La’aola Bay Beach Park
How many names can one beach have? Many perhaps. This very popular and busy beach is officially called La’aola Bay Beach Park (see the sign), which means in Hawaiian “Very Sacred Place”. But it is also widely referred to as Magic Sands Beach, White Sands Beach or Disappearing Sands Beach. Care to use another name of your pleasing? Regardless of the confusing naming, this beach is located in downtown Kona, and is a fantastic place to spend your day. Parking is limited, but available, either in the official lot, on the street, or in the unofficial dirt lot across the street. If you visit this beach and find the sand missing, you’ll know why some still call it Magic Sands Beach. In times of significant surf, the sand does indeed get pushed off shore, and when the surf subsides, slowly drifts back to this beach. As a result the beach sand is very clean, which explains the White Sands Beach name. On a calm day, snorkeling can be rewarding especially on the northern more rock part of the beach. When surf is slightly higher and sand is still present, you’ll find lots of boogie boarders on the southern portion closer to the lifeguard tower.
Heading into Kona on Ali’i Drive until you reach mile marker 4. You can test your parallel parking skills on the busy main street (if you find a spot) or you can park in the very limited public lot (usually full by mid/early morning). There is a large dirt lot across the street that many people park in, weather or not this is permitted, authorized or enforced, you’ll have to find out.
When the surf is calm and there is plenty of sand (sounds like an odd caveat!) it’s usually perfect for lounging or swimming in the water. As the surf increases the sand starts to disappear along with the level of safety. Should you find the beach in this condition, it’s best to stay out of the water as the rip current becomes very strong (remember the sand moves!). This beach tends to have a slight under-toe at all times, but much worse when surf is up. Also there are rocks peppered throughout this small beach, so beware when riding your epic boogie wave.