Blissful 69 Beach — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
Known as 69 Beach to locals because of the number of the utility pole nearest to the beach, 69 is a gorgeous, semi-hidden beach along the Big Island's Kona Coast. It has always been known as a secluded beach, and although it's possible to find it busy, it still offers more seclusion and privacy than neighboring beaches such as Hapuna Beach State Park (which is just down the street). The beach is crescent-shaped and is unique in that the trees reach down to the water's edge, serving as the walls of semi-private coves along the entire sandy stretch.
Because there's a small bay, the water is often protected and calm in the summer months and is great for families. However, there are no lifeguards here and the ocean gets far more rough during the winter (like most of Hawaii), so be careful when visiting during that season. Rope swings hang from many of the trees, increasing the fun for children, and there's ample shade for a break from the heat during a long beach day.
Looking north at 69 — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
This beach is quite a drive from any stores or restaurants; if you're spending the day here, bring food, water and plenty of sunscreen. Don't forget snorkeling gear because the underwater world is vibrant with colorful reef fish. End the day with an amazing dinner of Pacific Rim cuisine at Merrieman's, in Waimea, or Roy's.
To get here from Kona, drive north on Highway 19. Before mile marker 70, make a left turn on Puako Road and then turn left at the next road. You'll see the dirt parking lot and the trail that leads to the beach.