Top 10 Must-Visit beaches in Hawaiʻi for your ultimate tropical getaway

Hawaiʻi, with its stunning landscapes, warm tropical climate, and crystal-clear waters, is a paradise for beach lovers. Whether you're seeking relaxation, water adventures, or breathtaking scenery, Hawaiʻi has it all. Here's a guide to the top 10 must-visit beaches in Hawaiʻi for your ultimate tropical getaway.

  • Waikīkī Beach, Oʻahu

Waikīkī is one of the most famous beaches globally, known for its vibrant atmosphere and iconic views of Diamond Head. With its golden sands and gentle waves, it's perfect for both sunbathing and learning to surf. 

Highlights: iconic views of Diamond Head, vibrant atmosphere, and a bustling nightlife.

Activities: surfing lessons, catamaran cruises, and beachside entertainment.

Tips: Relax in the historic Moana Surfrider hotel's beachfront banyan courtyard. Come visit us at our Maui Divers Jewelry stores either at the Hilton Hawaiian Village or International Market Place.

Waikīkī Beach

  • Lanikai Beach, Oʻahu

Lanikai, meaning "heavenly sea", lives up to its name with powdery sands and clear turquoise waters. This tranquil beach is ideal for a relaxing day, and the Mokulua Islands add to the stunning backdrop.

Highlights: powdery white sands, clear turquoise waters, and the twin Mokulua islands.

Activities: kayaking to the Mokulua islands, sunrise viewing, and beach picnics.

Tips: hike the Lanikai Pillbox trail for panoramic views of the beach and the islands.

Lanikai Beach

  • Hanalei Bay, Kauaʻi

Nestled between emerald green mountains, Hanalei Bay boasts a two-mile crescent-shaped beach. The picturesque setting is complemented by water activities such as kayaking, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.

Highlights: Backdropped by lush mountain, picturesque beach.

Activities: kayaking on the Hanalei river, paddleboarding, and snorkeling at nearby reefs.

Tips: visit during the winter months to witness large, rideable waves.

Hanalei Bay

  • Polihale State Park, Kauaʻi

For those seeking a remote and expansive beach experience, Polihale is the place to go. This remote stretch of golden sands is backed by the rugged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, offering a truly awe-inspiring landscape.

Highlights: remote, expansive beach backed by the rugged cliffs of the Na Pali Coast.

Activities: sunset viewing, beachcombing, and stargazing.

Tips: accessible by a rough dirt road; a 4WD vehicle is recommend.

Polihale State Park

  • Poipu Beach, Kauaʻi

Poipu Beach is known for its calm waters and excellent snorkeling opportunities. The beach park also features a natural wading pool for families and a variety of marine life.

Highlights: calm waters, excellent snorkeling, and a natural wading pool for families.

Activities: snorkeling at Lawai Beach, exploring Spouting Horn, and hiking nearby trails.

Tips: visit in the morning for the best snorkeling conditions.

Poipu Beach

  • Kāʻanapali Beach, Maui

Located on Maui's western shore, Kāʻanapali is a three-mile stretch of golden sand. It's a hub for water sports, and the beachwalk features shopping, dinning, and entertainment.

Highlights: three miles of golden sand, beachwalk with shopping and dining.

Activities: snorkeling at Black Rock, cliff diving ceremonies, and sunset cruises.

Tips: explore Whalers Village for shopping, make sure to stop by Maui Divers Jewelry and dining experiences.

Kāʻanapali Beach

  • Kapalua Bay Beach, Maui

Kapalua Bay is a sheltered cove boasting vibrant coral reefs, making it a prime spot for snorkeling. the calm waters are also suitable for swimming and paddleboarding.

Highlights: sheltered cove with vibrant coral reefs for excellent snorkeling.

Activities: snorkeling among colorful marine life, paddlebaording, and coastal walks.

Tips: visit during the morning for clearer waters and fewer crowds.

Kapalua Beach

  • Hāpuna Beach, Big Island

As one of Hawaiʻi's largest white sand beaches, Hāpuna offers excellent swimming conditions and is surrounded by natural beauty. The beach is backed by Hāpuna Beach State Park, perfect for picnics and hiking. 

Highlights: largest white sand beach on the Big Island with excellent swimming conditions.

Activities: bodyboarding, picnicking at Hāpuna Beach State Park, and hiking nearby trails.

Tips: check ocean conditions, as winter waves can be large on the north shore. 

Hāpuna Beach

  • Papakōlea Beach (Green sand Beach), Big Island

Accessible by a scenic hike, Papakōlea is one of the world's only green sand beaches. The distinctive color comes from the presence of olivine crystals, creating a unique and memorable experience. 

Highlights: unique green sand.

Activities: scenic hike to the beach, swimming in the turquoise waters.

Tips: be prepared for a moderately challenging hike, and bring water abd sun protection.

Papakōlea Beach

  • Makalawena Beach, Big Island

Accessible by a hike or a 4WD vehicle, Makalawena is a secluded gem with white sands and clear turquoise waters. It's an excellent spot for those looking to escape the crowds. 

Highlights: secluded gem with white sands and clear turquoise waters.

Activities: hiking or 4WD access, swimming, and sunbathing.

Tips: bring your own supplies, as amenities are limited.

Makalawena Beach

Hawaiʻi's beaches are as diverse as the islands themselves, offering something for every type of traveler. Whether you're looking for adventure, relaxation, or simply to soak in the natural beauty, the top 10 beaches listed above are sure to make your tropical getaway unforgettable. Pack your sunscreen, embrace the aloha spirit, and get ready to experience the paradise that is Hawaiʻi.

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