Google “Top 10 Beaches in Hawaii,” and you’ll see a whole lot of links to lists made by…people you’ve probably never heard of and who may well be getting paid for their opinion. Heck, we’ve seen some lists made by people who’ve never even visited all of the beaches, and just use visitor stats and second-hand reports to base their rankings on.
Well, our list of the Best Beaches in Hawaii comes from the opinions of people who actually live here, and have years of experience visiting the magnificent beaches that surround our islands. That’s right, we asked our co-workers at TourHawaii to tell us about their favorite beaches, the ones they go to whenever they get the chance. Some are well-known and easy to get to, while others are way off the beaten path and require some effort to reach. A few people mentioned knowing of a beach so secret they wouldn’t even tell us where to find it!
Here’s what our colleagues have to say about their favorite beaches.
Jason says that he’s all for Oahu’s Waimea Bay. He likes it because “it has nice waves for shore break or big wave surfing in the winter, and it’s calm and fun to swim and rock jump during the summer.” Also, he says, “the sunsets on the North Shore are beautiful.”
For Doreen, Kailua Beach is her top choice. The reasons she loves this Windward Oahu spot include great parking within walking distance to the beach and soft white sand. She adds, “I love that you can walk out far into the ocean and it’s waist deep.”
Hauoli is a born beach girl. She couldn’t decide on just one favorite and named a few beaches located in different parts of Oahu. On the western side of the island, she called out Kahe Point as her favorite snorkeling spot. On Oahu’s North Shore, she likes Mokuleia. She says it’s a nice camping spot with great swimming and snorkeling areas for families.
In eastern Oahu, she loves Kaiona Beach for watching the sunrise. She also admitted that the location of her very favorite beach is going to remain a secret. She just calls it Tutu’s (granny’s) house. “We grew up on this beach, learned to surf and dive. Lots of rocks for a small cove but known for having the honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) always around in the water.” Emphasizing the turtles’ endangered status, she assures us that “We do follow all rules and regulations when the honu are near!”
Rebeca likes Waikiki Beach, calling it the “most popular and well-equipped for visitors in Oahu and amongst the other islands.” She admitted that she too has a place she wants to keep to herself, telling us “I can’t say I want to recommend online my favorite secret spot ;)” We get it, Rebeca.
Steve is a fan of Kailua Beach Park (photo below: Steve is our graphic designer and took this photo of his niece Jodie, where he removed all the other people out of this photo for her). He tells us that it has plenty of parking available, though it’s usually very busy.
He says that it has “the best white sand my feet have ever touched.” Among other advantages of this Windward Oahu spot, he mentioned the palm trees for shade and the availability of nice bathrooms close by. For him, “it’s one of the best 360-degree views on Oahu. There’s kayaking close by and small to no waves, making it perfect for older folks and families.” But the real reason Steve loves Kailua? “Went on my first date with my wife to Kailua Beach.” Aww.
Steve also enjoys Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve for snorkeling, a beach that was reserved for Hawaiian royalty. He Says, “there is always a sea turtle in that spot munching on algae”
Sherwood Beach, located within Waimanalo Bay State Recreation Park, is Johann’s favorite. In his words, it’s “very scenic with trees and mountains. Plenty of parking. Bathrooms. Tons of sand. There’s an immediate sand bar once you get in, which makes the waves fun for body surfing or body board. Not touristy.”
Jim never goes for the easy option. His favorite beach on Kauai is called Hanakāpī‘ai Beach, and it requires a two-hour hike just to reach it! “There is a great stream that empties into this beach,” he reports, and “there are beautiful cliffs on both sides and sometimes the surf is good.”
Michael lived on the island of Maui before moving to the big city of Honolulu, and his favorite beach in Hawaii is on the southern coast of the Valley Isle. While this hidden treasure doesn’t have a name, it’s next to Keawakapu Beach in Kihei. “You have to hike over a small sea cliff to reach it, and once you’re there, you’ll likely have an entire little cove all to yourself. It’s simply magical.”