One evening earlier this month, we went for a shoreline hike at Anaeho’omalu Bay, beside the Waikoloa Beach Resort area. We had heard that sea turtles often hang out on the quiet and less crowded beaches along this trail, and wanted to photograph them in the glow of the evening light. We headed out from the trailhead near the Lava Lava Beach Club about half an hour before sunset, equipped with flashlights for the twilight walk back.
As we headed south along the trail, we found beautiful little white sand beaches nestled into patches of twisted trees and naupaka shrubs. This shoreline hike was mostly on the sand with some sections of lava rock and shrubby trail. The further we went, the sand became nicer and the beaches more inviting.
I almost didn’t see the first turtle we came across until it was right in front of me! It was hidden in the shadows cast by the setting sun. As we continued for a few more minutes, we saw three more sea turtles resting on the beach close to the water. I would have loved to stay and watch them for a long time (giving them some space, of course), but we just took some photos and looked for a few minutes. Even with our flashlights, we didn’t want to head back after it was completely dark.
We went in the evening, but if you don’t mind walking a ways with beach chairs or mats, these beaches would be a great place to get away from the crowds. This is a beautiful area to explore with friends and family, see the sunset, and take photographs.
We only walked the northernmost mile of the trail on Anaeho’omalu Bay, but the trail stretches 6 miles further south to Keawaiki Bay if you want to explore more of this beautiful coastline. If you have good shoes (closed toes or hiking sandals), you can keep going over the lava rock to (name of beach – look up on hikes page/big island hikes). The sandy part of this hike would be great for all ages – essentially walking on the beach with a couple of rocky and shrubby areas.
If you want to know more about this shoreline hike, check out its page on the Big Island Hikes website. We’ve also compiled a list of family-friendly and more adventurous hikes on this page.
One of the best parts of visiting a tropical island is dining with an ocean view! The Kohala Coast has plenty of great restaurants where you can share a romantic dinner with while watching the sun set over the waves or enjoy a delicious lunch without leaving the beach! In the winter, you might even see whales off in the distance while eating lunch.
Here are a few of our favorite places for beachside dining on the Kohala Coast:
Napua Restaurant at the Mauna Lani Beach Club
Napua Restaurant has a beautiful location overlooking the beach and stunning Makaiwa Bay. This is a great place to go for sunset cocktails, lunch at the beach, or a romantic dinner.
Try Napua restaurant for a beachside dining experience in a beautiful cove with delicious, locally-sourced foods. The lunch menu features refreshing salads, sandwiches, and burgers. The restaurant has a more upscale dinner menu has mouthwatering BBQ ribs, island-raised steak and fresh-caught seafood. At lunch, the dress is more casual with all of the beach-goers, but dinner time is dressier.
Lava Lava Beach Club in Waikoloa Resort
At the Lava Lava Beach Club you can actually dine right on the beach, steps away from the water in Anaeho’omalu Bay. True to their slogan of “get your toes in the sand”, many of their tables are in the sand surrounded by torches and coconut trees. The menu features fun pupus (appetizers) and mains, with delicious meat, seafood, and veggie options.
This is a wonderful place for a romantic sunset dinner, often with live music and a chance to dance on the beach. It’s also a great place for lunch with a view or evening cocktails with friends!
Check out their website for up-to-date menus, hours, and contact information.
The Hau Tree & The Manta Pavilion at Mauna Kea Resort
The Hau Tree is a great location for a romantic sunset dinner or lunch on a beach day. The views of Kauna’oa Bay are stunning at this restaurant, located on our favorite white sand beach. During the day, we love to order refreshing smoothies from the Hau Tree to enjoy while we relax on the beach. Their lunch menu features delicious hamburgers, wraps and sandwiches in a more casual beach gazebo atmosphere. If you want to enjoy a beachside sunset dinner here, you will need to make a reservation.
Also at Mauna Kea Resort, you can get a fantastic breakfast at the Manta Pavilion‘s buffet. In the evening, they feature a delightful upscale dinner menu and an award-winning wine list. We love the atmosphere of this open air restaurant overlooking the beach, both in the morning and at sunset.
Check out the Mauna Kea Resort’s website for up-to-date menus, hours, and reservations.
Brown’s Beach House & Hale Kai at the Fairmont Orchid
Dine on this beautiful patio overlooking the stunning blue water at the Fairmont Orchid’s beach! This four diamond restaurant is a great option for upscale beachside dining – perfect for celebrating special occasions. At night, you can watch the sunset or have a candlelit dinner by the ocean. The menu has a wide variety of delicious options drawing from western and eastern cuisines. Vegetarians also have a good selection between items on the main menu and a separate vegan dinner menu.
Brown’s Beach House is located at the Fairmont Orchid, just a mile up the road from our Mauna Lani vacation homes. Brown’s Beach House is only open for dinner, but Hale Kai next door is open for lunch and dinner. Hale Kai a great option for a more casual beachside dining experience!
Check out the Fairmont’s website for up-to-date menus, hours, and contact information.