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.
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.
This is one of the few public beaches where you will find soap, paper towels, and clean restrooms. (go figure..it’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)
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 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.
These are three of the BEST BETS for Keiki beaches near Kona.
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.
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!