Chairs, blanket, or hammock
Small cooler or bag for snacks (always clean up all trash)
Towels (often provided by host or hotel)
Sunscreen – Reef Safe! (that’s a separate blog)
Umbrella or shade tent, unless you are going to a beach with trees and shaded areas.
Mornings tend to be calmer in the water, with choppy waters and waves picking up the the afternoon. Always assess the water, tides, and safety before entering the water. Have a back up plan. If the water conditions look like they could be beyond your skill level then plan another activity for the day. Hawaii waters are beautiful and can be fun. They can also be deadly and safety should not be taken lightly. Beneath the ocean’s beautiful blue surface, conditions can be unpredictable and even dangerous. Ocean safety experts recommend checking in with lifeguards before you enter the water – they’ll be happy to tell you about potential hazards like rip currents, hidden rocks and shore breaks. Pay attention to conditions and adapt accordingly.
If you are a not a strong swimmer we suggest you visit beaches with lifeguards
Check out beach locations and safety info at https://www.lovebigisland.com/big-island-beaches/ and https://bossfrog.com/big-island/8-best-kona-beaches/ and https://bossfrog.com/big-island/5-best-kona-snorkeling-spots/
Snorkel Gear – if you have a well fitted favorite snorkel set (mask and snorkel) we recommend bringing it. They don’t take up much room and they can make the difference between a magical snorkel day and a frustrating, leaky, foggy snorkel day. There are many places to buy and rent. If you buy snorkel gear stay away from the cheap sets, they often don’t fit well and end up in the trash. Get a good set that fits your face.
Jack’s Dive Locker and Kona Sports Center in Kona have good selections.
Big Island Motorcycle Company in Waikoloa has rentals of all kinds of gear, chairs, umbrellas, snorkels, paddle boards, kayaks, motorcycles, bikes, carts, and more. Boss Frogs in Kona has beach gear rental too.
Bring your travel hammocks and change it up from the ol’ beach chair – easy to toss into your bag and Ohhh-so-Chill-Brah. Hammocks are great at Aneaho’omalu Bay (A-Bay), Wailea Beach (aka Beach 69), Kiholo Bay, really any beach with lots of trees.
Check with your host if you are staying in an Airbnb. They often have beach chairs, coolers, and umbrellas available for guests.
Costco carries the Tommy Bahama beach chairs that you see everywhere. They have a large storage pocket and a small cooler pouch (about 6 drinks). They fold up well and carry like a back pack – just to turn to quick in a crowd – they are wider than you 🙂
Give & Receive – There is a facebook page called Pass It On – Beach Gear And More – in Hawaii – For All Islands.
You can often pick up needed beach gear for free and give yours away before you leave. Be sure to indicate which island!