Hulopoe Beach Wins Title of Best Hawaii Beach

Hapuna, Kaanapali, Wailea and Kaunaoa Beaches also winners.

Hawaii is home to an incredible diversity of stunning beaches, which made the task of naming the best a tough one! After four weeks of voting, the polls are closed and the results are in; Hulopoe Beach on the island of Lanai took home top honors.

  • Hulopoe Beach

    Hulopoe Beach, Lanai's most famous stretch of sand, extends pearly white along the island's southern coast. Throughout much of the year, protected Hulopoe Bay offers ideal swimming and snorkeling conditions, and at low tide, the eastern side of the bay boasts several large volcanic rock tide pools filled with colorful sea life.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Japan (HTJ)

  • Hapuna Beach
    Big Island

    Located on the Big Island's Kohala Coast, Hapuna Beach represents the largest of the island's white sand beaches. The half-mile crescent of powder soft sand and crystal blue waters ranks among the island's top spots for swimming, snorkeling and bodysurfing, and come sundown, the beach fills with onlookers hoping to see the "green flash" of a Hawaiian sunset.
    Photo courtesy of Marek Poplawski

  • Kaanapali Beach

    Stretching for 3 miles between the Sheraton Maui to the north and the Hyatt Regency Maui to the south, Kaanapali Beach was once the retreat of choice for Hawaiian royalty and today is one of the island's most popular expanses of white sand. Puu Kekaa, or Black Rock, anchors the beach at the north, and each evening at sunset a cliff diver lights torches along the cliff before diving from the top in a ceremony commemorating a feat by King Kahekili.
    Photo courtesy of Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

  • Wailea Beach

    Arguably the most beautiful of the five beaches in Maui's Wailea Resort, Wailea Beach is long, wide and protected by black lava points to either side, making it a popular choice for swimming and snorkeling on Maui. For sunbathers, the views from the beach are nothing short of spectacular, thanks to the islands of Kahoolawe, Lanai and Molokini in the distance. Sunsets are top notch, and in winter, humpback whales can be spotted offshore.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Kaunaoa Beach
    Big Island

    Near perfect Kaunaoa Beach, also known as Mauna Kea Beach, boasts a long crescent of white sand lined by coconut palms. A gradually sloping soft sandy bottom and calm waters make Kaunaoa an excellent option for swimming throughout the year, and with a snorkeling mask in tow, it's possible to spot tropical fish, sea turtles and manta ray along the rocky points of the bay.
    Photo courtesy of Big Island Visitors Bureau (BIVB) / Kirk Lee Aeder

  • Makena "Big" Beach

    Makena Beach State Park on the southwestern coast of Maui is home to Makena Beach, or Big Beach as locals call it, with golden sands stretching for nearly two thirds of a mile. One of the island's longest beaches, Makena Beach is vast enough that it never feels crowded, and there's hardly a bit of development in sight.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson

  • Punaluu Black Sand Beach
    Big Island

    Thirty miles south of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park sits the Big Island's most famous black sand beach, Punaluu. Consistent volcanic activity on the island has created beaches with all sorts of colored sand, and the shores at Punaluu are jet black and fringed with coconut palms. Many a beach-goer finds themselves sharing the sand with basking Hawaiian green sea turtles who come to warm themselves beneath the tropical sun.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Lanikai Beach

    Tucked away in the residential neighborhood of Kailua on the island of Oahu, Lanikai Beach has everything you dream of when you dream Hawaii: powder soft sand, scenic offshore islands, gentle salty sea breezes and Hawaii's signature turquoise water. While surrounded by multimillion dollar mansions, state law requires public beach access every 400 yards, making this gorgeous beach accessible to visitors as well as locals.
    Photo courtesy of Purestock

  • Waikiki Beach

    On Oahu's southern shore, world-famous Waikiki has long been a beachy playground for the rich and famous, including Hawaiian royalty. Beneath the shadow of Diamondhead, the 2-mile-long beach here welcomes more than 4 million visitors each year. Visitors who aspire to take on the big breaks on the North Shore can learn to surf on the small and consistent wave breaks of Waikiki.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Hanauma Bay

    The beach in the Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve, sandwiched between two dormant volcanoes on the southeast tip of Oahu, has become one of the most popular snorkeling beaches in Hawaii. The volcanic crater cove hugged by the beach is teeming with reefs and colorful reef fish – Mother Nature's very own aquarium. Snorkeling equipment and lockers are both available, and the nature reserve's education center screens a short video about the bay.
    Photo courtesy of Bluediscovery

The Big Island and Maui dominated the rest of the top five list, with the Big Island's Hapuna and Kaunaoa Beaches coming in second and fifth, and Maui's Kaanapali and Wailea Beaches placing third and fourth.

The winners in the 'Best Hawaii Beach' contest category for USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice are as follows:

  1. Hulopoe Beach - Lanai
  2. Hapuna Beach - Big Island
  3. Kaanapali Beach - Maui
  4. Wailea Beach - Maui
  5. Kaunaoa Beach - Big Island
  6. Makena "Big" Beach - Maui
  7. Punaluu Black Sand Beach - Big Island
  8. Lanikai Beach - Oahu
  9. Waikiki Beach - Oahu
  10. Hanauma Bay - Oahu

Congratulations to all our winners!


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