Kauai's Poipu Beach Park named Best Hawaii Beach!

Kaanapali Beach on Maui takes second place

From the black sand beaches of the Big Island and Maui to the big wave beaches of Oahu, Hawaii offers a diversity of beach experiences found in few other destinations on the planet. And the best news? They're all open to the public by state law!

  • Poipu Beach Park
    Kauai

    A series of three crescents on the south coast of Kauai make up Poipu Beach. It offers a little bit for everyone with a variety of water activities to enjoy when not watching palm trees sway from the comfort of your beach towel. Surf closer to the rocky outcroppings and find calmer waters mid-crescent. Shallow water and lifeguards near Poipu State Park make swimming a dream.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Kaanapali Beach
    Maui

    A former retreat for Maui royalty, some of the island’s best resorts border this 3.5-mile-long very popular beach. Waves break gently, a beach walk runs parallel to the warm sand and clear water permits snorkeling. Don’t miss the daily cliff diving ceremony at Black Rock held at sunset on the north end of the beach in between enjoying the various restaurants and shopping at the waterfront Whaler’s Village entertainment area.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / YinYang

  • Waikiki Beach
    Oahu

    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 Diamond Head, 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

  • Wailea Beach
    Maui

    A number of luxury resorts flank the expansive gold sand of Wailea Beach but despite the action it’s an excellent place for relaxation. Soft-breaking waves mean that body surfing and boogie boarding are common while paddling out on SUP or outrigger canoe beyond the break is usually a breeze. Get geared up at beach rental shops and stake a claim to a spot in one of the five crescent shaped beaches. You won’t want to miss the spectacular sunset either.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Lanikai Beach
    Oahu

    Set on Oahu's windward coast, this gorgeous beach – often considered one of the best in the world – offers incredible waters and the picturesque presence of two small, offshore islands. About a mile long, the beach varies in width, although its entire stretch provides soft sands and beautiful vistas out towards the ocean and of the Koolau Range. The beach is protected by an offshore reef, making the waters calm on this quiet stretch of coastline. 
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Hanalei Bay Beach
    Kauai

    The 2-mile crescent-shaped Hanalei Beach hugs the wide and visually stunning Hanalei Bay. With verdant mountains to one side, the sea to the other and anchored by a pier, Hanalei is quintessentially Hawaii, especially during the winter when onshore breaks attract surfers from around the globe. Even when the current prohibits swimming, the beach is plenty wide for sunning and strolling.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Waimea Beach
    Oahu

    While not ideal for swimming in the winter – the surf here can be treacherous – this scenic cove on Waimea Bay has legendary status as the birthplace of big wave surfing. Those who aren't yet comfortable hanging ten can opt to sunbathe or picnic in the sand. Come summer, the waves subside making it safe to swim.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Hanauma Bay
    Oahu

    At Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in East Oahu, visitors can swim up close to Hawaii's state fish: the humuhumunukunukuapuaa, the reef trigger fish. The volcanic crater is not only home to the humuhumu, but 450 additional fish species, as well as octupi, crabs and eels, darting in and out of big coral reefs. The horseshoe-shaped bay is a great place to snorkel on Oahu year-round. 
    Photo courtesy of iStock / 44kawa

  • Hapuna State Beach
    Big Island

    Located on the Big Island's Kohala Coast, Hapuna State 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 Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Hulopoe Beach
    Lanai

    Beautiful white sand awaits at this stunning beach in front of Four Seasons Lanai. Crystal clear waters make it the best place on the island for snorkeling and swimming. It’s a public beach with showers, picnic tables, restrooms and barbecues. Tide pools carved out of volcanic rock are located on the eastern side of the bay and home to hermit crabs, sea stars and much more.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Dana Edmunds

The top 10 winners in the category Best Hawaii Beach are as follows:

  1. Poipu Beach ParkKauai
  2. Kaanapali BeachMaui
  3. Waikiki Beach - Oahu
  4. Wailea BeachMaui
  5. Lanikai BeachOahu
  6. Hanalei Bay BeachKauai
  7. Waimea BeachOahu
  8. Hanauma BayOahu
  9. Hapuna State BeachBig Island
  10. Hulopoe Beach - Lanai

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Congratulations to these 10 winning beaches!

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