The state of Hawaii in the USA has eight main islands that are home to beaches of every size, shape, and colour. From wide, calm expanses that are perfect for families to tiny, secluded coves for honeymooning couples, and even red, white, black, and green sandy stretches that provide the ultimate photo-op for Instagram—Hawaii has everything you need for a beach vacation. We have shortlisted the best beaches in Hawaii that are among the most postcard-perfect spots in the world. So, sip your Mai Tais, gobble up fresh poke, enjoy the laid-back surf culture, and get a slice of some true Hawaiian paradise here.
Some Of The Most Spectacular Beaches In Hawaii:
1. Most Famous Black Sand Beach Of Hawaii: Punalu’u Black Sand Beach
The black sand beach of Punalu’u is located on the southwestern side of Big island and is one of nature’s rarest wonders. Stretching across the island’s shores, this magnificent Hawaiian beach was formed when lava from two of the world’s most active volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea spilled into the ocean and quickly cooled, breaking into minuscule pieces that led to a jet-black coastline. The shore here is a bit rocky, so proceed into the water with caution. The beach might not be ideal for swimming, but is loved by surfers and is one of the best beaches in Hawaii. The Punaluu Black Sand Beach is home to many sea turtles along with the endangered Hawksbill turtles that often come right up to the shore; but do remember that in Hawaii touching sea turtles is illegal. So, make sure to keep a distance of at least 15 feet from them. The beach is also known for its natural freshwater wading pool at the far end which is good for rinsing off after snorkeling with endangered turtles.
2. Honolulu’s Most Popular Beach: Waikiki Beach
This calm, golden, crescent-shaped stretch of sand on the island of Oahu was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty. This bustling tourist destination has become famous with the tourist crowd since its first hotel, the Moana Surfrider, opened in 1901. Today, it is home to international resorts, hotels, and restaurants. The name Waikiki means ‘sprouting waters’ which can be seen in the way this vibrant stretch of sand and surf attracts surfers all thanks to its consistent, gentle waves. With the iconic Diamond Head Mountain looming in the distance, the beach is packed with beachgoers sunning on the golden sands, chiselled surfers jostling over the glassy waves, and retirees gathering around ukulele players. At this Hawaiian beach, visit the statue of Hawaiian hero Duke Kahanamoku, who is regarded as the father of modern surfing, and Kalakaua Ave where shops offer everything from cheap shell jewelry to top-shelf sushi or pricey handbags.
3. One Of The Largest Beaches In Maui: Makena Beach
Nearly 1.5 miles long and 100 feet wide, Makena, Maui, or Big Beach as the locals like to call it, is backed by the lush, 165-acre Makena State Park and sheltered by low lava cliffs. It is one of the largest beaches in Maui and is where sunbathers soak up rays, and body boarders charge the waves. As this golden sand paradise is flanked with lava rocks, many people say that the sunset views here are amazing. While this breathtaking beach is completely undeveloped, it’s the perfect place for everyone who wants to avoid all the hustle and bustle of other crowded beaches. However, be warned: Makena beach is not suitable for inexperienced swimmers due to its dangerous shore breaks. So unless you’re a surfer or a body boarder, we recommend wading in the shallows or simply relaxing on the sand and enjoying impressive views of the tiny island of Molokini.
4. Largest Bay In Kauai: Hanalei Bay
Hanalei Bay is located on the north Shore of Kauai Island which is known as the Garden Island of Hawaii. It is backed by 4,000-foot emerald mountains and offers a number of water activities such as paddle boarding, swimming, and kayaking. Shaped like a heart, Hanalei Bay technically has several beach parks, rolled into one magnificent two-mile swath that has drawn people to her amazing sand, beautiful waters, and panoramic views. It is the largest bay of the island, and in winter attracts large crowds of surfers. The gold-sand beach on the Na Pali coast called Hanalei Bay beach has tranquil waters during summer months, hence is perfect for swimming. Don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the picturesque Hanalei pier that stretches out into the water offering stunning views of the Na Pali mountains and sailboats moored out in the distance.
5. Three Mile Beach: Papohaku Beach
Molokai island receives far fewer visitors as compared to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Big Island. Papohaku Beach is located on the island’s western coast and is one of the largest white sand stretches in the state. One of the top beaches in Hawaii, Papohaku beach offers three miles of plush sand and turquoise-blue water, and on a clear day, views of Oahu across the channel. This golden sand beach is barely visited, thanks to its location on Molokai, southeast of Honolulu. Papohaku Beach feels like a kind of utopia, completely undiscovered and untouched by time. It’s the largest beach on Molokai and is backed by rolling dunes on one side and pounding surf on the other. The powdery white sands of this ultra wide beach are sandwiched between a dense forest of Kiawe trees and glassy ocean. The sands cover a whopping 10 acres but the island is almost always deserted. There is parking, picnic tables, and bathrooms available, however there are no lifeguards or other facilities. Usually, winter months are calm for swimming and summer months for snorkelling.
6. One Of The Best Beaches On Maui: Kaanapali Beach
Located on Maui’s west shore, Kaanapali Beach stretches for 3 miles between the Hyatt Regency Maui to the south and Sheraton Maui to the north. The beach offers white sand and clear turquoise waters that host annual canoe races in June and the cliff diving ceremony off Pu’u Keka’a or Black Rock that is held at sunset to re-enact a feat accomplished by Maui’s King Kahekili. This gorgeous beach is part of Hawaii’s first planned resort community and is one of the top beaches in Hawaii. It is also home to many high-end resorts and luxurious condos in the area. At the beach, you’ll find excellent shopping centres, a number of restaurants, and two championship golf courses.
7. One Of The Best Oahu Beaches: Lanikai Beach
Though it’s only a half-mile long, Lanikai is a beach oasis noted for serving one of the best sunrises on Oahu island. The beach is famous for its sparkling sand, swaying palm trees, lush tropical plants and endless sunshine. The name of the beach Lanikai literally translates to ‘heavenly sea’ and is one of Hawaii’s most scenic beaches. Lanakai is surrounded by luxurious villas and its shore is protected by a nearby coral reef, which keeps the surf relatively calm and the water a deep turquoise or green. Attracting a high number of both tourists and locals, Lanikai Beach is easily accessible to visitors thanks to the state law that requires direct beach access every 350 meters. It is one of the few beaches in Hawaii that don’t have shore breaking waves and thus its calm waters are perfect for swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking, as well as windsurfing and sailing on windier days. While visiting the beach, you can also rent a kayak to visit the nearby twin islands of Mokumanu and Mokulua, both noted bird sanctuaries.
8. Much Less Rugged Than Some Of Maui’s Other Beaches: Wailea Beach
Protected by black lava points on both sides, Wailea Beach faces some of Maui’s most impressive resorts—the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, the Andaz Wailea, and the Grand Wailea. It is located on Maui’s southwestern coast and lined with tall palm trees and offers views of the neighboring islands of Kahoolawe and Lanai. While the beach is known for all the glitz and glamour, its silvery sands remain immaculate and its emerald waters clear and uncrowded. This amazing beach is one of the best beaches in Hawaii and also has stunning views over the Molokini Crater. It’s an excellent spot to watch whales during winter months (November through April). The waters here are gentle enough for kids and you can also try swimming or snorkelling. Just rent equipment from nearby shops and you are good to go.
9. Longest Beach On Lanai: Polihua Beach
This two-mile stretch along Lanai Island’s northeastern shore, is accessible by a four-wheel drive vehicle from Lanai City. Located just across the channel from Molokai, Polihua Beach is all about privacy and relaxation. It is the longest beach on the island and offers you unmatched views of Hawaii. It is one of the best beaches in Hawaii and you can sunbathe, picnic, and surf here. You can’t swim here due to the strong currents and the lack of protective offshore reefs. The beach also has no lifeguards or facilities. That being said, it’s the perfect secluded spot on the tiny island of Lanai, for a little privacy and a long walk. You can see visiting honu (green sea turtles) all year-round and during winter, you can also spot humpback whales making their way across Kalohi Channel.
10. One Of Big Island’s Most Picturesque White Sand Beaches: Kauna’oa Beach
Crescent-shaped Kauna’oa Beach is also called the Mauna Kea Beach and is one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in Hawaii. This sugar soft beach is an ideal oasis for visitors seeking pristine sands and serenity. The legendary Mauna Kea Resort was set here at this quarter-mile-long beach by ecotourism pioneer Laurance Rockefeller. The beach is very private, and kept clean by the hotel. However, the visitors not staying at the resort can still enjoy this tropical paradise, just with a few restrictions. The beach’s 78-degree water provides the perfect respite from the sand and draws couples and families to Big Island. Kauna’oa Beach is full of healthy coral and fish life, therefore you can rent snorkeling equipment and admire two small coral reefs on each side of the beach along with tropical fish and sea turtles.
Escape to Paradise And Tour A Variety Of Beaches Of Hawaii
The multi-island itinerary of Hawaii offers the expected luxury of a Hawaiian getaway combined with the relaxation desired in a vacation. The state’s tropical oases give you swirling 30-foot waves that every surfer dreams of, tranquil turquoise waters to dip your feet in with the kids, and a rainbow tapestry of coloured sand. While all of the beaches in Hawaii are public, do keep in mind that you shouldn’t take anything from the beaches such as stones or sand. It is kapu, Hawaiian for forbidden. It is believed that the volcanic goddess Pele doesn’t like her property stolen. Enjoy the state’s superlative coastline through these beaches and let us know all your experiences below.