My 4 favourite Hawaii beaches

Aug 2, 2022 | Beaches, Blog, Hawaii

The Hawaii Islands have hundreds of breathtaking beaches. They range from white sand to black with every shade of yellow in between. You'll even find red sand and green sand beaches. Although I've obviously not visited every Hawaii beach (wouldn't that be amazing), it's still hard to choose a favourite from the ones I have. But I've managed to narrow it down to 4 off-the-beaten path Hawaii beaches, one on each island that I've visited.
Keawaula Beach, Oahu

Keawaula Beach, Oahu

This secluded white sand beach can be found at the end of King Kamekameha Highway at Yokohama Bay. Keawaula Beach is located in Kaʻena Point State Park on the leeward coast of the Island of Oahu. We discovered it when we drove north from our accommodation in Mākaha. At the end of the road, you can park your car and hike the trail to Kaʻena Point where, if you’re lucky, you can see endangered Monk Seals basking on rocks in the sunshine. It gets hot along the coastal trail, so be sure to bring plenty of water, wear sunscreen, comfortable shoes and bring a long-sleeved blouse or shirt (which you can tie around your waist) to cover up. Early morning or late evening are ideal times to hike the trail when it is cooler, and if you hike in the evening, you may also be rewarded with a stunning sunset.

Keawaula Beach, Oahu
La Perouse, Maui

La Perouse, Maui

The youngest area on Maui island, La Perouse can be found at the end of Makena Road on the south west coast. When you reach the parking lot at the end of the road, you can hike a trail through hardened volcanic lava (which you’ll also see as you drive the last stretch of the narrow road). Depending on how far you walk, you’ll pass various secluded sandy beaches that have formed between the lava tubes that extend out into the ocean. There are some interesting rock formations in the bay that have been eroded by the ocean waves. Some of the little beaches are perfect for some snorkelling or for just relaxing and enjoying the views. Be prepared to hike a bit and, again, make sure you have sunscreen and water, as well as beach gear if you plan to stay awhile. When we were there, we saw goats eating leaves from the small trees on the rocks too.

La Perouse, Maui
Kepuhi Beach, Molokai

Kepuhi Beach, Molokai

Probably my favourite beach of all, Kepuhi Beach is located on the island of Molokai, which is one of the least populated of Hawaii’s inhabited islands. We discovered this breathtaking beach on a day-trip to the island from Maui. Our road-trip started as soon as we landed just after sunrise, with a short drive and hike to Kaulapapa Lookout, a drive to Hālawa on the eastern tip of the island, stopping at various small beaches en route, and a leisurely lunch at Kaunakakai, the only town on Molokai. After a stroll through town, we drove to the western side of the island, intending to go to Pāpōhaku Beach Park, but came across Kepuhi before reaching our final destination. Although not a swimmable beach, at least not when we visited, the small sandy beach was devoid of people so we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing there. I had fun photographing the waves as they crashed on the rocks, strolling the beach and admiring the boulders and unique rock formation at the end of the beach.

Kepuhi Beach, Molokai
Lumaha'i Beach, Kauai

Lumaha’i Beach, Kauai

Kauai has some of the best beaches in all of Hawaii and many are on the north shore. During our stay, we visited several and it’s hard to choose one, but I think it has to Lumaha’i Beach. We visited early in the morning and there were only a few other people on the beach at that time. We sat and relaxed right next to Lumaha’i River, which meets the ocean at the western end of the beach. This beach is generally not recommended for swimming due to the large waves, but when we were there, the river water spread across the back of the beach before it entered the ocean, so it was not deep where it entered the sea. The tide was probably out while we visited so it was a great spot to enjoy a dip or splash about without worrying about waves and undercurrents. I was also able to wade to the other side and stand safely on the rocks opposite us to take photos of the crashing waves. (PS: this is the beach where the movie, South Pacific, was filmed!)

Lumaha'i Beach, Kauai
Punalu'u Beach, Island of Hawaii

Do you have a favourite Hawaii beach?

Or is it too hard to choose just one? Perhaps you have a favourite beach on the Island of Hawaii, which I have yet to visit. One that is still on my bucket list and perhaps not as secluded as the ones above, is Punalu’u Beach. Located on the southeastern Kau coast on the way to Hawaii National Park from Kailua-Kona, it is one of many, and probably most famous of the black sand beaches on Hawaii Island. Like many others that I love, it’s not generally recommended for swimming and the sand is not ideal for young kids to play in. However, what makes this beach so special is that it’s a favourite hang-out for honu (Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles). It also has some amazing scenic views, so it’s a perfect spot for photography. If you visit, you must stay far away from the turtles and definitely do not touch them or take any of the black sand from the beach.

Punalu'u Beach, Island of Hawaii

Looking for more Hawaii beach inspiration?

Here are Travel + Leisure’s “18 Best Beaches in Hawaii” and you’ll find Travelling Lifestyle’s 10 Best Beaches in Hawaii here.

Hawaii Inter-Island Cruise Jan 2023 web
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