Are you planning a tropical holiday? Oh, we are so jealous! We had an unforgettable time island hopping in Hawaii and splashing about in some of the best beaches in Hawaii. This is why we want you to include them in your Hawaiian itinerary.
There are so many incredible places to visit in Hawaii that you might find it hard at times to find a free day to roll on the beach.
Things, like climbing to the summit of the magnificent Mauna Kea or catching a soulful sunrise atop Haleakala volcano, are just a couple of things to see on the Hawaiian islands.
You can easily get sucked into all the ‘must-see things in Hawaii’, but you should not forget to have some downtime with a book or a boogie board. There’s only so much you can do without hitting a tropical Hawaiian beach. Starting with a visit to Oahu with its iconic Waikiki beach to enjoy and finishing in exquisite Lanai island, you will not be short of golden sand shores to explore in Hawaii.
So let’s look at some of the best beaches in Hawaii handpicked especially for your Hawaiian holiday. All 6 of them are great for relaxing, romantic sunset watching, diving, snorkelling or cocktail sipping. Sounds good to us!
6 Best Beaches in Hawaii
Best Beaches on Kauai
If you ask us which is the most romantic island in Hawaii, we would say, Kauai. That’s why we had our Hawaiian wedding here! Honestly, if you like nature, trekking, the glorious blue Ocean and the film Jurassic Park, Kauai is the best place to visit in Hawaii.
If you are on your way to trek the Kalalau Trail on the famous Na Pali Coast, pop into the Tunnels Beach along the way. This gorgeous beach, located on the north shore of Kauai, sits right in the shadow of the stunning Mount Makana. Absolutely breathtaking view!
Tunnels beach is one of the best snorkelling spots in Hawaii as it has a shallow reef just a few meters out. That’s why we think this is one of the best beaches in Hawaii to visit on your Hawaiian holiday or even a honeymoon!
Sunsets on this Hawaiian beach are to die for, making Kauai one of the most romantic islands for couples. We still daydream about this tropical beach.
2. Secluded Haena Beach
With the Tunnels beach just around the corner, this stretch of sand stays quiet and peaceful most of the time. Especially if you are here in winter months. This is a big plus when searching for the best beaches in Hawaii.
On our visit to the most romantic island in Hawaii, we literally lived right on this stunning stretch of sand. The beach is well-loved by the locals and you will see a row of houses on the stilts stretching along the coast. Quite a lovely view. Some of them might be offering accommodation through Airbnb so check it out.
Staying with the locals was one of the best experiences we had when travelling around the Hawaii islands.
Haena Beach is a perfect spot to escape the hustle, but beware the ocean can be rough during winter. There are also quite a few rocks in the water so be careful when swimming.
3. Hanalei Bay
This atmospheric crescent-shaped bay is the largest bay on the north shore of Kauai and, in our opinion, one of the best beaches in Hawaii simply because of its location.
Just a stone’s throw away from the charming Hanalei town centre, this tropical Hawaiian beach is great for a quick surf before lunch or even before breakfast.
We will always remember Hanalei Bay as our first dip in the Pacific Ocean, trying to fight the tall waves powerfully breaking into the shore and dragging us back into the ocean. So much fun!
Travel Tip: Don’t forget that Kauai is the wettest island in Hawaii, therefore the lushest. Occasional rainfall might stop you from rolling on the sand, but the weather is very local and usually, if it rains on one side of the island, the sun shines on the other.
Best Beaches on the Big Island
The Big Island is breathtaking. If you love geology and stargazing, then The Big Island is the best island to visit in Hawaii for you. It’s home to a million-year-old volcano Mauna Kea and Kilauea – the youngest and the most active volcano on earth.
It is the Big island where you can follow the hot lava flow or see if tumbling down into the ocean if you are lucky.
The island is also home to some of the best beaches in Hawaii, one of which we think you should definitely visit.
4. Hapuna Beach
Hapuna Beach is one of the largest white sand beaches on The Big Island. So even if it’s busy, you will find a cosy spot.
We visited the beach in mid-February and the water was great for swimming, surfing and especially boogie boarding.
This white sand Hawaiian beach, stretching for 2 miles is great for surfing practice because of its shallow water coastline.
In between exploring and seeing all the top sights on the Big Island, Hapuna Beach will be perfect for your lazy afternoon with a book. Followed by an active afternoon boogie boarding session in the turquoise, crystal clear waters.
Hapuna Beach on Google Maps:
Just like all of the best beaches in Hawaii, Hapuna beach is hassle-free. You can easily park your car in a large car park right near the beach, complete with food vans as well as a WC.
Is This the Best Beach in Maui?
Still wondering which island is the best island to visit in Hawaii? Well, if you love solar science and scenic, jaw-dropping highways, then visit Maui on your Hawaiian vacation.
Home to the most scenic Hana Highway (Road to Hala) and the moon like the largest dormant volcano in the world, Haleakala, Maui should not be missed on any Hawaiian itinerary.
But what about the beaches on Maui? Which one is the best beach in Maui? There’s the Makena Beach State Park, Ka’anapali beach, Wai’anapanapa, Baldwin Beach Park, Honolua beach, the White Rock Beach (Palauea), Koki beach on East Maui and Honomanu Bay (mile mark 12-13 on the Hana Highway) to name a few.
So to make it easy for you, we picked one best beach on Maui.
5. The Big Beach (Makena State Park)
Not only is the Big Beach one of the best beaches in Hawaii but also one of the most beautiful stretches of sand in the Hula land. Located on the south coast, The Makena State Park consists of two tropical beaches, ‘Little Beach’ and ‘The Big Beach’.
In Hawaiian, The Big Beach is called Oneloa – ‘Long Sand’. It’s an excellent golden sand beach but beware of the notoriously vicious waves on this beach.
As we experienced for ourselves, the water on the Big Beach may look calm, but the waves can hit you from out of nowhere, the riptide is very strong in places and can easily pull you out into the ocean. Always keep a close watch on the Ocean.
Big Beach on Google Maps:
If you want to learn more about other tropical beaches on Maui, have a look at the Go Hawaii website.
Best Beaches on Lanai Island
Lanai is a beautiful island, the most central of the Hawaii islands so don’t miss it when planning a trip to Hawaii. Famous for its Munro red dirt trail this island is especially popular amongst adventure seekers.
To get to Lanai, you will need to take Maui Ferry from Lahaina town in Maui. A public ferry ticket costs $30 per person one way. For more details and timings you can have a look at our helpful getting to Maui from Lanai by ferry blog post or visit the official public ferry website.
6. Hulopo’e Beach, Lanai
We chose the pristine Hulopo’e beach as one of the best beaches in Hawaii not only because it is stunning but also easy to get to. Especially if you don’t want to rent a vehicle on Lanai island.
Located less than 10-minute walk from the ferry port, the beautiful Hulopo’e beach is the island’s finest golden sand beach. It’s a lovely public park, looked after by the same gardeners who manicure the grounds at the Four Seasons.
One of the best things about this Hawaiian beach is that the white sand beach is long and broad and never gets too crowded. And that’s a reason alone to crown the Hulopo’e beach as one of the best beaches in Hawaii.
The waters here are calm most of the year making this beach lovely for swimming and starfish spotting. But please do not disturb sea life too much and help preserve the marine life in the bay.
If you are lucky, you will spot dolphins and flying fish and maybe even humpback whales! We had a spectacular ferry ride from Maui to Lanai surrounded by the most beautiful sea creatures and hope that you will too!
Hulopo’e Beach on Google Maps:
But before hopping to Lanai, remember to pack a picnic full of your favourite snacks and refreshments. There might not be any food trucks around, only the Four Seasons Hotel. But lunch there might be on a pricier side.
Have you been to any of these beaches? What are the other beaches you visited in Hawaii? Which one was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.