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Beach access after lunch at Mauna Kea?

New York City, New...
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Beach access after lunch at Mauna Kea?

I notice that both the Mauna Kea and Four Seasons beaches are recommended for snorkeling. As an alternative to getting there by 9 a.m., could one have lunch at the resort and then just walk out to the beach?

Corona del Mar...
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1. Re: Beach access after lunch at Mauna Kea?

All beaches in Hawaii, other than those closed by the military, are public. All having lunch would do is get you a validation for parking. You can go to the beaches any time you like.

Big Island, Hawaii
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2. Re: Beach access after lunch at Mauna Kea?

Neither of those places really have good snorkeling.

Kauna'oa at the Mauna Kea is a beautiful beach, but yes, you often do need to get there early to get a parking pass. You can eat lunch there (although the food is pricey and not very good) and go out to the beach, but you won't want to be schlepping your chairs, towels, and gear through the hotel and at lunch, is the only issue.

The Four Seasons is another matter. To get to Kukio Bay or Kahuwai Bay on the south and north ends of the property respectively, you just drive through the guard gate and ask for a pass to the one you want. They are never full so you don't need to get there early. Kukio Bay is a beautiful area, very quiet beach, long, lots of turtles, and spectacular fish ponds. Not good snorkeling except for the turtles. You can, however, walk the length of Kukio Bay to the adjacent Kikaua Point which does have a small lagoon (great for kids) and past that, a small but beautiful coral garden (just past the sea arch -- see the Top Questions on snorkeling for more description and info). Another option is to enter from the Kukio resort side, south of the Four Seasons entrance, their guard gate distributes parking passes for Kikaua Point. It does sometimes get full on weekends, but not usually.

Kahuwai does have better snorkeling than Kukio Bay, and since Kona Village closed I've noteiced there are TONS of fish in the bay, but it can be churned up a lot, and it is rocky and a not particularly pretty beach. I like it though if it's calm. There may be limited access as Kona Village reconstruction starts up later this year though.

I highly recommend eating lunch at the Four Seasons anyway, some of the best food on the island and a beautiful property.

The best snorkeling in the area is at the Mauna Lani resort. Their public access lot is a long haul to the beach (Makaiwa Bay), which is the bummer, but there is no parking pass system, and there's always room.

Waialea Bay has very good snorkeling if it's calm, and there's no parking pass system. It does get busy, especially on weekends, but there's always somewhere to park, even if you have to walk a little ways.

Hawaii
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3. Re: Beach access after lunch at Mauna Kea?

You can go have lunch, and use their parking for a reasonable amount of time, but you can't schlep your beach stuff through their hotel. If you want to take stuff to the beach you use public access. If you want lunch, you eat lunch and maybe you walk the beach after.

They want their hotel to be elegant and don't want the public traipsing around with gear, and that is their right.

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: Beach access after lunch at Mauna Kea?

I've found that regular beach parking is often available around lunchtime, probably because the early arriving folks leave to eat. However, the best time to snorkel is in the morning especially at this time of year because the surf and wind tend to pick up later in the day.

Mission Viejo...
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5. Re: Beach access after lunch at Mauna Kea?

You're from NY, right? You'll be waking up quite early anyway, at least for the first few days! LOL I love being an "early bird" in Hawaii, and we only come from Seattle. In the water by 7 is no problem, since we have crashed by 9 the night before!!!

Sally in Seattle

6. Re: Beach access after lunch at Mauna Kea?

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