It’s just another day at the office. Day in and day out, you’ve been hard at work. You can’t help but daydream about your next big move: a vacation. Images of beautiful white-sand beaches and green coves flash through your mind. You’ve got it: you’ll go to see the beaches in Hawaii!
You deserve this! A getaway to a paradise on Earth with delicious seafood, beautiful beaches, and amazing resorts. Hawaii is famous for it’s year-round public beaches and because of this, you need to do your research to find the best beaches.
Whether you’re going to Hawaii on a quick business trip, with your family and friends, or for your very special honeymoon, you will undoubtably enjoy the beaches in Hawaii.
Remember, going to Hawaii in the winter will give you bigger waves. The waters are much more calm in the summer!
Read on to discover 19 OF THE BEST BEACHES IN HAWAII.
First, let’s start with the Big Island. Also called Hawaii, it might just have the beast beaches in Hawaii. The Big Island is the main destination for tourism in Hawaii. It lays claim to a volcanic landscape with white-sand beaches. It captures the essence of Hawaiian lifestyle: the food, the geography, the activities… All can be found on the Big Island. Here are a few beaches you have to check out!
Hapuna Beach, Hawaii
Hapuna is a half-mile stretch of white-sand beach located on the Kona-Kohala Coast. Hapuna is a gorgeous spot. Locals sometimes visit this family friendly tourist spot.
There are snacks available to purchase. It can get busy in the afternoon but might be all yours in the mornings. There is a lot of room for everyone to enjoy the coast but not many options for shade. You should bring an umbrella and sunscreen!
The waters are great for swimming and for snorkeling. Plus, you can walk along the beach and enjoy the day. If you’re a beginner surfer or boogie-boarder, Hapuna Beach is a great stop to spend a few hours practicing. If you want to stay on this beach, the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort, a Marriott hotel, would be the best choice.
Honaunau Beach, Hawaii
Honaunau Beach is next to the City of Refuge National Park. It is a great spot for snorkeling with calm, clear waters. The fish are in abundance here; you will not miss out! There are lava beach rocks that you can enter the water from. There are no restaurants on Hananau Beach.
If you mind walking down the beach for some nice restaurants, go ahead and pack a picnic – tables are provided. If you do decide to walk, check out Kaaloa’s Super J’s, a family-owned authentic Hawaiian restaurant. They serve laulau if you want to try it out! This would be a perfect destination for a family vacation. If you want to stay at a resort near Honaunau Beach, don’t pass up the Royal Kona Resort. There are other popular options too like the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa and the Kona Coast Resort.
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Hawaii
Punalu’u is a black sand beach close to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It is located on the Kona-Kohala Coast. The beach is small.
The shore is rocky so be careful! You might want to wear water shoes. It might not be the best place to swim; the water can be rough. Y
ou can enjoy sea life such as sea turtles resting on the beach and manta-rays. It may not be the best place to swim at but this spot is a must-see if you’re looking for something totally unique – it is a novelty! Do not miss out on one of the few places in the world that has true black sand! This resort does not have a close-by resort to stay at. It would make for a great adventure.
Kauna’oa (Mauna Kea) Beach, Hawaii
One of the best beaches in Hawaii, Kauna’oa Beach is a quiet beach with ultra-soft sand, relaxing waves and perfectly clear water.
One really nice natural feature of Kauna'oa Beach is there are no rocks in the water so you can enjoy a swim without worrying about your toes. While there is shade here, you won't find much of it so you might want to plan accordingly, but rest assured, this beach does have bathrooms!
Laurence Rockefeller’s Mauna Kea Resort is a popular getaway for couples and families. Pair the resort with the beach and your vacation is set! The water is a beautiful turquoise, the waves rock gently, and the sea turtles are a sight to behold. This would be a good selection for people not staying at the resort: there is free parking and it’s easy to get down to the water for a nice swim.
Next, let’s take a look at some more Hawaii beaches. Maui is a go-to island for most people. A unique paradise, Maui is a gorgeous destination of bamboo forests and waterfalls. Golden sands span some of the beaches that are populated with surfers. If you’re thinking of going to Maui, here are some of the best beaches there.
Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui
Kapalua Bay Beach has plenty of options for shade as well as bathrooms and shower stations. You will have all the amenities that you need here on the bay.
The most popular restaurant around Kapalua Bay Beach is the Merriman’s Maui. You’ll get a fresh meal here.
If you're the active type, you’ll find more action on Maui; specifically, on Kapalua Bay Beach. There is kayaking, boogie boarding and swimming. The coral reefs in the bay allow for some of the most sought out snorkeling sights in Hawaii. You’ll see coral, fish, sea turtles, eels, and octopus! You can take a ride out on a boat to look at spinner dolphins. There is even a coastal trail if you love to start or end your day with a jog.
There are plenty of resort options near Kapalua Bay Beach. The Honau Kai Resort and Spa is a great option.
Palauea Beach, Maui
Palauea Beach, or White Rock, is a local hotspot; you shouldn’t see many tourists. It is not busy at all. This is a place you should visit if you’re interested in escaping the touristy areas of Hawaii. If you’re looking for a secluded honeymoon spot, or a serene wedding venue, this might just be it.
Fun fact: Palauea translates to “lazy” – the waves are so calm that they might just be lazy! You shouldn’t have an issue parking here but there is only one porta potty. Palauea Beach is an average size sandy beach that, like many other spots in Hawaii, is perfect for snorkeling! There isn’t many spots for shade so keep that in mind before you trek down to Palauea Beach. The Wailea Beach Resort might be your best option if you’re wanting to say near the Palauea Beach.
Ka’anapali Beach, Maui
Ka’anapali Beach is a great hit for family vacations and honeymoons. There is a large lava ridge known as Black Rock next to the beach; you can cliff jump off of the rock into the warm ocean. It is a memorable spot that is a fantastic spot for snorkeling. Of course, you can simply lay out and swim.
If you really want to relax on the beach, you might want to check out the Mock One Hammock. No trees are needed to set up the Mock ONE Hammock which makes it the perfect way to get some sun on the beach and enjoy the sound of the waves.
This beach is next to village shops so you will have plenty to do! The Ka’anapali Beach Club by Diamond Resorts is one of the most popular resorts on Ka’anapali Beach. You can also check out the Aston Kaanapali Shores!
Wailea Beach, Maui
Wailea Beach is a gorgeous spot for a resort. It has three popular ones to choose from such as the Four Seasons, the Andaz Wailea and the Grand Wailea. The Grand Wailea is known for its gorgeous architecture.
This soft, white sanded beach is popular and can become crowded. If you’re wanting to eat here, most of the food is in the resorts. The water at Wailea Beach is a clear blue and is perfect for snorkeling. The waves can be gentle enough for everyone in the family to enjoy a swim. Wailea Beach could be contested as the most popular beach for tourists in Maui. If you’re looking to be right in the middle of it all, Wailea Beach would perfect for you!
Oahu has the best surfing spots in Hawaii. So much so that the Triple Crown of Surfing uses the beaches here for its premier surfing competition. Oahu has the widest golden stretches of beach. It’s home to Hawaii’s largest city Honolulu. Let’s look at some of the beaches there that you might be interested in visiting during your stay!
Waikiki Beach, Oahu
Waikiki Beach is a busy white-sand beach in Honolulu and one of the best beaches in Hawaii. You won’t miss out on anything here: you’ll be able to see high rises that line the shore.
It is stunning with clean waters with stunning views. It is a popular surf beach. Be careful: there are rocks in the water! The beach is crescent shaped and perfect for walking on. Duke’s Waikiki is by far one of the most popular restaurants in Hawaii.
There are drinks here if you need a bit more of a break. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a popular resort located in Waikiki Beach and it’s worth checking in here! There are shopping spots right by the beach. Why not take a walk down the beach and take a break at a cocktail bar here? You will not feel isolated here at all; you’ll be immersed in one of the most active beaches in Hawaii.
Ko’olina Beach, Oahu
This Hawaii beach has been designed to be accessible to all. There are paved walkways that traverse through all the lagoons, connecting you to the rest of the beaches. The walkways make great running paths for anyone who loves a morning or evening jog.
If you’re wanting to stop here for the day, bring some food to eat as the options are limited if you’re not staying in a resort. There are bathrooms so don’t worry about that! Are you a Disney fan? If so, the Aulani is a Disney resort and spa located on the Ko’Olina Beach in Oahu. It would be perfect for you and your family. The water at the lagoon is shallow and calm so your little ones can dip their toes in without fear.
Waimea Bay Beach Park, Oahu
Waimea Bay Beach Park is a very busy beach that offers everything: snorkeling and cliff jumping to surfing and swimming. With clear waters and big waves in the winter months, this is a go-to destination for surfers. The sand is soft and perfect for walking barefoot in.
Dolphins, turtles, fish, and even octopus can be seen while snorkeling. This is such an amazing surfing spot that pro surfing competitions include it in their map. There aren’t restaurants nearby Waimea. Waimea Bay Beach Park isn’t the most popular spot for a resort but if you want to stay here, there are the Hawaiian Princess Resort and Owen’s Retreat.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu
Lanikai Beach is a special spot that can be busy but is typically not crowded. The turquoise waters and white, soft sand will make you feel at peace. There are no restrooms, no parking, and no restaurants here so plan accordingly!
Walkways are provided for you to navigate down to the beach from residential areas. There is also a lack of shade so be careful. If you decide to snorkel here, you’ll see a few corals with colorful fish populating them. You can see the Mokulua Islands in the distance.
If you’re hoping for a more private, personal day-trip to the beach, Lanikai Beach may just be the beach for you! The beach is backed by the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve. If you want to stay near Lanikai Beach, you’ll have to stay on the opposite shore. The resorts are only 10 miles away and fairly priced. Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Paradise Bay Resort, and Halekulani Hotel are just a few options to pick from.
Moving down our list of best Hawaii beaches, Kauai is a picturesque part of Hawaii. The forests here served as the location for “Jurassic Park”. I don’t know about you but that’s enough for me to want to visit it! It’s called the Garden Island for it’s spectacular forests. Let’s dive into some of the beaches now.
Polihale State Park, Kauai
Polihale Beach is a remote, 17-mile expanse of beach and sand dunes in Hawaii. This makes it the longest stretch of beach in the state. Its exclusivity means it lacks a popular resort to stay at. Of course, it also lacks restaurants and even food trucks. Don’t forget your lunch! You’ll need a four-wheel drive vehicle to traverse the terrain to reach the beach. If you find the time to do this, you will need a permit to camp here! Be careful as there is no lifeguard and the currents are very strong.
If you decide to camp at this exclusive spot, check out the Mock One Hammock mentioned earlier. This beach is unshaded – you can prop this hammock up without trees – so make sure to bring lots of sunscreen.
Poipu Beach Park, Kauai
A busy family friendly beach located near the southern-most tip of Kauai, Poipu is a great vacation spot when you're looking for the best beaches in Hawaii.
There is a sand bar with rocks to explore, a nice seafood restaurant by the name of Brennecke’s Beach Broiler, and a popular Hawaiian restaurant called Keoki’s Paradise nearby.
Poipu Beach Park is a terrific location for snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, and swimming. The water is very shallow and very calm here. This is a great spot for beginner surfers or kids to safely play. You can stay at the gorgeous Kauai Beach Resort if you want to visit Poipu Beach Park. It’s stunning. You can also pick the Poipu Kapili Resort. The Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort is right at the beach, too!
Hanalei Bay Beach, Kauai
Hanalei Bay is crowd-free spot that is about 3 miles long. There are three beach parks in this bay: Black Pot Beach Park, Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park, and Wai’oli Beach Park. All have restrooms, showers, and parking!
You’ll see 4,000 foot high lush, green mountains with several beach parks. Surfers with all skill levels will be able to go to the Hanalei Bay Beach and find what they are looking for.
This is the largest bay on Kauai with 125 feet wide white sand beaches. There are rivers and sandbars here. Pu’u Poa Reef and Waikoko Reef are large coral reefs that are waiting for you to explore them! The Hanalei Bay Resort is a great temporary home for you while you enjoy the beach.
Kalihiwai Beach, Kauai
Kalihiwai Beach is a rare spot and easily one of the best beaches in Hawaii.
Kalihiwai Beach is a tiny cove with plenty of shade that allows you to get to know the locals. It’s not as crowded as other spots in Hawaii; because of this, it would make a perfect picnic.
Don’t forget your hammock. The crescent-shaped beach is a perfect spot for kids in the summer for wading and floating. You can even kayak further out when the bay gets deeper! There are two lava cliffs on each side of a shallow lagoon. This is a white sand beach that has serene water. The water here can become dangerous in the winter and is labeled for expert surfers only! If you’re an expert surfer, you’ll want to focus your activities under the cliff area. Note that there are only portable toilets here and you’ll have to hit the Kilauea Market to find a restroom. There are no resorts for this destination.
Lanai finds itself a lone island away from tourists. The island may have the best beaches in Hawaii for you if you’re the remote type. You’ll find a desert landscape with undeveloped beaches. There’s a cat sanctuary, delicious food, and lonely beaches.
Hulopoe Beach, Lanai
You’ll barely see any people on Hulopoe Beach. There are showers, picnic tables, and a gorgeous reef to snorkel in. You won’t want to miss out on snorkeling here. There are large schools of tropical fish, eels, sea turtles, and you might even catch a glimpse of the black-tipped reef shark.
That’s not to say snorkeling is the only thing to do on Hulopoe Beach. You can enjoy body surfing in the warm waters, too. You’ll have a few dining options. Lanai has two Four Seasons Resort with one being on the Hulopoe Beach.
Polihua Beach, Lanai
Polihua can only be accessed by four-wheel drive. There are no restaurants nearby and no resorts, either. It is as remote as it gets. The sandbar is two miles long and was once the nesting area of green sea turtles. You can catch glimpses of humpback whales in the winter and spring months.
Moloka’i is voted as having the most secluded beaches in Hawaii. You’ll probably only come across locals here. There are only a handful of hotels and resorts on the small island. You will need to take a ferry from one of the bigger islands such as Maui to get to Moloka’i.
Maunaloa Beach, Moloka’i
Maunaloa Beach (and volcano) is one of the hidden gems of Hawaii. You might want to opt-in for the Van Tour where you’ll learn about old Hawaii, the locals, and history. You’ll ferry ride over to the island where you can go whale watching.
If you’re interested in learning about the undeveloped parts of Hawaii in detail, the tour would be a great experience. Unfortunately, there aren’t resorts and restaurants galore here.
Now, go out and explore the best beaches in Hawaii! Book that dream vacation you’ve always wanted. There are so many beaches and so much to do, you’ll never run out of ideas on what to do next.
From white sand to golden, to soft to coarse, to warm to cold, shade and no shade, restaurants, and resorts to snack shacks and porta-potties, there is something for everyone in Hawaii. You can go snorkeling and swimming, surfing and boogie-boarding and walking or jogging on the beaches of Hawaii.
If you’re into hammocking, check out the Mock One Hammock. Here are some useful tips for hammocking at home and for some places in the United States that are worth visiting with a hammock.