Sure, Hawaii is home to some of the best tourist spots in the United States. From stellar beaches, crystal blue waters, to ideal surf waves, the Aloha state is a tropical oasis with something to offer for everyone. If you’re planning to visit the islands, but don’t know which one to see first. Escape to paradise by reading below as we’ve compiled the top beaches in Hawaii that will help you get that relaxing and fun vacation!
Waikiki Beach, Oahu
Once the refuge of Hawaiian royalties, Waikiki Beach now serves as the most popular beach with the tourists. Located on Oahu and south of Honolulu, it has a gleaming stretch of sand where luxurious resorts and hotels lie. Add the tons of shopping and dining options along Kalakaua Avenue, it’s no surprise why this amazing beach entices many visitors. Plus, if surfing is your vibe, Waikiki enlivens its name “sprouting waters,” is a perfect place to surf due to its steady, tranquil waves. You can also parasail, rent a jet ski, or make a historic trip to the Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial to complete your trip.
Kapalua Beach, Maui
A beach nestling in a crescent-shaped cove and sheltered by two reefs, Kapalua Beach is the haven for snorkeling fanatics. It has serene, crystal clear waters, brimmed with a fantastic array of marine life. You can see wrasses, parrotfishes, tangs, jacks, Moorish idols, crustaceans, and sea turtles in their natural habitat. What’s remarkable is that despite being a famous snorkeling destination, Kapalua keeps its alluring and immaculate condition.
Ko Olina Beach, Oahu
Another stunning beach located on Oahu, Ko Olina Beach is a quiet beach guarded by four lagoons. Just head south of the island and what awaits you is shallow water with gentle waves, making it perfect if you want a place for your young children to splash or simply don’t want to get barged by strong ripples in the ocean.
Wailea Beach, Maui
Located 35 minutes from the Kahului Airport, Wailea lies another fascinating beach that boasts golden sands, and a tranquil stretch of clear and uncrowded emerald water. However, what draws tourists most in is its inclination towards glamour rather than rugged and remote appeal. It is home to some of Maui’s most elegant hotels that are favorite celebrity vacation spots. Should you become unlucky in encountering famous faces, don’t miss the whales that show up from November to April.
Waimea Bay Beach Park, Oahu
Renowned for its 30-foot waves, the Waimea Bay is one of the Aloha state’s most popular big-wave surfing locations. Visit the beach in Oahu’s North Shore from November to February to witness the most intense waves and watch some of the island’s top surfing competitions. Still a newbie? Go in the summer when the waves are relatively smaller, ideal for learning down the ropes or for a relaxing swim.
Punalu’u Beach, Big Island
A wide, accessible and black sand beach, Punalu’u Beach offers a different experience with its jet-black sand brought by lava flowing into the ocean. It’s ideal for a quick swim or snorkeling. Plus, you can get to see the endangered Hawksbill turtle often basking on the shore. Just be sure to keep a distance from as it’s prohibited to touch sea turtles in Hawaii. Not to worry, these majestic creatures are fun to watch even from a distance.
Hanalei Bay Beach, Kauai
With its lush environs, verdant peaks, gold-sand beach, glistening waters, and dashing waterfalls, Hanalei Bay Beach easily ranks as one of the island’s top beaches. During the winter months, it brings stronger waves that attract big crowds. In the summer, water becomes calmer, making it suitable for swimming. Either season, Hanalei is equally appealing with its quiet, remote vibe that allows utmost relaxation.
Kaanapali Beach, Maui
A former home of Maui royalties, the three-mile caramel-colored Kaanapali Beach is now home to low-key to elegant, high-rising resorts and condos. You can also enjoy several restaurants, stores, and golf courses that provide a different experience. Go in June and attend the annual canoe races or talk stories about art and culture.
Waimanalo Beach, Oahu
Waimanalo Beach is Oahu’s longest unspoiled white beach. So, if you enjoy long walks, you know where to go. It’s the perfect place to leisurely lurk around, watch surfers, or pick up shells, whilst relishing the beauty of Ko’olau mountain range’s impressive cliffs seen from the area. Moreover, the beach remains pretty unoccupied, only visited by in-the-know tourists and local families, making it the best place to get your much-needed respite from the city jam.
Polihua Beach, Lanai
Another place that doesn’t receive much traffic is Polihua Beach is Laina Island’s northeastern shore. Here, bliss is not found on swimming, as it has strong currents making it unfit for such activity. Instead, its charm lies on the high winds, sand dunes, and unspoiled nature that’s great for long, quiet strolls or sunbathing.
Makalawena Beach, Big Island
Makalawena lies in a deserted location, which requires a four-wheel drive vehicle to reach. You need to overcome a rigged path, cross lava rocks, and hike for another 30 minutes to witness its beauty. Nevertheless, all efforts are worth it as what you’ll see ahead are lots of palm trees, breathtaking and coves, and a marvelous coral reef that’s excellent for snorkeling. Just bring a lot of sunscreen and water – you’ll surely enjoy the journey.
Kauna’oa Beach, Big Island
Also called the Mauna Kea Beach due to the legendary Mauna Kea Beach Hotel adjacent to it, Kauna’oa is a pristine and splendid white-sand beach on Big Island. It is popular among families in the summer, with its azure waters, calm waves, and abundant marine life, comprising turtles and manta rays.
Hamoa Beach, Maui
One of the prettiest beaches on Maui’s Hana side, Hamoa Beach is a half-moon-shaped, gray-sand beach, accentuated by greenish-jungle draped cliffs. It is an unprotected beach, which has a consistent surf break making it a popular surf area. Just be careful as strong rip currents frequently sweep. Otherwise, it’s a tropical setting that everyone would enjoy.
Hapuna Beach, Big Island
Big Island is never short of lovely white-sand beaches. Adding to that is Hapuna Beach, a half-mile stretch that is almost always sunny, serving as a great picnic location for locals, friends, and tourists. Beach volleyball, bodyboarding, snorkeling, and swimming are popular forms of recreation throughout the year. Don’t worry as lifeguards survey also survey the area year-round, making it an easy choice for families.
Poipu Beach Park, Kauai
The heart of Kauai’s south shore, Poipu is a picture-perfect beach that features three crescents. Here, you can do pretty much anything, from swimming, snorkeling to surfing while your kids splash around. The endangered Hawaiian monks also occasionally visit the area and are fun to watch as they search for some sun.
That’s the rundown of the top beaches in Hawaii, each having its own distinct appeal and beauty. Consider what unique things they have to offer and see which suits your preference the most. Rest assured that you’re in for a memorable and fun experience, whichever you pick among these picturesque beaches.