Hawaii is one of the biggest vacation spots in the world, and among the many reasons that someone might choose to visit there, the renowned Hawaii beaches are some of the largest draws for tourists that the state has.
Hawaii beaches are known to be sunny, sandy, entertaining, and the perfect spots for relaxation and a good tan. Not only is each one just as great of an option as the next, but there are so many beaches in Hawaii that you can’t possibly cover them all in one trip.
And if it’s hard to even name all of the Hawaiian beaches then it would be even more difficult to choose between them and pick the ones that you want to visit.
Here are a list of the best beaches in Hawaii for you to learn about, so you can make a decision on which one fits your vacation needs the best. Because for every person, there will be a beach that calls out to them. Let’s find out yours!
Maui, Hawaii Beaches
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian islands, and as such has lots of different beach options. You’ll find some of the best beaches in Hawaii here but also plenty of famous Hawaiian landmarks.
If you’re planning to stay at the beach of your choice all day then Napili beach might just be one of the Hawaiian beaches for you since it is well known for its beautiful sunsets that you won’t want to miss!
And if you can bring yourself to leave the silky golden sand that this beach has to offer, then you could swim or snorkel there because it’s the perfect place for it. While you’re out there, you might even spot a few sea turtles.
If you do end up staying to see the sunset at Napili Beach then you’re in luck because you wouldn’t have to go far to find accommodations. Just a few minutes walk from the beach is Napili Kai Beach Resort where you will find everything you could want from a golfing course to four different pool options.
This is another one of the best Hawaiian beaches to go to if you enjoy snorkeling because it is protected by two different reefs that give it calm waters. And these waters are filled with interesting sea life, ranging from Moray eels to butterfly fish.
Or if you’d prefer to stay on the beach, you could just enjoy the great views of the calm sea. One nice spot is towards the northern end where it’s a bit rocky and the waters are even calmer.
There’s a resort within walking distance of the beach, the Montage Kapalua Bay. There you will find spacious suites to rest in, but that’s not all. On the resort’s grounds, you’ll also find a spa, a health center, a fitness center, and more.
This beach is probably the most popular in West Maui and possibly one of the most popular Hawaiian beaches, and for good reason. Picture perfectly white sands and crystal clear blue waters, and then you’ll be picturing Ka’anapali Beach.
And there’s plenty to do as well. You can snorkel and swim here, but in addition to that you could also head to the northern end of the beach and take a dive off of Black Rock if you’re not afraid of heights.
At the end of the day you can walk a few minutes to the nearby, Ka’anapali Alli a Destination by Hyatt Residence. These accommodations have everything you could need from your own washer and dryer and fully equipped kitchens as well as tennis courts, a pool, and more.
Out of all the Hawaiian beaches, this one is definitely one of the best to go to for a stunning photo. Not only does it sport jungle-like foliage but it also has a jet black shore that is made out of very small lava pebbles.
Aside from its unique beauty, you can also perform some unique activities at this beach. You could boogie board or you could choose to explore one or more of the sea caves that line the surrounding cliffs. You might even choose to do both if you have plenty of time.
But after you’re done exploring and taking the perfect photo, you may choose to stay at the Hana-Maui Resort which is only a ten minute drive away. You could relax at the spa with a body massage, body treatment, and facial or enjoy the other amenities that it has to offer.
If you’re looking for one of the best Hawaiian beaches to spot a celebrity then look no further than Wailea Beach which is one of the celebs favorite spots. And it has more than just celebs going for it, as it also boasts soft, fine sand and bright, shining water.
This is a great beach to enjoy the view from, and from it you can see the Molokini Crater as well as two different islands, Lanai and Kahoolawe. You can bask in the sun, take pictures in front of this great landscape, or lay back and wait to see a celeb spotting.
And less than ten minutes from this beach is the Ho’olei at Grand Wailea. They offer fully furnished suites, are within walking distance of most of the hot spots in the area, and even offer a free shuttle to the beach!
Oahu, Hawaii Beaches
Oahu is the most populated of the islands and is the third biggest. It is also home to the state’s capital so it’s definitely a great one to visit. Now let’s find you some beaches to check out while you’re there.
If you want to see turtles, here is a guide to Laniakea Beach, the most popular beach for turtle sighting.
This has been voted by many to be the best of the Hawaii beaches, and it’s easy to see why many people would think that. It features beautiful white sand, and bright blue waters among other stunning features.
And one of the best parts is the fact that it is part of the Kailua Beach Park which means that while you’re there you can also enjoy all the features it has to offer which include things like canoe races to spectate, places to kayak and stand-up paddleboard, and calm swimming areas.
Although there are many guest cottages you could check out close to the beach, the Paradise Bay Resort might be the best choice. It’s a thirty minute drive from the park, and has great views of the Koolau Mountain Range that you can enjoy during your stay at their fully-equipped suites.
Waikiki Beach is easily the most talked about and well known of the Hawaiian beaches. It’s a two mile stretch of perfect white sand, and calm waters so it’s always packed full of tourists but this means that there are plenty of good accommodations nearby.
And the calm waters make Waikiki Beach a great place to surf, paddleboard, canoe race, and swim all year-round. So it doesn’t even matter when you choose to visit, water activities are always available here. And it’s also within range of lots of other fun attractions away from the beach.
One of the great accommodations that was mentioned earlier is the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa. This resort has everything you could possibly need down to several on-site dining options where you can find American cuisine and also traditional Hawaiian options as well.
When talking about the best Hawaii beaches, you have to mention Lanikai Beach which literally means “heavenly ocean”. As you can probably guess, this beach is known for its waters which don’t disappoint and are a gorgeous turquoise color.
While you’re there you can enjoy all of your favorite water-themed activities. And in addition to that, there are some great hiking spots here as well just in case you’d rather stay on land. There’s an activity for everyone.
As with Kailua Beach, there are many cottages and small accommodations near Lanikai Beach. But if you’re willing to drive about half an hour then you could reach Hyatt Centric. The inside of these suites are perfection, but if you want to spend more time outside they also have wading pools and fire pits to enjoy.
If you’re looking through the Hawaiian beaches in Oahu and trying to find one with the perfect sunsets then look no further, because Sunset Beach (as the name suggests) is the perfect place to watch a gorgeous sunset. It has some of the best of any beach in Hawaii.
But while you wait for sunset, there’s always things to do here as well. You can chill on the beach or you could go surfing during the winter when the big waves hit, alternatively if you visit during the summer the area is perfect for snorkeling because of its notoriously calm summer waters.
A short drive away from this beach could be your accommodation for the night if you choose Turtle Bay Resort. Their guest rooms have ocean views, and when you head outside you will find an 18-course golf course at the resort. You’ll find it hard to leave this resort as it has everything you could need right there.
Actually there are several Ko’Olina beaches, four in fact. Each one is a man-made beach cove but that doesn’t diminish their beauty at all. They’re all crescent-shaped and very close to each other, made out of pristine sand that was imported from Lanai.
There are hiking opportunities, water activities, places to have picnics nearby and so much more. Or you could just sit back and enjoy the great view, and don’t forget that you can easily walk between each beach to check them all out.
Easily the best place to stay nearby is the Marriott’s Ko’Olina Beach Club, as it’s a short walk away. It’s a well placed accommodation and is close to many attractions, but within the beach club itself there is plenty to do including options for food, a fitness center, and a spa.
Kauai, Hawaiian Beaches
The Hawaiian island of Kauai has sixty-three miles of shoreline, so there’s no shortage of Hawaii beaches on this island. Here are five of the best ones for you to look at.
This crescent-shaped beach is two miles long with plenty of room to spread out so if you’re looking for the best Hawaiian beaches to have your privacy at then it’s certainly a contender. You won’t be right up against other visitors like at some more crowded beaches.
It has calmer waters near the edges and larger waves in the middle, so there are plenty of water activities to participate in. And if you like to dive then Hanalei Bay could be a great place for it because there’s an old shipwreck in the bay that divers can go by and take a look at.
Just a short fifteen minute drive away from the bay is the Hanalei Colony Resort which has features like a restaurant and bar on site, free wifi, and a free daytime transfer service to Hanalei town and nearby beaches.
Tunnels Beach aka Makua Beach
Tunnels beach is one of the best beaches in Hawaii for people who love to be in the water during the summer months. It has calm waters during that time of year and it’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and all things water related. There’s even a slow slope that will allow you to wade if you don’t feel like swimming.
But if your preference is to stay on land then don’t worry, it’s a very nice beach to relax on with plenty of shade if you want to stay out of the sun. There are even a few picnic spots if you want to pack some food with you, and have a meal on the shore.
As an added bonus, the Hanalei Colony Resort is nearby this beach as well. This means that if you’re already staying there, you can easily visit Tunnels Beach and Hanalei Bay while staying at the same luxurious resort.
The third Kauai beach that you could take a look at is one of the more secluded Hawaii beaches. Anini Beach typically has a lot less people visiting than other beaches in the area do, as it’s not as well known. So it’s perfect for you if you don’t want to fight the crowds.
This beach has picnic areas and camping grounds if you want to stay for extended periods, but keep in mind that there aren’t any lifeguards around if you do choose to participate in the water activities available there. One of the more popular ones is diving, as you can see the Anini Reef.
Even though there are campgrounds available here, if you’d like to stay indoors you could make the half-hour drive to Hotel Coral Reef. This hotel will meet all your needs, and even go above and beyond in some ways such as serving light breakfast refreshments every morning of your stay.
Shipwreck Beach is hardly ever crowded due to its notoriously high waves so it’s another perfect and secluded spot to spend your vacation if you’re craving some privacy, much like the last beach. This one is especially popular for couples because of the romantic scenery.
But even though you can’t swim as with other Hawaiian beaches, you can still surf if you have the inclination. Land lovers who would prefer to stay dry will enjoy sunbathing here, and getting a nice tan as the beach is quite sunny for most of the day.
Once you’ve secured your perfect tan and want to leave the beach, you can drive ten minutes to the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa for some pampering and great scenery. There’s a spa, seven restaurant options, a golf course, and more available at this resort that is surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens.
For all you surfers out there, Kealia Beach may be one of the best Hawaiian beaches for you, since it has very large waves and lots of wind. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a swim as well, the northern end of the beach is the best spot for it but just make sure to check with a lifeguard before you go in.
Another big draw for this beach is that during the winter migration months, this beach is one at which you can watch the whales. So that makes Kealia Beach a pretty popular place for tourists. After all, who doesn’t love whales!
After your whale watching adventures, the Hotel Coral Reef awaits you a few minutes away. Similar to the two beaches that shared a nearby hotel earlier, both Kealia Beach and Anini Beach are close to the Hotel Coral Reef. So you’ll be centrally located to visit both if you stay there.
Lanai, Hawaii Beaches
Lanai is known for its two very different experiences depending on where you go on the island. There are options for you if you prefer a more wild and untamed landscape, but also if you’d prefer the more polished sides of the island. And this goes for beaches as well, so here are some of the best options Lanai has to offer.
As far as Hawaiian beaches with great coloring go, you can’t do better than Hulopoe Beach. This beach’s stand out feature is the contrast between its crystal blue waters and its shining white sand. And these beautiful colors are kept pristine by the rules in place that prevent visitors from ruining the landscape.
In terms of activities, swimming is popular during the summertime and the surfing scene picks up during the winter time when the large waves start to roll in. And since this beach is part of Hulopoe Beach Park, there are nearby areas for barbecuing and picnics as well.
There aren’t many accommodations available on Lanai but that’s no matter because the Four Seasons Resort in Lanai will more than keep you satisfied during your vacation. It’s within a few minutes of Hulopoe Beach, and elegant suites and services that will make you feel like royalty.
And no, it’s not the same one as in Kauai! This beach, technically called Kaiolohia but referred to as Shipwreck beach, is a different one entirely and may just be one of the hardest of the Hawaii beaches to reach. But it’s so unique that you won’t mind the trip, just make sure to get clear directions.
The name fits this beach and its main attraction is that it has been the cause of many ships’ demise. You can still see the hull of an oil tanker from the 1940s that has been rusted for many years, and is a ghostly reminder of this beach’s past full of wreckage.
The nearest accommodation for this beach is still the Four Seasons Resort in Lanai although you should anticipate almost an hour-long drive. But you can unwind easily from all that driving if you visit one of the eleven on-site massage rooms available at the spa.
This beach is more on the secluded side than the previous two, so you don’t have to think about many crowds. In fact, you’d probably only be sharing the beach with local fishermen and that can’t be said for many of the Hawaii beaches.
You can swim here as long as the waters are calm, but many people are drawn in by the Loka Lopa which is an old fishpond that has been turned into a bird sanctuary. Bird watchers will not find another place like this in all of Hawaii, so this beach is ideal for them.
Once again, even though it’s quite the drive clocking in at one and a half hours, the Four Reasons Resort is your closest and best option. During the long drive though, you can look forward to refreshing yourself after your long day at the resort’s on-site Japanese restaurant, Nobu Lanai.
When visiting Hawaii, many people hope to return home with a great tan and Polihua Beach may be one of the best Hawaiian beaches to get one. On this beach, you can sunbathe to your heart’s content, and often without any company as this beach is also quite secluded.
It can be a trek to get to this beach, but you can ask for directions or even hire a tour guide to get here. And just remember that the two miles of pristine, natural Hawaiian coastline will make you forget all about the journey.
Another hour long drive, and you can get back to the Four Seasons Resort. If you get an early start back to the hotel after your sunbathing then you could even make it in time to play a game of golf or tennis in the resort’s private facilities before you lose too much light.
Among the best Hawaii beaches for fishing is Naha Beach. You won’t be disappointed in your fishing trip if you bring your fishing rod to this beach, it’s such a good spot for fishing that it is home to many different fishing related landmarks.
There’s an ancient fishing pond that can be spotted during both high and low tide. And there’s also a nearby former fishing village that you can explore while you’re in the area. You’ll have plenty of time as this beach isn’t ideal for swimming, so you can’t spend any time doing that.
If you guessed that the nearest accommodation is once again the Four Season Resort then congrats because you were right! Buckle up for an hour and a half drive, but also buckle up for the on-site sports bar that you can enjoy once you get back to the resort. They have the best cocktails around!
Molokai, Hawaii Beaches
Molokai is one of the smallest Hawaiian islands, and also the least visited one out of all of the major islands in Hawaii. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still great places to explore and beaches to visit. Here are some of the better ones!
Papohaku beach is perfect for you if swimming isn’t your main priority when choosing Hawaii beaches to visit. The reason for this being that between the lack of lifeguards and the hazardous ocean conditions that happen seasonally, swimming is rarely an option here.
But the main attraction of this beach has more to do with the view than the activities you can enjoy at it. As you take a leisurely stroll down this long beach you can enjoy the white sand beneath your feet and take in gorgeous sunsets, as well as distant views of Diamond Head in Oahu.
Accommodations in Molokai can be tricky, but you won’t have much competition as many tourists choose larger islands. For this reason, it’s much easier to rent vacation homes such as the Molokai Ocean View Condo (only a thirty minute walk from this beach) and be able to enjoy features like your own private terrace.
Alternatively to the last beach, this beach’s main feature is the fact that it’s great for swimming. And while there are other Hawaiian beaches that are more popular to swim at, this is one of the best options you’ll find in Molokai so if you’re in the area then it’s worth checking out.
This beach, sometimes known as Dixie Maru Beach, is in a small cove which means that the waters are mostly protected and normally safe for swimming so it’s a hot spot on the island for local families who enjoy the water. Although you should exercise caution since there are no lifeguards.
Less than an hour away from this charming swimming hole is Ka Hale Kealoha which is an oceanfront property that includes free wifi, an outdoor swimming pool, a garden, and even a barbecue area.
Whereas the previous beach is known for its swimming opportunities, this beach is one of the best Hawaii beaches for snorkeling, especially on Molokai. It’s also referred to as 20 Mile Marker beach, and has the best snorkeling conditions on the whole island although you should be careful around high surf.
If you’d prefer to chill on the beach itself, then the golden sands and mostly calm water should make it easy to do. And if you do decide to dip your toes in the water, whether it be for a swim or a snorkel, then the option is there!
A mere fifteen minute drive away from the beach you’ll find Wavecrest A. Here you can choose from several fully-equipped units that will have you feeling like you’re at your home away from home with amenities like a dining area, fully-functioning kitchen, living space, and private bathrooms.
This beach is Molokai at its finest and has some of the most dramatic views of all the Hawaii beaches. From it you can see lush mountains and several waterfalls in the distance, the view is stunning and presents some great photo opportunities if you’ve brought your camera.
And this long white sand beach also has more amenities than some of the others on Monokai and it includes restrooms and picnic areas. During the summer, there are some times when you can swim as well if you’d like to get a bit active.
Although not as close as Kumimi beach, Wavecrest A can serve as a base to visit both beaches if you are looking to stay over in the area.
One Ali’i Beach Park
This last beach is something a little different than the rest because it is split up into two sections. Both sections are similar, both narrow and share the same murky water. This murky water is one of the reasons why swimming is not an option at this beach, the other is the rocky bottom right below.
So this beach is ideal for picnics, fishing, and just hanging out on the shore. Many people find that this is one of the best Hawaiian beaches for hosting family gatherings because the large lawns in the park have plenty of space to move around and play games.
Hotel Molokai is a great place for you to retire to after family gatherings or hanging out on One Ali’i Beach. This hotel has a special design that is inspired by traditional Polynesian villages, so it is as stunning as the ocean views that it provides.
MORE BEACHES IN USA
Discovering Beaches In Hawaii
Pristine beaches are one of the things that Hawaii is most known for. There are so many different Hawaiian islands to choose from, and so many beaches within those islands that anyone planning to visit Hawaii has a lot of options for where they choose to spend their time.
And there’s so much variety in the options that you won’t have the same experience on each beach, every single one is unique in its own way. Definitely hop around a few and find your favorite!