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Hawaii Big Island Beaches

On every island in Hawaii, beaches abound. Whether it is swimming, snorkeling or surfing there are so many choices.

On Big Island, at least 23 beaches are available to the public, and all share the same pristine coastline. Winter months are usually better times to visit if you're interested in surfing and going for some really extensive, fun swimming. For example, Mahaiula Beach on the Kona Coast is spectacular.

You want to see white-white sand? Here's the place to go. The beach is within Kekaha Kai State Park, which also offers lovely views and "introduces" you to the exotic beauty of the island before you actually get to the beach! You can also swim, snorkel, and boogie-board the day away in the summer months. As all of the beaches are unique, the summit of Puu Kuili, a 342-foot-high cinder cone, offers an excellent view of Big Island's coastline. Beyond the bay, you can scuba dive and explore the underwater tunnels and caves -- even a sunken ship!

On the island of Kauai, Salt Pond County Beach Park, in Puolo Point, is just one of about 33 beaches on this island. It's next to the only functioning salt ponds in the entire Hawaiian Islands -- where an ancient Hawaiian art of making rock salt by evaporating the seawater is still going on. You certainly won't find anything remotely like this anywhere else on earth.

Swimming conditions are normally safe on this island, except during periods of high surf. Kauai offers good snorkeling areas, and surfing and windsurfing are very popular here as well. Lifeguards are available on some of the beaches, but not all -- make sure you check before you head out. The best times of the year to try out these beaches is from mid-May to September, but remember to watch out for those heavy, high surfs and even riptides.

On Maui, Makena State Park in the south part of the island is nicknamed "Big Beach," perhaps because it's more than a half-mile long and 100 feet wide! Considering the size of the island, that would definitely classify this beach as pretty "big!" It's actually one of the most popular beaches on Maui, and it is manned by lifeguards, but no body boarding is allowed, and be aware: there are some dangerous shore breaks.. Plus, there are more than 20 other beaches, most of which are best visited from September to April.

Makaha Beach Park on Oahu is a board surfer's paradise. International board-surfing competitions have even been held here, and waves can climb up to 25 feet in the winter months, the best time to visit Oahu's beaches, unless, of course, you're more interested in swimming or snorkeling, in which case you'd want to make your trip reservations in the summer. Scuba divers will enjoy the Makaha Caves, a series of underwater "housing," complete with arches, caverns, and awe-inspiring natural formations.

Beach access in Hawaii and information regarding access are generally good, and the state actually recognizes surfing areas as valuable recreational, economic, and cultural resources. Hawaii has approximately one public beach access site per mile of shoreline.

Copyright 2005, Bob Freer. All rights reserved.

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