COVID19 UPDATE
Big Island

Kid-Friendly Beaches (Part 1): Big Island’s Puna District

When I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii eight years ago, my daughter was an infant. The first thing I did was explore my area for local kid-friendly beaches. There were so many hidden gems to be discovered, so now I’ll share this knowledge with you. Enjoy this, the Puna District kid-friendly beaches!

Kapoho Jo's

Inside the gates of Kapoho Beach Lots are several swim spots, including this one called “Turtle Cove”

Kapoho

Many visitors and new residents are familiar with Kapoho’s warm tidal ponds, and there are several places to take advantage of them. My current favorite is the Ahalanui Warm Ponds. It is a State Park with lifeguards and is well maintained. 

The warm pond is like a double Olympic-sized pool of natural water from an underground source and the ocean on one side. There are concrete steps leading you into the water that ranges in temperature from warm bath to cool and brisk depending on the tide. Kids will need floaties if they can’t swim and adults may like to have water shoes as the bottom is rocky.

Kapoho Champagne Pond

The calm waters of Kapoho’s Champagne Pond are great for kids young and old!

Other great Kapoho spots include the Waiopae Conservation Tidepools with its amazing snorkeling in University Gardens and the famed Champagne Pond which boasts a very large, calm pond away from the crashing waves.

Opihikao

Another great spot I found is along the “Red Road” (Highway 137) between Kapoho and Kalapana. The Red Road is no longer red, but it is still a gorgeous wonderland drive of tree canopies and ocean sites. This area is called Opihikao and there are a few spots where tiny tidal pools exist in high tides….just perfect for infants and toddlers.

Puna Opihikao surf

Protected from crashing surf, the Opihikao tidepools get warm in the sun and are great for really little kiddos

Park carefully alongside the road and walk a few steps into warmed by the sun water. Local fisherman like this area, too, for the abundant Opihi (small limpets) and shore fishing.

MacKenzie State Park

A little further along the coast toward Kalapana is MacKenzie State Park. Known for its forest of Ironwood trees, this is a fun place to do a very easy hike along the coast. There is a very crude bathroom here and nice picnic areas on the soft, pine needles.

Puna MacKenzie pond

MacKenzie State Park tidal pools a short walk from the park entrance 

About 1/2 of a mile South and East from the park entrance you’ll find more tiny tide pools at high tide. These ponds are rife with sea life like sea cucumbers and hermit crabs. Kids just love exploring this area and the hike is very easy.

Tips for Exploring Kid-Friendly Beaches in Hawaii

The following is recommended when exploring kid-friendly beaches on the Big Island:

  • Wear comfortable open shoes for any of these beaches…something like Teva sandals
  • Always carry water and snacks as there are not any services located on Hwy 137
  • It’s always best to explore unfamiliar terrain in the daylight
  • Please carry out your trash and help us keep the Hawaii aina (land) clean and beautiful!

Enjoy your Hawaii Life!

Comments (4) Show CommentsHide Comments (Remember)

Cool. Add your comment...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private, this form is secure and we never spam you.

Todd W Barrett, RS, ABR

December 9, 2013

Excellent, informative blog post Jessica; thank you! With 4 kids I can completely relate to your search for “kid-friendly beaches”. We have our own “spot” down at Old Airport Beach Park here in Kona that we visit several times a week. A hui hou!

Jessica Hall

December 9, 2013

Thanks Todd! Finding little hidden spots is such a great adventure. Love this Hawaii Life! A hui hou 🙂

Todd W Barrett, RS, ABR

December 9, 2013

Excellent, informative blog post Jessica; thank you! With 4 kids I can completely relate to your search for “kid-friendly beaches”. We have our own “spot” down at Old Airport Beach Park here in Kona that we visit several times a week. A hui hou!

Jessica Hall

December 9, 2013

Thanks Todd! Finding little hidden spots is such a great adventure. Love this Hawaii Life! A hui hou 🙂

More Articles from Hawaii Life