Hawai'i Coral Reef Network

Marine Protected Areas in Hawai'i

Old Kona Airport, Hawai'i

217 acres, Established 1992


 Old Kona Airport is located on the western coast of Hawai'i just west of Kailua-Kona town. At the intersection of Palani Road and Kuakini Hwy. turn west and proceed past the old industrial area. Ample parking is available the whole length of the old runway, fronting the beach.

The MLCD includes the waters offshore of the Old Kona Airport State Park and adjacent private properties. It is bounded by a straight line seaward 500 yards from the western end of the park, to a straight line seaward 500 yards from the Kailua lighthouse. A "No Boating Zone" exists in the waters off the park as indicated.

The single day use mooring can be found offshore of the prominent "Shark Rock" toward the MLCD's northwestern boundary. Water depth at the mooring is about 40 feet.

A few inlets and sand channels along the park frontage provide swimming entry in calm waters. A reef shelf east of "Shark Rock" provides a surfing break. Between the eastern end of the park frontage and Kuka'ilimoku Point is a large sandy tidepool just inland of the rocky shore where families often take children to swim.

Snorkelers and shore SCUBA divers usually enter the water at a partially protected cove at the northwestern end of the beach. Another diving entry, usable in calm to moderate waters, is at the southeastern end of the old airstrip, where the lava shoreline forms a semiprotected basin and divers can jump into the water.

The reef fronting the park consists of numerous low profile shallow fingers of lava, extending offshore to depths up to 50 feet. Beyond this depth the bottom drops off quickly into very deep water. Coral cover is substantial in the area, with a diverse population of reef fishes. Turtles and rays are often seen. Snorkeling is good within about 50 yards of the shoreline.

Safety considerations

Snorkelers and divers should exercise caution when entering the water due to sharp coral and lava rock along the entire frontage of the park.

Dangerous swells and currents along the shoreline accompany summer or winter storms.

No lifeguards are on duty at the time of this printing, but are planned in the future.

Facilities Restrooms, showers, emergency and pay phones.


Fishing for finfish for home consumption is permitted from shore using thrownet or pole and line (without reel). Night handline fishing for akule is allowed, as is opelu fishing with lift or opelu net. Use of the state mooring is permitted for not longer than three hours per boat each day on a first come first served basis. Commercial dive and tour operations may be conducted at the mooring and from shore with a permit.

No other taking of fish or marine life is permitted. Taking of sand, coral or other geological features, or possession of equipment for that purpose is prohibited. Other activities prohibited inside the MLCD include feeding fish, anchoring watercraft, operating motorboats in the "No Boating Zone" and conducting commercial dive/tour activities without a permit.

See also: Administrative Rules

Last update: 6/12/2002