Overview of Old Kona Airport beach

Old Kona Airport beach

The Big Island
Hawaiian Islands


The Old Kona Airport beach is a popular weekend relaxation spot for the locals. But not to worry! There is plenty of parking on the old asphalt runway that stretches the length of the beach.

Directions: The entrance is a very short drive, just North of Kailua. Drive to the North end of Kuakini Road just a mile or so out of town, take a left and follow the road toward the ocean until you reach the entrance.


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03/05/2018 Chad from Hilo (Avg: 3.31 Review) - I dove this site with my wife and son, and the entry was a little sketchy due to surf/waves, sea urchins, rocks, etc. None of us got hurt, but the incoming waves knocked us into the rocks and could have been a problem if we would have put our hand down on an urchin. However, the coral structure, abundance of fish, and swim throughs were great. Worthwhile if the surf is calm. There are several dive shops just around the corner to get tanks and gear. This dive was minutes from our hotel, so you can't beat the easy access via the old runway. Also, keep a close eye on your compass because we did a lot of swimming in and out of the caverns so it's easy to get turned around.

06/06/2016 Mike Byrne (Avg: 3.90 Review) - 6/5/2016 Dove North end of airport with my wife Katie and friend Jordan Forth. Visibility was good and water was flat calm. We swam through the arches then onto the sand flats and reef. Lots of tropical fish and plenty to see. Was hoping to see some turtles for photos but none around. Was still a great dive.

03/17/2016 Mike Byrne (Avg: 4.44 Review) - 3/17/2016 dove North end of airport with my wife Katie and my friend Capt. Allen Borowski. There was a small Serge but entry was easy and visibility was good. Encountered a very large turtle sleeping on a shelf. Lots of tropical fish. Very little current and exit was quite easy.

01/31/2016 Anonymous (Avg: 4.72 Review) - Dove with my wife Katie. Conditions were perfect lot's of fish to see with beautiful Arch's and pinnacles and large patches of white sand and no current. Very easy to enter and exit the water.

01/09/2016 Lisa Davis (Avg: 4.51 Review) - We dove the north end for a sand/rock entry at about 2pm. Watch your step, the rocks are slippery, short swim out to the right side of the cove and dropped down in 30' of water with 70'+ vis. We followed along the coastline because there were a few boats further out- so bring a float. Large schools of fish feeding, the usual Big Island critters, eels and a 6' eagle ray coasted by. We followed along the coastline until we reached a marker buoy and then slowly made our way back, zigzagging along the reef until we reached the curve of the cove. Exit was easy, surf was calm, just watch the slippery walks like you did on the way in. Bathrooms nearby, close to Kona and dive shops. As usual, don't leave valuables in the car- we emptied our backpack onto the front seat of the car to show we just had snacks. There is a wanderer population in the bushes but they kept to themselves. Great dive.

06/06/2013 Jim Olinger (Avg: 3.56 Review) - Great dive site and just minutes from Kailua-Kona. We chose to dive at the front end of the old runway immediately past the hockey rink. You can park right on the edge of the pavement and hike your gear down across approximately 30 meters of a sandy beach and then another 20 meters of lava rock. You'll see a circular entry point that is somewhat protected from the surf. Getting in the water is easy (giant stride) and getting out isn't bad either if you time the waves and come up on a slanted rock as a wave comes in. The rocks can be slippery so be careful. Once in, it's maybe 30 meters out to dive depths. I followed a long, flat ridge out at approximately 10 meters of depth for a good 15 minutes. Lot's of nice coral here with the normal fish species. I'm not sure how far that ridge goes out, by I finally broke off it to the south where you can get to a sandy bottom at about 25-30 meters deep. There are some garden eels here in the sand. On my way back in I began hearing the strangest sounds coming from the deeper water. It turned out to be the song of the humpback whale and we heard this multitude of eerie sounds on every dive north of Kona over the next few days. One caveat for this site, the homeless population has adopted this area 'for camping out' and you can see their 'hooches' scattered about in the brush. We had no problems whatsoever, but locking your car and keeping things out of site in your vehicle is a good idea. Just as we were ending our trip I noticed they were erecting some sort of chain-link fence in this area. It did appear though that they left room to access the beach, but it's likely to be a bit longer walk.

09/21/2010 Jerry & LaRea Birt (Avg: 3.25 Review) - Dove this site three years ago and enjoyed it then. Decided to dive it again on this trip. It was even better. The entry was farther to walk on account of a Carnival was set up at the far end of the run way. But it was worth the longer walk, visibility was very good. Saw a large green frog fish in about 20 feet, along with many reef fish.

06/09/2010 Konahawk (Avg: 3.29 Review) - Over the years, I've probably made this dive 50 plus times and, except one when the swell was up and I ended up getting seriously urchined on entry, it's always good. Went North to the 3rd boat bouy and listened to the whales. Big dark shape cruised in from the blue. 15 ft Tiger shark. Definely made the dive one to remember.

05/30/2009 Jerry Burawski (Avg: 3.99 Review) - Best dive on the Island. We entered just south of the usual. Park by the hockey field, walk back to the small cove. If there's any swells, dump the dive, but on a calm day giant stride in and circle left around the points. Lots of swim throughs and caves. Several white tip reef sharks, eels, 2 octopi and a couple of turtles. To get out, toss up your weights, hand your BCD to your buddy and climb out. The one in the water hands every thing up. Cool adventure and a GREAT dive.

12/04/2008 Erick B. (Avg: 3.72 Review) - Some good underwater topography. There is a nice arch just South of the beach. Lot's of reef fish with decent coral. Came across a tiger cowrie and a nice nudibrach. Don't expect much depth. It's a long way out to 40'. It was a very enjoyable dive with a nice beach for the non-divers.

01/13/2006 Brian Xavier (Avg: 4.77 Review) - Dove the Old Kona Airport North End three times a week ago and it was truly a great dive. Lots of fish life and a nice underwater bridge. I also found a nice tunnel between two reefs filled with fish. Viz. to 80-100 feet. Very easy dive but watch out for the urchins. I ended up going a little ways around the end of the beach near the big lava bank and found good spots to enter. Excellent dive. Man, I loved Hawaii!!

01/21/2005 Chase Mizelle (Avg: 4.05 Review) - Good site. But you should try diving the old airport at the south end. There is an access right next to the hockey rink, off a lava shelf that is much better.

12/28/2003 Binyamin and Shulamit Koretz (Avg: 3.89 Review) - We did 6 dives here in Feb. 2003. Twice to the north (out to next cove and beyond) and 4 times south and east. Out to the north we saw eagle rays, a whale shark (briefly but got a photo), to the south turtles etc, etc. Lava formations are fun, the entry is easier than any other Kona site when the NW swell is up in the winter, and it's so close to town.

11/21/2003 Itziar Aretxaga (Avg: 3.96 Review) - This is a great site: best in the morning, with high tide with no swell. I have seen great marine life on the four occasions we have dived here, turtles included. It remains one of my favorite sites on the island. A warning though: this time we got a rucksack robbed from the boot of our car, which was parked in the north side. There were many other cars and people in the site at the time (12:00-13:00). The thieves smashed the lock of the front door and opened the boot from inside. The locals say it is increasingly common, and most people tend not to lock their cars and leave no valuables inside. Just be cautious.

06/25/2003 Mark Noble (Avg: 3.00 Review) - If there is any kind of swell at the entry and the exit will be especially tough. Gloves are highly recommended since every available hole has urchins in them. Pass this spot up and go to Place of Refuge.

03/01/2003 Margaret Joppa (Avg: 4.59 Review) - I dove here several times during my week visit to Hawaii. You can't beat it for accessibility. The entry can be a bit of a bitch- some slippery rocks in the shallow areas. There's a cool swim through arch, many approachable fish, and on a low tide, the tide pooling is awesome.

08/04/2002 Bill Stohler (Avg: 3.31 Review) - This is a great site that's less than 5 minutes from Kona town. The park's just off the Old Airport runway, so there's always ample parking unless the fair is in town (they cover the runway with the rides, etc.). One of my first introductions to the site was two local divers exiting amidst high surf, one with a bloodied hand that he shredded on the rocks. They told me to go elsewhere, and I took their advice. If it's calm, the rocky entry is a bit slippery, but only moderately difficult. Great drop-off, and interesting reef and marine life.

07/11/2001 Roger Johnson (Avg: 2.95 Review) - Best to dive when flat. Entry can be rough if there is surf and low tide. Lava arches to the left, deep dive with garden eels if you go straight out.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0701


Entrance at Old Kona Airport beach 

The entrance to the runway is well marked.


 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0702


Parking at Old Kona Airport beach 
(click photo for details)

Drive SLOWLY to the very end of the runway, and park close to the signs at the right of the picture-- this is the trail head for a short 50 yard hike. Gear up and head out!




Overview at Old Kona Airport beach 

This is the area you'll be diving.


 Map     Sat
GPS: TB0704


Entry at Old Kona Airport beach 

After your short hike, you'll find a nice beach with obvious entry points just beyond the lava in the picture. Plan your dive, and walk easily into the water!




Aerial at Old Kona Airport beach 
(click photo for details)

The lava shelf to the left is very dramatic, but there is also fine diving to the right.

Last Verification: September, 2000  


Diver Averages for  Old Kona Airport beach  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  3.22
Bottom Conditions:  4.11
Reef Conditions:  4.22
Animal Life:  4.17
Plant Life:  3.17
Facilities:  3.72
Solitude 3.56
Roads:  4.50
*Site Average:  3.85

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  3.39
Beginner Scuba:  3.50
Intermediate Scuba:  3.94
Advanced Scuba:  4.06
Night diving Scuba:  3.28

Number of reviews for this site: 18


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