Best Beaches in Hawaii for Swimming

Hawaii is famous for swimming, surfing, and all manner of watersports, and with more than 500 beaches spread out over 6 Islands, you will find a beach that meets most of your fantasies. Below we will look at the 16 most popular swimming beaches across the 6 Islands.

Except for some Federal Government sites, all beaches in Hawaii are available to the public. According to the supreme court ruling, there are no more private beaches in Hawaii, so grab some sunscreen and prepare to dive into the best swimming seawater in the world.

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1. Maui Island Beaches

Maui is the second biggest Hawaiian Island, often known as “The Valley Isle.” For the past 20 years, it is also considered the Best Island in the United States. The most pleasant times to visit Maui are in the spring and fall. The typical temperature in these seasons is 75–85 degrees Fahrenheit.

You may expect infrequent rain showers and the swells (waves) increasing towards the winter surfing season. Maui Island is known for its world-famous swimming and surfing beaches and migratory humpback whales during the winter months. It’s also a great place to tie the knot on the beach.

Here are some of the famous swimming beaches you might want to visit:

Baldwin Beach

Baldwin’s half-mile-long, wide, curving white sand beach sits between the village of Paia and the Maui Country Club, reachable from the Hana Highway. The backshore is formed by high, vegetated dunes, with ironwood trees as the primary vegetation. As they get closer to the beach park, the dunes level off.

This beach is subject to high surf, which creates a significant shore break and rip currents. Baldwin Cove on one end of the gorgeous white sand beach, and the aptly called Baby Beach on the other, each end culminates in a protected, tranquil swim place. The ocean’s bottom is sandy, and it dips fast. Every day, lifeguards are stationed here, but before entering the water, check with them.

D.T. Fleming Beach

The D.T. Fleming Beach got named after the man who brought pineapples to West Maui, and his legacy came to an end in early 2010 when West Maui’s last commercial pineapple operations halted. Long, sandy, and often crowded beach with full facilities and ironwoods for shade. The Ritz Carlton and the Kapalua Resort are nearby.

Kaanapali Beach

Kaanapali Beach is a three-mile white sand beach that is ideal for swimming. Located on the Island’s west shore is lined with excellent bars and restaurants. Snorkel near Black Rock on the north end or swim at this crowded, high-intensity beach.

The daily cliff diving ceremony from the beach’s northernmost cliffs, known as Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock, is one of Kaanapali Beach’s most recognized sights. A cliff diver sets candles along the ridge and dives off Black Rock every evening at nightfall in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s revered King Kahekili.

Kapalua Bay

Kapalua is a lovely tiny beach with curving white sand. It’s a fantastic beach for swimming and snorkeling, with plenty of fish and other marine life to be seen. When the surf picks up on Maui’s west side in the winter, the two lava-rock points block the waves, keeping the beach calm. The beach is the main attraction at the Kapalua Resort. However, there is public parking, facilities, and access to the beach.

Makena Beach

On the south end of Maui, Makena Beach, also known as Big Beach, greets sunbathers and swimmers with a mile-and-a-half circle of white sand and bright blue waters. Even though Big Beach is undeveloped, it has all the necessary amenities, such as a picnic area, restrooms, food kiosks, parking, and a lifeguard. Bodyboarding, bodysurfing, fishing, snorkeling, surfing, and swimming are popular activities without worrying about crowds.

A hidden beach just beyond the rocky outcroppings is an added delight. This stretch of beach, known as Little Beach, is a clothing-optional experience for the adventurous. Despite state park regulations prohibiting nudity, Little Beach remains one of Hawai’i’s most famous nudist beaches. If you are offended by public nudity, you may want to reconsider visiting this beach.

Honorable mentions:

  • Keawakapu Beach
  • ldwin Beach
  • Hamoa Beach
  • Ho’okipa Beach
  • Napili Bay
  • Wai’anapanapa State Park
  • Wailea Beach
  • Waiohuli Beach
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2. Kauai Island Beaches

April to September are the best for visiting Kauai because the sun is shining and the rain is at its lowest. 69°F to 85°F is the temperature range. June to November is hurricane season, but it isn’t particularly destructive. From June to August, flights and accommodations are at their most expensive throughout the summer vacation.

It is best to visit Kauai from April to September when the sun is shining, and the rain is at its lowest. The temperature range is 69°F to 85°F. Hurricane season runs from June to November; however, it isn’t highly damaging. Flights and accommodations are costly during the summer vacation, from June through August.

Here are some of the famous swimming beaches you might want to visit:

Hanalei Bay

Hanalei Bay, a two-mile stretch of flat beach bordered by steep, jungle-clad mountains, is the largest bay on Kauai’s north shore. In the summer, this scenic area is ideal for swimming and stand-up paddleboarding, while in the winter, surfing is fantastic.

For many north shore residents, riding early morning glass (smooth surf) at Hanalei is a way of life. However, Hanalei Bay is too calm for surfing in the summer, making it a paradise for people to enjoy swimming and playing on the beach.

Take a short stroll from the bay to Hanalei Town, where you’ll discover charming restaurants, boutiques, and galleries when you’ve gotten your fill of sun and sea.

Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach is a famous beach on the South Shore, which is also on the Island of Kauai. It is ideal for families with children due to its quiet waters. This 50-foot-long stretch of white sand beach provides plenty of space to spread out your beach blanket, kick a ball around, and create sandcastles with the kids.

This beach consists of a succession of golden sand crescents that are strung together and offer snorkeling, swimming, a natural ocean wading pool, boogie boarding, and surfing to beachgoers. Palm palms swaying in the breeze give shelter, and a lawn area and playground make this an excellent place for family.

Sea turtles swim alongside humans in the shallow seas, and Monk Seals come ashore to sunbathe, making Poipu Beach an excellent place to teach children about ocean wildlife. Keep at least 100 feet away from the seals, as they’re dangerous.

Salt Pond Beach Park

Salt pond beach is a broad white sand beach with excellent views and clear water. A lagoon created by an offshore rock barrier provides a lovely swimming environment. Even when the surf is rough outside the barricade, the lagoon inside is safe to swim in. Kids may explore tidal pools with a variety of aquatic life.

You can see the custodians of the beach’s salt ponds manufacture Paakai (Hawaiian sea salt) during the summer.

Honorable mentions:

  • Kalapaki Beach
  • Kekaha Beach
  • Lydgate Beach Park
Beach vacation happy carefree couple arms raised. Winning couple with arms up showing happiness and fun on beach with pristine turquoise water on Lanikai beach, Oahu, Hawaii, USA with Mokulua Islands.

3. Oahu Island Beaches

There’s never a wrong time to visit Oahu. The food is always delicious, and walking on the soft sand in the sunsets is always beautiful. The cuisine and crowds change according to the seasons. Festivals and culture are remarkable.

Spring (April-June) and Fall (September-November) are the two shoulder seasons visiting Oahu. The school year has begun, and hotel occupancy has decreased. That means you’ll find fantastic accommodation rates throughout the Island, as well as low-cost flights.

The rainy season typically lasts from October to March on Oahu, including the winter peak season. The best weather usually coincides with the low season, which means better discounts and sunshine

Here are some of the famous swimming beaches you might want to visit:

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

If you are looking for a stunning beach setting with abundant marine life, this is the beach for you. The area includes a big sand pocket nicknamed ‘The Keyhole’ in the middle of the reef that is ideal for swimming.

When ocean water broke through the outside wall of a volcanic crater, the horseshoe-shaped bay was formed. So you’re swimming within a submerged volcano at Hanauma Bay, which is a fantastic scene.

Ko Olina Beach

Despite being privately owned, it is accessible to the public via authorized parking spaces nearby. Ko Olina is a 642-acre resort that encompasses four natural lagoons connected by more than a mile of paved roads along the beach.

The coves are surrounded by waving palms, white sand, and some grassy areas, and the turquoise sea, which is well protected by the reef, is relatively shallow and ideal for swimming. Because there are no amenities or lifeguards on Ko Olina, bring everything you need. Because this is a private beach, they have a lot of restrictions on what you may bring and do on the beach

Lanikai Beach

On the Island of Oahu, Lanikai Beach, rated the best beach on Oahu, is one of those postcard-beautiful beaches, excellent for swimming, viewing the sunset and sunrise, sailing, windsurfing, and snorkeling.

Lanikai is often regarded as Hawaii’s best swimming beach, thanks to its tranquil seas and popularity among both locals and visitors. The coral reef also makes this an excellent snorkeling location in Hawaii. This beach has something for everyone, from silky soft sand to stunning blue waves.

The term “Lani Kai” means “Heavenly Ocean.” It’s the perfect name for such a lovely location. From its original name of Kaohao, it got renamed by a developer in 1924 who named his daughter Kailani after this paradise, which is the genuine Hawaiian translation of “Heavenly Ocean.”

Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach is more secluded but known for its big waves that pound the shoreline, making it ideal for surfing and boogie boarding. It isn’t completely remote, but it does draw fewer visitors than most other Oahu beaches, and if you want a less crowded beach, you just found it.

The beach is roughly a 10-minute drive from Hanauma Bay and a 40-minute drive from Waikiki. Oahu’s southeast coast is a 1,200-foot stretch of golden sand. Food trucks are plentiful near Sandy Beach, and the area provides basic amenities like showers and bathrooms.

Waikiki Beach 

Waikiki Beach is undoubtedly one of the most well-known beaches globally, and the Oahu manufactured beach has evolved into a hub for Hawaii tourism throughout the years. Everyone enjoys swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and more in this paradise with its long stretch of white sand and turquoise blue ocean.

Certain portions are walled off from the waves, making it ideal for tiny kids and novice swimmers. The constant crowds in Waikiki are a downside, and almost every day, you can expect to see a massive number of people hanging out near the shore.

Honorable mentions:

  • Ala Moana Beach Park
  • Banzai Pipeline
  • Bellows Field Beach Park
  • Diamond Head Beach Park
  • Kahana Bay Beach Park
  • Kailua Beach
  • Makaha Beach Park
  • Malaekahana Beach
  • Nanakuli Beach Park
  • Pokai Bay
  • Sunset Beach Park
  • Waimea Bay
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4. Big Island Beaches

May through October are ideal for visiting the Big Island since the sun is shining and the rain is rare. The temperature ranges from 68 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Because summer vacation is such a popular season in Hawaii, airfares and hotel costs will be high.

The ocean is at its hottest during the summer months, and the surf is at its calmest. From June through August, introduce your children to the sea. However, keep in mind that hurricane season begins in June, and significant weather events do occur. Hurricanes are probable but uncommon on the Island.

Here are some of the famous swimming beaches you might want to visit:

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna has a shallow sandbar that extends about 50 yards from the beach, allowing small children to play safely close to shore while older children can bodyboard further out. It can be risky when the waves are more significant during winter. When the sea is tranquil, however, it’s ideal for families.

Food sellers, baths, restrooms, picnic spots, a grassy slope, lifeguards, and shade trees are all available at Hapuna. You might spot migrating humpback whales offshore early in the year. The large beach in Hapuna is ideal for picnics and sunbathing, and the walk up and down the long sand beach at sunset is truly spectacular.

Honorable mentions:

  • Anaeho’omalu Bay Beach (A-Bay)
  • Carlsmith Beach
  • Coconut Island (Moku Ola)
  • Kahaluu Beach Park
  • Kamakohonu Beach (King Kam Beach or Kids Beach)
  • Kauna’oa Beach (Mauna Kea)
  • Kua Bay
  • Richardson Beach

5. Lanai Island Beach

Hulopoe Beach was named America’s best beach in 1997 by Dr. Stephen Leatherman due to its natural beauty. Hulopoe Bay, on Lanai’s southern coast, welcomes you with a breathtaking expanse of pearl-white sand and crystal blue waters. This bay is home to the Four Seasons Resort at Manele, and Hulopo’e Bay is the main beach for resort visitors on Lanai since the other beaches on the Island are not suitable for swimming.

It’s common to observe turtles and spinner dolphins here, and snorkelers can see the vibrant reef marine life below in the crystal clear waters, a testament to the effectiveness of the maritime life protection district here.

6. Molokai Island Beach

Kapukahehu Beach, also known as Dixie Maru Beach, a Japanese boat that sank off the coast nearby, gave the cove its name. It is a small, sheltered cove with protected waters that is a popular swimming location for locals and families. At this beach, there are no facilities. Strong currents can be a problem in high surf, so be cautious. Also, keep in mind that there is no lifeguard on duty here.

Best Beaches To Swim in Hawaii

We hope this article has inspired you to visit at least one of the Islands of Hawaii on your next holiday. It seems like a daunting task for most to narrow it down with so many spectacular beaches, but this will be a great starting point to explore. Whether you are a novice or confident swimmer looking for a populated or secluded beach, you will find the perfect one.