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The Top Beaches in Hawaii That You Have to Visit

If you think Hawaii has the best beaches in the world, you’re not wrong. The island state is famous for its scenery, sands, and waters. No water activity is off-limits here.

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful states in the US. And as the only island state, it has no shortage of beaches and places to visit. What’s also true is that some of the beaches are unique and unlike anything else in the world.

And there are so many to choose from, too. The following beaches have some of the most breathtaking sands and backdrops you can hope to see in your lifetime.

1.   Makena Beach


Makena Beach, or Big Beach, is a very popular beach on Maui. It offers a 100 ft-wide stretch of white sand bordered by the Makena State Park. The place is breathtaking all year round and is quite secluded compared to other beaches on the islands of Hawaii.

The crystalline waters provide plenty of thrills, as Big Beach has some of the strongest shore breaks. This undeveloped piece of land attracts tourists and locals alike throughout the year.

2.   Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach Hawaii

Waikiki Beach is on Oahu. It’s one of the top beaches in Hawaii and among the oldest attractions in the area. Since the early 1900s, tourists have been flocking to Waikiki Beach all year round to kick back and relax.

This is a highly-developed beach now and there are plenty of hotels and bars to choose from. The scenery offers a nice blend of island living and high-rises. Of course, most pick this spot for the golden sands and clear waters.

It’s also one of the best places to go if you want to mingle with the locals.

3.    Wailea Beach

Wailea Beach Hawaii

On the southwestern coast of Maui, you have Wailea Beach. It’s not the biggest stretch of golden sands in Hawaii, but it’s among the most glamorous. Unsurprisingly, this is where many celebrities drop by to relax.

You can take part in the nightly hula shows, live performances, and enjoy some fine dining. The beach, although small by comparison, offers a fantastic view of the Molokini Crater. And it’s also a prime location for whale watching.

4. Kaihalulu Beach

Kaihalulu Beach Hawaii

If you want a unique experience, then head to Kaihalulu Beach. Here you can find the bluest waters and rust-red sands. It’s a beach like no other, with a lava cinder cone as a backdrop. Granted, this is not the best beach for sunbathing, but it is an excellent location for photoshoots.

You can also do some hiking in the area and enjoy quiet time since it’s one of the least crowded beaches in Hawaii.

5. Sunset Beach


Sunset Beach, located on the North Shore of Oahu, is easily one of the top 5 beaches in Hawaii. The stretch of golden sand is quite broad and accommodates large crowds. It’s also one of the most active beaches in the region.

Did you know that Sunset Beach is famous for its amazing surf breaks? You may get to see swells of up to 25 feet high when the weather conditions align in your favor. This is a spot you can’t miss if you’re an experienced surfer. It’s also where you’d go to catch the Vans World Cup of Surfing.

6. Makalawena Beach

Makalawena Beach Hawaii

Hawaii’s Big Island has plenty of amazing beaches. Makalawena Beach is one of them and it’s surprisingly not crowded. While this stretch of white sands beach takes a bit of effort to reach, yet the promised view and solitude make everything worthwhile.

You’ll spot lots of black lava rocks on the beach. You can explore and relax in one of the many coves. Or if you prefer, relax under the shade of the many palm trees. It’s also an excellent spot for snorkeling, thanks to the gorgeous coral reef offshore.

7. Kapalua Beach

Kapalua Beach Hawaii

This is one of the top beaches in Hawaii for snorkeling enthusiasts. The Kapalua beach has protection from two reefs that also create a crescent cove. The water here is calm, clear, and teeming with aquatic life.

Even its rocky northern region offers excellent visibility because it doesn’t have as much sand. And although it’s a popular tourist destination, it remains a peaceful and clean beach.

8. Lanikai beach


One of the smallest beaches on Oahu is also one of the best. Lanikai beach is a hot destination for watersports enthusiasts. It doesn’t have shore-breaking waves but rather calm waters that are excellent for paddle boarding and swimming. You can even do windsurfing and sailing in the area, or go snorkeling.

The beach is a 40-minute drive out of Honolulu, and yet it’s not as crowded as you may think. The view is also impressive thanks to the powder-white sands and the leafy backdrop.

9. Punalu’u Beach

Punaluu Beach Hawaii

Punalu’u Beach makes for a fabulous Hawaii vacation spot. It’s a family-friendly location with calm waters that’s ideal for sunbathing. It’s also easily accessible, unlike other more secluded places on the islands.

Turtle watching is a popular activity in the area, and so are picnics or bathing in natural freshwater pools. One of the things that make this beach so eye-catching is its jet-black sand. You can also catch plenty of shade under coconut palm trees.

10. Ko Olina Beach

Ko Olina Beach Hawaii

Located on the west side of Oahu, Ko Olina Beach is a great spot for younger crowds. It doesn’t have the biggest waves, and it’s one of the cleanest beaches in all of Hawaii.

But what’s most amazing is that it has four lagoons. This means that the water has perfect temperatures and is calm enough to venture in even with young children. You can also see some sea turtles in the lagoons and learn to do snorkeling in a calm environment.

11. Hanalei Bay Beach


The Hanalei Bay Beach is a garden island located in the Northern part of Kauai Island. While it doesn’t have the most expansive stretch of sand, the turquoise and emerald waters offer a mesmerizing view.

The backdrop is also one of the most beautiful in all of Hawaii. Hanalei Bay Beach has a background of green peaks and waterfalls. It’s a picturesque vacation spot and one that’s far from being a tourist magnet.

Don’t Miss Out on Hawaii’s Finest Beaches

The next time you visit Hawaii alone or with friends or family, make sure to hit some of these locations.

There’s nothing like sunbathing on jet-black sands, watching lush volcanic peaks, or venturing on some of the world’s most famous surf breaks.

Hawaii is a prime tourist destination for many reasons, with its gorgeous beaches being the number one reason.

World's Best

Most Stunning Beaches in Hawaii


The Most Stunning Beaches in Hawaii You Need to Visit

Hawaii, a tropical paradise known for its breathtaking beaches, offers an idyllic escape for travelers seeking sun, sand, and surf. Each island boasts its own unique coastline, with beaches that range from serene and secluded to lively and bustling. Whether you’re looking to relax under swaying palm trees, explore vibrant marine life, or catch some waves, Hawaii’s beaches have something for everyone. Here’s a guide to some of the most stunning beaches you need to visit in Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Waikiki Beach is perhaps the most famous beach in Hawaii, and for good reason. Located in Honolulu, this bustling beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and urban excitement. With its golden sands, gentle waves, and iconic Diamond Head crater backdrop, Waikiki is ideal for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. The area is also lined with luxury resorts, restaurants, and shops, making it a perfect destination for those who enjoy a vibrant beach scene.

Read More: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About Lake Tahoe

Lanikai Beach, Oahu

For a more tranquil experience, head to Lanikai Beach on the windward coast of Oahu. This hidden gem is often hailed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With its powdery white sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and scenic views of the Mokulua Islands, Lanikai is perfect for kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling. The calm, shallow waters make it an ideal spot for families and those looking to unwind in paradise.

Read More: The Party Animal’s Guide to Miami Beach

Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Hanauma Bay is a must-visit for snorkeling enthusiasts. This protected marine life conservation area is home to vibrant coral reefs and a diverse array of marine species. The bay, formed within a volcanic cone, offers calm waters and excellent visibility, making it easy to spot colorful fish and sea turtles. Hanauma Bay is a popular spot, so be sure to arrive early to secure a parking spot and enjoy the pristine underwater world.

Ka’anapali Beach, Maui

Ka’anapali Beach, located on Maui’s western shore, is a stunning stretch of golden sand that has something for everyone. This beach is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. The nearby Black Rock is a favorite spot for cliff diving and offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. Ka’anapali Beach is also home to several world-class resorts, golf courses, and shopping centers, providing plenty of activities and amenities for visitors.

Wailea Beach, Maui

Wailea Beach is another gem on Maui, known for its luxurious ambiance and pristine beauty. This crescent-shaped beach boasts soft, white sand and calm, azure waters. It’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. The area is surrounded by upscale resorts and lush gardens, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing, high-end beach getaway.

Poipu Beach, Kauai

Poipu Beach on the south shore of Kauai is a family-friendly destination with a diverse range of activities. The beach is divided into several sections, each offering something unique. The shallow, protected waters of Poipu’s “baby beach” are perfect for young children, while the main beach area is great for swimming and snorkeling. Poipu Beach is also a fantastic spot for whale watching in the winter months and has a nearby park with picnic areas and playgrounds.

Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Hanalei Bay, located on the north shore of Kauai, is a breathtaking bay surrounded by lush mountains and waterfalls. This two-mile stretch of sandy beach is ideal for a variety of activities, including swimming, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. The tranquil atmosphere and stunning scenery make Hanalei Bay a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The charming town of Hanalei, with its quaint shops and eateries, adds to the bay’s allure.

Hapuna Beach, Big Island

Hapuna Beach, situated on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, is one of the island’s largest white sand beaches. Known for its consistently good weather and clear waters, Hapuna Beach is perfect for swimming, boogie boarding, and snorkeling. The beach’s gentle slope into the ocean creates ideal conditions for both novice and experienced swimmers. With ample facilities and picnic areas, Hapuna Beach is a great spot for a fun-filled day by the sea.

Read More: Where to Stay in Oceanside, California

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, Big Island

Punalu’u Black Sand Beach offers a unique and unforgettable experience. This striking beach, located on the southeastern coast of the Big Island, features jet-black sand created by volcanic activity. The contrast between the dark sand, turquoise waters, and green coconut palms creates a stunning visual spectacle. Punalu’u is also a haven for green sea turtles, which can often be seen basking on the shore. While swimming can be challenging due to rocky conditions, the beach is perfect for picnicking and exploring.

Read More: The Ultimate Fiji Packing Checklist


Hawaii’s beaches are more than just beautiful stretches of sand; they are gateways to adventure, relaxation, and unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re exploring the bustling shores of Waikiki, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, or marveling at the unique black sand of Punalu’u, each beach offers its own slice of paradise. Pack your sunscreen, grab your beach gear, and get ready to discover the most stunning beaches that Hawaii has to offer. Aloha!

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Weekend Getaways

Here’s What to Do on Your Next Trip to Hawaii

A Hawaii vacation is included in the bucket list of many – and for good reason. Check out the amazing adventures you can have there.

When visiting this slice of paradise, it’s best to make the most out of your trip. After all, Hawaii offers more than sandy beaches, lush greenery, and breathtaking views of the night sky. 

Explore as much as you can during your time there and you might just make it the vacation of a lifetime. And to make that happen, why not use this article as your guide?

1. Take a Trip to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Hawaii, know that the Big Island offers some fantastic experiences. 

To get you started, look no further than the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. It has out-of-this-world geology, ancient petroglyphs, an active volcano, and many lava tubes. That’s all despite the fact that the Big Island is a very young island. 

The tour that goes around the edge of the caldera is one of the best you can take. You can see a breathtaking overview of the park with its sulfur banks, vegetation, steam vents, and aboveground lava flow. 

2. Check Out the Canyon

If you want to engage in more Hawaii activities, Kauai offers a unique experience. On this island, you can explore the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Both the Waimea Canyon and River boast a gorgeous red hue that offer views like no other.

Several lookout spots are available if you want to take some panoramic shots. But that’s not all you can do here – you also have access to many trails with varying levels of difficulty.

3. Head Back to the Big Island for a Lush Tropical Experience

The Big Island has more than an active volcano and great beaches. While visiting Hawaii, don’t forget to check out the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.

There are more than 2,000 plant species in the garden. This tropical paradise has palms, orchids, waterfalls, and a variety of tropical birds. 

It’s a magical place that’s ideal for relaxation and escaping the sun, as well as offering a perfect view of Onomea Bay.

4. Go Stargazing at the Summit

When talking about cool things to do in Hawaii, you can’t forget about heading to the Mauna Kea Summit. 

Go on a trip that takes you from sea level up to nearly 14,000 feet. It might surprise you to know that roughly 60% of the mountain is under the Pacific Ocean, which is why the Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world. Just being there makes for an awe-inspiring experience.

The route to the summit offers an idyllic view of the transition from lava flows to wild grasslands to a mountaintop often scattered with snow.

Heading to the summit is the best way to watch the sunset from above the clouds. However, most tourists and locals alike visit the Mauna Kea summit for stargazing. Watching the night sky in its full glory is something everyone should experience at least once.

5. Swim With the Sharks

Of all the thrilling things to do in Hawaii, interacting with sharks is one of the most popular. Fortunately, there are many types of activities that fit this category on most of the islands.

If you want, you can go on a shark drive cruise from Oahu. Are you feeling more adventurous? Then you can go snorkeling with the sharks or swim cage-free. 

Of course, many tourists opt for cage diving for extra protection. The latter is also best-suited for those with no diving experience.

6. Show off Your Surfing Skills

You can’t talk about things to do in Hawaii and not mention surfing. Hawaii is the sport’s capital and it offers tons of great locations to do just that – with Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu topping the list.

With currents and winds coming in from all directions, surfing is a year-round activity in the archipelago. 

Pro surfers will enjoy the most powerful swells from October to April on the northern shores. Beginners will find winter on the southern shores the best period to try their hand at it, as the season brings tamer waves. During the summer, the difficulty of the waves reverses, so you’ll have to switch shores depending on what you want.

7. Take in Some of the History

Do you want to escape the sun for a few hours? Then why not visit the Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial? Learn about one of the most important events in modern history and get an in-depth look at the historic harbor.

Along with visiting the Pacific National Monument, you can tour the retired battleship USS Missouri.

8. Explore the Iconic Diamond Head Crater, Oahu

Reaching the summit is one of the best things to do in Hawaii. In fact, the hike to the Diamond Head Crater is easily the most popular on Oahu. 

Know that it’s not only the state’s most recognizable landmark – it’s also the most famous crater in the world. What’s eye-catching is the fact that the formation resembles the dorsal fin of a tuna. 

These days, you can go on a one-way climb that’s less than a mile long. Interestingly, when the trail was constructed in the early 1900s, it was intended as part of the infrastructure of a defense system.

9. Go Sightseeing on the Kalalau Trail

This hike stretches from Ke’e Beach to Kalalau Beach and follows 11 miles of the Na Pali coastline. It’s among the most desirable things to do in Hawaii due to the fantastic views you get.

You don’t even have to finish the hike. The first two miles, which are also the easiest, offer enough jaw-dropping scenery. But if you choose to go all the way, you’ll walk through beaches and a jungle, see a waterfall, and so much more.

10. Have A Memorable Sea Turtle Adventure

If swimming with sharks is too thrilling for you, then you can choose a tamer underwater adventure. Know that when in Hawaii, snorkeling with wild turtles is an option.

These gentle sea creatures are majestic in their natural habitat, it’s why you should see for yourself. For this experience, you have to go to Tunnels Beach in Kauai. 

You can even explore some underwater lava tubes to see a variety of other colorful tropical marine life.

It Hardly Gets Better than This

These 10 activities only scratch the surface of all the amazing things you can do, see, and experience in Hawaii. 

If you’re up for it, see if you can leave no stone unturned and no island unexplored.

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