A trip to the Hawaiian Islands means spending time soaking in the sun. When you’re visiting one of the best beaches in Hawaii, prepare yourself for unbeatable views and weather, unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
After all, it isn’t called Paradise for nothing. And as travel experts, you can bet that we’ve found the best beaches in Hawaii to make your trip unforgettable. Read on to see our top picks and why we love each.
The 24 Best Beaches in Hawaii
Located in the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands became a state in 1959. Before Hawaii was ever part of the United States, it was already a tropical destination for the rich and famous.
And today, it’s still a stunningly popular tourist stop. One of the biggest draws in Hawaii are the beaches. From Molokai to Maui, the eight islands of Hawaii sport some of the most beautiful beaches in the Western Hemisphere.
With almost 800 miles of coastline, it’s no wonder that beaches bring visitors year in and year out.
Picking the right one can feel a little daunting. This comprehensive list will help you make an informed decision before finally booking your dream vacation.
1. Haleiwa Beach Park (Oahu)
Hidden in a grove of trees, Haleiwa Beach is a fantastic destination to take the family for a day on the ocean. Lilacs surround the park, ensuring a constantly welcoming fragrance for all the surfers and sunbathers who make their way to the beach.
The beach has all the amenities you need, including a picnic area, restrooms, showers, and a bus stop.
2. Waikiki (Oahu)
Arguably one of Hawaii’s most famous beaches, Waikiki is the traditional gathering ground for most of the hotels that you’ll find on Oahu. Located in Honolulu, the beach welcomes visitors worldwide every year who make Waikiki the best vacation spot around.
Diamond Head graces the background of the beach as surfers, anglers, swimmers, and sunbathers claim their spot in the sand.
3. Papohaku Beach Park (Molokai)
Sometimes called the Three Mile Beach, Papohaku is one of Molokai’s finest attractions. It’s also one of the most extensive white sand beaches in the Hawaiian Islands. Thanks to its beauty and numerous amenities, it attracts new visitors regularly.
You can camp, surf, fish, or just sit in the sand at Papohaku. It’s a quieter beach, so you might enjoy a more relaxed vacation if you make this your home base.
4. Makena Beach State Park (Maui)
Makena Beach is a wildland beach park with extensive plant life surrounding the park and a large white sand beach open to the world for swimming, snorkeling, and fishing.
While there’s no drinking water nearby, restrooms and picnic tables are available. There are also nearby concession stands that make a day at the beach a little easier to plan.
5. Waimea Bay Beach Park (Oahu)
If you want to catch some of the best waves in Hawaii, then Waimea Bay Beach Park on Oahu is your place. Famous for water sports of all kinds, the 30-foot waves that crash on the shore make this one of the most stunning beaches on the island. The water is calmer and better for swimming and snorkeling in the summertime.
6. Kamakahonu Bay (Hawaii)
Situated in North Kona by the historic village of Kailua, Kamakahonu Bay is one of the go-to spots on the Big Island for water sports like kayaking, paddle boarding, and surf skiing.
You can even rent the equipment you didn’t want to bring on vacation. The Big Island is a great place to soak up the sun, and the beach at Kamakahonu Bay is perfect for that.
7. Kawili Beach (Molokai)
You can swim in the summer at this long white sand beach. Situated in an isolated bay, you’ll find yourself enjoying a bit of solitude. There are picnic tables and restrooms available for all visitors.
Kawili is one of two beaches that makes up Halawa Beach Park. The most impressive part of Kawili Beach is the incredible view that extends out past the shoreline.
8. Haena Beach Park (Kauai)
Haena Beach is part of the Haena State Park on the north shore of Kauai. While you can spend days exploring the park, you can also devote your time to the beach.
Water sports are prevalent at Haena Beach. Everything from shore fishing to swimming happens here. A shuttle service can get you around affordably, or you can park nearby for a small fee.
9. Kapukahehu Beach (Molokai)
Swimming in Molokai is one of those things you simply must do when you visit Hawaii. And Kapukahehu Beach is the place to make that dream come true.
Sometimes called Dixie Maru beach, this is a small spot that isn’t bustling like other Molokai beaches. The shelter of the cove makes it more secluded, giving you the chance to enjoy a calming day in the sand.
10. Sunset Beach (Oahu)
Sunset Beach oozes romance and majestic beauty. Arguably one of the best spots on Oahu, Sunset Beach comes with a lot of promise. You can visit the beach all year and enjoy the sights. Sometimes you’ll see surfers catching waves.
Sometimes there will be snorkeling happening all over. But there will always be a stunning sunset to watch over the Pacific Ocean.
11. Hulopoe Beach Park (Lanai)
Lanai doesn’t always get lots of credit, but it’s a stunning part of the Hawaiian Islands. And Hulopoe Beach Park is one of its standout features.
The beach comes with sweeping views, a crescent-shaped shoreline, and some of the most awe-inspiring snorkeling in the state. Missing out on Hulopoe Beach would be a huge mistake.
12. Kee Beach (Kauai)
When you’ve driven as far as possible on the north shore of Kauai, you’ll run into Kee Beach. Kee Beach is another excellent spot for snorkeling with a serene shoreline and stunning scenery.
There’s a lagoon, trails for hiking, and plenty of opportunities for bathing in the sunshine. A lifeguard station sits nearby, ensuring that you’re never alone.
13. Carlsmith Beach Park (Hawaii)
You’ll find Carlsmith Beach Park, otherwise known as the Four Mile Beach, back on the Big Island. It’s a great spot for families and singles alike, with plenty of water sports to keep you occupied.
If you don’t feel like hopping in the water, you can always find a nice shaded spot to sit and enjoy the views. And you might get lucky and see the Green Hawaiian Sea Turtle swimming around while you’re there!
14. Polo Beach (Maui)
One of Maui’s best-kept secrets is Polo Beach, a charming little spot on the southern coastline. It’s flatter than other beaches, and is a lovely spot for swimming and a picnic.
You can drive to Polo Beach or walk there from almost anywhere on the island. There are plenty of nearby rentals, so you can get into some fun water sports while you’re visiting.
15. Salt Pond Beach Park (Kauai)
Jumping back to Kauai, you’ll find Salt Pond Beach Park. Salt Pond is an excellent spot for families of all sizes since it’s not as busy as other beaches. The white sand is gentle on the skin and great for relaxing in the sunshine.
There are picnic shelters and sweeping views. With a lifeguard tower nearby, you won’t have to worry too much about your kids playing in the water while enjoying the sun shining down on you.
16. Kealia Beach Park (Kauai)
Kealia Beach Park is another white sand beach on Kauai that’s worth your time. Situated on what’s known as the Coconut Coast, Kealia is a fantastic choice for swimming and surfing.
You’ll find plenty of necessary amenities at Kealia, including a lifeguard station, showers, restrooms, and picnic tables. This small beach is one of the popular surfing destinations on Kauai.
17. Polihua Beach (Lanai)
Polihua Beach stretches for about a mile and a half, making it the longest white sand beach on the island of Lanai. It’s a beautiful spot to spend the day, although the waves might be rough for surfing.
18. Leleiwi Beach Park (Hawaii)
On the Big Island of Hawaii, Leleiwi Beach Park boasts a unique shoreline that hosts water features like natural ponds, coves, and inlets.
The natural lava rock pools make Leleiwi Beach one of the more popular destinations for anyone staying in Hilo. Leleiwi is known for having a small portion of the Big Island’s famous black sand beaches.
19. D.T. Fleming Beach Park (Maui)
If you’re a big surfing fan, you’ll be pleased with the waves at D.T. Fleming Beach Park. With full facilities and plenty of helpful amenities, you’ve got everything you need here. The beach is one of Maui’s go-to surfing spots, and its size makes it easy for the multitudes of visitors who stop by every year.
20. Keawaula Beach (Oahu)
Otherwise known as Yokohama Bay, Keawaula Beach is one of Oahu’s secluded beaches that is more of a local favorite than a big tourist spot. With strong winds and high surf, it’s not ideal for surfing or swimming. But strolling the beach is always a pleasant experience.
21. Anini Beach Park (Kauai)
Anini Beach is one of Kauai’s quieter beach destinations, but it is stunning nonetheless. There’s a campground nearby for anyone looking to stay overnight, and the beach provides plenty of space for all visitors.
22. Kumimi Beach Park (Molokai)
Molokai is not Hawaii’s most popular destination, but it does offer some of the best beaches in the area. Kumini Beach is a great place for snorkeling and swimming. With calm, clear currents, you can relax in the water just as easily as you can on the pristine sand.
23. Hapuna Beach Park (Hawaii)
Another captivating spot on the Big Island is Hapuna Beach. This is the island’s largest white-sand beach and is easily one of the most visited beaches on the Big Island.
You can do almost anything water-related at Hapuna, and nearby facilities make it easy to spend the day there. Even cabins are available for rent if you decide to make it a true beach vacation.
24. Poipu Beach Park (Kauai)
And finally, we come to Poipu on Kauai. Poipu is a well-regarded beach destination for tourists and visitors, boasting some of the finest stretches of sand on the island. You might get lucky and see one of Hawaii’s famous monk seals while you’re here!
Things to Consider
There’s nothing as magical as a tropical destination. Traveling to Hawaii is no small feat, but enjoying the sunswept beaches and the sick surf makes the whole experience worthwhile.
When you’re picking a beach to visit in Hawaii, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind:
- What time of year are you going?
- Do you need any permit to enter your desired beach?
- Are you interested in water sports?
- How many people are you taking with you?
- Do you want to drive to different beaches or stick close to your hotel?
- What facilities are available for visitors?
Taking these questions into account will help you narrow your decision and find the perfect beach for your tropical vacation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some additional questions to consider before booking your flight to Hawaii.
What is the most popular Hawaiian beach?
Waikiki Beach is often considered Hawaii’s most popular beach. It’s also well-known around the world.
Where can I find clear water in Hawaii?
The Big Island of Hawaii is a great spot for clear water. Much of the coastline overlooks some of the most transparent water on all the islands.
Which Hawaiian island has the best views?
According to many Hawaii experts, the prettiest island in the Hawaiian chain is Kauai. And the beaches there are equally incredible.
Where can I find blue water in Hawaii?
While the Big Island has the clearest water, Oahu is believed to offer some of the bluest water in the island chain.
Which Hawaiian island is quietest?
Molokai is often the least-visited island in the Hawaiin chain. Compared to others, it attracts only 60,000 visitors each year.
So, What’s the Best Beach in Hawaii?
Finding the best beach in Hawaii is no easy task. With so many stunning options, you might feel like it’s impossible. But the truth is, every beach in Hawaii is about as good as it gets. Each has something to offer, from surfing at Waikiki to the lava rock pools of Leleiwi. After all, they don’t call Hawaii paradise for nothing.