About Kua Bay (Maniniowali Beach) on Kona & West Island, Hawaii
Kua Bay Beach is one of the more popular beaches on the North Kona Coast. It has excellent white sand and frequently has perfect waves for boogie-boarding and playing in. Swimming in the bay is good most of the time, however there are no lifeguards so it’s not good for smaller kids and when the waves are higher than three feet (rip currents exist). Expert bodyboarders will be riding the waves when there’s a high surf and it’s quite entertaining. Snorkeling in Kua Bay is poor as there’s not much to see and it’s usually cloudy water anyway.
The parking lot for Kua Bay is larger than most in the area and can accommodate 100 or more cars if you include shoulder spots up the entrance road. It’s also a superb place to watch sunsets so expect this place to be hopping in the evenings too. In general this beach is a good mix of locals and tourists.
The road to Kua Bay isn’t well signed, but it’s across from the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery which has huge signs on Highway 19. As you drive down to the beach the signs say “Kekaha Kai State Park Manini’owali Section” but it’s better known as Kua Bay (which is easier to say too). The drive is about 1.4 miles from the highway to the end of the road where there’s a loop to turn around. You’ll want to park as close to the turnaround as possible as that’s where the beach access and restrooms are located. If you want to go to the north end of the beach, hoof it across the lava road at the roundabout, otherwise just walk directly towards the ocean where you’ll find picnic tables perched on a plateau above the beach. The sandy beach is to the right of the picnic area, but if you are just here to watch the sunset, it’s a bit quieter on the left and there are a lot of places to set up beach chairs. The hours of Kua Bay are posted as 8am to 7pm but check the signs as you go in.
If you are into hiking, you might have noticed the red volcanic cinder cone, Pu’u Kuili, on the left along the entrance road. There’s a parking lot on the makai side (toward the ocean) of the cone where you can park and hike to the top of it. The summit is an amazing place to watch the sunset!
- Kua Bay Access Rd
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
- Park Name
- Kekaha Kai State Park, Maniniowali Section
- Other Names
- Manini'owali Beach, Papiha Point
- Pet Details
- No dogs allowed in the park
- Free parking, no entrance fees
- Swimming, Snorkeling, Sunbathing, Bodyboarding, Picnicking, Hiking, Whale Watching
- Restrooms, Showers, Picnic Tables, Trails, Viewpoint, Cinder Cone
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