The most popular beach on the Kona Coast has reef-protected lagoons and county park facilities that attract more than 400,000 people a year. Kahaluu is the best all-around beach off Alii Drive, with coconut trees lining a narrow salt-and-pepper-sand shore that gently slopes to turquoise pools. Schools of brilliantly colored tropical fish make this a great place to snorkel. In summer, it’s also an ideal spot for children and beginning snorkelers; the water is so shallow you can just stand up if you feel uncomfortable—but please, not on the living coral, which can take years to recover. In winter, there’s a rip current when the high surf rolls in; look for any lifeguard warnings. Kahaluu isn’t the biggest beach on the island, but it’s one of the best equipped, with off-road parking, beach-gear rentals, a covered pavilion, restrooms, barbecue pits, and a food concession. It gets crowded, so come early to stake out a spot. If you have to park on Alii Drive, be sure to poke your head into tiny, blue-roofed St. Peter’s by the Sea, a Catholic chapel next to an old lava rock heiau where surfers once prayed for waves.

In Kailua Kona.