Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area

Beach in Kailua-Kona

Visitors often overlook this quiet park, located a mile from downtown. The swimming isn’t great but it's a grand spot for a picnic. The beach area is studded with lava rock and tide pools, the latter occasionally occupied by napping sea turtles. Jogging and fishing are the main activities, but scuba divers and confident snorkelers can make for Garden Eel Cove, a short walk from the north end of the beach. To get here, follow Kuakini Hwy to its end.

Just inside the southern entrance gate is one tidal pool large and sandy enough to be the perfect keiki (child) pool. When the surf’s up, local surfers flock to an offshore break here.

Facilities include restrooms, showers and covered picnic tables on a lawn dotted with beach heliotrope and short coconut palms. Oh, and you know what makes getting to the beach better? Barreling down an unused airport runway. There’s still a tarmac at Old Airport Park, which was the area’s airport until it was deemed too small.