Hawaii is probably the top beach destination in the US on many Americans’ bucket lists. With around 750 miles of combined coastline between its 137 islands, there’s really no shortage of shores to explore. Out of all those islands, 8 are the largest and most well-known, and all fall under the influence of just 5 counties within the state: Hawai’i, Honolulu, Kalawao, Kauai, and Maui.
From its turquoise waters and golden beaches to dense green jungles and a seemingly endless supply of pineapple, Hawaii is a complete paradise. The laid-back culture of this island state’s best beach towns is what dreams are made of, and they attract new visitors and residents each year. The main islands that people flock to …
Top Beaches and Coastal Towns in HI
With hundreds of awesome beaches to choose from in Hawaii, every kind of traveler will find something to their liking. Whether you want a big-time, luxury resort right on the ocean or a far-flung cabana on a secluded island, you can find it in “The Aloha State”. While it’s not as cheap as other oceanside states in the US for tourists, it’s certainly one-of-a-kind and makes for an epic trip.
Guide to Visiting the Beaches in Hawaii
With 750 miles of coastline and an average of 240 days of sunshine annually, Hawaii is famously home to some of the world’s best beaches. The Aloha State has an abundance of natural beauty that’s just begging to be discovered by anybody planning a holiday, whether it’s a fun family trip, a solo adventure, or a romantic break for two.
There are so many pristine beaches in Hawaii that it would be challenging to see them all in one lifetime. Waikiki in Honolulu is one of the most well-known, with its extensive coast, designer stores, and vibrant nightlife by the water.
Poipu Beach and Hanalei Bay are two of Kauai’s most picturesque shores that offer opportunities to do just about every type of water activity. Maui’s Kaanapali Beach might be one of the best in the state, with its azure water and luxurious nearby resorts.
For many tourists, the question of which island to visit is the most pressing. Despite what some may believe, the islands are not identical, and each has its own unique traits. Many people consider “island hopping” and visiting several beautiful beach towns on one trip. While that is doable, plenty will keep you busy over a few days on each island.
Hawaii (The Big Island)
By land mass, the other Hawaiian islands can all fit on Hawaii’s main island more than once. Travelers who love itineraries that cram in as many sights and experiences as possible will enjoy Hawaii Island, thanks to its glut of unique sites and family-friendly activities.
There are volcanoes, jungles, and plenty of black and white sand beaches for spending a few hours each day. Both Waipi’o Valley, where Hawaiian kings like Kamehameha I used to live, and Kealakekua Bay are interesting historical sites. Big Island also has many climates, and certain places get snow.
Visitors seeking diversity on their first island getaway can choose Maui. Away from the beach, you can drive the Road to Hana, take a helicopter ride and get an incredible view of the world’s biggest dormant volcano, or explore Haleakala National Park to take in beautiful views.
Waianapanapa State Park is sacred to natives and home to the breathtaking Black Sand Beach. When you’re more in the mood to relax than go on an adventure, book a stay at one of the island’s luxurious beachfront resorts.
The “Garden Isle” is great for a slower-paced holiday. It has a more laid-back vibe than neighboring islands such as Oahu and the Big Island, allowing the island’s natural environment to determine the atmosphere. When planning a trekking adventure, the Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast is as beautiful as it gets.
Kaua’i is one of the rainiest islands in Hawaii, so bring rubber boots and an umbrella just in case. Waimea Canyon, commonly known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” is one of the island’s most popular tourist destinations, but you shouldn’t leave the stunning Wailua Falls off the itinerary.
Oahu, home to the state capital and often known as the “Gathering Place,” is an excellent place for first-time tourists to the Hawaiian Islands since it is home to several well-known attractions. Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach, both on the North Shore, are known for their world-class surfing waves and hold annual major surfing contests.
Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Diamond Head, and Hanauma Bay are all located on the South Shore.
Molokai, one of the Aloha State’s less populated islands, is ideal for those who want an authentic, off-the-grid experience. If you need a break from your constantly-connected existence, a visit to this island—either overnight in one of the tranquil beachside cottages or as a day excursion from one of the larger islands—is ideal.
Popular things to do in the area include hiking, sunbathing on Papohaku Beach, and taking a mule ride through Kalaupapa National Historical Park.
Lanai is the place to go if you want to get away from it all in peace while staying close to nature. This island is a high-end vacation spot, but there aren’t many places to stay, so plan to spend more visiting here.
This isolated retreat is conveniently situated between two other popular Hawaiian islands, Maui and Molokai. Rent a four-wheel drive vehicle to explore Shipwreck Beach and Kaunolu Town, an ancient fishing village favored by the late king. Plan to be at the Garden of the Gods for an unforgettable sunset at the end of the day.
Best Time to Visit
While Hawaii is a year-round destination, the best time of year to visit is April and May for the best rates, weather, and overall experience. September and October have fewer visitors, more cultural events, and decent weather. Visitors who come in January will see the most rain, but it’s an optimal time to go whale watching and more budget-friendly.
Between 25 and 30 inches of precipitation, a year are usually expected over the ocean close to Hawaii. The annual average rainfall in Honolulu is 49 inches. Some areas of the islands get 15 times as much as the average, while others get just a third as much.
The oceanic environment of Hawaii is one of a kind and very abundant. There are 18 species of toothed dolphins, 40 types of sharks, sea turtles, tropical fish, whales, tropical fish, rays, monk seals, pelagic seabirds, and lots of coral.
For this reason, snorkeling and diving are very popular in the state. Always stay vigilant when exploring the world underwater and avoid disturbing the animals in their natural habitats.
There are numerous types of lodging in Hawaii. Several islands offer everything from five-star beachfront resorts to seaside cottages, vacation rentals, B&Bs, budget motels, and condo rentals. It’s wise to book your accommodations as soon as you know your travel dates to get better prices and more selection.
Camping is also popular in Hawaii, with plenty of scenic campgrounds to choose from. Since you’re liking flying into one of its islands, there are usually places that rent tents and locals that rent out their camper vans and RVs.
Snorkeling and surfing are two of the most popular activities in Aloha State. However, every water sport is widely done, from paddle boarding to swimming, sailing, fishing, and sea kayaking.
People travel near and far on the shores to sunbathe and unwind while listening to the waves. Walking on the sand, building sandcastles, and exploring tidepools are great ways to spend time with friends and family.
The beaches of Hawaii all have their own unique character, experiences, activities, and attractions. Go to all of them and see what the Aloha way of life is like.