The Aloha State is known around the world for its pristine white sand beaches and beautiful turquoise waters, home to renowned beachfront areas such as Honolulu's famed Waikiki Beach. Visitors can swim, surf, and snorkel at these popular beachfronts, many of which offer amenities for families and rentals for watersport enthusiasts.
© Jo Ann Snover/stock.adobe.com
Hanalei Bay is Kaua'i's largest bay, stretching approximately two miles against a backdrop of beautiful 4,000-foot green mountains. The golden sand bay, which was immortalized in a short story by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, is home to four separate beach sections, including Waikoko Beach, Wai'oli Beach, Hanalei Pavilion Beach Park, and Black Pot Beach. It is named for the Hawai'ian word for crescent bay, a reference to its long half-moon shape. Visitors to the bay's beaches can swim, kayak, windsurf, and yacht along the bay's shoreline, with exceptional wave conditions offered at Pinetrees, a popular surfing spot within the bay. Visitors should note that high surf conditions during colder months create waves of up to 20 feet and that swimming is only advised during the summer months. Camping permits are available for overnight stay at Black Pot Beach.
Weke Road, Hanalei HI 96714
Lanikai Beach is one of Oahu's most acclaimed beaches, often ranked among the best beaches in the world for its soft powder white sands and stunning views of the nearby Na Mokulua islands. The half-mile beach, which is named for the Hawai'ian word for heavenly sea, is a very popular tourist spot during weekends in vacation seasons and is one of Hawai'i's best spots for beach photography. Warm, calm water conditions make the beach a great family-friendly spot for swimming and kayaking. The beach is also considered to be one of the island's best spots for watching the moonrise, especially during full moon conditions. Visitors should note that no public facilities are offered at the beach and that parking violations are strictly enforced within the beachfront area, though ample public parking is offered in nearby downtown Kailua.
Kailua, HI 96734, Phone: 808-261-2727
3.Kailua Beach Park
Kailua Beach Park is one of Oahu's most beautiful beaches, located directly adjacent to famed Lanikai Beach. As one of the largest beach parks on Oahu's Windward side, the beach boasts pristine soft white powder sands and brilliant turquoise water views. Calm water conditions making it a great spot for families and novice swimmers, though small waves also offer opportunities for surfing throughout the year. Other popular watersports include kitesurfing, kayaking, and SUP paddleboarding, with beach volleyball courts offered along the beachfront for recreation on land. Amenities include picnic shelters, barbecue pits, restrooms, showers, and lifeguards staffed on duty during peak times. The park is the site of one of Hawai'i's premiere canoe racing clubs and hosts a spectacular annual fireworks display each Fourth of July.
526 Kawailoa Rd, Kailua, HI 96734, Phone: 808-266-7652
4.Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area
Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area has been voted as one of the best public beaches in the world by Dr. Beach and other top international surveys, stretching for more than 61 acres across the waterfront near the town of Kawaihae. The popular Big Island beach is one of Hawai'i's most beautiful white sand beaches, spanning half a mile of the island's western coastline. Swimmers, surfers, and snorkelers can enjoy calm, warm water conditions, while hikers can join with with the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail and explore ancient trails and landmarks throughout the island, including several anchialine ponds. The recreation area is home to rental facilities for boogie boards, beach equipment, and snorkeling gear, along with the delicious Tree Frogs Cafe, which serves up casual lunch fare. Lifeguards are staffed at the park year-round, with overnight camping spots available with permits.
Old Puako Rd, Waimea, HI 96743, Phone: 808-961-9540
Kä‘anapali Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Maui, located directly in front of the grand Kä‘anapali resort hotels. Historically, the beach was revered in indigenous Hawai'ian culture as a site for recently-departed souls to journey on to the next realms. Today, the beach is best known as the site of Black Rock, or Pu'u Keka'a, a lava-formed rock formation that is a popular site for cliff jumpers. Snorkeling conditions at the beach are also excellent when waters are calm, with ample waterfront space offered for swimmers and bodyboarders. Swimmers should note that rip currents may occur when the surf is up and should exercise appropriate caution. Nearby, the Whalers Village shopping center is home to lovely boutique stores and the Whalers Village Museum, which details the history of whaling practices in Hawai'i during the 19th century.
2525 Kaanapali Pkwy, Lahaina HI 96761
Manini’owali Beach is a lovely secluded beach that stretches along beautiful Kua Bay, often considered to be one of the most pristine white sand beaches on Hawai'i's Big Island. Visitors should note that beach access is moderately difficult and requires climbing down a 10-foot cliff of lava rocks, making it a difficult choice for visitors with young children or mobility concerns. However, for visitors who choose to make the climb, crystal-clear waters and powder-soft white sands await, along with some of the island's best snorkeling conditions. Large populations of sea turtles and dolphins live near the beach, making for excellent wildlife watching opportunities, though visitors should note that contact with sea turtles is prohibited due to conservation measures. Public amenities at the beach include restrooms and showers.
723990 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, Phone: 808-961-8288
Tunnels Beach, known as Makua in Hawai'ian, is a lovely beachfront area at Haena Beach Park, located on the northern shores of Kaua'i near the town of Kapaa. The beach, which is named for lava tube formations along its barrier reef, is best known as a filming site for the 1958 feature film South Pacific, showcasing incredible mountain backdrops and beautiful ironwood and palm trees along its crescent-shaped waterfront. Golden sands await visitors, along with prime snorkeling conditions for divers and snorkelers of all ability levels. Surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing are also popular visitor activities, with ample space available for beach strolling and viewing the spectacular area sunset. Visitor amenities such as picnic tables, restrooms, and showers are offered throughout Haena Beach Park.
HI-560, Kapaa, HI 96746, Phone: 808-274-3444
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© James Eddy/stock.adobe.com
Keawakapu Beach is a favorite beach in Kihei, located at the city's boundary with Wailea. The beach, which is named for the Hawai'ian word for forbidden cove, was formerly considered taboo in Hawai'ian culture due to the prevalence of large Kona storms in the area, which can cover all of the beach's sand and destroy nearby structures. A sea wall has been implemented along the beach's southern half today to protect swimming and snorkeling conditions for visitors. Nearly a mile of beautiful golden sand shoreline awaits visitors, with three separate entrance points and parking lots offered. In the beach's central area, a reef creates great surfing conditions during the summer months, while tidepools offer family-friendly chances for wildlife exploration along the beach's northern end.
S Kihei Rd, Kihei, HI 96753
Waimanalo Beach is Oahu's longest uninterrupted white sand beach, stretching approximately three miles on the island's Windward side. The beach, which is located 45 minutes by car from famed Waikiki Beach, showcases pure azure blue waters against a backdrop of towering ironwood trees, creating a surprisingly secluded paradise, particularly during weekdays. It is best known as a filming location for major television series such as Baywatch Hawai'i and Magnum P.I. and was cited as an inspiration for James Michener's novel Hawai'i. Excellent bodyboarding conditions await visitors, with lifeguards staffed on duty during peak times to patrol swimmers. Pavilions and grills make the beach a popular picnicking spot, though visitors should note that strong northeasterly trade winds can create chilly conditions during the winter months and should dress accordingly.
41 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo HI 96795
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10.Po'ipu Beach Park
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Po'ipu Beach Park is the most popular beach on Kaua'i's South Shore, recently named as America's Best Beach by Travel Channel. The beach, which is also commonly referred to as Waiohai Beach, Brenneckes Beach, or Sheraton Beach, is considered to be one of Hawai'i's safest and most family-friendly beaches, with lifeguards staffed on duty at the beach every day. Several golden sand crescents and unusual reef formations are linked together to form the beautiful beach, which is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, boogie boarding, and surfing. A natural ocean wading pool makes for a great spot for young ones to splash around, while a surf break over a reef makes for excellent surfing conditions for experienced surfers. Visitors should note that the beach can become very crowded on weekends and are advised to arrive early to secure parking and beachfront spots.
Koloa, HI 96756, Phone: 808-241-4460
Kahekili Beach is a splendid resort beach within the Ka'anapali Beach Resort, named in honor of King Kahekili Nui ’Ahumanu, the final king of the Maui Empire. The beach is a fantastic spot for novice swimmers, snorkelers, and divers, with mild surf conditions and a barrier reef that stretches right up to the beach's shoreline for direct dive-in snorkeling conditions. Large populations of green sea turtles and whales frequent the area, making for great conditions for wildlife watching, though visitors should take care not to disturb turtles in their natural habitat. A boardwalk area and picnic pavilions with barbecue grills provide ample space for relaxation, with significantly less crowds throughout the week than its sister beach, Ka'anapali Beach.
65 Kai Ala Dr, Lahaina, HI 96761, Phone: 808-270-7230
Kapalua Beach was named as America's Best Beach in 1991 by famed ecologist Stephen Leatherman, known for compiling his annual Dr. Beach survey. Picturesque views of gently-breaking waves are offered from the beach's golden sand waterfront, which is lined with charming palm trees. A public activities desk at the beach offers a wide variety of watersports equipment, including rentals of beach chairs and umbrellas. Calm water conditions make for excellent snorkeling, scuba diving, and swimming conditions, with ample waterfront space offered for lounging. Snorkelers and scuba divers can observe a wide variety of underwater marine life, including tropical fish, corals, and sea turtles. Nearby, a beach shack serves up snacks and beverages, while resorts such as the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and Napili Shores Resort are home to upscale restaurants.
Waikiki Beach is one of the world's most famous beaches, named for the Hawai'ian word for spouting fresh water, a reference to the region's former wetland springs. The popular Honolulu neighborhood is actually home to six beaches, including its namesake beach, Kahanamoku Beach, Gray's Beach, Fort DeRussy Beach, Kuhio Beach, and Queen's Beach. Two miles of pristine white sand beaches stretch along the calm turquoise oceanfront, with many high-rise resorts located nearby. Lifeguards are staffed on duty at the beach, though swimmers, surfers, and bodyboarders should still exercise caution due to the high volume of other tourists in the water. A myriad of public events are hosted at the beach throughout the year, including outdoor music performances, surf competitions, and hula dancing events. Nearby, world-class dining and shopping opportunities are offered on Kalakaua Avenue's main strip, while attractions such as Pearl Harbor and Iolani Palace will delight history buffs.
Makalawena Beach is one of the most beautiful natural beaches on Hawai'i's Big Island, only accessible on foot via a hiking path in Kehaha Kai State Park located near the 90-91 mile markers of Highway 19. Visitors should note that the hike to the beach is moderately strenuous, accessible either via a 20-minute trek across a barren lava field or a secluded 1.5-mile nature hike. The reward once visitors reach the beach is spectacular, though, with soft powder white sand beachfront framing spectacular views of the island's coastline. Excellent conditions are offered for boogie boarding and swimming, with tide pools and coves offering secluded spots for wading and beachcombing. Ample shaded spaces are available for picnics, with multiple lookouts for observing humpback whales throughout the fall and winter months.
HI-19, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, Phone: 808-464-0840
15.Kama'ole Beach Park I
Kama'ole Beach Park I is one of three public beaches located at Kama'ole Beach Park, which stretches for approximately 1.5 miles along South Kihei Road in Kihei. All three beaches offer beautiful views of nearby Molokini and the Lana'i islands, making for a beautiful backdrop for a wide variety of outdoor activities. Kam I, also known as Charley Young Beach in honor of World War II military reporter Charley Young, offers wide beachfront sand stretches and excellent swimming and snorkeling conditions. Lifeguards are staffed on duty at the southern end of the beach, while the northern end of the beach is more secluded and more popular with local residents than tourists. Secluded beachfront stretches are offered at nearby Kam II, while excellent boogie boarding conditions are offered at Kam III.
75 Alanui Ke'ali'i, Kihei, HI 96753, Phone: 808-879-4364
Kiahuna Beach is a lovely section of Po?ipu Beach Park, one of the most popular public beaches along Kaua'i's South Shore. The beach, which is located near the Kiahuna Plantation resort adjacent to Lawai Beach, offers pristine white sands and excellent water conditions for families and beginner surfers, snorkelers, and boogie boarders inside the beach's barrier reef. On the reef's outside, strong waves make for great conditions for experienced surfers. Swimming conditions are safe year-round, with ample space offered for relaxation and observation of the area's spectacular nightly sunsets. Visitors should note that the beach offers little natural shade and should bring umbrellas for beach lounging. Limited public parking is available at Po?ipu Beach Park.
17.Mauna Kea Beach
Mauna Kea Beach, also known as Kauna'oa Beach, is one of Hawai'i's most beautiful white sand beaches, located directly in front of the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The family-friendly beach offers public access to visitors for free, though tourists should note that entrance to the beach requires receiving free passes from the nearby resort security office. The half-mile beach is home to two lovely coral reefs on each side of the beach, with gently-sloping sands and shade trees making for great sunbathing conditions. During the summer months, calm waters make for great conditions for swimming and snorkeling, though visitors should note that strong rip currents and high waves during the winter months make water entry dangerous. Visitors can dine or grab drinks at the resort's restaurant or rent boogie boards and snorkeling equipment at a nearby beach concession stand. At night, floodlights are turned on to attract manta rays for nighttime wildlife watching.
62-100 Mauna Kea Beach Dr, Waimea, HI 96743
18.Napili Bay Beach
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Napili Bay Beach is one of Maui's most-visited public beaches, located adjacent to some of the island's loveliest resorts, including the Mauian Hotel and the Napili Sunset Beach Resort. The gold-and-white-sand beach is one of the island's best spots for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, with outer barrier reefs protecting its turquoise waters from any strong surf conditions. Abundant tropical fish and coral can be observed on snorkeling expeditions, with opportunities for whale watching offered throughout the fall and winter months. Stunning sunset views are offered from the beach, which can become very crowded during peak times. Visitors should note that no public facilities are offered at the beach, including restrooms or showers, though a number of upscale restaurants are located within walking distance of the beach.
33 Hui Dr, Lahaina, HI 96761, Phone: 877-877-5758
Sunset Beach is a charming public beach along O'ahu's North Shore in Hale'iwa, offering a wide variety of outdoor recreation activities to entertain visitors of all ages throughout the day. The beach is an ideal spot for surfing and bodyboarding, with gentle wave conditions offered throughout the summer months. Visitors should note that water conditions can be rough during the winter months and are advised to opt for nearby beaches such as Ala Moana for swimming and SUP paddleboarding. Lifeguards are staffed on duty throughout the morning and afternoon hours, though visitors should watch young and novice swimmers due to choppy water conditions. Beautiful long stretches of golden sands make for great sunbathing and beach strolling conditions, with ample space for visitors to enjoy the beach all day long. Nearby in Hale'iwa, visitors can choose from a variety of dining options, including food trucks and popular bakeries.
59-104 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Maha'ulepu Beach is a popular beach on Kaua'i's South Shore, stretching two miles between Pao'o'o Point to Punahoa Point. The beach is divided into three separate sections, including Ha?ula Beach, Gillin's Beach, and Kawailoa Bay. Historic petroglyphs are showcased at Gillin's Beach, while important paleontological sites are scattered throughout the area, including extinct Kaua?i stilt owl fossils and the archaeologically significant Makauwahi Cave. Visitors to the beach area can snorkel and swim, though strong trade winds make water activities difficult for novice swimmers. Lava tubs, blow holes, and sandstone cliffs can be explored above and underneath the water, though visitors should be careful not to disturb natural land features and should not leave litter on the beach. The Maha?ulepu Beach Heritage Trail offers additional opportunities for beachfront exploration, including access to tide pools.
Secret Beach, also known as Kauapea Beach, is a secluded beach along Kaua'i's North Shore approximately half a mile northwest of the city of Kilauea near the Kalihiwai Valley. The beach is only accessible on foot, with a small unofficial parking area offered off Kalihiwai Road and a footpath leading to the beach's western end. Visitors should note that the beach's access trail may be dangerously slick during rainy weather conditions, particularly during the winter months. The 3,000-foot-long beach is covered in beautiful white sands and is flanked by red and black lava rocks, lush vegetation, and small waterfalls and cascades. Swimming, surfing, snorkeling, fishing, and sunbathing are popular activities during the summer months, with tide pools along the beach's western end offering safe water conditions for young visitors. Visitors should note that the beach is a popular spot for nude sunbathing despite the fact that public nudity is illegal in Hawai'i.
22.D.T. Fleming Beach Park
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D.T. Fleming Beach Park is a world-class beach located next to the Kapalua Resort on Maui, named in honor of David Thomas Fleming, who first introduced pineapple crops to the island's western region. The beach, which spans half a mile along a crescent-shaped stretch of coastline, is richly populated with powder white sands and is significantly less developed and tourist-heavy than nearby Ka'anapali Beach, offering ample space for visitors to stretch out along the beachfront. Good surf conditions are offered for experienced surfers and boogie boards, though visitors should note that strong rip currents can make water conditions dangerous at times. Professional lifeguards are staffed on duty, with jet-ski lifesaving operations offered throughout the coastline. Many picnic tables and barbecue grills offer opportunities for relaxation, with full-service restrooms and showers available for visitor use.
Lower Honoapiilani Rd, Lahaina, HI 96761, Phone: 808-661-4685
Po'olenalena Beach, also known as Paipu Beach, is a spacious, often sparsely-populated beach located in Wailea near the Makena Surf Condos along Makena Road, known as one of Maui's best spots for weddings and event photography due to its stunning sunset views. The beach is named for the Hawai'ian word for yellow head, a reference to yellow-streaked rocks located near the beach's roadside. It is a popular local spot for visitors with families, offering a large parking lot and undeveloped beachfront stretches for relaxation, sunbathing, and play. Excellent snorkeling and boogie boarding opportunities are offered, with calm water conditions making the beach a great spot for families and novice swimmers. Visitors should note that strong rip currents and large ocean swells can develop during Kona storm conditions and should exercise appropriate caution.
Waialea Beach, also known by locals as 69 Beach due to its location near a regional utility pole of the same number, is one of the Big Island's most pristine white sand beaches, accessible via Old Puako Road and Highway 19 near Kona. The beach's waters have been designated as a marine conservation area since 1985, offering opportunities to spot sea turtles and humpback whales throughout the year. Swimming, scuba diving, and snorkeling are popular visitor activities during the summer months, with a great mix of shade and sun making for perfect sunbathing conditions. Visitors can explore the island's coastline via the 15.4-mile Ala Kahakai Trail, which embarks from the beachfront and traverses through a variety of ancient Hawai'ian archaeological sites and anchialine ponds.
Old Puako Rd, Waimea, HI 96743, Phone: 808-464-0840
Kikaua Beach is a lovely beachfront paradise along the Big Island's Kohala Coast, located approximately 12 miles north of Kailua-Kona. The beach offers pristine white sands along a picturesque cove, lined with palm trees for ample shade for sunbathers and families. Calm waters and a soft sandy bay bottom make for excellent swimming conditions for visitors of all ages and ability levels, with shallow tide pools areas available for safe snorkeling. Lava rock outcroppings protect the water from strong ocean waves, creating natural barriers between nearby Kakapa and Kukio Bays. Visitors can stroll along Kikaua Point and observe green sea turtles grazing in tide pools or sunning on lava rocks. Limited parking is offered at the beach's parking lot, though additional parking is available at nearby Kua Bay.
Aina Kaha Place, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
25 Best Hawaii Beaches
- Hanalei Bay, Photo: Jo Ann Snover/stock.adobe.com
- Lanikai Beach, Photo: blvdone/stock.adobe.com
- Kailua Beach Park, Photo: guynamedjames/stock.adobe.com
- Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, Photo: Noradoa/stock.adobe.com
- Ka'anapali Beach, Photo: eddygaleotti/stock.adobe.com
- Manini'owali Beach, Photo: DirkR/stock.adobe.com
- Tunnels Beach, Photo: Fabian/stock.adobe.com
- Keawakapu Beach, Photo: James Eddy/stock.adobe.com
- Waimanalo Beach, Photo: shanemyersphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Po'ipu Beach Park, Photo: Jeff Whyte/stock.adobe.com
- Kahekili Beach, Photo: mihaiocoman/stock.adobe.com
- Kapalua Beach, Photo: Fabian/stock.adobe.com
- Waikiki Beach, Photo: EarthScape/stock.adobe.com
- Makalawena Beach, Photo: Cindie/stock.adobe.com
- Kama'ole Beach Park I, Photo: Marlon/stock.adobe.com
- Kiahuna Beach, Photo: donyanedomam/stock.adobe.com
- Mauna Kea Beach, Photo: yuruphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Napili Bay Beach, Photo: Eugene Kalenkovic/stock.adobe.com
- Sunset Beach, Photo: shanemyersphoto/stock.adobe.com
- Maha'ulepu Beach, Photo: IndustryAndTravel/stock.adobe.com
- Secret Beach, Photo: PhotoImage/stock.adobe.com
- D.T. Fleming Beach Park, Photo: Art Boardman/stock.adobe.com
- Po'olenalena Beach, Photo: peteleclerc/stock.adobe.com
- Waialea Beach, Photo: eqroy/stock.adobe.com
- Kikaua Beach, Photo: wstockstudio/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: ellensmile/stock.adobe.com