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Mauna Kea Beach
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mauna kea beach
mauna kea beach
drive down 1 drive down 4

Just after turning off on the highway, you will come to the guard shack. There are a limited number of parking spaces designated for public beach use, so be sure to get there early (generally before 9:00 or 9:30 a.m., and earlier on weekends) to get a parking stall without having to wait for someone else to leave. After the lot fills up, parking operates on a "one in, one out," system. As residents who use the bay for a morning workout leave, you may be able to wait 15 or 20 minutes for a spot if you arrive before 10:30 a.m., but after that you might as well just head for nearby Hapuna.

parking lot 1

The guard at the front will give you a "pass" that you in turn will give to the person at the parking lot. After the pleasant drive through the golf course and past the hotel, you reach the parking lot. Hand over your pass and you will be directed to park in one of the "beach parking" stalls, many of which involve parallel parking.

The paved path down to the beach is at the end of the parking lot. It's just under a five minute walk under keawe trees and past arid vegetation to reach the lush palm trees and - for hotel guests only - manicured lawns that surround the beach. Golf carts and service carts may whiz by you on the path: keep to the right on the way down, and stay left on the way up. There is a restroom facility for public use at the bottom of the paved path. To the right are the hotel grounds; to the left is a sand path that continues another few yards to the beach.
Beach path to the left
Hotel grounds to the right- for guests only.


This beach was chosen by Laurence Rockefeller as the best on the island. Along with being an early contributor of capital for Intel and Apple, Laurence started the first chain of "eco" resorts, of which the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel is the crown jewel. The Mauna Kea opened in 1965; at the time it was the most expensive hotel ever built. Designed by Charles Basset, the building itself is acknowledged as a mid-century masterpiece of hotel architecture. The hotel was closed after an earthquake in 2006, renovated, and re-opened a couple years later. The beach remained open to the public throughout.


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