If you come to Hawaii for the beaches, then you will not be disappointed. Hawaii beaches are among the most beautiful and exotic in the world. We have long stretches of soft white sand caressed by warm blue water. We also have black sand, green sand, and red sand beaches. We have beaches where waterfalls cascade into the ocean from sea cliffs, and beaches made of millions of tiny, round pebbles. We have calm beaches were babies like to play, and we have some of the mightiest waves the world has ever seen. When it comes to beaches, Hawaii has it all.
Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, agrees. Hawaiian beaches have topped Dr. Beachs Top 10 Beaches in America lists multiple times. This is no small feat, as Dr. Beach has strict criteria. White sand. Clean water. Safety. No rip currents. No large shore break. Facilities. Parking. Lifeguards. Restrooms. No overcrowding. Warm water. These are the stringent guidelines that inform his choices, and Hawaii has risen to the top.
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Is Waikk Beach the most famous beach in the world? Quite possibly. The iconic image of white sand, blue water and Diamond Head is known the world over. And, quite honestly, Waikk Beach lives up to its hype.
You could spend an entire two-week vacation in Waikk and never want for sights to see or things to do. The weather is near perfect. The waves are gentle and perfect for beginning surfers. The underwater world is teeming with rainbow colored sea life. Yes, you could make a vacation out of Waikk Beach, not to mention the surrounding attractions, world-class shopping and foodie joints.
There are, however, so many other sides of Hawaii to see. Take for example Hawaiis colorful beaches. Hawaii is the only place in the world where you can sink your toes into white, black, green and red sand. Hawaii is also home to secluded beaches that can only be reached by swimming to shore. Intrigued?
Lets start our journey on the largest and southernmost island of the Hawaiian archipelago, the Big Island. This is where you can find Hawaiis green sand beach, Papaklea. The journey to reach Papaklea is not an easy one. You must either rent a four-wheel drive vehicle or walk a 5-mile round trip trail along the arid coast. The rewards are rich, however, as you let the green, volcanic olivine sand crystals fall through your fingers and cool off in the aqua waters. Papaklea green sand beach is located near the Big Islands South Point, or Ka Lae.
Travel up the coast with the mountains on your left and the ocean on your right and you will reach Punaluu, the Big Islands most popular black sand beach. Punaluu is easily accessible, and there is much to explore here including a lily pond. Keep an eye out for Hawaiian green sea turtles, as Punaluu is one of their favorite resting places.
Punaluu might be the most popular black sand beach, but it is not the only one. Hilo is laden with black sand beaches. And further up the coast to the north of Hilo in the districts of Hmkua and North Kohala, you will find valleys such as Waipio and Polol where rivers flow to meet the sea at expansive black sand beaches.
Exotic green and black sand are sights to behold, indeed. However, the Big Islands South Kohala and Kailua coasts have several stunningly beautiful white sand beaches. Kaunaoa Bay and Hapuna Beach are the best among them.
The island of Maui is our next stop. A visit to West Maui will reward you with most of the islands best beaches such as Kanapali, Kapalua and DT Fleming Beach Park. Golden sands slope gently to inviting waters.
During the winter months, surfers flock to favorite surf spots such as Honolua Bay and Peahi, also known as Jaws. You can perch on the cliffs to watch the action or take the Road to Hana for a completely different experience.
The Road to Hana is long, winding, and scenic. This is the route to Hawaiis red sand beach, Kaihalulu. The trail to Kaihalulu has its risks and should be hiked with caution. A safer, and just as beautiful, option is Waianapanapa State Park. Here you can walk a black sand beach, explore sea caves and lava tubes, and take in the wonder of a blow hole.
From the island of Maui, you can take a ferryboat over to the much smaller island of Lnai. From the ferryboat harbor, walk on over to Hulopoe Beach and spend some time enjoying the expansive white sands, discovering the tide pools and snorkeling the clear waters. Or you can rent a jeep, drive across the island and stroll the long, empty beaches of Lnais remote corners.
As we continue our journey through the Hawaiian Islands, the next stop would be the island of Molokai. Molokai, however, is not exactly known for its beaches. Though there are a few good swimming beaches on the island and many wonderful natural places to explore, if youre looking to do some serious beachcombing, you could skip the island of Molokai entirely. Nevertheless, let it be known that the island of Molokai is traditionally recognized as having the greatest spiritual power of all the islands as well as being the most fruitful.
Passing over the island of Molokai will bring you to Oahu, home of capitol city Honolulu and world-famous Waikk Beach. As previously mentioned, Waikk lives up to its fanfare, but there are so many more beaches to discover on Oahu.
Oahus great beaches are concentrated in two main areas. The first is Oahus east side. You will want to start at Hanauma Bay, stop at Makapuu Beach, spend some time at Waimnalo Beach and then walk the sandy shores of Kailua and Lanikai. This area is sure to capture your heart and leave you always wanting to return.
The second area of Oahu is the North Shore. Here there is a seven mile stretch of coast referred to as the Seven Mile Miracle. During the winter months, the best waves in the world can be found here. During the summer months, the beaches are calm and ideal for swimming.
At last we end our journey on the island of Kauai, the northernmost of the main Hawaiian Islands. Technically, there are many more islands to the north of Kauai called the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The islands are actually a string of coral atolls protected as part of the Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument, but that is a story for another day. Today we end our story with the island of Kauai, and in some ways we have saved the best for last.
The best time to visit Kauai is during the summer months. If you go during the winter months, the surf will be dangerous on the North Shore of Kauai and your swimming will be confined to south shore beaches such as Poip and Kiahuna. South shore beaches are swell, but they do not compare with the majesty of the North Shore, so plan accordingly.
That being said, this is what you do not want to miss. First on the list is Hanalei. Please do not visit Kauai without spending time in Hanalei. This wide lush valley gives way to a peaceful crescent bay complete with a picturesque pier framed by chiseled mountains off in the distance.
These chiseled mountains belong to the N Pali Coast. The N Pali Coast starts at Kee Beach in the north and ends at Polihale Beach in the west. Both Kee Beach and Polihale Beach are uncommonly beautiful and known for their sunsets. Each beach marks the end of the road and the beginning of the completely undeveloped and nearly inaccessible N Pali Coast.
One beach along the N Pali Coast is accessible by foot or kayak, Kalalau Beach. It is a grueling 11-mile hike or an easier 7-mile kayak from Kee to Kalalau. The rewards are powdery white sand, sea caves, a waterfall you can stand under and brilliantly starry night skies. If you make the trip, plan to camp overnight.
From Kalalau Beach, you can swim around the corner to Honop Beach, which is even more spectacular than Kalalau. There is a natural stone arch that you can walk beneath and another waterfall that you can stand under. The best part is that the beach will be empty but for your fellow travelers. It is illegal to land a boat or even a kayak on these shores. The only way to reach this paradise is by swimming.
Further down the N Pali Coast in the direction of Polihale, there are similar beaches such as Nualolo and Milolii. There are a few tour companies that have landing rights at Nualolo and can even provide tours of the archaeological sites. If youre not athletically inclined, this is the option for you. Milolii is accessible via kayak for the well-conditioned adventurer.
The beaches of Hawaii are as diverse and beautiful as the people who inhabit these islands. It would take a lifetime to explore every shore. Why not get started now?
Read more here:
Hawaii Beach Guide | Hawaii.com