Things to do at Hapuna Beach, HawaiiWhether you’re looking to swim, snorkel, or just lie in the sun you’ll find plenty of opportunities atHapuna Beach. Check out this list for ideas of what to do and expect at the beach.SnorkelThe reef off of Hapuna offers some amazing fish and coral to exploreHapuna’s sandy bottom extends for hundreds of feet out to sea, and as such does not provide muchinteresting reef to explore. However, on the edges of the bay, along the rocky cliffs, there are somedecent snorkeling areas where you can find coral, fish,and turtlesThe left side of the bay is protected from the open ocean and offers calmer waters than other spots.Green sea turtles can often be found just a few yards off shore here. If you are feeling adventurous youcan explore the reef that begins around the point, a hundred yards or so out. If you reach the point youcan head left around the corner to discover some amazing reef tucked away, hidden from view on thebeach.The rock outcropping just off shore at the center of the beach often has a small group of snorkelerssurrounding it. This area isn’t very interesting; its small and mostly offers just sand and lava rock, witha few fish here and there. Its easy accessibility and relative safety make it a good beginner choice.The right side of the bay, off shore from the hotel, offers some great snorkeling areas that are a littlemore difficult to access. This area is more exposed to the open ocean and is best suited for calm days. Ifyou head out in the morning while the ocean is still glassy you can catch some great snorkeling herethough. The more interesting spots start out near the point, and from there you can turn right explorealong the coast where you’ll find underwater caves and great coral.If you need snorkeling gear you can rent it for $10 dollars a day from Paradise Grill, located at the topof the hill above the beach, near the parking lot.For other nearby snorkeling spots check out Wailea Bay (Beach 69) just down the road from Hapuna.The Wailea Bay reef sprawls across the bay and provides much better snorkeling opportunity thanHapuna.
Sunbathe On a nice, sunny day Hapuna is covered in hundreds of bodies lounging in the sun. The warm sand molds to your body and provides a great place to read a book, listen to music, or simply take a nap. Hapuna’s sand is incredibly clean and soft, and its easy to spend hours sprawled on the sand, soaking up the sun and listening to the soothing rhythm of the crashing waves. If you’re looking to tan, there are few better places than here. Be careful though, the sun is strongest around one ‘o clock and it is very easy to get burned if you’re not careful. I’ve seen too many tourists walking around bright red backs: use sunscreen!If you do happen to get burned, applying moisturizer and aloe to the affected areas can reduce pain andspeed recovery. It goes a long way in preventing peeling after a sunburn. If you want to escape the sun, the grassy areas behind the beach have trees and pavilions whose shade can offer a welcome reprieve from the midday sun.PicnicThere are many great picnic areas in the park. Depending on your mood you can eat in one of thesmaller pavilions up on the hillside, have lunch in the sand next to the water, or plan a large lunch ordinner gathering in one of the larger pavilions. Packing a lunch and enjoying a relaxing afternoon at thebeach with food and refreshments is a great way to experience Hapuna. Be sure to bring lots of water!
Play in the waves Depending on the season Hapuna can offer small, fun waves to bob around in or large, powerful wavesto bodysurf. Whatever your preference, you’ll have a great time letting the waves roll over you; its very refreshing, and great for clearing your sinuses. Always respect the ocean though, and don’t underestimate the power of Hapuna’s waves. Know your own limits and be careful when the surf picks up. For more information on Hapuna’s great waves, check out the surf page here.Explore the CoastlineOn the left side of the beach, just around the first rock outcropping is a large cave. You can’t see it fromthe shoreline, but if you walk out into the water and go left around the rocks you’ll find a hidden caveawaiting you. The cave extends about 30 feet into the lava, and gets quite dark towards the back. If youcontinue climbing along the rocks you’ll find a great jumping spot; there’s a 12 foot drop from therocksinto the ocean, with a sandy bottom and about 8 feet of water or so to cushion your fall. You’ll often seelocal kids come out here to jump. If you’re feeling adventurous you can keep following the coastline.There aren’t well established trails, but unofficial dirt roads snake around the area, and there are somecool hidden coves and small sandy beaches to discover.Off to the right side of the beach you’ll find the Ala Kahakai Trail. It extends from the Hapuna BeachPrince Hotel for almost a mile or so to the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The trail covers rocky and variedterrain, and runs right alongside the ocean. There are a bunch of cool little caves and coves to explorehere, and the walk to Mauna Kea beach can be quite nice. You can read more about the Ala Kahakai
Trail here. SportsHapuna offers a ton of open space to play in the sand. Volleyball nets are often set up on the left side of the beach: bring your own net and get some people together for a great time playing beach volleyball.Football, frisbee, paddle ball, and soccer are other popular sports that you’ll often see people playing at Hapuna.Swim and RunHapuna is a great place to get some exercise. I often come down late in the afternoon and run a fewlaps along the beach before cooling off with a swim while enjoying the sunset. The beach is 0.35 mileslong from end to end, but the challenge of running in the sand makes it feel like more. Runningbarefoot in the sand is a great way to strengthen your feet, and it feels great on your skin as well.Many people swim across the bay as well. If you want to do some laps in the ocean it is best to arriveas soon as the park opens at 7:00. The early morning ocean is calm and the water is amazing clear.Every year the Hapuna Rough Water swim is held here, and its a favorite race of many local swimmers.
Whale WatchIn the winter months of December through April humpback whales migrate from their summer home in Alaska to the warmer waters of Hawaii. It is in the warm Hawaiian waters that these endangered animals give birth each year and raise their young. They can often be seen playing in the water: spouting water, breeching, or slapping their tales. The best way to see these amazing animals is on awhale watching boat, but they can still be seen fairly well from the coastline. If you’re at Hapuna in the winter keep an eye out for whale activity and you’ll be pleasantly rewarded.Watch the SunsetHapuna’s location on the Kohala coast puts it in perfect viewing position for the sunset each day. Duskis a wonderful time to be down at the beach: the wind dies down, the air cools slightly, and the crowdshave left for the day. Its a perfect time to take a stroll down the beach and enjoy the gorgeous sunsetsthat Hapuna has to offer. The sky lights up with brilliant orange and red shading, and wispy clouds drifton the horizon. Its a very soothing and beautiful time of day, and if you have the time be sure to stickaround for the sunset. For more sunset pictures and information check out the sunsets page here.
Make Sand Sculptures Hapuna’s beautiful white sand is perfect for molding and playing with. Whether you’re just diggingholes or crafting elaborate structures you can have a blast messing around in the sand. Watch the tide though, and don’t let your creation get washed away!