The best beaches in Hawaii, how to get there and where to park

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Hawaii’s beaches
The best beaches in Hawaii
Advice for enjoying the beach in Hawaii
Hulopoe Beach Hawaii


Hawaii’s beaches

Hawaii is often considered paradise by many people. The primary reason for this is that the beaches in Hawaii are some of the most beautiful beaches on the entire planet. If you are in Hawaii for pretty much any period of time and do not make it to the beach at least once, you are wasting a golden opportunity.

If you do plan on getting out to the beaches in Hawaii, you should realize that you have a ton of different beaches between the different islands to choose from. Sure, if you were living there you could eventually make it to every beach in Hawaii. However, that probably is not the case. So, you will want to be sure that you spend your time on the very best beaches of Hawaii.

The best beaches in Hawaii

Here are the best beaches in Hawaii, how you can get there and where you can park:

  • Hawaii (The Big Island)

    • Mauna Kea Beach is at the top of the list for the Big Island because it has the gorgeous white sand and bright blue water with less of a crowd because of the beach’s smaller size. You will need to arrive early to find parking as well as a spot on the beach, but it will be well worth it.

      As we mentioned, parking can be limited here. So, make sure you get to the parking lots by 8 AM at the latest. You will need to go through the resort to find parking. There is valet parking, but it is about $40. If you are staying at the Mauna Kea Beach resort then the valet fee will be reduced. We recommend this as it is the easiest of all the options. You can find directions to the resort here.

    • Hapuna Beach is another fantastic beach on the Big Island of Hawaii. This beach is much bigger than Mauna Kea Beach. It is one of the best beaches in the entire state of Hawaii for snorkeling as well as swimming.

      You can almost always find parking here. There is a small fee of $10 to park for the day. You can find directions to the beach here.

    • Maniniowali Beach has amazingly clear water and white sand that make it one of the more picturesque beaches in all of Hawaii. The water is calm earlier in the day, so get there early if you are not a super experienced swimmer because the water can be rougher later in the day. You will also have the chance to see lots of different fish and turtles throughout the day here.

      There is also a lot of parking here, so need to rush to the beach in order to find a spot. You can get directions to Maniniowali Beach here.

  • Maui

    • Makena Beach State Park is a popular spot for weddings in Hawaii because of how nice the weather usually is as well as the beach’s overall beauty makes for great photo opportunities. Swimming is also great here, but the water can get rough here seemingly randomly. So, be sure you are always paying attention and using caution.

      Parking is pretty good here. There are additional parking lots available if you are not staying at the resort. You will just need to drive a little further and walk a little further as well. You can get directions to the beach here.

    • Baldwin Beach is another amazing sight and enjoyable beach on our list for Maui. The beach has beautiful crystal blue water near the shore. It is a great beach for swimming, running, sunbathing and more. There is even a small section where there is what is known as a “baby beach” portion where there is a seawall that provides a nice little and extremely calm swimming area for kids.

      There is a lot of parking available at Baldwin Beach on most days. You can get directions right here.

    • Kapalua Bay is a less popular beach but it is just as beautiful as most of the other Hawaiian beaches. There are a bunch of watersports that go on here. It is a week-known spot for snorkeling which provides a great chance to see some really cool marine life. This beach is generally quieter and less crowded.

      Parking can be a little harder to find here as it is fairly limited. So, get to the beach early! You will find directions to Kapalua Bay here.

  • Lanai

    • Hulopoe Beach is likely most famous for its opportunity to see Dolphins. However, it is yet another beautiful Hawaiian beach and a great spot to kick back and enjoy the day. With white sand and pretty blue water, Hulopoe Beach a a perfect spot for a family beach day.

      Parking is fairly easy here as the beach doesn’t tend to get that busy normally. Find directions to Hulopoe Beach right here.

    • Shipwreck Beach is a difficult beach to get to because you will need to rent a Jeep so you can off-road your way there. However, if you can make it there, there will likely not be anyone else there. So, you will have lots of privacy. You can also see turtles and will have a great view of a wrecked ship hence the name of the beach.

      There are some places to park your Jeep when you finally arrive, you might just have to take a few minutes and look around. You can get directions here.

  • Molokai

    • Kephui Beach is a nice and quaint beach and good for a quiet day relaxing in the sun. In the summer, the water is usually calm enough for swimming but exercise caution when you do as there are no lifeguards anywhere.
      The drive there can be a little rough but there is usually parking available followed by a short walk to the beach. Directions to the beach can be found here.
    • Pohaku Mauliuli Beach is another more quaint beach in Hawaii but it is also gorgeous and great for a relaxing day or half-day long get away. The water can be dangerous in the winter but is usually swimmable in the summer.

      Parking at Pohaku Mauliuli Beach is fairly tough as there is only a smaller area for parking here than most beaches. However, it is not a super popular beach. So, if you arrive early enough, you should be able to find parking. Pohaku Mauliuli Beach driving directions can be found here.

    • Murphy Beach, also known as Kumimi Beach, has shallow and calm water as well as golden sand. It’s safer to swim here than the other beaches on Molokai yet it is just as picturesque.

      Parking is available but it is limited, so arrive early if you can. You can find directions here.

  • Oahu

    • Waikiki Beach is the most popular beach in all of Hawaii as well as one of the most popular beaches in the entire world and for good reason too. The beach is one of the most beautiful sights on the entire planet with gold sand and tropical teal waters. Get here early, this beach gets millions of visitors per year with no sign of getting any less busy.

      Parking is ample but also in high demand. Arrive early and you can find a relatively inexpensive spot fairly close to the beach. Driving directions to Waikiki Beach can be found right here.

    • Lanikai Beach is another incredibly popular and famous beach in Hawaii. This beach has some of the best swimming conditions in the world. As you might expect, it is also incredibly gorgeous and a great spot to kick back and enjoy the day.

      It is located right near a residential area so finding a parking spot can be really hard sometimes. Try and get here to find parking as early in the morning as possible. You can enter your address and find directions here.

    • Sunset Beach is well known for its surfing conditions as well as for its crystal-clear water. The water can be too rough for swimming during the winter, but it can be ideal during the summer for going for a swim. Snorkeling is also ideal here.

      Parking here is as easy as it can possibly be. So, no need to wake up extra early in order to find a spot. Directions can be found here.

  • Kauai

    • Kee Beach is another incredibly popular Hawaiian beach. It has really amazing views and a true natural beauty. The beach also has a great variety of fish and is near a popular to hike as well. It’s a great spot for photos and a quick swim as well.

      Parking here fills up quickly so be sure to get here well before 10 AM. You can get directions to Kee Beach here.

    • Hanalei Bay Beach is another popular spot for surfers as well as vacation-goers alike. This is a popular spot for most ocean activities including swimming, surfing, fishing, fishing, snorkeling and more. The scenery, especially the mountains, is absolutely stunning.

      Parking at Hanalei Bay Beach can be hard at times but if you spend time looking you will almost always find a spot. Directions to the beach are right here.

    • Haena Beach is a lesser known beach in Kauai, but it is still a borderline perfect place to unwind for a day. With great sights and perfect tranquility, this beach a great stop at any point on a vacation. The beach also boasts some great amenities such as lifeguards, restrooms, showers and more.

      Finding parking at Haena Beach is not too hard. If you think it might be a popular beach day, just try and leave a little earlier in the day. You will find directions right here.


Advice for enjoying the beach in Hawaii

As you can tell by now, the beach is one of the absolute best parts of being in Hawaii. However, there are a few things to remain mindful of when you are planning a trip to the beach in Hawaii.

It should be clear by now that parking for the beach, no matter which beach, is a bit of a hassle. You can minimize the stress of parking by getting up as early as you can and driving there. You can also walk there if reasonable or try to take a cab or some sort of public transportation such as the bus.

Be sure that you pack the essentials for the beach before you head out there too. Some of Hawaii’s beaches are located in fairly remote areas. So, if you forget something like sunscreen you might have to travel several miles to go get it. Remember things like enough drinking water, food, towels and whatever else you might usually bring to the beach.

Check the weather and, more importantly, the surf conditions. Try to avoid going to the beach on days where the surf is particularly rough. The water can be very dangerous in those conditions and lifeguards in Hawaii are already spread thin. So, they might not see you in a situation where you are in trouble.



Spending a day on the beaches in Hawaii is truly like spending a day in paradise. If you are in Hawaii do not short-change yourself by missing the opportunity to spend some time at the beach. When you do go to the beach, make sure that you are prepared for things like parking and how rough or calm the water will be at that particular beach on that day.

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