

    Hi, can the public enter and use the beach at Fairmont Orchid hotel on the Kohala Coast even if we are not a guest of the hotel?

    • Julie Ziemelis says:

      Yes, you can, as it is shoreline access. Now, if you were to bring a few tents, coolers and friends, they may say something, but if you go to enjoy the beach and lagoon and are respectful
      of the property, have a great time!

  • […] some vitamin sea and vitamin D! We decided to head to a small, quiet, and secluded beach, called Keiki Ponds where we could lounge and soak up healing sun rays. We stayed for an hour or so. It’s the […]