A very popular travel destination renowned worldwide for its beautiful beaches, Hawaii is home to hundreds of beaches that are as diverse as they come, each having its own highlights.
While a traveler's unique interests will largely determine what they consider one of the Hawaii top beaches, the great thing is that whether one is on a solo or family vacation looking to get some classic R&R or simply an adventurous traveler looking for water-sporting thrills, the best surf or discovery of the turquoise waters; the tropical sanctuary that is Hawaii has something for everyone.
Here are 5 of the best Hawaiian beaches found across most lists as the top offerings of the beach lover's paradise:
1. WAIKIKI BEACH, Oahu
Home to Honolulu, the state’s capital city, Oahu is the largest and most popular island and is always bustling with year-round tourist activity. On its southern shore is Waikiki Beach, the most popular beach in Hawaii, receiving more than 4 million visitors every year.
Waikiki’s peaceful waters offer great swimming and surfing throughout the year and its pristine white sand beaches attract even the rich and famous to this busy, cosmopolitan section of Oahu Island.
Boasting several activities around the beach — from shopping, people watching, sunset gazing and zoo/aquarium trips, to: surfing, snorkeling, swimming, canoe racing and boogie boarding, Waikiki beach with its many attractions is sure to keep you entertained.
2. HAPUNA BEACH, Big Island
Hapuna is the Hawaii’s largest white sand beach and is located on the western Kohala coast of the Big Island. The crystal blue waters of this beach rank among the island’s top destinations for swimming, bodysurfing and snorkeling. Hapuna beach is easily accessed from most parts of the island and is near the smaller Mauna Kea beach which is another great beach.
Though this beach offers small, gentle waves that are perfect for bodysurfing and other water activities, the beach is sometimes graced by high tides and strong winds that can be hazardous.
3. KA’ANAPALI BEACH, Maui
Similar to Waikiki Beach, Kaanapali is a 3-mile stretch along Maui’s northwest coast that is full of activity. The gorgeous, less-crowded Kaanapali Beach offering similar attractions is one of the island's most popular white sand beaches today, and is often ranked as Maui’s top beach.
4. PUNALU’U BEACH, Big Island
Though there are many black sand beaches to be found all over Hawaii’s Big Island, it is the most famous of them, Punalu’u Beach that has been given the name 'Black Sand Beach’.
Located about thirty miles south of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Punalu’u gets it black-colored sand from the island’s constant volcanic activity. The beach shores are jet black and known to be a great place to spot green sea turtles who choose black sand beaches to build their nests coconut palms. Beach-goers can relax on the warm sand under the coconut palms and spot sea turtles easy on Punalu’u.
5. LANIKAI BEACH, Oahu
Lanikai is Oahu’s top-rated stretch of hidden but “heavenly” waters. The public beach is a small half-mile strip nestled in the residential town of Kailua, on the island’s windward side.
The famous and picturesque Lanikai Beach offers everything you’ve seen in photos of Hawaii: sparse crowds, the smaller, scenic offshore islands, signature clear turquoise waters and white, powdery sands.
That being said, for all its glory this beach has a problematic parking situation that could make it a hectic destination. Also, summer season on the island is characterized by trade winds that sometimes bring quite a number of Hawaiian jellyfish (also known as Portuguese man-o-wars) that are known to possibly disrupt your peaceful ocean/beach experience. It is important to wear full body swimsuit that provide Jellyfish protection and blocks the sun UV radiation for maximum skin protection.