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The 5 Best Beaches in Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the world, and with good reason. It has breathtaking beaches with gorgeous white sands, turquoise waters, and varied wildlife. Hawaii should be on everyone's bucket list.

In this article, we'll look at five of the best beaches in Hawaii, unique activities you can participate in while there, and amazing events and festivals to attend. So grab your sunscreen and sense of adventure; let's dive in!

Top Hawaii Beaches

1. Waikiki Beach, Oahu

Waikiki Beach, one of the best beaches in Hawaii (photo: AussieActive)
Oahu's Waikiki Beach (photo: AussieActive)

Waikiki means “spouting waters” in Hawaiian, and it was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty.

It gained popularity in the 19th century when it became a favorite retreat for Hawaiian chiefs and, later, for visitors worldwide. Today, it is one of the world's most iconic and beloved beaches.

Waikiki Beach is a great beach to visit all year round; however, April to June and September to November offer ideal weather and fewer crowds.

It also allows you to attend the Waikiki Spam Jam and Waikiki Hoolaulea. These are great events held in April and September. It also has a vibrant nightlife and is perfect for families and solo travelers. 

Treat yourself to one of the best Marriott hotels in Hawaii, all of which exemplify luxury travel. A good example is the Ritz Carlton Hotel on Waikiki Beach.

2. Ka'anapali Beach, Maui

Couple walking on Kaanapali Beach, Maui (photo: arkanto)
Couple walking on Kaanapali Beach, Maui (photo: arkanto)

Ka'anapali Beach, Maui, has pristine golden sands, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets. This pretty beach was once the royal retreat of Maui's kings and queens.

In the 1960s, it was named a world-class resort destination, with the iconic Black Rock serving as a historic landmark and popular cliff diving spot. 

Some great activities to do at Ka'anapali Beach:

  • Snorkeling at Black Rock
  • Cliff diving  
  • Seasonal whale watching
  • Beachfront luaus
  • The Maui Whale Festival that happens from February to March
  • The Ka'anapali Fresh event in September

3. Poipu Beach, Kauai

Turtle on Poipu Beach (photo: Zane Persaud)
Turtle on Poipu Beach (photo: Zane Persaud)

Poipu Beach has a rich history dating back to ancient Hawaiian times when it was a favored fishing and surfing spot for Hawaiian chiefs. Today, it is a beloved destination, offering visitors a glimpse into Kauai's cultural stories.

The beach has protected swimming areas with diverse marine life and stunning natural beauty. It also hosts the Kauai Polynesian Festival in May and the Kauai Coconut Festival in October.

You can create an enjoyable visit by snorkeling with sea turtles and taking surfing lessons. Or hike the nearby Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail.

The trail will give you a glimpse of what life was like in Hawaii long ago. It has many archeological sites with old settlements and homes.

4. Hapuna Beach, Big Island

The stunning Hapuna Beach in Hawaii (photo: Kris S)
The stunning Hapuna Beach (photo: Kris S)

Hapuna Beach is one of Hawaii's largest and most beautiful beaches. It has excellent facilities and an expansive coastline.

This Hawaiian beach is a geological marvel. It was formed by lava flows from Mauna Kea's eruptions thousands of years ago. Historically, it was a gathering place for Hawaiian communities to fish, play games, and conduct ceremonies. 

If you want unforgettable carnival experiences, try the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival in November.

The coffee festival honors the coffee culture in Hawaii. It includes coffee farm tours, tastings, workshops, art exhibits, live music performances, and cultural demonstrations.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival happens every April and celebrates the art of chocolate making. It includes chocolate tastings, cooking events, chocolate-inspired dinners, and seminars on cacao cultivation and chocolate production.

Visitors can sample different chocolate creations, from truffles and bonbons to chocolate-infused cocktails and savory dishes.

Beyond the festivals, you can enjoy bodyboarding, sunbathing on the expansive white sands, and beach volleyball.

Hapuna Beach is a testament to Hawaii's volcanic origins and a popular destination for beachgoers seeking adventure and relaxation.

5. Lanikai Beach, Oahu

The Mokulua Islands and Lanikai Beach (photo: clean_fotos, iStock)
The Mokulua Islands and Lanikai Beach (photo: iStock)

Lanikai Beach means “heavenly sea” in Hawaiian. It has long been revered for its tranquil beauty and spiritual significance.

Historically, it was believed to be a place of healing and renewal where Hawaiian royalty would come to rest and rejuvenate. Today, it is a sanctuary for visitors seeking solace on its serene shores and beautiful vistas.

Oahu is a great destination all year round, but May to September offers the calmest waters for swimming.

You can also enjoy kayaking to the Mokulua Islands, a scenic drive of Oahu, hiking the Lanikai Pillbox Trail, or having a romantic beach picnic.

The Mokulua Islands, also known as the Mokes, are two small islands off the eastern coast of Oahu, Hawaii. They are home to diverse native flora and fauna, including seabirds, shorebirds, and marine species. 

The islands are critical nesting grounds for several species of seabirds, including wedge-tailed shearwaters, red-tailed tropicbirds, and brown boobies.

Conservation efforts are ongoing to preserve and restore the islands' natural habitats and ensure the survival of their resident seabird populations.

You can enjoy the annual Lanikai Canoe Club regatta in July and the Lantern Floating Hawaii in May. Enjoy adventure, relaxation, and the beauty of nature on Hawaii's beaches.


This story is published in partnership with Luxury Travel Diary.

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