Hawaii Beach Vacation – Top 10 Hawaii Beaches
Discover the top 10 Hawaii beaches – excellent spots for a beach vacation on the Hawaiian Islands.
A Hawaii beach vacation is the perfect way to enjoy the crystal blue waters, natural beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, and white sand (or in some parts of Hawaii, black sand). Beaches in Hawaii come in every size, shape, and color. From internationally renowned beaches to tiny, secluded coves, you can find all of them here!
To make your stay more enjoyable, try out the many hotels, resorts, and water activities available on every beach. In this article, we’ll enumerate the top 10 Hawaii beaches.
TOP 10 HAWAII BEACHES
- Kaanapali Beach (Maui)
Photo: Craig Stanfill/Flickr
With crystal clear waters and three miles of white sand, it’s not surprising why Kaanapali Beach is one of the most popular Hawaii beaches. So lovely is this beach that at one time, it was considered as America’s best beach. Kaanapali was a favorite retreat destination of Hawaiian royalty in the early days.
Today, five hotels face this beautiful beach, from Sheraton Maui to the north, to the Hyatt Regency to the south. There’s also a shopping complex, housing a variety of shops and restaurants. If you want to play golf, you can do so in any of the two championship golf courses, the Kaanapali Kai, and the Royal Kaanapali.
Visitors can also witness the daily cliff diving ceremony held every sunset off the cliffs of Puu Kekaa, more popularly known as Black Rock. A diver light torches along the cliff and dives off Black Rock, reenacting the feat of King Kahekili of Maui.
- Lanikai Beach (Oahu)
Photo: Hakilon/Wikimedia Commons
Situated in the residential neighborhood of Kailua on Oahu, Lanikai Beach has everything you dream of when you think of a Hawaii beach – beautiful offshore islands, powder-soft sand, gentle ocean breeze, and crystal blue waters.
Multi-million dollar mansions surround this beach. However, state law requires that public beaches should be accessible, meaning everyone can visit Lanikai Beach, whether foreign or local tourists. It’s considered as one of the most beautiful Hawaii beaches.
- Waikiki Beach (Oahu)
Located on Oahu’s southern shore, this famous 2-mile long beach plays host to 4 million visitors each year. Various hotels surround this beach, from modern ones to the historic and traditional. Two of the most iconic hotels in Hawaii can be found here – The Moana Surfrider, built in 1901, and the pink facade Royal Hawaiian Hotel, built in 1927.
The beachfront neighborhood of Waikiki is a lively gathering place for tourists from all over the world. Aside from the usual swimming and sunbathing, Waikiki Beach is also a venue for surf competitions, hula dances, outdoor performances, and outrigger canoe races. If you want to experience a vacation extraordinaire, stay in a Waikiki Hotel and enjoy the beach, the people, and the modern vibe of the Hawaiian Islands.
- Makena Beach (Maui)
Photo: Shaund at wts wikivoyage
Makena Beach State Park, also known as Big Beach, is located on the southwestern coast of Maui. This golden sand beach is 1.5 miles long and more than 100 feet wide. Often, clouds from the top of Haleakala to Kaho’olawe is overhead, providing shade and cooling the sand.
One of Maui’s longest beaches, Makena Beach is large enough that it doesn’t feel crowded (most of the time). For visitors who want to appreciate the natural beauty of Hawaii, they’ll be glad to know that there is hardly a bit of development on this beach.
- Hulopoe Beach (Lanai)
The natural beauty of Hulopoe Beach earned it the title of “America’s Best Beach” in 1997 from Stephen Leatherman aka Dr. Beach. Lanai’s most popular stretch of sand, this beach offers pearl white sand and crystal blue waters.
Throughout much of the year, Hulopoe Bay offers ideal swimming and snorkeling conditions. At low tide at the east side of the bay, you can see several volcanic rock tide pools filled with various marine life. If you want a more private Hawaii vacation, this beach is for you.
Hulopoe Beach is in front of the luxurious Four Seasons Resort Lanai. Open to the public, this Hawaii beach comes complete with amenities such as showers, restrooms, barbecue grills, and picnic tables. If you’re lucky, you can see acrobatic Spinner Dolphins or majestic Humpback Whales from Hulopoe Bay.
- Hanauma Bay (Oahu)
Photo: Cristo Vlahos/Wikimedia Commons
Hanauma Bay, sandwiched between 2 dormant volcanoes on the southeastern tip of Oahu, is one of the most famous snorkeling spots in Hawaii. The cove hugged by the beach is teeming with coral reefs, green sea turtles, and about 400 species of fish! It is the reason why it is designated as a Nature Preserve.
The bay has approximately one million visitors every year, thanks to it marine life and natural beauty. Snorkeling equipment and lockers are available on site, and the education center shows visitors a short video about Hanauma Bay.
- Hapuna Beach (Big Island)
Photo: Polihale/Wikimedia Commons
The Hapuna Beach is the largest white sand beach on Big Island. The powder-soft sand is perfect for sunbathing. Meanwhile, the crystal blue waters of this wonderful beach are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and bodysurfing. Lifeguards are present in the area, but be careful during high surf conditions.
Tourists will be glad to know that this beach comes complete with picnic areas, food vendors, ample parking, showers, and restrooms. If you want to extend your Hawaii vacation, you can stay at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel or Mauna Kea Beach Hotel.
- Kaunaoa Beach (Big Island)
Kaunaoa Beach, also called Mauna Kea Beach, boasts of a long crescent of white sand surrounded by coconut trees. A gradually sloping sandy bottom and mostly calm waters make Kaunaoa a good spot for swimming throughout the year, and with snorkeling gear in tow, it’s possible to see tropical fish, manta ray, and sea turtles along the rocky points of the bay.
This beach is one of the white sand beaches of the Kohala Coast on the western side of the Big Island. Showers and public restrooms are available. The historic Mauna Kea Beach Hotel can also be found on lovely Kaunaoa. This beach is ideal for tourists who seek pristine sands and serenity.
- Punaluu Black Sand Beach (Big Island)
Photo: Scott Carpenter/Flickr
Punaluu Beach is the island of Hawaii’s most well-known black sand beach. It can be found 30 miles south of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Volcanic activity on the Big Island created beaches of different colors.
The sand at Punaluu Beach is jet black and surrounded by coconut trees. Sometimes, visitors share the sand with Hawaiian green sea turtles, who come to bask and warm themselves under the tropical sun.
- Wailea Beach (Maui)
Photo: Mike McCune/Flickr
Wailea Beach is wide, long, and features black lava points on either side, making it a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling on Maui. The views from the beach are spectacular – the islands of Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Molokini can be seen from a distance.
Wailea Beach has a resort vibe, thanks to the presence of Grand Wailea and Four Seasons resorts. Facilities include restrooms, showers, and parking. Sunsets are lovely, and if you’re lucky, you can see North Pacific Humpback Whales during the whale watching season (December to April).
Hawaii is gifted with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The Pacific Ocean and the majestic volcanoes played a part in forming the beautiful landscape that is Hawaii. Tourists can choose from the various island beaches – from large white sand beaches to tiny secluded coves. Enjoy your Hawaii beach vacation!