The islands of Hawaii are an oasis of beautiful beaches and blue waters. Each island is unique, with its own individual vibe. The same holds true for Hawaii’s beaches. As distinctive as the islands themselves, the beaches of Hawaii are all special in their own way. It can be hard to decide which beach might be the best to visit, but here are a few that tend to stand out from the rest.
Poipu Beach, Makenna, Maui
Located a bit off the beaten path, Poipu beach sits at the edge of the towns of Kihei and Wailea, just before the more well-known beaches at Makena State Park. Adjacent to Po’olenalena Beach, it is only accessible by foot path. Visitors park in the main parking lot at Po’olenalena Beach and take a small pathway that traverses lava rocks, eventually dropping down into a lovely, tucked-away beach area. Turtles drift in the waves close to shore, and if you’re lucky you might see a pod of dolphins jumping as they swim by!
Sunset Beach, North Shore, Oahu
Oahu’s famous North Shore, located about an hour’s drive from Waikiki, is known for its legendary waves and daring surf riders. There are several miles of beaches on the North Shore, the majority of which offer surfing, snorkeling and of course lots of sun. In the winter months, when the waves are at their highest, surf competitions bring in the most elite riders in the world. The North Shore’s Sunset Beach is a great place to hang out and watch the surfers, or maybe hang 10 if you’re experienced enough to brave that ocean. And don’t forget to stay for the stunning Hawaii sunsets for which the beach is named.
Papohaku beach, Molokai
A lesser known Hawaiian destination, the island of Molokai doesn’t have the tourist trade of the other islands, but retains an old-world charm all its own. Papohaku beach, otherwise known as three-mile beach, sits at the west end of Molokai and is one of Hawaii’s largest white sand beaches. Amenities include showers, picnic and restroom facilities, with amazing views of the island of Oahu. Waters can be rough during the winter months, but in summer it’s great for swimming and sunbathing. While you won’t find much in the way of fine dining or fancy shops on Molokai, you will find all the relaxation you could want, and beaches like Papohaku make it well worth a visit.
Kaanapali beach, Maui
If you’re looking for resort-style fun, Maui’s northwest side is one of the most popular getaways in the world. Kaanapali beach fronts a host of hotels, restaurants and shops, with nearby Lahaina offering nightlife and tons of daytime excursions. Enjoy three miles of white sand beach and watch the cliff divers soaring off the imposing crag that is Puu Keeka, or Black Rock, which is located at the end of the beach and has a reenactment every night of the famed cliff diving of King Kahekili.