Top 25+ Hawaii Beaches

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If Hawaii is known for one thing it is beaches and those familiar with them will tell you they are without doubt the most beautiful in the World. These are the iconic beaches that defined the stereotype of paradise; soft white sand, crystal clear turquoise waters and a stunning backdrop of tropical vegetation clinging to precipitous volcanic mountain sides.

Stretched out over a 1,000 miles in the mid-Pacific the Hawaiian Island chain is made up of 137 islands, although only six of these are inhabited year round. Even on this handful alone there are enough beaches that you could spend a lifetime visiting them all.

Each island has its own character and a nickname to reflect this; Hawaii Island is "The Big Island", for obvious reasons, and O'ahu is "The Gathering Place", being by far the most populated. Maui is known as the "Valley Island" as it is formed from two ancient volcanoes joined by lowlands while Kauai with its covering of prehistoric feeling vegetation is "The Garden Isle".

It would be impossible to say which Hawaiian Island has the most beautiful beaches and this is always going to vary from one person to another. The great news is there are beaches in all shapes, sizes and colors (white, black, green and red sand is all available!). So whether you are looking for a wide empty beach with a backdrop straight out of Jurassic World, world class surfing or the perfect family beach, Hawaii has it all.

  • 1. Lanikai Beach // Oahu

    Lanikai Beach
    © Tomasfoto

    Situated on the windward coast of Oahu in Hawaii is Lanikai beach, which translates as "heavenly sea". With its fine white sand and brilliant aqua blue water this name seems quite fitting. Lanikai is fringed with palm trees and with water temperatures rarely dipping below 75° F (24° C) there is no mistaking you are in the tropics. Unlike many of Oahu's other great beaches, Lanikai is not designated a… read more »

  • 2. Poipu Beach // Kauai

    Poipu Beach
    © Ellen Smile

    Poipu is the most popular beach on Kauai's South Shore and by all accounts one of the most highly rated in all Hawaii (or at least according to Dr Beach). The island of Kauai itself is the least developed and with its abundantly lush interior is often referred to as the Garden Isle. So, despite the fact Poipu borders a number of resorts it still has plenty of pristine, tropical… read more »

  • 3. Tunnels Beach // Kauai

    Tunnels Beach
    © Sekar Balasubramanian

    Tunnels beach is set on the north coast of Hawaii's most northerly main island, Kauai. Originally known as Makua beach, the name Tunnels could be from one of two possible sources; most likely is it comes from the maze passages that wind their way through the big coral reef which sits just offshore. Alternately, it could be from the shape of the waves that make it popular with surfers.

    The… read more »

  • 4. Ke'e Beach // Kauai

    Ke'e Beach
    Ben K

    Located at the end of the road, Ke’e Beach is the last accessible beach from the north shore of Kauai. This stunningly majestic beach is a prime spot for snorkeling and sightseeing, with spectacular views of the entire coast. 

    The beach connects to the Kalalau Trail, an infamously treacherous route spanning 11 miles along the coastline. The rugged trail is widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful and dangerous hikes… read more »

  • 5. Honopu Beach // Kauai

    Honopu Beach

    Honopu Beach is a remote and secluded beach on Kauai's spectacular Na Pali Coast. The only way you can get there is by boat or swimming to it. The incredible beach is backed by 1200-foot high sea cliffs, and they are separated by the Honopu Arch. There is a huge waterfall that comes down the sea cliff and goes through to arch on its way to the ocean.

    The word… read more »

  • 6. Kāʻanapali Beach // Maui

    Kāʻanapali Beach
    © Rob Newton

    If you are a beach connoisseur, then Kāʻanapali Beach on Maui's west coast is definitely one for your bucket list. Dubbed "Black Rock" Beach locally, this stunning three mile stretch of golden-white sand and alluring, azure water is within walking distance of several large resorts, tempting restaurants and many other local attractions.

    No surprise then that this beautiful Hawaiian beach has received many international accolades, including America's Best Beach… read more »

  • 7. Wailea Beach // Maui

    Wailea Beach

    Stretching from Makena to the south and Kihei to the north, Wailea is an affluent area with first-class resorts and a sunny beach.

    With a wide stretch of golden sand and gorgeous scenery in every direction, Wailea Beach is a picture-perfect destination. The sandy beach offers a view to the islets of Kahoolawe and Molokini while the surrounding landscape is draped in verdant foliage. The classy resorts with access to the… read more »

  • 8. Polihale Beach // Kauai

    Polihale Beach

    Polihale Beach stands out above the rest due to its gorgeous pristine white sands, natural beauty and remote unspoilt location. Once a hidden gem, it was featured as "The Best Secluded Beach on Earth" by T&L magazine which pretty much negated its title!

    Despite being more popular now, this sandy beach still retains a sense of being at the very end of the earth. Getting to Polihale Beach takes about… read more »

  • 9. Sunset Beach // Oahu

    Sunset Beach

    Stunning sunsets and top surfing are some of the highlights that make Sunset Beach in northwest Oahu so popular. It's easy to reach from the Kamehameha Highway which skirts along the edge of the sandy beach providing tempting views.

    In winter, it's a top place to catch big-wave surfers riding the swell, while in summer the flat waters take on a completely different alter ego. It is popular with families… read more »

  • 10. Mākua Beach // Oahu

    Mākua Beach
    © backyardproduction

    Situated at the northern end of Oahu's west coast between Ka'ena Point State Park and Makua Kea'au Forest Reserve, Makua Beach is one of the island's most undeveloped and natural. The golden sand extends for approximately 800 metres (half a mile). Backed by atmospheric mountains, Makua is sometimes called Tunnels Beach.

    Its ribbon of light sand is met by verdant foliage to one side, and startlingly clear waters on the other,… read more »

  • 11. Hanauma Bay // Oahu

    Hanauma Bay
    © Banzai Hiroaki / CC BY

    The sandy beach of Hanauma Bay is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the Hawaiian island of O'ahu. Given the wealth of beautiful beaches in Hawaii, what makes this one so special?
    Well, firstly it is a bit of a stunner. The crescent of golden sand looks out onto the near circular bay formed from two sunken volcanic craters. When the bay formed it would have been completely… read more »

  • 12. Barking Sands Beach // Kauai

    Barking Sands Beach
    © Gh5046

    Barking Sands Beach is part of the 140-acre Polihale State Park which is one of Hawaii's longest beaches. The sand stretches for over 12 miles and includes towering sand dunes that rise to a height of 100 feet.

    The movement of the masses of sand is what gave the beach its curious name. The dry grains of sand have microscopic holes that cause reverberations when they move and rub… read more »

  • 13. Big Beach // Maui

    Big Beach

    As the name suggests, Big Beach is in fact the largest beach on the south coast of Maui. There is nearly a mile of golden sand along this section of Makena Beach State Park which unlike neighboring beaches is largely undeveloped.

    Backed by lush tropical forest this Big beach feels a lot more remote than it actually is; in fact it is right next door to the resort of read more »

  • 14. Hapuna Beach // Big Island

    Hapuna Beach

    Situated on the Kohala Coast, Hapuna Beach is one of the Big Island's largest white sand beaches. A great choice for families with children, Hapuna is a reliable pick because of its range of attractions. These including sunbathing and sand castle building as well as swimming, snorkelling and bodyboarding thanks to a near-continuous shore break.

    Roughly 800 metres long and relatively broad, especially during the summer when the sand builds further,… read more »

  • 15. Hulopo'e Bay Beach // Lanai

    Hulopo'e Bay Beach
    © Matt Anderson

    Considered one of the best beaches not only in the state of Hawaii but also the entire United States, Hulopoe Bay Beach consists of a beautiful arc of richly coloured sand. This drifts towards sparkling Pacific waters, while being backed onto by areas of native flora containing few manmade structures.

    During the summer months, Hulopo'e's shallows are a prime swimming spot, although the seabed quickly drops off. Snorkelling is also possible… read more »