Hawaii’s beaches are some of the most spectacular in the world. Whether you’re looking for a secluded hideaway or an adventure-filled escape, Hawaii’s beaches have something for everyone.
In this article, we’ll go over the reasons why you should consider visiting Hawaiian beaches.
- Crystal clear waters and warm temperatures – Hawaii has arguably the most beautiful and inviting warm water beaches that you can find anywhere in America. Such locations include: Lanikai Beach and Haunama Bay on Oahu, Polihale Beach on Kauai, Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park on Maui as well as Hapuna Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. Many will agree that there are no beautiful beach areas like these on the US mainland.
- Diverse marine life – In Hawaii, there are about 25% endemic fish species. They are unique to Hawaii and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Here, you can find fish like Milletseed butterflyfish and saddle wrasse, as well as invertebrates like reticulated cowry, which is frequently found near rocky shorelines, coral reefs, green turtles, humpback whales, spinner dolphins (this species is rather small, growing from four to seven feet and weighing between 100 and 165 pounds), hawaiian monk seals, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world, sharks, and stingrays.
- Beautiful sunsets – Hawaii is a place where you can experience a number of breathtaking sunsets each day. Ever heard of Sunset Beach? Although the huge winter waves at this Oahu beach are well-known, Sunset Beach got its name from the state’s legendary sunsets. While standing on the beach watching the sun sink into the water is probably at the top of your list of things to do, there are many other fantastic locations to see the sunset, such as from atop a volcano or from a seat with a view of the water. On the island of Maui, which is the second-largest of the islands in the state of Hawaii, you’ll no doubt experience your fair share of beach sunsets. There, you will find Haleakala National Park, where you can visit the 10,000-foot summit of Haleakal, which offers a variety of hiking trails to explore and amazing aerial views of the island and the setting sun to the west. There is even more intrigue when the summit is occasionally visible above the clouds.
- Aloha Spirit – Hawaii is inhabited by a diverse population of locals who uphold the Aloha Spirit as well as the state’s distinctive culture and traditions. Join a hula lesson, drum circle, or even a traditional Hawaiian cooking class with the goal of “traveling authentically” by collaborating with neighborhood groups!
- Postcard-worthy scenery – With its white sand beaches and clear blue waters, Hawaii’s stunning beachscapes are perfect for creating stunning postcard-worthy memories. You can pick Sherwood Beach, one of the top Oahu Instagram locations, as one of your options of places to go. Here, you will find the softest, silkiest white sand you could hope for, as well as distant mountainscapes and stunning turquoise water. Or, you can choose the Lanikia beach in Kahao, a neighborhood in the town of Kailua, which is situated on the windward (the direction from which the wind is blowing) coast of Oahu, Hawaii. It is the most beautiful beach on all of Oahu, and possibly the best beach in all of Hawaii. Here, palm trees sway in the breeze as you stand in the clearest, warmest water you can imagine.
- Numerous beach activities – For adventure seekers, the Hawaiian beaches offer a variety of activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, kayaking and surfing. Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, known for big wave surfing during the winter season, is considered one of the longest stretches of rideable surf in the world. The wide, sandy beach provides families a great place to play in the sand. The famous Maui beach is known for its daily cliff diving ceremony, where thrill-seekers can jump off 16-foot Puu Kekaa (Black Rock), paying tribute to Maui’s last independent king, King Kahekili.
- Delicious Local Cuisine – As well as offering a stunning ocean view, perfect waves and beach activities, Hawaiian beaches are also great places to enjoy local food like Hawaiian poke (a fish salad) and plate lunches (rice, macaroni salad, and meat). At Sunset Beach, you can check out beachside snack shacks where you can buy varieties of smoothies while Maui boasts local food trucks that serve fresh Hawaiian mahi-mahi poke bowls, fresh fish tacos, and shave ice (Hawaii’s famous frozen dessert, which is now a part of the Islands’ farm-to-table movement, is made by shaving a block of ice and flavoring it with syrup and other sweet ingredients.).
- Hawaii beach cultural events and festivals – Hawaii’s beaches also host a number of cultural events throughout the year, such as the traditional hula dancing, ukulele performances, firework shows shell-making demonstrations, World Fireknife Championship at Waikiki Beach, the Coconut Festival held at Kapaa Beach Park, the annual Maui Steel Guitar Festival which celebrates the unique sounds of Hawaiian music and the Hana Maui Makahiki Festival, a three-day event that takes place at Kaanapali Beach each November and features Hawaiian arts and crafts, music, hula performances, food booths and more.
- Shopping opportunities- While the majority of us visit Hawaii for the amazing natural experiences, no trip is complete without a few trinkets. You can bring your Hawaiian memories home with you with locally made jewelry, lei necklaces, koa wood carvings, and of course, a traditional Hawaiian shirt. Additionally, tourists like buying locally made goods like macadamia nuts, coconut oil, and Kona coffee because they don’t taste the same as those that are grown on the mainland.
- Vibrant Nightlife- Oahu, Honolulu in particular, boasts some of the best nightlife of all the Hawaiian islands. Regardless of preference, there is something to please every palate, from cheeky Tiki Bars to live music at posh lounges to music-filled nightclubs.
Top Ten Beaches in Hawaii
The following are the top ten beaches in Hawaii that you ought to visit while on vacation:
1. Tunnels Beach, Kauai
Makua Beach, also known as Tunnels Beach, is the best beach in the island chain’s many beautiful beaches. Tunnels is the stereotypical image of a Hawaiian beach, with its clear waters and the iconic “Bali Hai” cliff in the distance. It is also one of the best snorkeling locations in Kauai when the ocean is calm. This is in addition to taking long strolls with the soft sand melting between your toes, swimming, and, of course, spending hours just admiring the amazing views.
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2. Red Sand Beach, Maui
One of Hawaii’s most beautiful drives, the protected beach is protected by sharp pinnacles that rise out of the shallow water just a few meters offshore and form a small swimming-safe area. Boasting a unique, vibrant red sand that visitors won’t find elsewhere in the world, the Red Sand Beach is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch or to simply walk around before returning to the scenic road. This beach is also an ideal spot for snorkeling, as the clear waters surrounding the sharp pinnacles create a colorful underwater landscape filled with fish and other marine life.
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3. Green Sand Beach, The Big Island
Papakolea Beach, also known as Green Sand Beach, is an unusual sight given that the sand on Big Island beaches is typically either white, black, or a combination of the two. Papakolea, however, receives its distinctive color from finely eroded sand from local, rare volcanic rocks, giving tourists a reason to travel far to reach it in the South Point peninsula. Best visited on a clear day at noon when the sun shines directly above the beach, the Green Sand Beach is accessible via a lovely and short coastal hike.
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4. Waimea Bay, Oahu
Waimea Bay is one of the island’s most well-known big-wave surfing beaches, located along Oahu’s striking, less-populated north shore. The pro surfers flock to the swells during the winter months, which are from November to February. Meanwhile, during the summer months, the waves are much calmer, making it ideal for novice surfers and beachgoers who want to enjoy the pristine sandy beach. Waimea Bay is also the site of some of Hawaii’s most prestigious surfing competitions, such as the Vans Triple Crown.
5. Kiholo Bay, The Big Island
Kiholo Bay is not only one of the Big Island’s best black sand beaches, but it is yet another spot on the sunny Kona Coast where sightings of green sea turtles are almost guaranteed. Surprisingly, this long stretch of fine volcanic sand is not that frequented by tourists, with paths heading south from the parking lot to secluded ponds and north along the beach to the turtle’s favorite chill-out spots in and around a freshwater pond. Tourists are encouraged to bring a camera, as the scenic view of the bay and secluded ponds is perfect for capturing stunning photographs.
6. Big Beach, Maui
With more than a mile of fine golden powder that radiates in the South Maui sun, Oneloa, the most well-known beach in Maui, is undeniably deserving of its name, which means “long sand” in both Hawaiian and English. Big Beach is a real stunner due to its intense sand and watercolors, despite the absence of palm trees. Although the water is frequently too rough for swimming, the beach draws lots of bodysurfers who try to cruise its enormous near-shore breaks.
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7. Kalapaki Bay, Kauai
Kalapaki Bay, a charming harbor on Kauai’s east coast, is a fun destination for tourists of all ages and interests. While children can go boogie boarding and surfing, adults can try their hand at sailing or canoeing. The beach itself is a lovely one with plenty of sand, so there’s also the option to just relax and take in the breath-taking views and sunset. Locals like to come here to play volleyball. On the bayside are also a number of other waterfront restaurants, including the Marriott Kauai Beach Club, which all serve delectable lunch fare.
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8. Lanikai Beach, Oahu
Visitors may mistake Lanikai, which means “heavenly ocean,” for a South Pacific beach due to the island’s exceptionally white sand and clear blue waters. Kayakers as well as beachgoers of all ages are drawn to the calm lagoon that fronts Lanikai and its more well-known sister down the road, Waimea Beach. Thanks to several tiny openings between million-dollar homes, the beach is now more accessible than it once was.
9. Mahai’ula Beach, The Big Island
Mahai’ula Beach, another Big Island treasure from the Kona Coast, is a part of the magnificent Kekaha Kai State Park, which has a number of other stunning beaches. With its mixture of salt and pepper sand, numerous palm trees, stunning azure waters, and sea turtles lounging close to the sloping shoreline, Mahai’ula can be compared to a typical tropical beach. However, Mahai’ula Beach’s “X-factor” is its isolation, which can only be attained by “those who know” via a strenuous hike over an exposed lava field or by driving a few miles on a rough unpaved road (totally doable with a 2WD).
10. Secret Beach, Kauai
This beach, which can be found in Kalihiwai and Klauea on the north shore of the island of Kauai, Hawaii, is popular with locals because of its size, seclusion, and beauty. The waves at this tiny cove are spectacular for body surfing, and it is bordered by two lovely cliffs. Kids will enjoy the lagoon’s shallow freshwater as well. With its secluded and relaxed atmosphere, Kalihiwai Beach is a perfect getaway spot and a paradise for any beachgoer looking for an adventure.
What makes Hawaii worth visiting? Well, you ought to if you trust the works of renowned American author Mark Twain. Many visitors to the Aloha State will frequently concur with his description of the Hawaiian Islands as “the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean.” Nevertheless, many visitors will always want to return to Hawaii because of its uniqueness. With over 750 miles of shoreline and over 400 named beaches, all of which are public beaches, you’re sure to find a beach in Hawaii that’s perfect for you and your family.