Old Kona Airport State Park

Old Kona Airport State Park, Big Island

The old Kona Airport closed down in 1970, but developers have certainly put the site to good use. In its place now lies a one-mile-long beach and state park, the old runway conveniently turned into a parking lot. In fact, parking is one of the best facets of the Old Kona Airport Beach (see more photos) – it's free, the slots are wide and the lot can function as a picnic ground by itself. And the airport's old terminal building now serves as a pavilion.

Many people come to Old Airport (as local residents refer to this state park) for the sunset views. The beach is long and wide, and there is a sandy stretch between the old runway and the rocks at the water's edge. Even though the beach is rather rocky, swimming is possible here.

The best spot is located at the southern end, where you'll find an inlet that offers easy access to the water. There are a few more inlets and sandy channels scattered on the length of the beach, but the southern end is the best one. This southern area around the old terminal building is leased by the county, and sports fields and tennis courts for community events are located here as well.

The beach is exposed to high surf, so during storms it is best to stay out of the water because of strong currents.

Old Kona Airport State Park Overview

  • An old airport turned into a beach park - the runway serves as the parking lot and the old terminal building is now a public use pavilion
  • Beach is long and wide, but rocky - fair swimming conditions
  • A few sandy channels allow for entry into the ocean
  • A few palm and heliotrope trees provide limited shade
  • Best place for swimming is at the southern end of the beach where there is a small sheltered sandy inlet
  • Snorkelers and divers usually enter the ocean at a small cove at the northern end of the beach, called Pawai Bay, where a channel leads to deeper offshore waters
  • A shallow reef offshore sometimes creates a surf break called Old Airport that's popular among Kona surfers

Location:
Kuakini Hwy, Kailua-Kona HI 96740
Directions: North of Kona take Highway 19 and make a left turn on Makala Boulevard, before reaching Mile Marker #99. At the end of the road, turn right on Kuakini and drive to the old runway. Plenty of parking is available.


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Reviews and Comments:
 
When I was living there I loved going to the old airport and walking every morning, Ocean on one side, mountain views on the other side. Also enjoyed church services on Sunday there, listened to the preacher, looking out on the ocean for whales in the wintertime.
Myrna Sexton, Mon Oct 13, 2014
 
Kona is very famous for its spfstoirhing. It is one of the few places in the world where the water is deep enough for big game fishing only minutes away from the shore. If you ever want the chance to fight a huge marlin, Kona is probably the best place in the world for it, (please just tag and release it, though). There are a lot of boats to choose from in Honokohau Marina, just north of town. You are better off booking directly from the boat instead of using a hotel concierge or the jerks at the various activities desks. Those services mark up the charters 20 or 30%. I'd recommend taking a look at the boats themselves at the harbor, then call the captains directly if you see one that you like. You will get a better price.In all fair disclosure, I am a captain of one of those boats. I'm not trying to spam, so if you're interested in fishing, you can email me at .
Tahir, Fri Sep 21, 2012