Discover the Top 10 Beaches in Hawaii: A Complete Guide

Introduction to best beaches in Hawaii

Looking for Hawaii’s best beaches? You’ve come to the right place! Hawaii has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, with white sand, crystal-clear oceans, and unlimited options for fun in the sun. There’s a beach in Hawaii for everyone, from popular tourist sites like Waikiki Beach to more private areas like Anini Beach.

This guide will introduce you to the top 10 beaches in Hawaii, emphasizing the unique features and activities that each beach has to offer. So put grab your swimwear and prepare to hit the sand!

1. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach, on the island of Oahu, is a renowned tourist attraction known for its soft, white sand and turquoise oceans. It’s a fantastic beach for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing.

The beach is also within walking distance of several restaurants, stores, and hotels, making it a great area to stay. Waikiki Beach is also famous for its beautiful sunsets and the iconic Diamond Head crater in the background. The beach has a lively atmosphere with street performers, live music, and plenty of water sports activities available for visitors to enjoy.

In addition to the beach itself, Waikiki is also known for its vibrant nightlife and shopping scene. Visitors can explore the bustling streets lined with shops, boutiques, and restaurants, offering a mix of local and international cuisine.

For those interested in history and culture, there are several museums and historical sites in the area, including the Waikiki Historic Trail and the Duke Kahanamoku Statue, honoring the legendary surfer and Olympic swimmer.

Overall, Waikiki Beach offers something for everyone, whether it’s relaxing on the soft sand, catching a wave, exploring the local culture, or enjoying the vibrant nightlife. It’s no wonder that Waikiki Beach is a must-visit destination for travelers from around the world.

2. Kaanapali Beach

Located on the island of Maui, Kaanapali Beach is known for its beautiful, massive stretch of sand and crystal-clear waters. Swimming, snorkeling, and stand-up paddle boarding are all popular activities.

The beach also has many luxury resorts, making it a popular choice for those seeking a more luxurious beach holiday. In addition to water activities, Kaanapali Beach is also home to a scenic beachfront pathway that is perfect for sunset strolls or early morning runs. The nearby town of Lahaina offers a variety of restaurants, shops, and art galleries, providing plenty of options for entertainment and relaxation.

One of the main attractions at Kaanapali Beach is the daily cliff diving ceremony at Puu Kekaa, also known as Black Rock. This traditional Hawaiian ceremony held in Honolulu honors the legendary leap of Maui’s revered King Kahekili and is a must-see for visitors.

Overall, Kaanapali Beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, water activities, and luxury amenities, making it a top destination for beach lovers and travelers looking for a tropical paradise.

3. Poipu Beach

Located on the island of Kauai, Poipu Beach is known for its calm, shallow waters and beautiful, golden sand. It’s a great beach for swimming and snorkeling, and it’s also home to a protected marine reserve, making it a popular spot for scuba diving and snorkeling.

The beach is located near many restaurants, shops, and resorts, making it a convenient place to stay. One of the main attractions of Poipu Beach is its unique combination of natural beauty and accessibility.

The beach is divided into two main sections: Baby Beach, which is ideal for families with young children due to its calm waters, and Brennecke’s Beach, which is better suited for experienced swimmers and surfers. Both areas offer stunning views and opportunities for relaxation and recreation.

Poipu Beach, one of the best Hawaii beaches, not only offers natural beauty with its turquoise water but also a variety of amenities for visitors to enjoy. There are picnic areas, showers, and restrooms available, as well as rental equipment for water sports and activities. The nearby resorts and restaurants provide additional options for dining and entertainment, ensuring that visitors have everything they need for a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

In addition to its recreational offerings, Poipu Beach has a rich cultural and historical significance. The beach has been a significant gathering place for Native Hawaiians for centuries, and it continues to be an important site for cultural events and celebrations. Visitors can learn about the area’s history and traditions through various cultural activities and educational programs offered in the area.

Overall, Poipu Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty and tranquility of Kauai. Whether you’re a beach enthusiast, a nature lover, or a history buff, this iconic beach has something for everyone to enjoy. With its stunning natural landscapes, diverse activities, and convenient amenities, Poipu Beach offers a truly unforgettable experience for all who visit.

4. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach on the island of Oahu is famous for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a popular area for swimming, paddling, and picnics, as well as watching the sunrise.

Because the beach is in a residential neighborhood, it is less crowded than some of the island’s other popular beaches. An amazing sport for the sunrise you do not want to miss out on it. A beautiful view and is less crowded than other beaches. What more can you ask for?

In addition to its natural beauty, Lanikai Beach is also known for its calm and gentle waters, making it a great spot for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. The offshore Mokulua Islands are a popular destination for kayakers, and the calm waters make it an ideal spot for beginners to get out on the water.

For those looking to relax and soak in the sun, Lanikai Beach offers plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. The beach is surrounded by luxury homes and lush vegetation, adding to the idyllic atmosphere.

Overall, Lanikai Beach is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the beauty and tranquility of Oahu’s coastline. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy the sunrise, or want to get out on the water for some paddling adventures, Lanikai Beach has something for everyone.

5. Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach on the island of Hawaii is renowned for its vast, white beach and clean, calm waters. It’s a terrific place to swim, sunbathe, and boogie board.

Because the beach is located in a more remote region, it is less crowded than some of the island’s other famous beaches. If you want to try a water activity out It’s also a popular area for snorkeling and stand-up paddle boarding.

The beach is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, including lush greenery and stunning volcanic rock formations. There are also picnic areas and facilities for visitors to use, making it a great spot for a full day of fun in the sun.

Hapuna Beach is a great place for families to visit, as the gentle waves and shallow waters make it perfect for kids to play and swim in. The beach is also patrolled by lifeguards, providing an added level of safety for all visitors.

For those looking for a more active day at the beach, there are hiking trails nearby that offer stunning views of the coastline and surrounding landscape. And after a day of fun in the sun, visitors can enjoy a beachside barbecue or simply relax and watch the sunset over the ocean.

Overall, Hapuna Beach is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the natural beauty and tranquility of Hawaii’s coastline. Whether you’re a water sports enthusiast or simply want to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, Hapuna Beach has something for everyone.

6. Kailua Beach

Kailua Beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu is famous for its silky, white sand and crystal-clear ocean. It’s a popular site for kiteboarding and windsurfing, as well as swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Because the beach is in a residential area, it is less touristy than some of the island’s other popular beaches. The gentle waves and shallow waters make it a great spot for families to enjoy a day at the beach, and the nearby beach park offers picnic areas, restrooms, and showers for added convenience.

The beach also has a picturesque backdrop of lush, green mountains, adding to its natural beauty. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the shore, take in the stunning views, and even spot sea turtles and dolphins in the water.
For those looking for adventure, Kailua Beach is also a starting point for the renowned Lanikai Pillbox Hike, which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline and surrounding islands.

Kailua Beach, a true gem located on the outskirts of Honolulu on the island of Oahu, offers an incredible mix of relaxation, water sports, and natural beauty, with sighting of green sea turtles and the backdrop of palm trees for all to enjoy.

7. Makena Beach

Makena Beach on the Hawaiian island of Maui is recognized for its golden sand and gorgeous, blue waves. It’s an excellent beach for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, as well as scuba diving and stand-up paddle boarding.

Because the beach is located in a more remote region, it is less congested than some of the island’s other popular beaches. If you wanted to go scuba diving this is the beach for you! Makena Beach is also known for its stunning sunsets, making it a popular spot for evening beach walks or romantic picnics. The beach is surrounded by beautiful cliffs and lush greenery, adding to its picturesque setting. It’s a great place to relax and take in the natural beauty of Maui.

There are facilities at the beach, including restrooms and showers, making it convenient for visitors to spend the whole day enjoying the sun and sand. There are also picnic areas and BBQ pits available for those who want to have a beachside cookout.
Overall, Makena Beach is a must-visit for anyone looking for a peaceful and scenic beach experience on Maui.

Whether you want to relax on the sand, explore the turquoise waters, or simply enjoy the sighting of green sea turtles, Hanalei beach has something to offer everyone. It’s a true gem on the island of Maui and definitely worth a visit.

8. Waimea Bay Beach

Waimea Bay Beach on the island of Oahu is famed for its large surf and lovely golden sand. It’s a popular spot for surfing and bodysurfing, as well as watching the sunset. Because the beach is located in a more remote region, it is less crowded than some of the island’s other popular beaches.

A perfect spot for couples wanting a romantic evening to watch the sunset. The beach is also known for its massive winter waves, which can reach heights of 30 feet or more, making it a haven for experienced surfers looking for an adrenaline rush. For those who prefer calmer waters, the summer months offer much more mellow conditions for swimming and relaxing on the beach.

The surrounding area is also a great place to explore, with hiking trails, lush rainforests, and stunning lookout points offering breathtaking views of the ocean. There are also plenty of food trucks and vendors nearby, serving up delicious local cuisine and refreshing drinks to enjoy while taking in the beauty of the surroundings.

Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, a nature lover, or simply someone looking for a peaceful and scenic beach experience, Waimea Bay Beach has something for everyone. Its stunning natural beauty and dynamic surf make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Oahu.

9. Hanauma Bay Beach

Hanauma Bay Beach on the island of Oahu is recognized for its stunning coral reefs and clear, tranquil waters. It’s a popular snorkeling and swimming destination, as well as a terrific place to admire the sunset. Because the beach is in a marine life conservation region, specific laws and requirements must be observed to help safeguard the marine species.

Visitors to Hanauma Bay Beach are required to watch a short educational video to learn about the marine life in the area and how to minimize their impact on the environment. They must also refrain from touching or standing on the coral reef, as this can harm the fragile ecosystem. Additionally, feeding the fish is prohibited, as it can disrupt their natural behaviors and diets.

To further protect the marine life, fishing and collecting any marine organisms are strictly forbidden. This ensures that the diverse array of fish, sea turtles, and other marine creatures can thrive undisturbed in their natural habitat.

In order to maintain the cleanliness of the beach and ocean, visitors are encouraged to dispose of their trash properly and refrain from using harmful chemicals, such as sunscreen containing oxybenzone, which can be damaging to the coral reefs.

It is important for all visitors to Hanauma Bay Beach to respect these laws and regulations in order to preserve the natural beauty and biodiversity of the area for future generations to enjoy. By doing so, they can contribute to the conservation efforts and help protect the precious marine life that calls Hanauma Bay Beach home.

10. Anini Beach

Anini Beach on the island of Kauai is recognized for its gorgeous white sand and crystal blue waters. It’s a fantastic beach for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing, as well as windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding. Because the beach is located in a more remote region, it is less crowded than some of the island’s other popular beaches.

It’s also an excellent spot to view the sunset and relax in tranquility. If you have never been windsurfing; I suggest you do it! It is a blast! Anini Beach also offers great opportunities for fishing, picnicking, and beachcombing. The shallow, turquoise, reef-protected waters of Kona make it a perfect spot for families with children to enjoy the ocean without worrying about strong currents.

The beach is also dotted with shady ironwood trees, providing a nice escape from the sun for those who need a break.
For those interested in sighting underwater life, Anini Beach has a vibrant and diverse coral reef inhabited by a mix of colorful fish, green sea turtles, and other marine creatures.

Snorkeling here provides an up-close and personal look at the beauty of the ocean world.

Overall, Anini Beach is a stunning and peaceful destination that offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re looking to relax on the shore, take a dip in the clear waters, or try your hand at some water sports, Anini Beach has something for everyone. Plus, the natural beauty of the area and the sense of seclusion make it a truly special place to visit on the island of Kauai.

Summing up Top 10 Beaches In Hawaii

Hawaii is a beach lover’s paradise, with its spectacular beaches, crystal blue oceans, and unlimited options for fun in the sun. There’s a beach in Hawaii for everyone, whether you want to surf the giant waves on Oahu’s North Shore or rest on the beautiful, white sands of Maui’s Kaanapali Beach. So don’t put off packing your swimwear and traveling to the islands to experience the beauty and pleasure of Hawaii’s beaches any longer.

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Tips and Tricks

When Is The Best Time For Swimming, Snorkeling And Surfing?

  • The best months for swimming: Are often during the summer, when the ocean is calm and the water is warm.
  • The best months for snorkeling: Typically summer and early fall, when the water is clear and visibility is high.
  • The best months for surfing: This might vary depending on the beach and degree of experience. Some beaches may be better in the winter because of the larger waves, while others may be better in the summer because of the lesser waves. It’s a good idea to do some research about the beach you’re going to and check the surf forecast.


What Activities Can You Do At The beach?

  • Swimming: While most beaches in Hawaii are excellent for swimming, some may be more suited to families with young children like Waikiki Beach, Oahu; Kaanapali Beach, Maui and Hapuna Beach, Big Island. While others may be better suited for expert swimmers like Banzai Pipeline, Oahu; Jaws, Maui and Waimea Bay, Oahu.
  • Snorkeling: Some beaches in Hawaii, such as Hanauma Bay and Molokini Crater, are well-known for excellent snorkeling. These beaches are ideal for snorkeling due to their crystal clear water and abundance of marine life.
  • Surfing: Hawaii is famous for its surf, and several beaches provide excellent opportunities for both novice and experienced surfers. On Oahu, notable surf places include Waikiki Beach (For Beginners) and Pipeline (For Experts), and on Maui, Honolua Bay (For Experts) and Jaws (For Experts).
  • paddle boarding: Stand-up paddle boarding is a popular hobby in Hawaii, and many beaches offer rental equipment.
  • Hiking: Oahu beaches have hiking trails nearby, such as Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail or Diamond Head Crater Trail. It should be noted that particular paths may have restrictions and even can be closed to the public at specific hours. Before you go, always check trail conditions and get all necessary permits if needed. Hiking in 2024 across the lava strewn landscapes of Hawaii promises to be a unique experience.

Safety Precautions To Take At Each Beach

  • Rip current warnings: Some beaches in Hawaii are more likely to experience rip currents, which can be harmful to swimmers. Before entering the water, check for rip current warnings and be aware of the indicators of a rip current.
  • Dangers to be aware of: Some Hawaiian beaches may have hazards such as sharp coral or rocks. It’s critical to be aware of these dangers and to wear appropriate foot protection, such as reef-safe or water shoes.
  • Sun protection: Because Hawaii’s sun is so intense, it’s critical to use sunscreen and remain hydrated. Be mindful of the UV index and take the appropriate measures.
  • Beach conditions: Always keep an eye on the tide and determine if the beach you’re visiting is safe for swimming or too rough.

It is also a good idea to check with the local beach patrol or lifeguard services and follow their instructions and recommendations.

Places To Stay At By The Beach

Many beaches in Hawaii have hotels nearby, and some even offer beachfront lodgings. It’s a good idea to look at hotels in the region and see how close they are to the beach you want to visit. Check out great Hotels here from our partner!

Vacation Rentals are a popular choice also; There are several stay rental alternatives in Hawaii, such as apartments, condominiums, and homes, that can provide a more homey atmosphere for your vacation.

Many vacation properties are located near or may feature a view of the ocean. Additionally, camping is a budget-friendly option for those who want to be even closer to nature. There are many campgrounds located near the beaches in Hawaii, offering an affordable and adventurous way to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Overall, there are plenty of accommodation choices to suit every traveler’s needs when visiting the beaches in Hawaii. Whether you prefer a luxurious hotel, a cozy vacation rental, or a rustic camping experience, there are options available to make your beach vacation in Hawaii a memorable one.

Do Beaches Have Restaurants, Bars, And Shops?

  • Restaurants: Many beaches in Hawaii feature neighboring restaurants that provide a range of cuisines ranging from traditional Hawaiian meals to foreign fare. It’s a good idea to look into restaurants in the area and see how close they are to the beach you will be visiting.
  • Bars: Some beaches in Hawaii have local bars where you can grab a drink before or after a day spent at the beach.
  • Stores: Some Hawaii beaches have shops nearby that offer beach equipment, souvenirs, and other products. It’s a good idea to look into stores in the surrounding area and see how close they are to the beach you intend to visit. If you plan to visit Hanalei in 2024, it’s a good idea to check out the nearby stores and assess their proximity to the beach.

It’s always a good idea to visit local markets, farmer’s markets, and street vendors, since they may provide insight into local culture and food.

How To Get To The Beach

Many beaches in Hawaii are easily accessible by automobile, and having a map or GPS to get to the beach is advised. If you need to rent a car you can check out some deals through our partner

Now regarding public transit, some Hawaiian beaches may have limited public transit alternatives, such as a bus or shuttle service. Before you go, do some research on public transit possibilities and plan ahead.

A helpful tips is to check to see if there are any parking restrictions or fees, or whether the beach is only accessible by foot or boat. It’s also important to be mindful of the environment when visiting Hawaiian beaches. In 2024, make sure to pack out any trash, be respectful of wildlife like green sea turtles, and avoid damaging coral reefs or other environments, such as lava fields.

Additionally, always be aware of any beach safety guidelines and warnings, such as strong currents or dangerous shore breaks.
Lastly, if you plan on engaging in water activities, make sure to check the local weather and ocean conditions beforehand.

And always remember to follow any posted rules and regulations, such as no swimming or surfing in certain areas. By being prepared and respectful, you can have a safe and enjoyable beach experience in Hawaii.

Tips and advice for first-time visitors to Hawaii

  • What to bring: Bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and beach-appropriate clothing. Bring a beach towel and a waterproof bag for your belongings if you intend to swim or snorkel.
  • What to expect: Hawaii is famous for its beautiful beaches, but it also boasts a tropical climate with high humidity and rain showers on occasion. It’s a good idea to be weather-ready and to have a backup plan in case of bad weather.
  • Getting the Most Out of Your Vacation: Hawaii is a lovely and diverse area with numerous things to do, such as swimming and snorkeling as well as hiking and learning about the local culture. Make the most of your stay in Hawaii by planning ahead of time. You can plan but that does mean you can not be spontaneous! Respect the local culture and traditions, and take the time to learn about the history and customs of the islands. Consider trying local cuisine and participating in traditional activities such as a luau or hula dancing. Additionally, don’t forget to take some time to simply relax and take in the stunning natural beauty that Hawaii has to offer. Whether you’re exploring the lush rainforests, relaxing on the beach, or watching a beautiful sunset, be sure to take the time to appreciate the unique and stunning landscapes that make Hawaii so special. Lastly, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture all the unforgettable memories you’ll make on your trip.


Photo of author


I’m Nick — a traveler and photographer with a knack for shooting the world’s most beautiful places. Over the last decade, I’ve circled the globe, visiting countless countries, to bring home photos that cross language barriers. With fluency in five tongues, I believe in the power of communication to unlock culture. My travel blog, Traveling Kangaroo (yes, it’s a real animal!), is here to inspire you to take your own leap around this rock. I’ll continue to post about my journeys as I explore everything our world has to offer — one adventure at a time.