Hawaiian Beaches to Visit

For anyone planning a trip to Hawaii, here’s a list of some of the beaches – tried and tested!

Waikiki beach, Oahu

Surfers and stand up paddlers at Waikiki

During the daytime, Waikiki was crowded with tourists. During the evenings, locals came out for surfing or bodyboarding.

I liked the atmosphere there in general: all kinds of shops, streets bustling with life, and sunny beach culture. (Not to mention Cheesecake Factory!)

But Waikiki’s maybe not the best spot for sunbathing unless you want to do it crowded with the masses. Not my idea of fun. And, gathering from previous comments on my blog, not yours either.

So on our beach days, we’d walk a bit further from Waikiki to get some space. Our solution: Kapiolani beach park.

More Waikiki moments in my earlier post

Kapiolani beach park, Oahu

Managed to take this photo on the only cloudy day of the month

Just walk along the beach (towards Diamond Head, looming in the background) and you’ll find some more space for your beach towel. Families and couples spent time in the water. There’s also the nice, shady option of sitting on the grass under the palm trees. Restrooms are conveniently nearby.

More about Kapiolani beach park

Ala Moana beach park, Oahu

The view from Ala Moana beach towards Waikiki, in the distance

We visited the mall in Ala Moana a couple of times but didn’t stay there for a beach day. This beach was very quiet, though, and there were hotels nearby. More of a local feeling already, and you didn’t even have to go far from Waikiki! There were picnic tables there and beach showers.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Snorkeling with lots of other people and lots of colorful fish

A snorkeling spot. Get there in the morning because it gets crowded and only a limited number of visitors are accepted per day. It’s worth it, even just for the views. There were plenty of different types of fish to see quite easily, while staying in the shallow reefs.

You can get there easily by bus from Waikiki.

More about Hanauma Bay

North Shore, Oahu

Somewhere between Sunset beach and Banzai Pipeline

A nice idea for a day trip if you want to see the island and the spot where the pros surf. Rough waves.

Read more in my North Shore post

Waimanalo beach, Oahu

Picture perfect Waimanalo

A calm beach with a local feel to it. In my post I said it might be the most beautiful beach in the world and I haven’t changed my mind!

The weather was perfect in November-December and as you can see, there’s plenty of peace and quiet.

More pictures here

Kaanapali – North of Black Rock, Maui

The water was so clear, so inviting

Kaanapali is a long beach, divided in two: north and south of Black Rock. We stayed in the north part, which was much calmer than the commercial south part. There were days when we were almost alone on the beach and even at its worst, it wasn’t crowded.

Black Rock is a spot for snorkeling with coral reef fish and turtles, though there weren’t as many different types of fish as at Hanauma Bay. The water’s a bit deeper at Black Rock, so you can dive with your snorkel.

Kaanapali is great for relaxed beach walks. We’d walk north until the sun started setting and then we’d turn back. We saw people relaxing on the terraces of what looked like holidays condos with a glass of white wine and an ocean view. Looked like a nice life.

Read about my Kaanapali experience

Molokini and Turtle Town, Maui

Molokini and Turtle Town are day trip destinations for snorkeling and, obviously, turtle spotting. We took a boat tour which stopped at both. The problem with a lot of the snorkeling boat tours I’ve been on is that they bring crowds which scare off the fish you’re there to see. (And, obviously, tours pollute the waters as well.)

Photo credit: Hubby (I was just sitting there enjoying the sun)

I don’t remember spotting much underwater but hubby saw turtles. I got cold, despite the borrowed wetsuit top, and I got out of the water earlier. But later, we spotted a surfacing turtle from the boat.

Turtle’s head above the water. Photo credit: Hubby

Other places of interest

I’ve posted pictures of Diamond Head, Oahu, where we hiked, and Haleakala, Maui, which we visited on a day trip. We also walked around Honolulu and saw locals living their daily lives, waiting for a bus or carrying a briefcase – the kind of normal life which I like looking for wherever I travel.

We happened to witness the filming of the TV show Hawaii 5-0 not once, but twice (it was season 1 back then). And we tried surfing in Maui, which was lots of fun!

Hawaii is somewhere I’ll be coming back to in my mind for a long time still. Nostalgizing over trips is almost like recycling – you don’t always need something new, sometimes the old will do just fine.

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33 responses to “Hawaiian Beaches to Visit

  1. Your recollection is very infectious. Makes me wish to dive into this azure so very much. The best beaches I’ve seen were on Greek islands Lefkas (Lefkada) and Karpathos as well with much less people, especially around the airport. And yet here, for example, I’ve got 12 km sandy beach 1.8 km away and I don’t go so very often. Because the sea is not yet warm enough for me, where the sand is quite dark and therefore boiling hot. 😀 Spoilt by the Adriatic…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: 2nd Blogoversary | The Snow Melts Somewhere·

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