Skip to Content

Top 10 Beaches in Hawaii for Surfing

Picture yourself standing at the edge of a sun-kissed beach, the warm sand between your toes and the gentle sound of the waves washing over you. And suddenly, you see the perfect wave forming in the distance, and you know it's time to catch it. 

If you're searching for that type of beach, you want to look at Hawaii, the ultimate surfer's paradise, which is also home to some of the best beaches in the world for riding the waves.

From the legendary Waikiki Beach to hidden surf spots, Hawaii offers an abundance of options for surfers of all levels. 

But with so many beaches to choose from, finding the perfect spot to catch some waves can be overwhelming.

The good thing is we've got your back because, in this article, we've compiled a list of the top 10 beaches in Hawaii for surfing.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, these beaches have something to offer!

So, grab your board, wax it up, and get ready to ride some waves as we take you on a journey through Hawaii's best surfing beaches.

Surf Beaches in Hawaii

1. Pipeline, Oahu

Surfer riding the Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore, one of the best surfing beaches in Hawaii (photo: Katie Rodriguez)
Surfer riding the Banzai Pipeline (photo: Katie Rodriguez)

Pipeline Beach is considered one of Hawaii's best and most challenging surfing destinations.

The beach is known for its monstrous waves that can reach up to 30 feet in height, making it a must-visit spot for thrill-seeking surfers.

Not only that, but the reef bottom of the beach creates a perfect barrel that attracts some of the world's best surfers. 

When it comes to professional surfing, the Pipeline is also the site of the annual Pipeline Masters competition, which attracts experienced surfers from around the world.

The competition is held every December, during Hawaii's winter season, when the waves are at their biggest and most challenging.

It's a spectacle that draws crowds of surf enthusiasts to witness the world's best surfers tackle the massive waves of Pipeline.

In addition to its challenging waves, Pipeline Beach also offers stunning scenery. The crystal-clear water and picturesque palm trees create a beautiful backdrop for surfers and beachgoers alike.

Even if you're not a surfer, Pipeline is worth a visit to watch the impressive waves and the skilled surfers riding them. 

Please remember that this beach is not for beginners and requires high skill and experience to navigate the waves safely.

2. Waimea Bay, Oahu

Waimea Bay, Oahu (photo: Michael Olsen)
Waimea Bay, Oahu (photo: Michael Olsen)

One of the most iconic surfing destinations and best beaches in Hawaii is Waimea Bay.

Its reputation as a big wave surfing spot has attracted some of the world's best surfers to its shores, and the bay's location at the mouth of the Waimea River has created a unique beach with a sandbar that creates perfect surfing conditions. 

The bay's popularity as a surfing destination can be traced back to the 1950s when surfers like Greg Noll and Eddie Aikau started to explore the big waves at Waimea.

Eddie Aikau, in particular, became known as one of the best big-wave surfers in the world, and his legacy still lives on at Waimea Bay today.

For more than 30 years (1984-2016), Quiksilver sponsored an annual competition, the In Memory of Eddie Aikau big wave invitational at Waimea Bay, in honor of him and his passion for big wave surfing.

Apart from its reputation as a big wave surfing spot, Waimea Bay is known for its beautiful surroundings.

The bay is surrounded by lush greenery, and the beach is made of fine white sand. During the summer, the waves at Waimea Bay are smaller and calmer, making it an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling.

In addition, the bay is home to various marine life, including turtles, dolphins, and tropical fish, making it a popular spot for wildlife enthusiasts.

3. Sunset Beach, Oahu

A woman surfing on the North Shore, near Sunset Beach (photo: Daniel Ramirez)
Surfing on the North Shore, near Sunset Beach (photo: Daniel Ramirez)

Sunset Beach is mainly known for its consistent big waves and is a popular spot for experienced surfers.

This beach is one of the world's most iconic surf spots and hosts numerous competitions throughout the year, including the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

The waves at Sunset Beach are known for their size and power, often reaching heights of up to 30 feet. These waves are caused by the beach's geography and the Pacific's winter swells.

Because of these conditions, Sunset Beach is a spot best suited for experienced surfers with the skills to handle large and fast-moving waves.

Aside from the waves, Sunset Beach also offers stunning scenery, with its long stretch of golden sand and picturesque sunsets.

The beach is surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and has a relaxed atmosphere, making it a popular spot for beachgoers and surf enthusiasts.

So if you're planning a trip to Hawaii and looking for a challenging surf spot, Sunset Beach is worth checking out.

Just ensure you have the skills and experience to handle the waves, as they can be very powerful and dangerous. And even if you're not a surfer, its beauty makes this one of the best beaches in Hawaii.

4. Haleiwa Beach Park, Oahu

Female surfer in the water at Haleiwa, a top beach in Hawaii (photo: Chris Osmond)
Female surfer at Haleiwa (photo: Chris Osmond)

The Haleiwa Beach Park, located on the North Shore of Oahu, is a popular spot for surfers of all levels.

Its beach is known for its consistent waves, making it an ideal spot for surfers looking to catch a few waves without competing with large crowds.

The best time to surf at Haleiwa Beach Park is during the winter months when the surf is at its peak.

One thing that makes Haleiwa Beach Park special is it's also a great spot for beginners. There are a variety of waves to choose from, including small and gentle waves.

The park also offers a designated surf area, which provides a safe space for beginner surfers to learn and practice.

Aside from surfing, Haleiwa Beach Park is known for other water activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, and stand-up paddleboarding.

The beach has a calm, shallow area near the shore, perfect for families with young children.

In short, Haleiwa Beach Park is a fantastic spot for surfers of all levels, offering consistent waves and a safe space for beginners to learn and practice. 

5. Honolua Bay, Maui

Honolua Bay, Maui (photo: Andrew Bain)
Honolua Bay, Maui (photo: Andrew Bain)

Considered to have some of the best waves in Hawaii, Honolua Bay, which is located on the northwest coast of Maui, is another popular surfing destination in Hawaii. 

The bay is home to a legendary surf break, considered one of the best in the world.

The wave is a strong, hollow right-hand point break that can reach up to 20 feet, providing an exhilarating ride for experienced surfers.

On top of that, the bay is surrounded by lush greenery and has picturesque scenery, making it a terrific place to surf and relax at the same time.

The water is crystal clear, and the reef is home to a diverse marine life, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling and scuba diving.

If you're planning to visit Honolua Bay, you have to remember that it is a challenging surf spot suitable for experienced surfers. However, it can also be a good place for beginners to watch and learn from the pros.

The best time to surf at Honolua Bay is during winter when the swell is at its largest and most consistent. 

It's important to note that the area can get crowded during peak season, so it's best to arrive early or go during the off-season to avoid crowds.

In addition to surfing and snorkeling, Honolua Bay is also a wonderful place to have a picnic or a BBQ with family and friends.

Several picnic tables and grills are available for public use, as well as restrooms and showers. 

6. Hookipa Beach Park, Maui

Hookipa Beach Park  (photo: Shauna Altman)
Hookipa Beach Park, Maui (photo: Shauna Altman)

Located on the North Shore of Maui, Hookipa Beach Park is a world-renowned destination for windsurfing and kiteboarding.

The strong trade winds and consistent swells make it an ideal spot for intermediate and advanced surfers. However, beginners can also enjoy the smaller waves on the inside.

The beach is popular among locals and visitors and hosts several international competitions throughout the year.

The water is crystal clear, and the reef bottom adds to the beauty of the spot. The best time to surf at Hookipa is from November to March, when the North Pacific swells hit the coast, and the winds are strongest.

But surfing is not the only thing that Hookipa is known for. It's also a superb spot for whale watching during the winter months when humpback whales migrate to Hawaii.

Visitors can witness these gentle giants breaching and playing in the water, adding to the breathtaking scenery.

Aside from surfing and whale watching, Hookipa is also a perfect spot for picnics, barbecues, and family outings.

The park has plenty of facilities, including restrooms, showers, and parking. It's an incredible location to relax and take in the beauty of Maui while watching some of the world's best surfers ride the waves.

7. Jaws, Maui

Jeep parked at Jaws on Maui (photo: Justin Aikin)
Jeep parked at Jaws on Maui (photo: Justin Aikin)

Jaws, not the movie one, is a beach notorious for its massive waves, making it a favorite among big-wave surfers worldwide.

The waves at this beach are known for reaching up to 60 feet in height, and only experienced surfers should attempt to ride them.

Jaws is not for the faint of heart. The beach is located in a remote area, and the conditions can be extremely challenging.

Its waves are fast and powerful, and the ocean floor is rocky and shallow. Surfers who want to ride these waves must be skilled at paddling, positioning, and reading the water to ensure their safety.

Jaws is also known for its swells, generated by the intense winter storms that pass through the North Pacific.

The waves here are best during winter, typically from November to March. During this time, the swell can be so strong that it can be felt miles away.

Despite the danger and the challenging conditions, surfers from around the world flock to Jaws to ride some of the biggest waves on the planet.

The beach has even been the site of major surfing competitions, such as the Maui Pro, which attracts some of the best surfers in the world. 

So, if you are an experienced surfer looking for a challenge, Jaws should be on your list of must-visit surfing destinations.

If you're looking for a place near Jaws that offers a beach view, you might want to look at Hawaiian beach rentals

8. Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Hanalei Bay on Kauai offers one of the top beaches in Hawaii for surfing  (photo: Jason Weingardt)
Beautiful Hanalei Bay (photo: Jason Weingardt)

Hanalei Bay, located on the North Shore of Kauai, is widely recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii.

The beach stretches for over two miles and is surrounded by verdant green mountains, making it a picturesque setting for surfing.

Hanalei Bay is also one of Hawaii's most consistent surf spots, offering a range of waves that cater to surfers of all levels.

The beach is best known for its winter waves, reaching up to 30 feet.

However, even during the summer months, Hanalei Bay offers a variety of waves suitable for beginners and intermediate surfers.

The waves break left and right, making it a perfect spot for regular and goofy-footed surfers.

One of the great things about Hanalei Bay is the sense of community among the surfers who frequent the beach.

Unlike some other surf spots in Hawaii, the locals here are friendly and welcoming to visitors.

Many local surf shops offer lessons and equipment rentals to help visitors get started with surfing.

9. Poipu Beach, Kauai

Poipu Beach, Kauai (photo: Ryan Miller)
The idyllic Poipu Beach (photo: Ryan Miller)

Poipu Beach on the southern shore of Kauai is considered one of the best beaches in Hawaii for surfing.

Its consistent surf breaks, crystal-clear waters, and stunning surroundings make it a must-visit for surfers of all levels.

The beach is divided into two sections – the more popular Poipu Beach Park and the quieter Brennecke's Beach.

Poipu Beach Park is ideal for beginners, offering a gentle swell and smaller waves that are perfect for learning to surf.

On the other hand, Brennecke's Beach is a more challenging spot with bigger waves and a stronger current, perfect for experienced surfers looking for a challenge.

The beach's unique location also provides a variety of waves that break differently depending on the swell direction and tide, providing a diverse surfing experience.

When the waves are at their peak, surfers can enjoy rides that last up to 300 yards.

Apart from the world-class waves, Poipu Beach also offers amenities like showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and lifeguards, making it a safe and comfortable place to surf.

Plus, the beach's location on Kauai's southern shore means it's usually sunny and warm, providing an exceptional tropical surfing experience.

10. Ke Iki Beach, Oahu

Ke Iki Beach on Oahu is one of the best beaches in Hawaii
Ke Iki Beach on Oahu

The last one on our list is Ke Iki Beach, located on the North Shore of Oahu, and it is a popular destination for surfers seeking strong waves.

With a long stretch of sand and a reef break, this beach is known for its consistent surf conditions and strong currents.

Experienced surfers can enjoy the mighty waves, while beginners can find calmer waters to practice on the inside.

What makes Ke Iki Beach unique is the powerful, hollow waves that break over the shallow reef. These waves can reach up to 20 feet and offer a thrilling experience for advanced surfers.

However, it's important to note that these waves can also be dangerous and require skill and experience to ride.

Aside from the fantastic surf conditions, Ke Iki Beach is known for its stunning natural beauty.

The beach is surrounded by lush greenery, and the turquoise waters provide the perfect backdrop for surfing or simply relaxing.

Plus, with plenty of nearby amenities, including food trucks, restrooms, and showers, Ke Iki Beach is a convenient and enjoyable destination for surfers and beachgoers.


Now that you know some of the best beaches in Hawaii for surfing, it's time to grab your board and hit the waves.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, Hawaii has something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip or Hawaii vacation rentals and prepare for an unforgettable surfing experience.


This story is brought to you in partnership with Hawaiian Beach Rentals.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends: