Our SUP SCHOOL Has Something for Everyone
OUTRIGGER CANOE PADDLING
Explore the Coast!
COSMIC GLOW PADDLE
Sunset, Stars & Mantas!
MANTA MOONLIGHT SNORKEL
Travel Channel Top 10 Rated!
ROAD & MOUNTAIN BIKE
Located in Waimea at Historic Anna Ranch
8am - 5pm
THE BEACH. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel sits on one of the only white-sand beaches on the Kohala Coast – Kauna'oa Bay. Unlike most beaches on the island, which are formed from coral or lava, the sand here is silica.
The shape and terrain of the bay make it a perfect haven for relaxing, swimming and paddling. There is also a raft moored mid-bay. Mornings are often the best time for ocean activities, while the wind is light and the waters calm. Summer months don't usually see much surf, but on a big swell during winter months, the waves sometimes break across the entire bay. Both points have fun surf spots and when a sandbar forms, it makes for great bodysurfing and boogie boarding.
VISION. In everything we do, we strive to not only educate and entertain, but inspire. We believe that the more people who gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the islands and their natural beauty, the better. People tend to want to protect what they love, and what better way to fall in love with a place than to experience firsthand the clean blue oceans, the myriad sea creatures, the endangered forest birds, or the fresh salty air? All of these are great treasures which we wish to help preserve for all the generations to come. We hope you will become a part of our ohana, our family, in creating the brightest future possible for our islands.
BALANCE. The Hawaiians once used a system called the ahupua'a. Shaped by island geography, the ahupua'a was a wedge shaped area of land running from the uplands to the sea, following the natural boundaries of the watershed. Each ahupua'a contained all the resources the people needed – from fish and salt, to fertile farmlands, to koa or other trees in the high forests. Villagers from the coast traded fish for wood to build their canoes. Stewardship of the land maintained a healthy balance. Beach Club at Mauna kea invites you to bring a sense of balance back to your own life. Paddle and swim with us, bike and hike, talk story, share a laugh or two, kick back, and learn more about this special place.
HISTORY. As with most Hawaiian words, Kauna'oa refers to several different things, any which the Hawaiians could have been referring to when naming the bay. First, and the most likely origin of the name, is the yellow orange vine (Cuscuta Sandwichiana) that sprawls along the coastline and is the official lei vine of Lanai island; next is a mollusk (Vermetidae) found in the area that solidly fixes itself to rocks; and finally is a coarse seaweed (Galaxaura Rugosa) that is yellow and gold in color.
Hawaiians settled up and down the coastline, though Kauna'oa most likely didn't support a permanent village. House sites, fishing shelters, stone wall enclosures, garden plots, and graves have all been identified by archeologists here. Both rocky points, especially the north, Ka'aha point, were ideal for fishermen to throw net, collect opihi and catch crabs, while the sandy cove was used for surround-net, lay-net and hukilau net.
The beach was once a nesting site for the critically endangered Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). Currently, there are fewer than 100 adult females known to nest in Hawaii, and only on Maui and the Big Island.
The Ala Kahakai (coastal trail) used by the ancient Hawaiians runs roughly 175 miles from Upolu point, the northernmost point of the island, to Ka Lae, the southernmost point of the island, continuing back northeast to Waha'ula Heiau in Puna. The trail passes through Kauna'oa and can be followed down to Hapuna Beach.
RECENT HISTORY. During World War II, the US military leased 40,000 acres from Parker Ranch, spanning from the mountains down to the ocean. The rate: $1 a year. Camp Tarawa was set up in the highlands of Waimea, housing over 50,000 Marines, and Camp Drewes the next beach down at Hapuna. Soldiers trained in live fire exercises and stormed the beaches in mock amphibious landings, preparing for "Island X" – which later turned out to be Iwo Jima, a major battle in the war in the Pacific.
More recently, Laurence S. Rockerfeller leased the land under the hotel from Parker Ranch as well, opening the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in 1965. At that time, it was considered the most expensive hotel ever built – at $15 million. Rockefeller also facilitated the building of the lower road connecting Kawaihae to Kailua-Kona. Prior to that, getting to the hotel was a long, hot, and arduous journey.