The Absolute Best Beaches in Hawaii [2024 Update]

Hawaii is a top tourist destination – we already know that – and it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

But if your time is limited and you can’t visit them all to choose your favorite, check out the ones below.

These are the best beaches in Hawaii and I am sure you will love them all. Just to keep things quick and easy, I’m listing them below – but do make sure to check out all the details about the best beaches in Hawaii (in no particular order):

  1. Kailua Beach Park, Oahu
  2. Hamoa Beach, Maui
  3. Papohaku Beach, Molokai
  4. Spencer Beach Park, Big Island
  5. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area, Big Island
  6. Kaanapali Beach, Maui
  7. Lanikai Beach, Oahu
  8. Polihale State Park, Kauai
  9. Makalawena Beach, Big Island
  10. Waikiki Beach, Oahu
  11. Poipu Beach Park, Kauai
  12. Napili Bay, Maui
  13. Manini’owali Beach, Big Island
  14. Hanalei Bay, Kauai
  15. Ko Olina Beach, Oahu

Now, it’s time to get a bit more in-depth and see what makes the beaches above the best in Hawaii. Don’t forget to take a beach canopy with you to be able to enjoy the experience fully and get some shade whenever you need it.

The top 15 best beaches in Hawaii

From white sand to black sand, secluded coves, or tourist-packed destinations for an all-day and all-night party, there’s an amazing beach for anybody visiting Hawaii. Let’s check them out!

Kailua Beach Park

We’re talking here about one of the best Hawaii beaches – white sand and all the water sports you can think of: wind-surfing, kite-surfing, kayaking and, of course, swimming.

It looks like more than a million dollars as you can see in the image above (which, honestly, still doesn’t do it much justice!)

Hamoa Beach

This is an exciting salt-and-pepper sand beach of the Travaasa Hana hotel, but it’s open to guests too so you don’t have to stay at the hotel to enjoy this amazing Hawaii beach.

The waves here are always great and you can also go snorkeling for an all round amazing vacation in Hawaii!

Papohaku Beach

Also named the Three-Mile Beach (because that’s its length), the Papohaku Beach is not one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii, and this is exactly why it made it to this list. Sometimes, we need space – and this is what this beach offers.

However, if you go there in May during the Molokai Ka Hula Piko festival which takes place here, it will be really crowded. It’s up for you to decide when to go.

Spencer Beach Park

At the base of the Kamehameha temple, Spencer Beach is another amazing white sand beach you can find only in Hawaii and the place where your memories for a lifetime are waiting to happen.

There are also a lot of activities for tourists and the presence of lifeguards make it even safer for families.

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area

One of the most popular beaches in Hawaii, Hapuna, is large and sandy and feels like the best place to spend an entire day lying in the sun.

Actually, that’s the main thing to do on this beautiful beach if you’re not a windsurfing fan!

Kaanapali Beach, Maui

Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali Beach is located on the west coast of Maui and it’s one you can easily fall in love with. Love at first sight, that is!

The beach welcomes you with its soft, golden sand and crystal clear waters, making it perfect for swimming and other water activities.

It’s also a great place for snorkeling, with plenty of colorful marine life to discover. The area has plenty of amenities, including restaurants, shops, and resorts, making it a great place to spend the day – alone, or with friends and family.

Lanikai Beach, Oahu

Lanikai Beach

This beautiful, small beach is often listed as one of the best in the United States. In fact, Lanikai Beach is consistently rated as one of the best beaches in the world, so you know you’re in an amazing place if you choose to come here.

Located on the windward side of Oahu, Lanikai Beach is, as a result, perfect for surfing and all types of water sports.

Its clear blue waters and soft white sand make it a great choice for soaking in the sun and swimming or snorkeling are still safe, despite the generally larger waves.

As an added bonus, you can see the twin islands of Na Mokulua from this beach, which adds to the overall experience – as you can see in the photo above.

Polihale State Park, Kauai

Polihale State Park Beach for Surfing in Hawaii

Polihale State Park is a remote and rugged beach located on the west side of Kauai. It’s known for its long stretch of golden sand that seems to go on forever.

The beach is surrounded by cliffs, which gives it a secluded feel, although it’s actually pretty touristy and generally crowded – especially during the high season.

The waves here can be quite large, so it’s a popular spot for experienced surfers, and I wouldn’t really call it too family-friendly. But, in the end, if you keep a close eye on your children, they should be safe.

Makalawena Beach, Big Island

makalawena beach

If you’re looking for a secluded spot away from the crowds, Makalawena Beach is the place to go.

It’s only accessible via a rugged trail, which means you’ll have to work a bit to get there, but the reward is well worth it: a beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters and white sand.

The beach is known for its crystal clear water and soft, white sand. It’s a great spot for swimming and snorkeling, and there are even some tide pools to explore.

The beach is surrounded by lava rock, which adds to the dramatic scenery and results in some of the most spectacular photos you can take during your vacation.

Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is the most famous beach on the island of Oahu and one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii. It’s almost a cliche to list it – but at the same time, it would be unfair not to list it just because it’s so popular and well known.

Located in Honolulu and offering a stunning view of Diamond Head, this beach is famous for its soft, white sand and crystal clear waters, making it perfect for swimming and other water activities.

It’s also a great place for surfing, with a variety of waves suitable for different skill levels. There are plenty of amenities, including beachfront restaurants and bars, and lots of hotels and resorts in the area.

And, of course, plenty of crowds. Which, depending on the type of vacation you’re looking for, can be a bonus or a con. It’s your decision to make, but definitely consider Waikiki as a potential destination.

Poipu Beach Park, Kauai

Poipu Beach Hawaii

This beach is located on Kauai’s Southern shore, and it’s one of the most family-friendly beaches in Hawaii.

The beach has a shallow area for children and a calm lagoon, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The calm waters are clear and of spectacular turquoise colors, and there’s always something fun to do around.

For example, if you somehow get bored of the beautiful sand and water, you can go hiking or explore the nearby botanical gardens (which are beautiful when the flowers are in full bloom.)

Napili Bay, Maui

Napili Bay is a hidden gem located on Maui’s west coast, away from the hustle and bustle of the more popular beaches.

It’s a quiet and secluded beach that offers stunning views of the nearby islands and crystal clear waters. But don’t consider its lack of popularity a con – on the contrary, it’s an added bonus in my opinion.

The beach is known for its great snorkeling spots, but you can enjoy regular swimming here as well. With a coral reef that’s home to a variety of marine life and colorful fish, it’s a perfect destination in Hawaii.

Manini’owali Beach, Big Island

maniniowali beach

Located in the Kua Bay, this is one of the most picturesque beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Manini’owali is famous for its turquoise waters, soft, white sand, and the surrounding lava rock formations that make everything seem more spectacular than anything you can imagine.

It’s a great place for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. The beach is also known for its incredible sunsets, which are not to be missed.

Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Hanalei Beach

Hanalei Bay is located on Kauai’s north shore and, in my opinion, it can give Waikiki a real run for the place of one of the most amazing beaches in Hawaii.

It’s a long, crescent-shaped beach with soft, white sand and crystal clear waters. The beach is surrounded by lush, green mountains which make you feel like living in a fairy-tale.

Honestly, you will feel the stress leaving your body when you arrive here – I sure did! I think that the photo above says a lot in regards to why.

This beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities. The area also has plenty of restaurants and shops, making it a great place to spend the day.

Ko Olina Beach, Oahu

Last but not least, Ko Olina Beach, located on the western shore of Oahu, is a picturesque paradise that never ceases to amaze the visitors and also manages to fully capture – in my opinion – the spirit of Hawaii.

This crescent-shaped beach is situated in a resort area and boasts four man-made lagoons, which provide calm waters for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding.

The lagoons are protected from the open ocean by rock walls, making the water relatively calm and ideal for families with children.

The beach itself is stunning, with crystal-clear turquoise waters and is an amazing place to enjoy amazing sunsets that make for great Instagram photos or just unforgettable memories.


Hawaii is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking beaches, each with its own unique charm and beauty.

There are plenty to choose from and it’s worth checking out as many as possible – but if time is short, pick your favorite from my list of the best beaches in Hawaii above and rest assured that you’ve chosen a spectacular one to visit.

So, pack your sunscreen and towel, and get ready to explore the Aloha State’s stunning coastline.

And if you consider other beaches worthy of the title “the best in Hawaii,” don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us all in the comments section below.

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