With so many beautiful beaches on Big Island, it’s hard to pick just one to spend the day at. Luckily, the decision is much easier if you’re a nudist because the options for topless or naturist sunbathing or swimming are relatively limited.
The answer to whether naturist on Hawaii’s beaches is legal in the first place is, unfortunately, somewhat complicated. It also depends on your definition of naturism.
Topless sunbathing is always legal.
Topless sunbathing is permissible by Hawaiian law because there are no state laws or regulations that prohibit women from going sunny side up. While there are strict laws against lewdness or indecent exposure, these do not extend to the act of going topless on a public beach.
On most beaches, however, it is quite rare to see topless sunbathers. If you do decide to go topless on a crowded beach, be prepared that you might draw the attention of other vacationers.
Complete naturism is banned on state beaches.
The state of Hawaii has an obscenity code that bans nudists from sunbathing on state beaches. However, this has never stopped locals or visitors from getting rid of those nasty tan lines, as there are several non-state beaches where naturists can sunbathe in their birthday suits. And even on public beaches on the Big Island, these laws are rarely enforced. Big Island is a lot less crowded than Oahu, which means there are more opportunities for naturists to sunbathe.
Etiquette for Nude beaches on Big Island
If it is your first time sunbathing as a naturist in public, please read through the following basic etiquette to avoid making yourself or others feel uncomfortable.
- Beaches in Hawaii are often crowded, so be respectful of other people’s space. Naturists are often very comfortable with their bodies and with being close to others, but not everyone is. Give people their space.
- Don’t be a creep and avoid staring or pointing at others.
- Naked or not. Do not fly your drone up close to beachgoers like this guy.
- Respect the local culture and customs. Be respectful of people’s modesty and don’t do anything that would make someone feel uncomfortable.
Disclaimer: Reef-safe sunscreen is a must on all of these beaches!
This one is SPF 50, cheap and vegan. Its formulation minimizes the harmful effects on coral reefs and the ecosystem. Do your part in keeping Hawaii pristine for generations to come!
Best naturist beaches on Big Island
There are no official naturist beaches on Big Island, but there are 4 beaches where naturism is generally tolerated, and you likely won’t run into trouble if you decide to sunbathe in your birthday suit.
If you are looking for naturist beaches in Kona, your best bet will be Makalawena Beach and Kelakekua Bay: Both of them can be reached within half an hour from downtown Kona:
1. Kehena Beach
Kehena Beach is a popular clothing-optional beach on Big Island. It is situated against a cliff and tucked in between the trees along the coastline. The beach offers privacy as it is shielded from prying eyes. It is typically quiet, except on Sunday when big crowds gather for a drum party.
Located in the Puna district of Hilo, Kahena Beach can be difficult to get to. You must scramble down the hillside through lava rocks to get to the beach. Make sure to wear hiking shoes. Swimming conditions can be extreme sometimes, with strong currents and high waves.
2. Makalawena Beach
Makalawena Beach is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy the natural beauty of Hawaii. Although it is not an official naturist beach, the beach is secluded and often empty. For this reason, you may find some naturist groups sunbathing, especially on the south side of the beach.
3. Beach 67
Beach 67 is a small, secluded beach located at Waialea Bay. It is not an official naturist beach but is less strict than the neighboring Beach 69, which is illegal for naturists. Some people said that some folks at Beach 69 often call the cops when they see naked people on this beach. However, this beach is shaded between trees, and you likely won’t be caught unless they come close.
The beach has two easily-accessible entrances. Both require a one-minute hike down from the parking lot. Due to its small size, this beach lacks privacy. You can swim or walk to the adjacent beach, but remember to put your clothes on!
4. Kealakekua Bay
Kealakekua Bay is one of Big Island’s most popular snorkeling spots. Unfortunately, it is not an official naturist beach. However, there’s a secluded area of the beach where people usually strip down and enjoy the incredible views. Just be sure to keep an eye out for any passing boats! And in case you fancy being on one of these boats yourself, we can highly recommend this snorkeling tour. The genuine friendliness of the crew and the snorkeling was one of the highlights of our last trip to big island.
Naturist resorts and accommodation options on Big Island
Besides public beaches, there are quite a few businesses that cater to naturists.
Swim Free Hawaii—Naturist Hawaii Boat Charters
A clothing-optional boat charter in Kailua-Kona to help personalize your trip in a safe, comfortable, and exciting environment.
Hawaiian Naturist Park
This natural-clothing bed and breakfast is situated in a tropical rainforest, just 7 miles from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Hangin’ Loose Naturist Resort
Hangin’ Loose Naturist Resort is a clothing-optional retreat and a botanical garden offering a peaceful, authentic, rural Hawaii setting amid the exotic foliage.
Isle of You Naturally
Located in Pahoa, Isle of You Naturally is one of Hawaii’s few gay clothing-optional resorts. This gay-owned and operated accommodation offers a secluded and friendly atmosphere. Just a short drive away from the beach.
Other helpful resources
If you want to get a nice overview of Big Island and see boiling lava at the same time, consider this helicopter tour, which takes you all over the island. We have done two helicopter tours before. Both were nice, but the pilot on this one had so much to tell us about the history and geomorphology of the Island.
When we planned our trip to Hawaii, we didn’t know much about big island or nude sunbathing. So we indulged in the following kindle ebooks during our flight, which we can really recommend:
We found the information in the following guide to Big Island was far more practical than the Lonely Planet book, and there are plenty of unique maps that really helped us make the most of our 2 weeks on Big Island: