Hawaii Beaches

Waikiki Beach, Oahu
••• Waikiki Beach, Oahu. Sami Sarkis/Photodisc/Getty Images

All That You Need to Know About the Beaches in Hawaii:

With over 750 miles of shoreline, Hawaii has over 400 beaches, and that's only counting the ones with names. Only Alaska, Florida and California have more shoreline than Hawaii.

Hawaii has beaches of white sand, yellow sand, black sand, red sand and even one beach of green sand.

All beaches in the State of Hawaii are, by law, public beaches up to the vegetation line.

Most beaches that visitors frequent have public access from the land. Many, especially, the state beach parks, have parking facilities.

There are beaches in Hawaii that are great for sunbathing and others that are known for their great ocean sports. There are beaches that are kid friendly and others that are distinctly adult oriented. There are beaches that are great for people-watching and others where you're likely to be the only person seen for miles.

Let's take a closer look at Hawaii's beaches and how you can remain safe in the water.

Beach Safety:

Whether you remain on the beach or venture into the ocean, safety should always be a consideration. To begin, I suggest you read our feature on water safety in Hawaii.

If you plan on sunbathing, I suggest you read our feature How to Avoid a Sunburn. Because of its proximity to the equator, the sun in Hawaii much stronger than you're likely used to back home.

Should you decide to venture into the ocean and, perhaps, do some snorkeling, be aware that there are sharks in the waters of Hawaii. Shark attacks are very rare, but it is helpful to know How to Reduce the Risk of Shark Attack and Injury.

The Best Beaches in Hawaii:

Hawaii has, in my opinion, the best beaches in America and many of the best beaches in the world.

We've taken a slightly different approach to our list of the best beaches in Hawaii. We include at least one beach from each of the six major islands and four from each of the four major islands. Our list is also presented in alphabetical order by island. We've also intentionally included several, less well-known, beaches that we consider real gems.

Check out our picks and photos for the Best Beaches in Hawaii.

Also, please take a moment to let us know which is your favorite beach in Hawaii and why.

Best Maui Beaches:

The island of Maui has the widest variety of beaches that you'll find anywhere in Hawaii. It has two of Hawaii's top resort areas with beaches that have been acclaimed as two of the best in the world - Ka'anapali and Wailea. Maui has excellent beaches for swimming and snorkeling and great beaches for surfing and windsurfing. In fact, Ho'okipa Beach on Maui's North Shore is considered the "Windsurfing Capital of the World."

Here are my picks for the best beaches on the island of Maui.

Nude Beaches in Hawaii:

According to State park regulations, nudity is illegal at state beaches in Hawaii, however, as is often the case, it's really that simple. The fact is that there are beaches that are well known as "nude" or "clothing-optional" in Hawaii.

In some areas and on some islands, the authorities attempt to enforce this ruling, however, there are other beaches where enforcement is non-existent.

Check out our feature on nude beaches in Hawaii.

Oahu Has More Than 125 Beaches:

Despite having one of the most famous beaches in the world, Waikiki Beach, the beaches of Oahu offer much more than just sunbathing and people watching.

With more than 125 beaches from which to choose, from the powerful, pounding winter waves of the North Shore to the gentle shore break of Waikiki, there is a beach on Oahu that fits every taste from that of the sunbathing visitor to the more athletic surfer and windsurfer. Read about the many great beaches of Oahu.

Hawaii Beach Pictures:

Life's a beach in Hawaii. Explore our two galleries totaling 104 beach photos, featuring a montage of pictures of children and adults of all ages basking in the the sun and frolicking in the waters of the islands.

Beach Photo Gallery 1
Beach Photo Gallery 2

A History of Award Winning Beaches:

For the past 22 years, beginning in 1991, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach has, on Memorial Day weekend, announced his top 10 list of the best beaches in America.

Twelve times a beach in Hawaii has been honored as "America's Best Beach" and, with that honor, retired from future competition. Numerous other Hawaii beaches have been included on the list over those years.

Here are some details on the results for this year and previous years:

Waimanalo Bay Beach Park Named 2015 Best Beach in America
Duke Kahanamoku Beach Named 2014 Best Beach in America
Three Hawaii Beaches Make 2013 Best Beaches in America List
Three Hawaii Beaches Make 2012 Best Beaches in America List
Two Hawaii Beaches Make 2011 List
Kauai's Hanalei Bay Named Best Beach in America for 2009
Two Hawaii Beaches Make 2008 List
D.T. Fleming Beach, Maui Named Best Beach in America for 2006
Hanauma Bay, Oahu Named Best Beach in America for 2004
Ka'anapali Beach, Maui Named Best Beach in America for 2003
Four Hawaii Beaches Make 2002 List
Poipu Beach Named Best Beach in America for 2001

Book Your Stay

Check prices for your stay in Hawaii with TripAdvisor