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Patrick Nichols | 08.11.2017

Hawai'i is definitely known for many things, from its waterfalls to its volcanic mountains, but it is probably most well-known for its popular beaches that draw thousands of visitors every year. Truly a paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Hawai'i's main islands offer countless opportunities to soak up the sun and splash in the salt water. Take a stroll along broad, white sandy coastlines, or visit the black sand beach at the base of a massive volcano. Dive down beneath the surface for an encounter with the diverse sea life, or surf the notorious breaks. Either way, be sure to check out some of the best beaches in Hawai'i on your next visit to the islands!

Big Island

  • Hāpuna Beach: Frequently voted one of the best beaches, Hāpuna Beach State Recreation Area is a large, white sand beach that is perfect for the entire family. However, there is a $5 out-of-state visitor fee.
  • Punalu'u Black Sand Beach: Also called Black Sand Beach for its dark volcanic sand, Punalu'u is definitely worth a visit. Green sea turtles can often be seen basking on the warm, dark sand.


  • Maluaka Beach: Popular for its golden sand and clear waters, Maluaka Beach is close to resorts and offers some nice grassy areas for picnics. 
  • Makena Beach (Big Beach): Considered by most to be the best beach on Maui, Makena Beach offers crystal waters and plenty of sandy space for everyone. The nearby cinder cone and cliffs also make for some interesting panoramic vistas.
  • Wailea Beach: Wailea Beach is close to many resorts and features a serene beach walk. The rocky outcroppings on either end make for decent snorkeling and the often calm waters and sandy bottom are perfect for the entire family.


  • Sandy's Beach: Located on the island's southern shore, Sandy's Beach is a great place to hang out, especially for body boarding. Waves are often large, but concessions and the soft, white sand are worth a visit!
  • Halona Beach: This secluded bay was featured in the 1950s film From Here to Eternity and is especially popular on weekends. The cove is rather difficult to access, but the views from the parking area are still fantastic!
  • Lanikai Beach: Lanikai is consistently included in lists of the world's best beaches, and it's easy to see why. Sure, the beach has broad swaths of white sand, and of course the water is a blissful shade of aquamarine. What distinguishes Lanikai Beach are the two islands just offshore, Moko Nui and Moko Iki. They punctuate an already perfect view, and they make for ideal paddling destinations when the water and weather are calm.
  • Waikiki Beach: The famous Waikiki Beach is a must for any serious beach-goer. Although the dense crowds can be dissuading, there's no better place on the island to learn to surf, rent a paddleboard, enjoy the nightlife, or let the children play in calmer waters.
  • Kailua Beach: When visiting the windward shore, stop by Kailua Beach for a quintessential tropical experience. This beautiful beach park is flanked by luxurious homes and is also the perfect place to rent a canoe or kayak and head to the nearby islands.


  • Ke'e Beach: This secluded beach at the end of the road marks the start of the magnificent Na Pali coast. Best conditions can be found during summer months, where waves break beyond the protected lagoon.
  • Makua Beach (Tunnels): Tunnels Beach is well-known for its surfing; however, during calmer months, the snorkeling is quite spectacular as well. Novice snorkelers can explore the shallow reef, while more advanced swimmers and divers can easily explore the deeper sections as well.
  • Lumaha'i Beach: Situated on the north shore of the island, strong currents can make swimming here dangerous, but nevertheless, Lumaha'i Beach is a popular place to relax in the sun.


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