Not all beaches are identical in Hawaii but all of them are best enjoyed with a few precautions. Before I first visited, I had the image of a ring of sand around the island, like one continuous beach. However, each area has its own personality. Some beaches are more protected and provide a safe spot for families, others are quite challenging and best left to experienced swimmers who know the area.

The most popular beaches have lifeguards, but many areas are not watched. The places with lifeguards are usually pretty busy and they can’t watch everyone all the time. The more secluded areas do not have lifeguards so you must know your limits and keep an eye out for those you are travelling with. Waves are higher during the winter months and a beach that may have only moderate summer surf activity can become much more challenging. Ask for local advice regarding both the area and the time of year you plan to visit.

Another caution concerns possessions. Being at the beach is relaxing and thieves count on people letting down their guard. Don’t take anything valuable with you to the beach, and don’t leave it in your car in the parking lot. Either take turns watching your items or use a water-proof carrier for your small camera, room key, etc. There are many styles of carriers: transparent, soft or hard sided. You can buy a case or borrow one. On one of our visits, the B & B had a collection of cases they loaned to guests.

Something I would not have thought to ask about is shade. Some beaches have trees quite near the water where you can enjoy the protection of the shade. This was important for one of our guests with a sun-sensitivity. It can also be good to know if you’ve gotten sunburned but still want to enjoy the day outside.

Getting to know the different beaches is one of the best parts of a Hawaii vacation. Take a few simple cautions and don’t forget the sunscreen!

This Labor Day weekend is also when box jellyfish are expected, so watch for warnings


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