Kekaha Kai State Park, Kailua Kona, HI | CruiseBe
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Kekaha Kai State Park

Natural sights
state park, nature, beach

Kekaha Kai State Park, formerly known as Kona Coast State Park, is a located along the North Kona coast on the island of Hawaiʻi. It includes Mahaiʻula Beach, Makalawena Beach and Kua Bay. The name comes from ke kaha kai which means "the shore line" in the Hawaiian language.

The northern section of the park is on Maniniʻowali beach at 19°48′36″N 156°2′24″W, which is normally called Kua Bay since it is easier to pronounce.

The wetland area behind Makalawena beach (the shore of Puʻu Aliʻi Bay) is listed as a National Natural Landmark. It is known as ʻŌpaeʻula Pond (Hawaiian for "red shrimp"), and was the site of an old fishing village of 7 or 8 houses, wiped out in the 1946 tsunami. Its 12 acres (4.9 ha) provide one of the last remaining nesting grounds of the āeʻo (Hawaiian stilt, Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), the ʻalae keʻokeʻo (Hawaiian coot, Fulica alai), and the only known breeding area for the ʻaukuʻu (black-crowned night heron, Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli) in Hawaii. It is located at coordinates 19°47′32″N 156°1′31″W, in the privately owned area between the two sections of the state park.

The park is open 9:00 am – 7:00 pm daily. A paved road 2.6 mi (4.2 km) North of Kona International Airport leads to Maniniʻowali (Kua Bay), and an unpaved lava road leads to Mahaiʻula. The Mahaiʻula section has a sandy beach and dune with a picnic area. A 4.5 mi (7.2 km) hike north on the historic coastal trail, Ala Kahakai, connects Mahaiʻula and Kua Bay. A hike to the summit of Puʻu Kuʻili, a 342 ft-high (104 m) cinder cone, offers an excellent view of the coastline.

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