If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, you should include these six amazing beaches in your Hawaiian itinerary. While honeymooning in beautiful Hawaii we tried to visit at least one beach on each island. In 3 weeks we visited amazing Kauai island, the incredible Big island, stunning Maui and had a beach day on Lanai.
There’s so much to do and see on the Hawaiian Islands that at times it was hard to find a free day to roll on the beach. We had so many plans to see amazing things from early morning till dark, like climbing to the summit of the magnificent Mauna Kea or catching a soulful sunrise at the House of the Sun.
But there is only so far you can go without a beach day, especially when you are in paradise. You can easily get sucked into all the must see things, but make sure you have some down time with a book or a boogie board. These 6 beaches are great for relaxing, sunset watching, diving, snorkelling or cocktail sipping.
1. Tunnels Beach, Kauai
If you are on your way to trek the Kalalau Trail on the famous Na Pali Coast, pop into the Tunnels beach along the way. It’s a gorgeous beach in the shadow of the stunning Mount Makana.
It’s a touristy spot, but the sunsets here on the north shore are to die for. Also if you are a snorkelling fan, this is one of the best snorkelling spots in Hawaii as it has a shallow reef just a few meters out.
The golden sand beach is a true paradise. We didn’t swim here as it was too wavy in February, but the scenery is spectacular. We nearly got married on this beach, but at the last minute, changed our wedding location to the secluded and more private Haena beach close by.
2. Secluded Haena Beach, Kauai
On our visit to Kauai, we literally lived right on this amazing beach. With the Tunnels beach just round the corner, this stretch of sand stays quiet and peaceful most of the time. Especially if you are here in winter months.
It’s a perfect spot if you want to escape the hustle, but beware the ocean is very rough during winter months. There are also quite a few rocks in the water so be careful when swimming, especially if you are inexperienced swimmer.
However, even if you can’t swim, the natural beauty of this beach makes up for it. The beach is well loved by the locals and you will see a row of houses on the stilts stretching along the coast.
We found our beautiful accommodation right on this beach through Airbnb.com (click to claim $20 travel credit on us!) and had an amazing time having the beach nearly to ourselves.
3. Hanalei Bay, Kauai
This atmospheric crescent-shaped bay is the largest bay on the North Shore of Kauai. Just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Hanalei town centre, it’s a great beach for a quick surf before lunch or even before breakfast.
I will always remember Hanalei Bay as my first dip in the Pacific, trying to fight the tall waves powerfully breaking into the shore and dragging me back into the ocean.
Kristina’s Travel Tip: Don’t forget that Kauai is the wettest, therefore lushest, island in Hawaii so occasional rainfall might stop you from rolling on the sand, but the weather is very local and usually, if it rains on one side of the island, the sun shines on the other.
4. Hapuna Beach, The Big Island
Hapuna Beach is one of the biggest white sand beaches on The Big Island, so even if it’s busy, you will find a cosy spot.
We visited the beach in mid February and the water was amazing, great for swimming, especially for newbies as it’s quite shallow. The white sand beach, stretching for 2 miles is also great for surfing practice.
We had a truly incredible time exploring The Big Island and Hapuna Beach was perfect for a lazy morning with a book and an active afternoon boogie boarding in the turquoise, crystal clear water.
You can easily park your car in a large car park right near the beach, complete with some food vans as well as a WC.
5. The Big Beach, Maui
In Hawaiian this beach is called Oneloa – ‘Long Sand’. As we experienced for ourselves, the water on the Big Beach may look calm, but the waves can hit you from out of nowhere, the riptide is very strong in places and can easily pull you out into the ocean. The breaks are so high and strong that it’s better to leave them to experienced Hawaiians. I didn’t dare to even boogie board here so took a quick dip instead.
It’s an excellent golden sand beach but beware of the viscous waves. It was fun, but scary at times, being dragged about in the deep ocean by powerful waves coming out of nowhere.
6. Hulopo’e Beach, Lanai
Lanai is a beautiful island, the most central of the Hawaii islands, famous for its Munro red dirt trail. I would have loved to go on the trail, but not having a car in Hawaii limits you to what you can do. We rented a car on every island except Lanai as this was a day trip over to the island.
To get to the pristine Hulopo’e Beach you need to take a ferry from Lahaina town in Maui. A public ferry ticket will cost you $30 per person one way. Have a look at my blog post Maui to Lanai by ferry for more details.
Less than 10 minute walk from the ferry port you will find Hulopo’e Beach, the best beach on the island. But make sure you have some food and drink with you. There are no shops around, only the Four Seasons Hotel. But lunch there might be a little on a pricier side.
The beautiful Hulopo’e Beach is the island’s finest golden sand beach. It’s a lovely public park, looked after by the same gardeners who manicure the grounds at the Four Seasons. The white sand beach is long and broad and never gets too crowded.
We had a lazy day on this beautiful beach, rolling in the sunshine, reading a book or just walking along the sandy shoreline. Just another perfect day in paradise! Highly recommend a beach day in Lanai.
Have you been to any of these beaches? What are the other beaches you visited in Hawaii? Which one was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.