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Waialea Beach (69 Beach), Kohala Coast

The Big Island, Hawaii, United States


We stumbled upon Waialea Beach one day while we were lost looking for a snorkeling area nearby. We pulled into the dusty miserable parking lot, and almost turned around. I said, "Let's just see what's here," and ran to have a look. Through the trees a strip of deep vibrant blue emerged and I continued on. There, before my eyes, was the perfect beach I'd been dreaming of for the past year. I'd been longing for a swim in tropical waters. And this was it!
Stretching down to the shoreline was thick shade from the ironwood trees. The sand was a lovely cream color, and the water...well, the colors were indescribable. Tiny waves tickled the shore.
We all ran down to the water, fins and snorkels in hand, and swam out to the right, near the little cove. There we found a huge coral garden and colorful fish. Next, we snorkeled to the left (south), around the other side of the large rock formation. That was the best snorkeling I've found in Hawaii. There was a whole garden of live coral, pinks, purples, greens, and lovely little tropical fish. A turtle swam right past us. I've never seen so much live coral in Hawaii!
After snorkeling, I bounced about in the clear, clear water. Wow! What a swim! What bliss!
Sometimes the beach is not calm but windy and choppy, and then the snorkeling and swimming is not as good.
This beach is also called 69 Beach because it used to be by the 69 mile marker, though nowadays it's by the 71 mile marker. Don't mistake it with 49 Beach which has a similar name but one numeral different!
There are restrooms and showers (with lots of wasps buzzing around them). Watch out for kiawe thorns on the sand, from the kiawe trees. These are long thorns on thin branches, and poisonous. They can cause a hospital visit. There were also mice on the beach, weirdly, so keep any food closed up. For this reason, I prefer this beach for a swim and quick exit, rather than a picnic under the trees.
After, have lunch at Hau Tree Cafe on Mauna Kea Hotel Beach.

Photo Gallery

From the dusty parking lot, you are amazed as you see a peek of the cerulean blue waters ahead.

Left side of beach.

Lots of shade!

Lazing around at Waialea Beach.

Walking to the left, in the shade of kiawe trees.

Girl sitting on the shore.

Tranquil day at 69 Beach.

Kayakers at 69 Beach.

Rock formation where there are lots of fish!


This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

To get to Waialea Beach: From Hwy 19 going north, turn left on Pauko Beach Rd (near the 71 mile marker), and then right on Pauko Rd. The driveway to the parking is the second on the left.
There are showers and restrooms. Parking is $5 in the pay machine but Hawaii residents don't have to pay.
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