Top 10 Hawaiian Beaches

A true tropical oasis, Hawaii has something to suit most everyone's fancy. Swirling 30-foot waves make surfers' dreams come true, while down the coast, tranquil turquoise waters beckon frolicking toddlers and families.  Serenity-seekers unwind under towering palm trees overlooking sparkling bays, while jet-setters enjoy the view from private villas and yachts. Sit back, relax and imagine warm, tropical breezes tickling your skin as we take you on a tour of Hawaii's hottest beaches.


1. Waikiki Beach

The beauty of Waikiki begins at the yacht harbor where every boat imaginable, from sporty, racing numbers to salty-dog blue cruisers, lines the water. It is here where Hawaiian canoe clubs train and stately yachts strut their stuff. Next door, the Hilton Hawaiian Village stages hula shows to welcome the weekend and blasts fireworks visible from miles away. However, not enough visitors find time to visit the other end of Waikiki, where 200 acres of parkland wrap around the base of Diamond Head Crater and there's always a quiet spot in the shade. This is where the locals come to jog in the park, swim at Sans Souci Beach or barbecue dinner with family and friends. Between these two extremes, the seven-tenths of a square mile that make up Waikiki are packed with hotels, theaters, restaurants and shops that offer something for everyone.

What's Cool: Visit the statue of Hawaiian hero Duke Kahanamoku, regarded as the father of modern surfing.
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: Alvis Upitis / Getty Images

2. Honaunau Bay

Once the site of a ruling chief's palace, Honaunau Bay offers visitors something other than the white sandy beaches and rolling surf characteristic of Hawaii. Honaunau is home to a true underwater paradise, the Place of Refuge, which attracts scuba divers from all around. Over time, eruptions of the Kilueau volcano poured lava into the ocean, hardening into large, smooth formations now home to an expansive reef of colorful coral heads and formations. The bay satisfies all levels of divers, from beginners to experts, and boasts a large number of fish native to Hawaii, roughly 40 percent of which can be found only in Honaunau. Divers can swim with the likes of long-nosed butterfly fish, surgeon fish, yellow tang and kala and kole -- even the endangered green sea turtle.

What's Cool: Explore Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, an ancient sanctuary where breakers of the kapu (sacred laws) could take refuge from a death sentence.

3. Kaapnapali Beach

If luxury hotels and constant pampering are your idea of the perfect beach getaway, Kaanapali Beach is the gem you've been seeking. Some of Hawaii's most exclusive resorts line this stretch of sand and are ready to spoil anyone willing. Perhaps you're looking for your own personal Beach Butler to deliver daiquiris, or hoping to splurge and rent out a beach cabana. Your every wish can be easily granted on Kaanapali. After soaking in the sun, visit one of the resorts and indulge in a tanning consultation or unwind with a lomi lomi massage -- noted for its spiritual and healing aspects.

What's Cool: The company Beach Activities of Maui is suited to cater a visitor's every whim.

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