12 Best Beaches in Hawaii to Visit

by | Last updated Nov 25, 2022 | Live Work Play Travel, USA Live Work Play

Most of the best beaches in Hawaii are great for surfing


Aloha. Hawaii is one of my favourite places in the world. I could see myself retiring there! Along with the food, the Hawaiian culture, macadamia nut chocolates and Mai Tais my favourite thing to do when in Hawaii is to spend time at the beaches. Beware, Hawaii has many incredible beaches and it will be hard to visit all of them in one lifetime however, I am going to give it a good try! So I’ve asked some fellow bloggers which beach they think is the best beach in Hawaii. Without further ado, here is what they said.


A Little About the Hawaiian Islands


Hawaii is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean and is made up of hundreds of islands however, only 6 are regularly visited. They include Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai and Hawaii. Each are known for perfect beaches, reefs, tropical rainforests and bustling city hubs. Originally settled by ancient Polnesians, Hawaii today has welcome many migrants and is actually the 50th State of United States of America with a large military presence at Pearl Harbour. But Hawaii is known for some of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the world – and don’t forget the best surfing. Here are some of the best Hawaiian Beaches to discover for yourself.


Best Beaches in Hawaii to Visit


I have listed the best beaches in Hawaii to visit under the specific Hawaiian island they are on.


Best Beaches on Oahu


Hanauma Bay, Oahu


Hanauma Bay Is One Of The Best Beaches In Hawaii For Snorkelling And Swimming.


The crescent shaped beach that is Hanauma Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii. Located on the island of Oahu, this beach is extremely popular and for good reason.

Boasting some of the best snorkeling on the island, the coral reefs here are teeming with hundreds of species of marine life. The turquoise clear waters make for a stunning view from the parking lot as well as from the sand. Non-snorkelers will also enjoy the calm waters for swimming and the spacious sand makes for the perfect place to spend all day and picnic.

Amenities at this beach are plentiful, including restrooms, a snack bar, lockers for personal belongings, and snorkel rentals.

Paid reservations are required in advance online allowing limited entries per day. Visitors are required to watch a conservation video to help preserve the beauty of the bay. Please note that it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays to allow the fish to feed without interruption. Book your trip to Hanauma Bay here.


Contributed by Sierra Schmidt from Free To Travel Mama


Lanikai Beach, Oahu


Lanikai Beach on Oahu Has White Sand And Turqois Waters.


If you are looking for the best beach in Hawaii, look no further than Lanikai beach in Oahu. This is one of the most beautiful and kid-friendly beaches on the island.

 Lanikai is on the east side of Oahu in the Kailua neighborhood. Finding the beach isn’t difficult, but parking is a nightmare.

This beach is nestled in a residential area, so you have to park on the street and walk to the beach using paths in between houses. Trust us, the parking nightmare is worth spending a few hours at this picturesque beach. There are no restrooms, lifeguards, or concessions stands, so you should bring food and use the facilities before heading to the beach.

I love this beach because it is calm and warm, and the sand is powdery and soft. It is the perfect place to take in the beauty of Oahu.

During the week, this beach is nearly empty. You will likely see neighborhood residents walking their dogs along the shore. If you want to beat the crowds, I recommend going to Lanikai Monday – Thursday afternoons.


Contributed by Corritta from It’s a Family Thing


Laniakea Beach, Oahu


Laniakea Beach On Oahu's North Shore Is Often Called Turtle Beach For The Turtles You May See.


I think one of the coolest beaches in Hawaii is Laniakea Beach in North Shore Oahu. Its nickname is “Turtle Beach” because you will most likely see a bunch of sea turtles in the water and lounging in the sand. And that’s the main reason why you’ll want to stop off at Laniakea Beach. It’s seriously amazing something you’ll want to add to your Hawaii bucket list! There’s actually a large parking lot off the side of the road, but it fills up quickly. I’d definitely suggest visiting Laniakea Beach early in the morning for fewer crowds. And don’t ever touch the turtles or even get close, as that’s illegal.


Contributed by Marcie from Hawaii Travel with Kids


Pipeline, Oahu


Pipeline Oahu is One Of the Best Beaches in Hawaii. Known For Its Great Surfing.


A visit to the North Shore is a worth inclusion on every Oahu itinerary. Ehukai Beach park is one of Hawaii’s most well-known beaches that you’ve probably never heard of, because everyone just calls it Pipeline.

As the colloquial name implies, this beach is famous for its surfing. A reef break off the beach causes huge waves to break in shallow water, forming large curls for surfers to ride through. It is the location for some of the worlds top surfing competitions, including the Pipeline Masters.

The beach also happens to be a spectacular spot to catch the Hawaiian sun sinking over the ocean. No visit to the North Shore is complete without stopping at the famous shrimp food trucks.


Contributed by Holly from Globeblogging


Sunset Beach (Oahu)


Sunset Beach Oahu Is Known For Its White Sand and Turqois Waters Making It One of Hawaii's Best Beaches.


One of the nicest beaches on the north shore of Oahu island would have to be Sunset Beach, which has a beautiful 2 mile (3 kilometer) stretch of white sand. During the summer months, the water at Sunset Beach is flat. While the winter months are popular for big wave surfing (recommended for experienced surfers only).

As the name implies, Sunset Beach is a great place to see the sunset in Oahu. There’s even a photogenic bent palm tree that’s become a popular picture spot on the north shore. All in all, a visit to this beach is definitely one of the best things to do in Oahu, Hawaii!

Contributed by David & Intan at The World Travel Guy


Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Oahu


Waikiki Beach At Sunset Is Hawaiis Best Known Beaches.


One of the world’s most famous and picturesque beaches, Waikiki Beach is a must-visit destination when heading to Hawaii. Located on the south shore of Oahu in central Honolulu, Waikiki is stunning both for the towering hotels, apartment buildings, and restaurants that line the beachfront and the destination’s natural beauty.

With over two miles of white sand and stunningly clear water, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for here. If you’re interested in water sports, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved, even trying surfing, though the waves are gentle enough for swimmers. Home to the famous Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki has plenty of accommodation options for travelers of all budgets. You’ll never be more than a few blocks from the beach while staying here!


Contributed by Carley from Home to Havana


Best Beaches on the Big Island, Hawaii


Green Sand Beach, Hawaii


Green Sand Beach Is One Of Hawaii's Best Beaches.


One of the most unique beaches in all of Hawaii is the Green Sand Beach. It is one of only four green sand beaches on the planet! The access point to the beach is approximately equidistant from either Kona or Hilo and is located along the southern coast of the island of Hawaii. Actually just minutes away from the southernmost point in the United States! 

To get to Green Sand Beach there’s a 5.8-mile roundtrip hike to the beach. While some visitors have complained the hike is flat and boring, I think the endless views of the rocky coastline and, beyond, the Pacific Ocean are unbeatable. Upon reaching the beach, I fell in love with the uniquely-colored sand, turquoise water, and serious waves, which are perfect for boogie boarding or body surfing.


Contributed by Jessica Schmidt


Hapuna Beach Park, Big Island


Hapuna Beach With Its White Sands Is One Of Hawaii's Best Beaches.


The Big Island’s largest white sand beach is about 40 minutes North of Kona, Hawaii. It’s great for body boarding, snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing. 

We like this beach because there’s something for everyone. Staying at Hapuna Prince, we got to visit during our honeymoon and then returned years later during a family reunion. From babies to grandkids, everyone enjoyed this beach. Restrooms and showers are available on site. There’s a large parking lot, which can fill up by mid-day on holidays and weekends. (Currently $5 per car.)


Contributed by Michelle from Intentional Travellers


Best Beaches on Maui


Big Beach (Makena Beach), Maui


Big Beach is One of the Best Beaches in Hawaii Has Golden Sand And Turquois Waters.


When it comes to picture, perfect postcard Hawaiian beaches, Big Beach takes the cake. Located on the South part of Maui, Big Beach also known as Makena Beach is one of the best beaches in Maui.  

Known for its impressive views and long shoreline, the wide sandy beach is a popular beach for tourists and locals alike.  The main draw here is the undeveloped beauty and wide open spaces. So regardless of how busy the beach is you still can find space and privacy.  

Big Beach has a powerful shore break which makes it a popular beach for boogie boarders.  On North side of the beach you can climb up the rocks for epic views of the massive beach below.  Continuing down the other side of the rocks leads you to Little Beach – Maui’s most famous nude beach!


Contributed by Jess from I’m Jess Traveling


Honokalani Beach, Maui


Black Sand Beach on Maui Is One Of Hawaii's Best Beaches.


If you’re looking for a breathtaking and serene Hawaiian beach to enjoy, Honokalani is the perfect spot. With its black sand beaches and crystal-clear waters, it’s no wonder this beach is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.

Honokalani Beach is located on the island of Maui at Wai’ānapanapa State Park and is one of the few black sand beaches on Maui. You’ll find Honokalani along the famous Road to Hana, just before you reach Hana Town. You will need a reservation to visit Wai’ānapanapa State Park, which you can obtain from the Hawaii State Park Website.

There is plenty to do at Honokalani Beach, from swimming and sunbathing to hiking and exploring the park’s lava tubes, blowholes, and caves. The surf can be dangerous here, and there are no lifeguards, so be sure and practice safety when swimming here. There is a large area for picnicking as well, so you can bring a lunch and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

The contrast between the black sand, green cliffs, and turquoise waters is so visually stunning that Honokalani Beach will be one of the prettiest beaches you have ever seen.


Contributed by Chantelle from Flannels or Flips Flops


Kaanapali Beach, Maui


Kaanapali Beach on Maui is Beautiful At Sunset And Is One Of the Best Beaches in Hawaii.


Kaanapali Beach, on the west coast of the island of Maui, is my favorite Hawaiian beach to visit. This gorgeous beach strikes that difficult balance between having plenty of things to do, while still feeling like a relaxing tropical beach. I love the stunning, lush resorts lining the beach and the paved beach walk underneath the palms. Also, the three different luaus that show every night, and Whalers Village, an open air shopping complex with local and luxury brands. 

One thing Kaanapali is known for is Black Rock. This rocky outcropping juts into the water on the north end. Legend states that the last chief of Maui proved his spiritual strength by jumping from the top of the rock into the ocean. Every night, there’s a short, free Sunset Ceremony, where a Hawaiian young man recreates that climb and dive. In short, Kaanapali is a pristine Hawaiian beach with many exciting activities to enjoy!


Contributed by Stephanie, The Unknown Enthusiast


Kapalua Beach, Maui


Kapalua Beach in Hawaii With White Sands, Blue Waters and Plenty of Palm Trees Is A Popular Hawaiian Beach.


Located on the north western side of Maui, Kapalua Beach is a small cove beach. It is the perfect spot for active couples or families because of its incredible snorkeling, just be sure to bring your own snorkel gear! Personally, I can’t sit still on the beach for long, and am always looking for the best active things to do on Maui. You can always spot tons of bright and beautiful fish, like the Hawaiian state fish the humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa.  But the best part is there’s a really great chance you will get to hang out with a turtle or two as well!

Be sure to get to this beach early in the morning, as the free parking does fill up quickly.  There is a paid lot with plenty of parking though, if you’d rather sleep in, or grab breakfast at the famous Gazebo Restaurant on your way.


Contributed by Tori from Tori Pines Travels


Are You Ready to Visit Some of the Best Beaches in Hawaii?


Best Hawaii Beaches Have Surfboards to Rent.

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Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to get the live work play travel lifestyle with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.


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