Magic Sands Beach

Beach in Kailua-Kona

Image by Ann Cecil Getty Images

This small but gorgeous beach (also called White Sands and, officially, Laʻaloa Beach) has turquoise water, great sunsets, little shade and possibly the best bodysurfing and bodyboarding on the Big Island. Waves are consistent and just powerful enough to shoot you across the water into a sandy bay (beware: the north side of the bay has more rocks). During high winter surf the beach can vanish literally overnight, earning the nickname ‘Magic Sands.’ The park is about 4 miles south of central Kailua-Kona.

When the rocks and coral located past the disappearing sands are exposed, the beach becomes too treacherous for most swimmers. Gradually the sand returns, transforming the shore back into its former beachy self. Facilities include restrooms, showers, picnic tables and a volleyball court; a lifeguard is on duty.

White Sands is almost always packed but there’s little proprietary attitude from locals. Sunsets here will get you all the likes on social media.