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Most people considering a visit to Hawaii know we have a lot of beaches here. Our six major islands all are completely rimmed with beaches, and all the beaches are accessible to you. You are, of course, aware of “Waikiki Beach,” the most famous of them all. It’s convenient to every Waikiki hotel. It backs up to restaurants, shops, convenience stores and cocktail lounges and it offers beach-boy services, catamaran rides and surfing lessons. All the comforts; all the clamor.
If you like the idea of sheer beauty, relaxation, a degree of privacy and a sense of discovery, try one or more of these less-traveled beaches. On the islands of Molokai and Lanai, both charming, sleepy islands, every beach fits that bill.
On Oahu’s eastern shore (one of Hawaii’s most spectacular shoreline vistas), Waimanalo Beach is more than three miles long and beautiful. The park at its center offers lifeguards, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, camping sites, and parking. Farther north, the amenities diminish but the privacy and splendor increase. The beach is wide, the water a vivid blend of greens and blues, and the ocean bottom slopes gently to overhead depths across a series of shallow sandbars.
Poipu Beach, on the south shore of Kauai, is lovely – and very popular. To its east, a more isolated and scenic (and harder to find) beach lies in relative obscurity. To reach this secluded treasure, follow Poipu Road past the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa until you reach the parking area for Mahaulepu Beach. From there, it’s a short walk to a beach where you’ll enjoy private splendor beyond your expectations. Be sure you have refreshments and sunblock with you; the closest conveniences are beyond walking distance. But If you’re looking for quiet and serenity in beautiful surroundings, this is the place.
The beach at Kapalua Bay, at the northwestern-most point on Maui, offers golden sand, postcard-worthy swaying palms, calm waters and clear-day views toward the islands of Molokai and Lanai. This “pocket” beach is tucked between two lava points and bordered by a coconut tree grove. The surf is tranquil here, perfect for the casual swimmer and families with small children.
Here’s a beach area where jumping into the surf isn’t the first priority. South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii is the southernmost point in the United States – reason enough for a visit. The drive through rural – and volcanic – Hawaii is unusual in itself, but the South Point area, where the first Polynesians are thought to have landed, is amazing. The cliff near South Point Park drops forty feet to the oceans surface. The concept looks inviting, but don’t jump, even though there are ladders to return and you may see daring young people doing it. A swift current runs along the shore that could carry you straight out to sea.
The following beaches aren’t exactly “hideaways” because they’ve been discovered by our visitors and have become popular. They also are popular with those of us who live here because they simply are nice beaches away from the tourist areas.
, in Oahu’s West Shore beach area, is well protected even during the winter months when other areas are experiencing high surf. It has a “local” ambience, with a gently sloping coral reef that makes the swimming terrific all year round. The beach area itself is sandy with welcome shady areas nearby.
on the North Shore of Kauai just might be the most beautiful beach in all of Hawaii. A perfect semi-circle of white sand with a backdrop of waterfalls and mountain peaks, it boasts the pier – now used for swimming — that was featured prominently in the South Pacific film that was shot largely in the area. It’s a popular beach for serious surfers and there is a public boat ramp. The “no jumping off the pier” signs are normally ignored.
, in Kee Beach Park, at the end of the road on Kauai’s North Shore between the Na Pali Coast and Limahuli Stream, is a reef lagoon and a favorite snorkeling site. The water is clear and there are zillions of colorful reef fish and turtles. Kee Beach is really “tropical” looking, with surrounding ironwood trees, coconut palms guava trees.
is next to the Waikoloa Beach Marriott resort on the Big Island’s Kohala (west) Coast. It boasts landscaped walking paths that wind past ancient Hawaiian fishponds leading to a golden sand beach that’s backed by swaying palm trees. If you’re going to be staying at one of the posh resorts in the area, this beach is certainly worth a visit.
When you come to Hawaii, “Da Beach” definitely has to be at least part of your experience. By all means, venture away from the one in front of your hotel or the one at the end of the street. All the beaches on our islands have personalities of their own, and the more of them you try, the more you’ll enjoy.