Top 9 Beaches & Bays in Hawaii

When visiting Hawaii, most vacationers plan their getaways around the water and beach activities. Without a doubt, Hawaii delivers with some of the best beaches in the world. No matter if you are looking to participate in a variety of water activities or take a relaxing stroll along pristine waters, the perfect beach is waiting for you. These are our top 9 favorites.

Surfing

The fast-moving wall of water dotted with surfers skimming along its surface. The crash of waves breaking against the shore. Surfing is synonymous with Hawaii. Whether you are an experienced surfer or just beginning to learn how to ride the waves, check out these locations.

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  • Ehukai Beach (Oahu). Located on Oahu’s north shore, this beach is one of the most famous surfing destinations in the world. In the winter months massive waves – some reaching over 30 feet in height – challenge daredevil surfers.
  • Waimea Bay (Oahu). Also located on Oahu’s north shore, Waimea Bay is home to the internationally famous “Eddie.” Don’t let its crescent shape fool you. When the surf is high, waves can exceed 40 feet in height.
  • Kiahuna Beach (Kauai). If you aren’t ready to test your luck with the big waves, try the gentler surf on this beach. Located on the southeastern side of the island, the water at Kiahuna Beach remains fairly calm and under the water is a sandy bottom. Furthermore, if you’re looking for a little help, it is a popular site for surfing lessons. More experienced surfers can venture beyond the beach’s reef to catch some bigger waves.

Snorkeling

Grab your gear and immerse yourself in the vibrant magic of an underwater world. For best underwater visibility, snorkel on a day when the wind is calm, and the waves are light. Don’t forget to grab an underwater camera and get pictures or video to impress family and friends and to remember your trip.

  • Hanauma Bay (Oahu). Home to a large population of coral and species of fish, Hanauma Bay is at the base of an old volcanic crater and is one of the most popular snorkeling destinations in Hawaii. However, to help protect the marine life, the city of Honolulu limits the number of snorkelers to only 3,000 people per day.
  • Molokini Crater (Maui). Also created by a volcanic crater, this top snorkeling destination sits just off the coast of Maui. The water is amazingly clear because no soil washes down into the water. Snorkel here and you might run into a vegetarian whale shark, dolphins, and sea turtles.
  • Hulopoe Bay (Lanai). Ideal for beginning snorkelers, Hulopoe Bay is made up of tide pools with one that is large enough for snorkeling. In addition to experiencing a healthy coral reef and vibrant marine life, you may also encounter spinner dolphins and sea turtles.

Relaxation

Is walking along the water’s edge and feeling the sand between your toes more your speed? If so, check out these beaches known for their pristine sand and turquoise water.

  • Waikiki Beach (Oahu). This beach is one of the most well-known locations in Hawaii. Even though the beach itself is fairly short, it is easily accessible and hosts a variety of events from water competitions to outdoor music and hula dancing.
  • Kauna ‘oa Beach (Big Island). This tropical paradise with relatively calm water and beautiful white sand is great for leisurely walks and sunbathing. Stick around for nightfall and visit Manta Ray Point and catch a view of these elegant sea creatures.
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  • Poipu Beach (Kauai). With its golden sand and lifeguards, this beach is considered one of the safest in Hawaii. This beach has also been voted the #1 beach in the United States.
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Be Water Smart: Cautions and Hazards

While Hawaii has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, they can also be some of the most dangerous. Always look for posted warning signs before getting in the water. Ratings of caution, high hazard, and extreme hazard are used to indicate choppy seas, strong currents and surge, and breaking waves on beaches with lifeguards.

Being aware of water conditions will help you have an unforgettable trip because of all the great adventures you experience and not because of injuries sustained.

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