The best beaches in Hawaii.
One of the many reasons we love Hawaii – besides the incredible maitai, fresh seafood and laid-back surf culture – is that they can easily claim to be the most beautiful beaches in the world. Why is that?
First, they come in all sizes, shapes and colors: wide, calm expanses perfect for families and young children who just want a dip in the Pacific Ocean. Tiny secluded coves where honeymooners can get away from the crowds, and red, white, black and green sandbars that provide the perfect photo op. The best part is that you can access every one of them, as all of Hawaii’s beaches are public.
What’s more, you may not be limited to visiting these beaches on just one island. Like many travelers, you can visit Hawaii by traveling to several islands, Visit the world-famous Waikiki Beach. It is known for one of the widest stretches of golden sand and the best surfing in all of Hawaii.
The top 10 things to do in Hawaii.
Kauai is called the garden island, and for good reason: the rainforests here are beautiful and lush. It serves as the backdrop for movies like “Jurassic Park.” But the coastline is also rich with many reefs, which, in turn, create ideal beaches for snorkeling. Tiny Lanai, known for its two luxury Four Seasons resorts, has one of the best beaches in the world for dolphin watching. Hawaii, also called the Big Island, may be best known for its volcanic landscape and can also lay claim to attractive white-sand beaches for visitors, including the photographic gem of black-sand Punalu’u Beach. . A secluded island away from the tourist trails, Molokai has some of the most unspoiled stretches where you’re likely to encounter mostly locals.
Here are some of our favorite beaches where you can enjoy a slice of true Hawaiian paradise.
Waikiki Beach, Oahu
Travelers have been flocking to this tranquil golden sandy crescent-shaped beach on the island of Oahu since the early 1900s. When Hawaii first appeared on the tourist radar, and visitors could only arrive by steamboat. Today, there are a few more people here, but the scene is still fun: order a mai tai at the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel, built in 1927. Sit back and watch the locals mingle with tourists in front of the impressive Diamond Head.
Ko Olina Beach, Oahu
If you have kids, get right to this tranquil beach on the west side of Oahu. The clear blue water is shallow enough for you to splash in. Just above the lagoon is Aulani, Disney Resort & Spa. Another place not to be missed is the five-star Four Seasons Oahu Hotel on the island of Ko Olina.
Waimea Bay Beach Park, Oahu
Located on the picturesque, less-developed north shore of Oahu, Waimea Bay is one of the most famous beaches for big-wave surfing. During the winter months, from November to February, the waves become spectacular giants that attract professional surfers. Waimea, Sunset Beach, and Ehikai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) host some of the best surfing competitions in Hawaii, like the Vans Triple Crown. You can stay at the nearby Turtle Bay Resort to be closer to the center of the events.
Polihale State Park, Kauai
Getting to this remote 17-mile stretch on Kauai’s windswept west shore requires some effort. And you’ll need four-wheel drive to navigate the bumpy road and sand dunes.
But the effort is worth it. On this quiet, almost ethereal stretch, you can see such sights as the Napali and Ni’ihau Cliffs, Hawaii’s forbidding island. Also take plenty of sunscreen and water with you, as there is almost no shade.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai.
A breathtaking bay surrounded by 1,230m high emerald mountains. Hanalei is technically several beach parks combined into one magnificent two-kilometer strip along Kauai’s north shore. In the winter, the waves come out to play and attract the attention of surfers. But during the summer months, the water is calmer and suitable for swimming.
Poipu Beach Park, Kauai
This is the epicenter of Kauai’s ever-sunny south shore, a beach area made up of three beautiful crescent moons. Poipu always draws a lot of families because the water is generally suitable for beginner swimmers and lifeguards are available seven days a week.
You can do anything here, from surfing to snorkeling to swimming and swimming. Nearby you’ll find the best hotels, such as Ko’a Kea and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa.
Kalapaki Beach, Kauai
A beautiful harbor on the east coast of Kauai, Kalapaki Bay offers activities for all ages and all types of visitors. Kids can boogie board and surf; adults can try their hand at sailing or canoeing, and locals love to come here to play volleyball.
There’s also the Kauai Marriott Resort across the bay and several other seaside restaurants offering great menu options.
Kalihiwai Beach, Kauai
Kalihiwai, an insider beach mostly reserved for locals, is just off Kapaa on the road to Princeville. The beaches in this tiny cove, surrounded by two beautiful cliffs, are ideal for bodybuilding.
There’s also a shallow freshwater lagoon that kids will love. Pack a picnic and bring a cooler, as there are no vending tents (but there are benches to sit on).
Hulopoe Beach, Lanai.
Guests at the Four Seasons Manele Bay Hotel have direct access to this stunning golden crescent, which is great for both swimming and snorkeling. You’ll often spot friendly dolphins jumping and playing in the water, as well as humpback whales during the cooler winter months. There are several large tide pools on the east side of the beach.
Polihua Beach, Lanai
This two-mile stretch along the northeast shore of Lanai, just across the channel from Molokai, is not recommended for swimming because of the strong currents. Nevertheless, it is an ideal place for solitude and long walks, and visitors often see humpback whales coming in winter and hoonas (green sea turtles) year-round.
Makena Beach, Maui
Makena is nearly three kilometers long and 30 meters wide, also called “Big Beach” on Maui. Loved by locals and tourists alike. Bring your towels and sunscreen and take in the spectacular views of tiny Molokini Island.
And don’t worry, we’ve got lunch picked out for you: Jawz Fish Tacos, two of Maui’s most popular food trucks, park on the side of the road near Makena and are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eat fresh mahi mahi, shrimp or chicken tacos.
Wailea Beach, Maui.
Some of Maui’s most impressive resorts — the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, Andaz Wailea and Grand Wailea — overlook this beach with cobalt water soft enough for kids.
Given the unusual digs in the area, you can expect to find a celebrity or two – everything from Kate Bosworth to Jennifer Aniston.
Hamoa Beach, Maui.
You’ll need to get your act together to get to this beautiful cove, as it’s not far from Hana, a time-stopped town on the far eastern shore of Maui.
The very winding road to Hana, which passes rocks and waterfalls, is one of the state’s most popular attractions.
Get energized in Paya before you hit the road, and don’t forget to bring your swimsuits and sense of adventure.
Kapalua Bay, Maui.
Close to the Montage and Ritz-Carlton resorts, Kapalua Bay is one of the most popular spots on Maui for kayaking, boogie boarding, SUP boarding and swimming. There are reefs in the bay, so bring a snorkeling mask and be prepared to see turtles and parrot fish.
You can also jog along the coastal trail, which starts at Kapalua Bay and stretches all the way to D.T. Fleming Beach Park.
Hapuna Beach, Hawaii.
The Big Island has some spectacular white sand beaches. Hapuna, half a mile long on the Kona-Kohala coast, is one of them. Even locals come to this beautiful spot to picnic and socialize with friends. There are also lifeguards on duty year-round, making it easy for families to visit.
Kauna’oa Beach (Mauna Kea), Hawaii
When eco-tourism pioneer Lawrence Rockefeller first saw this sugary beach in 1960 on a trip around the island with the governor of Hawaii, he knew right away it was something special. Rockefeller was there to scout locations for a potential hotel, and he found the perfect one.
He chose Kauna’oa as the location for his legendary Mauna Kea resort, which still attracts couples and families to the Big Island. The pristine beauty of the beach with its turquoise water, soft waves and many sea creatures, including turtles and rare manta rays.
Black Sand Beach Punalu, Hawaii
The big island is home to eight climate zones, one active volcano, and countless spectacular beaches, including Punaluu, a spectacular black sand beach near Hawaii Volcano National Park. The shore can be a bit rocky, so enter the water with caution. However, you will see black sand and sunbathing sea turtles here.
Papaohaku Beach, Molokai
Molokai receives far fewer visitors than Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, which means you have a better chance of getting some of its outstanding beaches in one piece.
Papaohaku, also known as four-kilometer beach, is located on the western tip of Molokai Island. It is one of the largest white sand beaches in the state. On a clear day, you can even see the island of Oahu across the strait.
Hawaii’s Best Beaches
“Vacationing in Hawaii” – what could be more tempting? After all, the best beaches in the world are located here! Hawaii is located in the North Pacific Ocean, and as one of the U.S. states, geographically and ethnographically belong to the Polynesian Oceania. Numerous tourists from all over the world are attracted to Hawaii by its stunning natural beauty: a warm tropical climate, a long coastline stretching for more than a thousand and two hundred kilometers, lush jungle, rushing waterfalls, wild rivers flowing through deep canyons, formidable volcanoes. These islands are popular not only among fans of good sandy beaches, but also surfers, divers, biologists and volcanologists. And the beaches in Hawaii are excellent: with gold, red, black and even green sand. So, about the best beaches in Hawaii and will be discussed in this article.
It is worth specifying that the Hawaiian archipelago itself is hundreds of small islands, but eight of them are larger, they stretch from northwest to southeast: Ni’ihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lana’i, Kahoolawe, Maui, Hawaii Island. Six of these eight major islands are open to tourists, and each one is completely unique and unrepeatable. It’s worth talking about each island and its best beaches, briefly.
The island of Hawaii, or Big Island, is the largest of the Hawaiian islands, occupying sixty-two percent of their total area. It is home to the world’s most active volcano, Kilauea, and the largest park in this American state, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Another of the island’s most interesting attractions is the picturesque Waipio Valley. But since we are interested in the best beaches in Hawaii, here is one of the two beaches in the world, with fantastic green sand, it is called “Green Sand Beach” – “Green Sand Beach”, but the locals often call it “Mahana Beach” – “Mahana Beach”. The second green beach is found only in the Galapagos Islands. Such an unusual coloring of the local sand acquired, thanks to olivine – a mineral prevailing in the adjacent cone of tuff. Another great beach of this island is “Hapuna Beach” – it is crescent shaped and one kilometer long. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii and in the world, with soft and fine creamy sand that fades smoothly into the clear azure waters of the ocean. In winter, high waves rise here, which attracts many surfers. The beach has excellent conditions for camping.
Oahu is the most populous and economically developed island. On its southern coast is the capital of the state – the city of Honolulu. In the winter, the island is washed by huge waves, making Oahu – the surfing capital of the world. Of man-made attractions, the most popular among tourists is a visit to the memorial of the battleship Arizona at Pearl Harbor. But as for natural attractions, they can safely include an excellent and numerous beaches of the island.
Hanauma Bay is one of the best beaches on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Here will be comfortable not only lovers of “vegetable” recreation, preferring only to sunbathe and swim, the place is great for snorkelers. The coast is covered with fine white sand, the seabed is also sandy, a little further there are corals. Entrance to this beach is paid – seven and a half dollars for persons from twelve years and older. There are no hotels near this beach, most often tourists who live in Honolulu come to rest on this beach.
Waikiki Beach – “Waikiki” is the most popular beach in Honolulu, with a sandy shore and seabed. It is always crowded, especially in the summer “beach” months – from May to October, when the water warms up from twenty-five to twenty-eight degrees, but the beach is not empty and in winter, when the water is cold and not comfortable for swimming, but the sun under the hot Hawaiian sun, you can get a good tan. Near the beach there are many hotels of different categories.
Lanikai Beach – “Lanikai” – is located in the northeastern tip of Oahu. This beach is often listed as one of the “best beaches in the world. The shore here consists of fine white sand, as well as the bottom of the sea. Many amateur photographers come to this beach early in the morning to take pictures of the sunrise at this top Hawaiian beach. In general, there is something to capture here, and even beyond the sunrise: the calm turquoise waves of the ocean, washed white sand, breathtaking amazing scenery, wherever you look. On the downside: there are no toilets, showers, car parking. Near the beach houses for rent, but they are not to be found in the international reservation systems, all have to do on the spot.
Waimea Bay Beach – “Waimea Bay” is the most beloved beach of surfers, located in the northwestern part of Oahu. If in a cozy bay sunbathe and swim ordinary vacationers, fun-lovers choose for active recreation open areas of the coast – the beach “Banzai Pipeline beach” or “Sunset beach”, as there is always a strong wind and high waves. In summer there are less surfers, but in winter – they are the “kings and gods” here. The choice of hotels near these beaches is quite limited, but if you want you can find something suitable.
Beach “Kahana Bay” – “Kahana Bay” – a romantic and very secluded beach, located in the northeast of the island of Oahu. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains, overgrown with green forests. The beach is sandy and so is the bottom. As mentioned above, the beach is secluded, so there are no hotels nearby, but there is a campsite, giving you a great opportunity to settle right on the beach.
The island of Maui is the second largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, with the famous volcanic crater Haleakala, which has a height of three thousand fifty-five meters. The famous resort areas of Hawaii – “Lahaina” – “Lahaina”; “Kaanapali” – “Kaanapali”; “Kapalua” – “Kapalua”. The most popular sport on the Hawaiian island of Maui is windsurfing. And, of course, the island has beautiful sandy beaches. One of the best beaches on the island is Kapalua Beach. It has a crescent shape, bounded on both sides by picturesque lava capes.
The beach is made up of golden sand, which goes smoothly into the surface of the clear ocean. The beach is small, thanks to the headlands, it is protected from strong waves and underwater currents, making it an ideal place to vacation in Hawaii with children. If you put on a snorkel and swim near the lava capes, you’ll see not only colorful nimble fish, but also large sea turtles. If you visit this Hawaiian island between mid-December and mid-April, you have a unique opportunity to watch humpback whales: during this period, humpbacks migrate to warm Hawaiian waters to breed. Maui also offers stunning and romantic sunsets, spectacular waterfalls, golfing and scuba diving at any time of year.
Kauai, another name for this beautiful island, is “Garden Island” because of the famous natural wonders of the Hawaiian Islands: the Wailua River, Waimea Canyon, and the beautiful Na Pali Coast. The best beach on the Hawaiian island of Kaui is Haena Beach, located on the north shore. Hollywood movies are often filmed here. It’s really very beautiful: golden sand, washed by turquoise waters of the ocean, calm – in summer, strong and treacherous – in winter. Near the beach is a huge cave “Maniniholo dry cave”, which goes hundreds of meters deep into the powerful cliff.
In general, the coast of Na Pali are steep cliffs that descend to the pristine beaches. Some of them can only be reached by boat, yacht or catamaran. If you are a fan of long hikes, then walk to the beautiful beach Kalalau – “Kalalau Beach”, on the ancient eighteen kilometers long trail, the effort will be worth the result.
Molokai Island is the most underdeveloped Hawaiian island, with no resort complexes or traffic lights in the streets, and buildings no taller than coconut palms. The place is famous for having the tallest coastal cliffs in the world, the longest reefs in the U.S., and the largest sandy beach in Hawaii. If you find yourself on the island of Molokai, be sure to visit Hawaii’s most impressive natural wonder, the Pali Coast, in the northern part of Molokai – cliffs reaching one thousand two hundred meters, such a beautiful rock panorama is not found anywhere else in the world. Halawa Bay has two beaches: Kawili, which is rocky and often has strong backwaters, and Kamalaea, which has a smooth sandy bottom. Holidays in Halawa Bay, to the coast of Pali, can be reached by kayak or view the cliffs from the air in a helicopter.
On the west side of Molokai, amidst unspoiled nature, are the amazing coastal dunes “Moʻomomi”, and here is the beach “Papohaku” – the largest on the island, stretching for five kilometers. There are camping sites, picnic tables, showers and toilets. On the beach “Papohaku” no protective reef, so, quite strong waves roll up on the shore, causing a strong backwaters, so be careful. The next beach is a beautiful beach on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, “Kepuhi Beach”, located near the hotel “Ke Nanai Kai”. It has white sand and azure water, but strong waves, so it can be very dangerous to swim.
Considered the sixth largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, Lanai Island is often referred to as “Pineapple Island” because of the huge pineapple plantation that used to occupy most of Lanai. The only inhabited part of the island, is the settlement of Lanai City. Today in Lanai is the place for elite rest at exclusive resorts: “The Lodge at Koele” and “The Manele Bay Hotel”, next to which there are restaurants, entertainment center. On Lanai love to vacation divers who are attracted by the large number, living in the crystal clear ocean waters, colorful fish. As for the beaches of this Hawaiian island, we can recommend the south coast, where you’ll find a picturesque bay “Hulopoe Bay”, with shiny and soft white sand. On the northeast side of Lanai Island, you can relax on the coast “Shipwreck Beach”. This place was named so because of the many shipwrecks that have occurred nearby. Even standing on the shore, you can see the remains of an ancient shipwreck, and walking along the beach, it is very likely to meet the pieces of shipwreck. If you like dolphins, we advise you to relax in Manele Bay, where they often swim with tourists.
The seventh and eighth islands of Hawaii – “Niihau” and “Kahoolawe”. , as mentioned above, are not meant for recreational use by tourists. “Niihau – translated as “Forbidden Island” – is a private area where the natives live by farming and working on the local ranch. Everything here remains at the level of past centuries: there is no running water, sewerage, electricity. A short few-hour vacation on this island, you can buy in a package “helicopter tour”. As for the island of “Kahoolawe”, it used to be the site of the U.S. Navy range, but now it is gone, and the island, for some reason, still continues to be uninhabited.
Holidays in Hawaii – has always been synonymous with – “the best beach vacation,” because it is: a unique tropical exotic, white-sand beaches under the gentle Hawaiian sun, excellent hotels and the highest level of service in them. Not for nothing, they say about the Hawaiian Islands, that it is the “Crown of the Pacific”! We hope that we have helped you decide on the choice of island and beach, for his paradise holiday.