Last updated: 04/08/2023
Check out this super selection of the 15 best beaches in Hawaii, one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world, with crystalline waters and golden sand.
THE 15 BEST BEACHES IN HAWAII
Anyone who follows the Viajonários blog knows how much we love Hawaii. We have visited the state several times and had the pleasure of visiting many of its beautiful beaches. In the post "What you need to know before traveling to Hawaii” we give important information and initial tips for those planning a trip. We remind you that Hawaii is an archipelago formed by hundreds of small islands and there are 4 main ones: Big Island (nickname of Hawaii Island, the largest of all and famous for its volcanoes); Maui (the most romantic island); Oahu (the most important and where the state capital is, Honolulu); It is Kauai (the “greenest” island of all).
Read more about Hawaii
In this article, you will find a selection of the 15 best beaches in Hawaii. The list includes: 5 beaches on the island of Kauai, 4 beaches on the island of Maui, 3 beaches on the island of Hawaii, better known as Big Island, and 3 beaches on the island of Oahu. The interactive map below displays the location of selected beaches. Then read more information about each of them.
>> BIG ISLAND
Although it is the largest island by land area, the Big Island is home to just 15% of the Hawaiian population. Kailua-Kona is the main city on the west coast and the island's largest city and capital is Hilo on the east coast. Among the main highlights of the island are its 6 volcanoes (one of them being the most active in the world!); beautiful natural landscapes and waterfalls; Kona Coffee, grown on the sides of two volcanoes; and the cultivation of orchids. In addition, the island is also known for astronomy, with numerous telescopes operated on the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano. The island is home to the incredible Volcanoes National Park, with active volcanoes and many interesting geological structures.
1. HAPUNA BEACH
This beach is about 800 meters long, located on the west coast of the Big Island and surrounded by trees, with crystal clear waters and white sand, it is always listed among the best beaches in Hawaii and in the world. The beach is great for swimming and surfing in the winter months when the waves are at their highest.
2. KAUNA'OA (MAUNA KEA) BEACH
Considered one of the best beaches on the Big Island (and our favourite!), this 400-meter beach, calm turquoise waters, fine white sand is surrounded by palm trees. It is a great option for snorkeling at the ends of the beach. During the night, many boats offer a service to see manta rays!
3. PUNALU'U BEACH
Formed by the rapid cooling of basaltic lava, Punalu'u is the most famous black sand beach on the Big Island not only because of its volcanic origin with small fragments of lava, but also because it is a habitat for hawksbill turtles, a endangered species of sea turtle. It is a long, easily accessible black sand beach, making it a great place to go for a quick swim, snorkel, walk along the beach or have a picnic. The beach has very inviting coconut and palm trees.
Of volcanic formation, Kauai is the smallest of the 4 main islands that make up Hawaii, being considered the greenest and “wildest”, in addition to being the cheapest (considering Hawaiian standards). In 1778, Captain James Cook arrived in Waimea Bay on the island of Kauai, becoming the first European known to have reached the Hawaiian Islands. Kapaa is the most populous city and Lihue is the second largest city and home to the island's main airport. Among the main highlights of the island are the Waimea Canyon State Park, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”; and the Na Pali Coast, a wilderness recreation center. Kauai is an excellent choice for those who love outdoor activities, ecotourism and long hikes.
4. POLIHALE STATE PARK
Polihale State Park is a state park located on the west coast, known for its white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, as well as its spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It is an environmentally protected area and offers visitors the opportunity to explore Kauai's pristine and pristine nature. Polihale is one of the longest beaches in Hawaii and offers amazing ocean and sunset views.
5. HANALEI BAY BEACH
Located in the north of the island of Kauai, Hanalei Bay Beach Park has an excellent infrastructure and is known for its bay with calm and crystalline waters, in addition to its long stretch of white sand and its breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Always listed as one of the best in Hawaii, the beach is often used as a backdrop for movies and television due to its natural beauty and picturesque scenery. Here is also the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, a refuge for marine birds.
6. POIPU BEACH PARK
Always on the list of the most beautiful beaches in the United States, Poipu Beach is a beautiful beach with a long stretch of sand that is a great place for swimming and snorkeling around its rocks. The Poipu region has an excellent infrastructure, several resorts and a center with very nice shops and restaurants. The beach is often considered one of the best beaches in Hawaii for sunbathing and relaxing, with chairs and umbrellas available for rent.
7. KALAPAKI BEACH
Kalapaki Beach is the beach on which the 5 star resort is located. Kauai Marriott Resort. It is known for its beautiful bay with calm and crystalline waters, as well as its long stretch of white sand and its breathtaking views of Mount Haupu in the background. This beach is a good choice for outdoor activities such as diving, snorkeling, surfing and also boat trips. With an excellent infrastructure, the beach is surrounded by a wide variety of facilities, including hotels, restaurants, shops and parks.
8. KALIHIWAI BEACH
Kalihiwai Beach is a beach located on the north coast of the island of Kauai, known for its crystal clear and calm waters, as well as its wide expanse of white sand and beautiful views of mountains. It is popular for swimming, diving, snorkeling, surfing and boating. Close to the beach are the Kalihiwai Falls.
Maui is the second largest island in Hawaii by area. The west side of the island is the most populated and most urban part of Maui, with several small towns. The east side is more “wild”, with a more precarious infrastructure and some roads more difficult to transit. Maui is, on average, the most expensive island in Hawaii for lodging, car rental and shopping. The island is also considered the most romantic and the best for honeymooners. Maui is home to one of the coolest snorkeling spots in the world, the submerged volcano crater Molokini.
9. MAKENA BEACH
Makena Beach State Park is a beach located on the south coast of the island of Maui. It is a very interesting place famous for its stretch of white sand, crystalline waters and for comprising two beaches that are called “Big Beach” (the Makena Beach itself) and “Little Beach”, where nudism is common, but it is not mandatory. Makena is known for its bay, with calm waters great for swimming and snorkeling. The beach has a great infrastructure, many hotels, shops and restaurants in the surroundings.
10. WAILEA BEACH
This beach located on the south coast of Maui is accessed through the luxury hotels 4 Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea It's from Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa. The beach is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, including green mountains. In addition, the beach is known for its wide bay, which offers calm waters for swimming and snorkeling. Here is also the cute shopping mall The Shops at Wailea, a good option for shopping and eating. The only inconvenience is that the beach does not have a very wide strip of sand and is very full of umbrellas and chairs from the hotels.
11. HAMOA BEACH
Located on the south coast of Maui, Hamoa is a beach with crystal clear water, and good for snorkeling, windsurfing, surfing very carefully due to sea currents and rocks. There is a lot of vegetation close to the sand. Hamoa Beach is also a popular destination for outdoor activities such as surfing, paddleboarding and scuba diving. Furthermore, the beach is surrounded by a wide range of facilities including hotels, restaurants and shops.
12. KAPALUA BAY
Kapalua Bay has been named one of the most beautiful bays in Hawaii several times. It is a graceful and small bay in an area with excellent parking facilities, restrooms and showers. To get to it, you have to take an underground access.
Oahu is the most urban island in Hawaii, where the capital Honolulu is located. With excellent infrastructure, the island manages to bring out the best of a big city with many natural beauties. The south of Oahu is more urban, with many roads, viaducts, restaurants, hotels and shops. But there are many parts of the island that are still much less urban, with fewer restaurant options, limited access to some places and a great option for more adventurous profiles.
13. WAIKIKI BEACH
It is the main beach in downtown Honolulu, being the most popular and located in an area full of hotels, restaurants and shops. The beach is known for its stretch of white sand and clear, warm waters. Surfboard rentals are also available, boat trips and several tourist events take place on site. On site, there are always Hawaiian music performances during the night and there are many options for nightlife in the surroundings. It was there that we saw an incredible sunset, one of the most beautiful we have ever seen in our lives!
14. KO'OLINA BEACH
Ko'olina Beach is a beach located on the west coast of Oahu, known for its white sand and warm crystalline waters, making it an amazing spot for sunbathing. The beach is known for its Ko'Olina Lagoons, which are 4 small artificial lagoons with an excellent infrastructure for parking, restrooms and showers. The waters are always very calm, transparent and there are some thatched huts on the beach. A cute place!
15. WAIMEA BAY BEACH PARK
Located in the north of Oahu, Waimea Bay Beach Park was love at first sight when we were on this beach with a great infrastructure of bathrooms, showers, lifeguards and parking. The sand is soft and white, the water is crystal clear (great for snorkeling), the natural landscapes are stunning and the beach is not too crowded. But be careful because it's like "beach of tumble", whose depth changes drastically with a few steps. In addition to water activities, the beach offers a wide range of facilities including parks, picnic areas, restrooms and parking.
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Read more about Hawaii:
- Hawaii Itinerary: What to do in 7, 10, 15 or 20 days
- Hawaii: What to do on the Big Island – 6-Day Itinerary
- Hawaii: What to do in Maui – 4-Day Itinerary
- Hawaii: What to do on Oahu – 4-Day Itinerary
- Hawaii: What to do in Kauai – 3-Day Itinerary
- What a Hawaiian Luau Looks Like: Myths and Tips
- See everything we've posted about Hawaii here