Plan a tropical retreat with the best beaches in Hawaii

When it comes to unforgettable beach experiences, few destinations in the world are better than the Hawaiian Islands. With a variety of island beaches ranging from quiet, white-sand beaches to remote, wild shoreline to coastal reserves, you can find it all at Hawaii’s beaches. You’ll have a lot to choose from with the diverse island destinations that boast their own distinct beaches and activities, such as Maui and Oahu’s water sports and Kauai’s lush tropical landscape. Whether you want a family beach trip, a romantic vacation, or a variety of outdoor adventures, find out more about the best beaches in Hawaii to plan your trip.

Best beaches in Maui for watersports

One of the Hawaiian Islands' most popular travel destinations, Maui is home to numerous beaches with diverse environments ranging from white sand to rugged cliffs. Hamoa Beach is a stunning gray-sand beach that’s popular for water sports like surfing and snorkelling, as well as for coastal hiking. If you want a family-friendly beach, Kapalua Beach’s calm waters and natural tide pools offer exciting swimming and wading opportunities for children. For snorkelling, nothing beats Kaanapali Beach, a popular resort area that has clear, quiet waters with incredible marine life. Other beaches in Maui include Olowalu Beach, Makena Beach, and Wailea Beach.

Best beaches in Oahu for families with kids

Home to Honolulu, Oahu is one of the most popular islands to visit in Hawaii. The island has a variety of beaches ideal for families, nature lovers, couples, and adventurers. Lanikai Beach on the Windward side is one of Oahu’s most famous beaches and boasts an offshore reef that serves as a barrier to keep the water calm, perfect for families with small children. Water sports are also popular at Lanikai Beach, especially windsurfing, snorkelling, and sailing. You’ll also like Waikiki Beach, another famous beach with upscale waterfront resorts, excellent surf breaks, and stunning views of Diamond Head. Other beaches in Oahu include Sunset Beach, Kailua Beach, and Waimea Bay.

Best beaches in Big Island for outdoor adventure

Officially known as Hawaii, the Big Island is the largest of the Hawaiian Islands and boasts incredible, varied landscapes with active volcanoes, tropical forests, and white-sand beaches with charming seaside towns. If you want to snorkel and dive among incredible marine life, Kahaluu Beach Park offers a palm-lined beach with an offshore reef and clear, calm waters. You’ll also like Manini’owali Beach on Kua Bay, a white-sand beach with beautiful lookout points and snorkelling opportunities. Other unique beaches in Big Island include Papakolea Beach, a green-sand beach on a bay in a remote area, and Pohoiki Black Sand Beach, a wild, windswept beach created by a volcanic eruption that offers gorgeous ocean thermal ponds.

Best beaches in Kauai for tropical escapes

Known as the “Garden Isle” for its tropical rainforest and dramatic, rocky coastline, Kauai has many picturesque beaches to choose from. Hanalei Bay Beach is a popular destination for families due to its fine sand, beautiful scenery, and quiet waters created by the offshore reef. If you want adventure, Hanalei Bay offers windsurfing, kayaking, boating, paddling, and shipwreck diving. For a unique experience, visit Kee Beach for sunbathing, swimming, coastal hikes, snorkelling, and kayaking. You might even catch sight of the colony of chickens that frequents the beach. Other beaches in Kauai include Baby Beach, Tunnels Beach, and Anahola Beach.

Best beaches in Lanai for family resorts

Lanai is a laid-back island with remote beaches and a romantic, tropical landscape. You’ll have a variety of beaches to choose from, such as Hulopoe Beach Park with its seaside resorts, large tide pools for children, and excellent snorkelling spots. There’s also Polihua Beach, a scenic beach with pristine sands for sunbathing and beachcombing. Polihua Beach has rough seas and strong winds, so it’s great for water sports and relaxing on the shores to take in the views.

Best beaches in Molokai for wild landscapes

Offering a mix of popular travel beaches and wild, remote beaches, Molokai gives you just about any beach experience you wish. You can find well-appointed beaches here with restrooms, changing areas, and quiet waters, such as Kapukahehu Beach and Papohaku Beach. If you have the kids, One Ali’I Beach Park has flat, soft sand and shallow waters for wading and swimming. If you want something off-the-beaten-track, the island has numerous beaches that are only accessible by boat, ATV, or hiking. Hale O Lono Harbor offers some scenic beaches, but you’ll also enjoy secluded beaches like Pukoo Beach and Kawili Beach.