Beaches in Hawaii

by Malia Yoshioka  

Everyone loves spending an afternoon at the beach. It’s probably one of the reasons you’re considering a visit to Hawaii, after all. Well, the good news is that there are hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline on all of the Hawaiian Islands for you to explore. Black sand, white sand, even green sand beaches can be found hidden all over the islands.

>> Read more about the Best Beaches in Hawaii

Hawaii Beaches by Island

The beaches on this list are for the most part labeled by which side of the island they face. This is important because the surf at island beaches follow general “seasons” although you will find off-season swells occasionally as well, so always check with lifeguards first. If you’re looking for the big surf, North facing shores generally have the larger waves in the winter, and South shores in the summer. So if you’re looking for better snorkeling or diving, you’ll want calmer waves, so the North shore in the summer, or the South shore in the winter is generally a better bet.

Dive shops that rent your gear, your hotel concierge, and even the nightly weather report (there’s a surf report too!) can also be great resources for current ocean conditions. And don’t be afraid to ask a local for their favorite spot, sometimes it’s a good way to get off the beaten path a little, especially if you’ve got a rental car and don’t mind a little drive.

Beaches on Oahu

Waikiki Beach (South)
Lanikai Beach (East/Windward side)
Laniakea Beach (North shore)
Sunset Beach (North shore)
Hanauma Bay (South)

>> Read more about beaches in Honolulu.

Beaches on Maui

Kaanapali Beach (West)
Makena (South)
Wainapanapa State Park (East/Hana)

>> Read more about beaches on Maui.

Beaches on Kauai

Poipu Beach (North Shore)
Haena Beach Park (North Shore)
Tunnels Beach (North Shore)
Polihale Beach (West)

>> Read more about beaches on Kauai.

Beaches on the Big Island

Hapuna State Beach Park (West/Kohala Coast)
Kamakahonu Beach (Kona)
Kahaluu Beach Park (Kona)
Punaluu Beach Park (Hilo)

>> Read more about beaches on the Big Island.

Beaches on Lanai & Molokai

Hulopoe Beach (Lanai)
Papohaku Beach (Molokai)

>> Read more about beaches on Lanai & Molokai.

Here are some tips to help you enjoy your beach day:

1. Don’t forget the sunscreen! Those Hawaiian sun rays can lead to a nasty sunburn or even skin cancer if you’re not careful, so make sure to use a broad spectrum sunscreen, cover up when you can, and try to avoid the times of the day when the sun is harshest – 10am to 2pm.

2. Bring along water and snacks. Dehydration is another easy way to ruin your fun in the sun. Stop into the nearest ABC Store or bring along some snacks and plenty of water from home to keep yourself from getting thirsty. Or pick up a plate lunch and have a picnic on the beach.

3. Always heed lifeguard warnings and posted signs. It seems like common sense, but it bears repeating that ocean conditions can be hazardous. Check with lifeguards before heading into the water and watch for signs about unsafe conditions including rip currents, jellyfish, or high surf advisories. If in doubt, don’t go out!

4. Don’t bring valuables to the beach. Jewelry, glasses, and other valuables are easily lost in the sand or ocean and are not always secure when left on the beach as you go for a swim. Try to avoid leaving valuables in your rental car as well – this is an easy target for thieves! The best advice is to leave valuables in the hotel room. If you can, leave the rental car doors unlocked with nothing inside – this way, would-be thieves can easily see that nothing is there so you can avoid them breaking your car windows trying to get in.

5. Have fun! This one’s easy, but there are tons of ways to enjoy your time at the beach besides sunbathing or building up a sandcastle. Try surfing lessons, rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) or get yourself some snorkel gear.

>> Are there nude beaches in Hawaii? Find out here.
>> Had enough beach time? There are plenty of other things to do in Hawaii.


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