Soak Up the Sun: Hawaii's 10 Best Beaches

By: Angela Ayles

Hawaii is known the world over for its beautiful beaches, and everyone has their own idea of the perfect Hawaiian beach. Some imagine beaches with posh hotels and lively crowds while others dream of tranquil seclusion and tropical beauty. No matter what type of beach is preferred, it can be found on Hawaii. From great family destinations to ideal spots for diving and water sports, here are the following ten best beaches in Hawaii.


1. Hanalei Bay Beach, Kauai

Hanalei Bay is the beach everyone imagines when they think of Hawaiian beaches. This two-mile stretch of sugar white sand and blue-green water is hugged by peaceful rivers, awe-inspiring waterfalls, vibrant flowers and emerald green mountains cloaked in misty clouds. With a large, nearby coral reef, Hanalei offers a wide array of water activities ranging from snorkeling to swimming, windsurfing and boating.

Hanalei Bay Beach, Kauai

2. Kaanapali, Maui

Featuring a huge lava rock dividing it in two sections, Kaanapali Beach is a popular beach because it offers so much for everyone from exclusive resorts to luxurious spas and plenty of shopping and restaurant choices. Known for its ideal snorkeling and scuba diving conditions, this beach also offers a wide selection of other water recreation including fishing, sailing, kayaking, boat tours and more.

Kaanapali, Maui

3. Lanikai Beach, Oahu

A favorite among both locals and tourists, Lanikai Beach is the ideal swimming beach. A wide, offshore reef here provides shelter and calm waters perfect for swimming. Plenty of other water activities abound as well like surfing, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking. What’s more, this beautiful beach is a photographer’s dream with its picturesque scene of turquoise waters and powder-soft sands dotted with swaying coconut palms.

Lanikai Beach, Oahu

4. Honaunau Beach, The Big Island

Honaunau Beach is a diver’s underwater paradise. Located on the Honaunau Bay, known as the City of Refuge, this spot is a treasure chest of beautiful coral reef and amazing lava formations made by volcanic eruptions many years ago. Divers here can swim with a large variety of tropical fish as well as the endangered green sea turtle.

Honaunau Beach, The Big Island


5. Ke’e Beach Park, Kauai

Favored for its stunning sunsets, Ke’e Beach Park is a tropical getaway. A beautiful reef lagoon situated on the North Shore between the gorgeous Na Pali Coast and the Limahuli Stream, Ke’e Beach Park is nestled among the lush vegetation of guava plants, ti flowers, coconut palms and ironwood trees. With a plethora of reef fish and sea turtles, this spot is great for snorkeling and diving.

Ke'e Beach Park, Kauai

6. Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui

Because of its tranquil setting and calm waters, Kapalua Beach is the best beach for inexperienced swimmers and families with small children. Situated in West Maui between two lava rocks, this cul-de-sac beach is bordered by a grove of coconut palm trees, creating a quiet and secluded atmosphere.

Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui

7. Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island

The most popular beach on Big Island, Hapuna Beach, is part of the Hapuna Beach State Park. Clean and well-maintained, this wide beach features white sands and clear water with a shallow sandbar that slopes 25 yards out into the ocean, making it an ideal spot for boogie boarding and swimming. A nearby coral reef teeming in abundant fish species is perfect for snorkeling.

Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island

8. Papohaku Beach, Molokai

Those who wish to get away from all the crowds will find seclusion and tropical beauty at Papohaku Beach. Hundreds of feet wide and miles long with white sands, this beach stays mostly vacant except for the occasional sea birds and crabs. The conditions here also good for swimming, surfing, body boarding and snorkeling.

Papohaku Beach, Molokai

9. Poipu Beach, Kauai

A natural pool with calm, clear waters, Poipu Beach is an excellent beach for families with children. There is lots of sand here for building sand castles and opportunities for snorkeling. Another great feature is the monk seals that often come up for a visit and a nap.

Poipu Beach, Kauai


10. Hulopoe Beach, Lanai

Once known as the “Pineapple Island” because it was used by the Dole Company to farm pineapples, Hulopoe Beach is now left quiet and remote, making it a perfect spot for romantic couples. The beach is part of a marine reserve that is home to numerous tropical fish species, dolphins and amazing ocean views.

Papua New Guinea