Hawaii has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but what is the best beach in Hawaii?
Everyone has different things they look for in a favorite beach. After all, big-wave surfers probably won’t be searching for the same spots as families with small children. But still, Hawaii has several crowdpleasers – places that have clear water, great weather, swimmable conditions, and spacious sand.
Ahead, we’re crowning the best beach in Hawaii and honoring several runner-ups that should go straight onto your vacation itinerary.
So grab your sunscreen, snorkel gear, and swimsuit, and get ready to visit Hawaii’s best beaches.
The Best Beach in Hawaii: Poipu Beach (Kauai)
This was not an easy decision, but we believe that Poipu Beach reigns supreme as (arguably) the best beach in Hawaii. It may not have the best of everything (there are better surf or snorkel spots). But it has a little bit of everything, making it a beach that captures the quintessential charm of Hawaii.
There’s great weather, easy access, and lots of activities. Surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding are some of the best water sports here. There is also a calm protected swimming area that’s perfect for small children and great spots for picnicking or sunbathing.
You can read more about stunning Poipu Beach here, or read on to discover more of the best beaches in Hawaii.
The Best Beaches in Hawaii
Island of Hawaii
- Hapuna Beach Park is a beloved location on the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s a half-mile stretch of white sand on the Kona-Kohala Coast with crystal clear water – perfect for snorkeling, swimming, or relaxing during a long day at the beach.
- Kauna’oa Beach (also called Mauna Kea Beach) is a crescent-shaped beach with soft sand and excellent family-friendly conditions. Parking here can be tough, so arrive early or plan to spend $20+ to park at the neighboring hotel.
- Maniniowali Beach is a mile-long stretch of gorgeous shoreline that’s great for families. Come here to snorkel in the reef, sunbathe, swim, or simply take in the beautiful sights of the Pacific Ocean.
- Wailea Beach is located in the upscale resort area of Wailea, where there are several gorgeous beach areas. Wailea Beach is an idyllic palm-tree-lined setting that is typically great for swimming. The Wailea Beach path puts you steps away from other beaches, fantastic dining, and the incredible scenery throughout the resort community. Plus, the sunset views here are amazing.
- Kapalua Bay can get crowded, since it’s such a great all-around beach. The crystal clear water is excellent for snorkeling, and it’s protected from a lot of wind you see at the surrounding Kapalua beaches.
- Hamoa Beach: The Road to Hana is full of adventures at every twist and turn. And if you make it to Hana, you’re rewarded with one of the best beaches on the island. The white sand and bright blue waters pop against the lush greens of East Maui. Waves are often perfect for boogie boarding, and we recommend visiting in the morning for the best swimming conditions.
- Lanikai Beach: Lanikai Beach on Oahu’s windward side is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches on Oahu. It’s often called the best beach in Hawaii — and the world. It’s a mile-long beach lined with coconut palms and sparkling clear water, which makes for amazing photos. Beware: Parking can be busy and difficult to find.
- Waimea Bay Beach Park is famous for big-wave surfing in the winter months. But in the summer, it’s a calm and idyllic setting for a family day at the beach. There is lots of space to stretch out, beautiful scenery, and the unique island vibes you can only find on Oahu’s north shore.
- Waikiki Beach: We always encourage visitors to discover hidden gems and serene locales. But we’re still suckers for the fun Hawaii experience at Waikiki Beach. With many different sections of beach to choose from and a host of activities in the surrounding streets, the calm waters at Waikiki are perfect for swimming and beginner surfing.
- Hanalei Bay Beach is a north shore treasure thanks to its amazing scenery and relaxed atmosphere. In the winter, surfers flock to the area for its great waves. In the summer, the water is tranquil, and the shoreline is perfect for picnics and sunbathing.
- Salt Pond State Park features a long stretch of white sand, plus tide pools toward the east end of the beach. A reef protects this beach, making it great for snorkeling.
- Ke’e Beach Park is home to a reef lagoon with green sea turtles and vibrant reef fish. This beautiful beach is in Hāʻena State Park and requires a reservation to visit.
- Hulopoe Beach Park fronts The Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay, and it is one of Hawaii’s best beaches. Lots of families frequent this fabulous beach, which offers views of spinner dolphins if you’re lucky!
Discovering The Best Beach in Hawaii
Clear, pristine water is what it’s all about when you visit the islands, especially if you love looking at marine life. But you may also be looking for good surf, fantastic scenery, or an adventurous locale. So the best beach in Hawaii is actually the one you love the most.
Ready to discover your favorite Hawaii beach? Contact our team of local travel experts to create the perfect vacation itinerary for you.