20 Best Beaches in Hawaii: A Tropical Dream

When you think of Hawaii, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Beaches, right? 

But not just any beaches. 

We’re talking about some of the best, most stunning beaches on the planet.

So grab your sunglasses and sunscreen, because we’re about to embark on a journey through the 20 best beaches in Hawaii.

Prepare to be dazzled.

1. Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Waikiki Beach is where it all starts. It’s like the Times Square of Hawaiian beaches.

This iconic stretch of white sand is brimming with activities, people, and, of course, the legendary surf culture.

Traveler’s Tip: Enjoy a surf lesson and ride the waves like a pro!

2. Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Once a volcanic crater, Hanauma Bay is now a marine life conservation area and underwater park, making it a paradise for snorkelers.

Traveler’s Tip: Arrive early to avoid the crowds, and don’t forget to bring your own snorkel gear!

3. Sunset Beach, Oahu

As the name suggests, Sunset Beach is the place to catch one of the most spectacular sunsets in Hawaii.

But that’s not all, this beach is a big-wave surfing spot in the winter.

Traveler’s Tip: Take a long, romantic walk along the shore at sunset. You won’t regret it!

4. Lanikai Beach, Oahu

Lanikai, meaning ‘heavenly ocean’, lives up to its name with its clear, turquoise waters and pristine sands.

It’s a perfect spot for kayaking and paddleboarding.

Traveler’s Tip: Take a kayak to the nearby Mokulua Islands for an extra dash of adventure.

5. Poipu Beach, Kauai

With a natural ocean wading pool, Poipu Beach is perfect for families with small children.

It’s also a great spot for snorkeling and spotting sea turtles.

Traveler’s Tip: Don’t miss the chance to spot Hawaiian Monk Seals basking on the sand!

6. Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Hanalei Bay’s two-mile long crescent-shaped beach, with its stunning mountain backdrop, is postcard-perfect.

Whether it’s surfing, paddleboarding, or just laying back and enjoying the view, this beach has it all.

Traveler’s Tip: Visit the nearby Hanalei town to experience the local culture and cuisine.

7. Anini Beach, Kauai

Anini Beach is a less crowded, off-the-beaten-path kind of beach.

With its long stretch of white sand and calm, clear waters, it’s the perfect spot for a quiet, relaxing day.

Traveler’s Tip: This beach is great for windsurfing and kitesurfing.

8. Napili Bay, Maui

Napili Bay, with its golden sand and turquoise waters, is a snorkeling hotspot.

It’s also one of the best places to spot Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles.

Traveler’s Tip: Bring your underwater camera, you’ll want to capture the vibrant marine life!

9. Kaanapali Beach, Maui

Kaanapali Beach is a bustling, action-packed beach, offering everything from cliff diving ceremonies to fantastic shopping and dining options nearby.

Traveler’s Tip: Don’t miss the sunset cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock.

10. Makena Beach, Maui

Makena Beach, also known as ‘Big Beach’, is an untouched wilderness.

With golden sands and crystal-clear waters, it’s a perfect place to simply chill and soak up the sun.

Traveler’s Tip: Beware of the powerful shorebreak, it’s not suitable for novice swimmers.

11. Wailea Beach, Maui

Wailea Beach is the epitome of luxury, lined with high-end resorts.

The calm waters are perfect for swimming, and the sandy bottom is a delight for your feet.

Traveler’s Tip: Try out paddleboarding here. The calm waters make it a delightful experience.

12. Hapuna Beach, Big Island

Hapuna Beach, one of Big Island’s finest, is a long stretch of sandy paradise.

It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, snorkeling, and picnicking.

Traveler’s Tip: If you’re visiting in winter, watch out for strong currents and waves.

13. Mauna Kea Beach, Big Island

Mauna Kea Beach is perfect for families.

The clear, calm waters are great for swimming and snorkeling.

And the white sandy beach is perfect for building sandcastles!

Traveler’s Tip: Visit early, as the public parking spaces are limited.

14. Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Big Island

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is famed for its jet-black sands, a result of lava cooling in the ocean.

It’s also a frequent hangout spot for sea turtles.

Traveler’s Tip: Do not touch or disturb the sea turtles; it’s against local law.

15. Papakōlea Green Sand Beach, Big Island

One of the only four green sand beaches in the world, Papakōlea is a sight to behold.

The green hue comes from the mineral olivine, found in the enclosing volcanic cone.

Traveler’s Tip: It’s a strenuous hike to the beach. Wear sturdy shoes and carry lots of water.

16. Kailua Beach, Oahu

With powdery soft sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters, Kailua Beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

It’s great for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Traveler’s Tip: Rent a kayak and paddle to the nearby Popoia Island.

17. Pupukea (Sharks Cove), Oahu

Although it’s named Sharks Cove, don’t worry, you’re unlikely to encounter any sharks here.

This marine life conservation district is a snorkeler’s dream.

Traveler’s Tip: Wear water shoes to protect your feet from the sharp rocks and corals.

18. Baldwin Beach Park, Maui

Baldwin Beach Park, with its relaxed vibe, is a favorite among locals.

The long sandy beach is perfect for a game of beach volleyball or frisbee.

Traveler’s Tip: Check out the “Baby Baldwin” on the west end, a sheltered area great for little ones.

19. Ho’okipa Beach Park, Maui

Ho’okipa Beach Park is renowned as the windsurfing capital of the world.

It’s also a great spot to watch sea turtles, especially in the afternoon.

Traveler’s Tip: Unless you’re an expert surfer or windsurfer, it’s best to stay on the beach and enjoy the spectacle.

20. Polihale State Park, Kauai

Finally, Polihale State Park, the longest stretch of beach in Hawaii.

It’s remote and hard to reach, but the reward is an almost-deserted beach with fantastic views of the Na Pali cliffs.

Traveler’s Tip: A 4WD is recommended to get here, and don’t forget to pack all your necessities.

So, there you have it. From black sand to green sand, from bustling beach parks to secluded shores, Hawaii offers a beach for every mood and moment.

Which one are you visiting first?

David Kingston

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