There are few places in the world as beautiful and exotic as the islands of Hawaii. With clear blue water, soft sandy beaches, and glorious scenery, a family vacation in Hawaii is sure to be an unforgettable experience. There are so many lovely beaches to choose from. Because the surf can get quite high in Hawaii, you will need to pay attention to weather reports if you plan to enter the water. Not all beaches have year-round lifeguards and hours may change depending on the season.
Ala Moana Beach Park, Oahu
Situated among Hawaii’s renowned swimming sites, Ala Moana Beach Park stands as a cherished destination for locals and visitors alike. This beach boasts a natural coral reef just offshore, creating an idyllic setting for swimming enthusiasts. For those new to swimming in the ocean, it is advisable to stick to the eastern end of the beach, where the sandy bottom is free of sharp coral fragments. The park offers a range of amenities, including bathrooms, shaded picnic spots, and a playpark designed for young children. Activities abound, with options such as bike rentals, paddle boarding, and kayaking. During the summer months, a concession stand operates, providing refreshments, and lifeguards ensure the safety of beachgoers.
Ala Moana Beach Park is highly regarded for its turquoise blue waters, making it an ideal spot for ocean sports like snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding. The park’s expansive grounds offer walking paths, tennis courts, and music pavilions. In addition, the park’s convenient location near Ala Moana Shopping Center and Kaka’ako Shopping Area provides opportunities for shopping and exploration of nearby attractions[
Baldwin Beach, Maui
Situated on Maui’s scenic North Shore, Baldwin Beach is a beloved destination for both families and surfers. The beach encompasses multiple areas, each offering different wave conditions, ranging from gentle swells to challenging surf breaks. To ensure a safe swimming experience, protected areas can be found at both ends of the beach, with lifeguards on duty during the summer months. Visitors can take advantage of convenient amenities, including restrooms, public showers, picnic spots, and barbecues. It’s advisable to pack a cooler with refreshments since snack availability may be limited.
Hamoa Beach, Maui
Hamoa Beach is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and ideal conditions for surfing and body-boarding. During the summer months, the sea is generally calmer, creating a fantastic opportunity for swimming, as long as the surf is not too intense. The beach is also a popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving, offering guided tours that allow visitors to swim alongside graceful rays and vibrant tropical fish.
Hanalei Bay, Kauai
Hanalei Bay, a beloved destination for tourists of all ages, offers a wide range of water sports activities, including windsurfing, kayaking, and more. The beach’s main attraction is the historic Hanalei Pier, which provides access to the calmest waters in the area. During the summer, lifeguards are on duty, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors. To avoid parking challenges, it is recommended to plan a visit on weekdays.
Hanalei Bay is renowned for its stunning beauty and the abundance of water-based activities it offers. With its picturesque setting and crystal-clear waters, it provides an ideal environment for various water sports enthusiasts. Families can engage in thrilling adventures like windsurfing or kayaking, exploring the bay’s captivating surroundings.
Hapuna Beach, Big Island
Hapuna Beach, situated on the Kohala Coast of the Big Island of Hawai’i, offers a picturesque setting combined with modern amenities. Spanning a half-mile, this beach showcases pristine white sand and turquoise waters, making it an ideal destination for relaxation and water activities. Lifeguards are on duty year-round, ensuring a safe swimming experience. The clear waters are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving, while the shallow areas provide a delightful space for young family members to paddle and splash.
Visitors can enjoy a leisurely picnic under the shade trees or grab a bite at the beachside cafe, which offers light meals and snacks. For added comfort and convenience, beach chairs, umbrellas, and boogie boards are available for rent. Restrooms are provided for visitors’ convenience.
Hapuna Beach has gained recognition as one of America’s best beaches, praised by renowned sources like The Travel Channel and Conde Nast Traveler magazine. The beach’s expansive shoreline offers ample space for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, picnicking, and even impromptu volleyball games. During the summer months, the waters are calm and suitable for swimming and snorkeling, while experienced surfers can catch thrilling waves during the winter season.
Ho’okipa Beach, Maui
Ho’okipa Beach, located on Maui’s North Shore in Hulopo?e Bay, is a haven for ocean sports enthusiasts and a sanctuary for wildlife. This stunning beach features glorious white sand, making it perfect for leisurely strolls and sunbathing. Adventurous family members can take on the thrilling waves through surfing and body-boarding. Ho’okipa Beach attracts professional surfers who come to compete in major competitions, while the Maui Sports Federation sponsors various annual events.
Notably, Ho’okipa Beach is renowned as the home of monk seals and other fascinating wildlife. Visitors can witness the captivating surf break formed by the reef system spanning the bay. Outdoor showers, limited restrooms (which may have lines), and picnic facilities are available for visitors’ convenience. Families can also enjoy cookouts using the barbecue grills provided.
It’s important to exercise caution while swimming as there are no lifeguards present. However, Ho’okipa Beach offers an exceptional opportunity to observe extraordinary ocean sports, appreciate nature’s power, and admire the resident sea turtles and monk seals from a respectful distance.
Hulopoe Beach Park, Maui
Hulopoe Beach, located in Hulopoe Bay on the southern coast of L?na’i, is a picturesque crescent-shaped beach renowned for its pristine white-gold sand and crystal-clear waters, making it an ideal spot for snorkeling. The beach offers convenient amenities such as restrooms, permanent picnic tables, and parking facilities. It boasts a gentle sea, perfect for families with children who can explore the captivating tide pools. It’s important to note that there are no lifeguards present, so swimming should be approached with caution.
Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Pu’u Pehe, a captivating rock formation, just a short hike away from the beach. Hulopoe Beach is highly regarded as L?na’i’s most popular and easily accessible beach, attracting visitors with its stunning natural beauty and exceptional snorkeling opportunities.
Kahaluu Beach Park, Big Island
Kahaluu Beach Park is a snorkeler’s paradise with its vibrant blue waters teeming with tropical fish. It’s a popular spot for both snorkeling and diving. Those looking for adventure can take surfing classes, catering to adults and teens. The park offers convenient amenities such as restrooms, beach showers, and a covered picnic pavilion. Visitors have the option to bring their own food or indulge in delicious fast food from a food truck near the pavilion. If you’re planning a cookout, you can conveniently pick up barbecue supplies from a nearby grocery store. Kahaluu Beach Park is a must-visit for its abundant marine life and exciting activities.
Kailua Beach Park, Oahu
Kailua Beach Park on Oahu is a well-developed beach with white sand, crystal blue waters, and stunning scenery, making it a popular choice for families. The park offers a range of amenities, including restrooms, beach showers, and picnic spots. For those seeking adventure, you can rent kayaks or try boogie-boarding in the gentle waves. Downtown Kailua is just a five-minute drive away, offering charming architecture, shops, and great restaurants. Kailua Beach Park is known for its water sports opportunities, including kayaking and windsurfing. Families with small children can swim near the boat ramp where there is a lifeguard on duty. Don’t miss the chance to catch a breathtaking sunrise at this beach.
Kalapaki Beach, Kauai
Kalapaki Beach is a great spot for families, offering plenty of activities. You’ll find a wide range of ocean sports available, including beach catamarans, surfboards, and stand-up paddleboards for rent. Lessons are also offered year-round. The beach provides picnic facilities, restrooms, and showers for your convenience. It’s important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty, so exercise caution when swimming.
Located close to the airport, Kalapaki Beach is a convenient place to relax while waiting for flights. It’s easily accessible, with parking available in the lot or on the street. The beach is known for its friendly atmosphere, gentle waves, and a slope that is suitable for all ages. Nearby eating establishments offer a relaxed dining experience. You can also enjoy stunning views of the mountains and a lighthouse.
Visitors have praised Kalapaki Beach for its cleanliness, availability of rentals, and various water activities like paddleboarding and snorkeling. It’s a popular choice for families and novice surfers. The beach offers a wide stretch of sand, ample walking space, and friendly locals. Keep in mind that shade can be limited, so arriving early is recommended. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for sea turtles, as they are frequently spotted at the beach.
Kapalua Bay, Maui
One of the best things about Kapalua Bay is that it has mostly calm waters throughout the year, making it safe and enjoyable for everyone. Lifeguards patrol the area, ensuring your family’s safety. Plus, you’ll find convenient amenities like storage facilities, restrooms, and showers, so you can spend the whole day by the shore without any worries.
To get to Kapalua Bay, just hop on Highway 30, the Honoapiilani Highway. When you reach Napili, take a left onto Napilihau Street. Then, make a right onto lower Honoapiilani Road. You’ll spot the Kapalua Bay parking lot on your left.
Now, let’s talk about the endless fun you can have at Kapalua Bay. Snorkeling enthusiasts will be in their element here, surrounded by beautiful coral, plenty of fish, and even the occasional sea turtle sighting. If swimming is more your thing, the calm bay offers a delightful experience, especially in the morning when the winds are gentle. And if you’re up for a scenic walk, the Kapalua Coastal Trail will take you along the coast, offering breathtaking views and passing by a bird refuge on its way to Ironwoods Beach.
Your family can even try stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) here. SUP rentals, along with boogie boards, beach chairs, and umbrellas, are conveniently available right on the beach. So you can soak up the sun and enjoy the ocean to the fullest. And when hunger strikes, head to Merriman’s restaurant, located at the south end of the bay, where you can indulge in delicious cuisine while taking in stunning ocean views. And don’t forget to catch the mesmerizing sunset while sitting on the beach, gazing out over the sky.
Kauna’oa Beach (Mauna Kea), Big Island
Renowned for its abundant population of captivating manta rays, this beach is over a quarter of a mile long with sandy bottom and a depth of less than 10 feet. Snorkeling and diving in this area are particularly rewarding, especially during the Manta Ray Night Dive experience. The beach offers convenient amenities such as restrooms, showers, and ample picnic spots. Visitors have the option to bring their own food or indulge in a delectable feast at the local hotel’s restaurant. However, it is important to note that lifeguards are not present on duty at any time.
While it is a public beach, you’ll need to ask the gate attendant for entry. Note that the parking lot is small, holding only about 30 cars and there is a parking fee. We recommend arriving early in the morning to score a parking spot.
Kamakahonu Beach, Big Island
Kamakahonu Beach, also known as the “Children’s Beach,” is a smaller beach that offers a delightful experience for families who want to dive and snorkel. The beach provides a calm and sheltered environment, making it an excellent choice for families with young children. Dive instruction and equipment rentals are available, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable underwater exploration. However, please note that there are no lifeguards on duty at this beach.
Lydgate Beach Park, Kauai
Lydgate Beach Park, located on the East side of Kauai adjacent to the Wailua River, offers a serene and family-friendly environment with its calm waters and dedicated lifeguards. The beach features two rock-enclosed ponds, creating a safe haven from ocean waves while allowing small reef fish to swim through crevices. This unique setup guarantees a delightful snorkeling experience with a variety of tropical fish to admire.
Designed to cater to families, Lydgate Beach Park provides full facilities, including restrooms and showers, and a playground. The park also offers picnic spots, allowing families to enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by natural beauty. Additionally, there’s a paved coastal path spanning 2.5 miles, providing an opportunity for scenic walks along the shoreline.
Napili Bay, Maui
Napili Bay, a picturesque crescent-shaped bay on Maui’s west side, offers a well-developed beach experience with a range of amenities to enhance your visit. The bay is known for its tranquil waters and abundance of marine life, making it a highly recommended spot for swimming and snorkeling. Exploring the bay’s vibrant reef, you might even have the chance to encounter local sea turtles and tropical fish.
While enjoying your time at Napili Bay, it’s important to note that there are no lifeguards present. To make the most of your visit to Napili Bay, consider bringing your snorkeling gear. While there isn’t a direct gear rental service on the beach, Snorkel Bob’s in Napili Village provides convenient equipment rental options. Remember to apply reef-safe sunscreen, as it’s now mandatory in Maui to protect the coral reef ecosystem.
Poipu Beach, Kauai
Poipu Beach on Kauai is a perfect destination for first-time snorkelers seeking a delightful beach experience. This small, sheltered beach boasts crystal-clear waters and golden sand, inviting visitors to explore its underwater wonders. With a barrier reef protecting the area, Poipu Beach is an ideal spot for swimming, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience. Lifeguards are present to provide additional peace of mind.
Beyond its natural beauty, Poipu Beach offers restrooms, showers, and picnic spots. While exploring Poipu Beach, it’s essential to be mindful of safety precautions. Although the reef protects the waters, strong currents and waves can occasionally break on the reef. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult the on-duty lifeguard for up-to-date safety information and to stay within the marked swimming area.
Visiting Poipu Beach between December and May offers the chance to witness a remarkable sight. Humpback whales frequent the area during these months, providing an unforgettable encounter with these majestic creatures.
For those seeking more adventure, Poipu Beach provides surfing lessons, snorkeling, kayaking, and even fishing excursions are available, catering to different interests and skill levels. Exploring the marine wildlife, spotting humpback whales, and discovering colorful fish and coral reefs through snorkeling are among the highlights of a visit to Poipu Beach.
Spencer Beach Park, Big Island
Located on the Big Island of Hawaii, Spencer Beach Park offers a tranquil and picturesque setting for families seeking a beach experience with calmer waters. This sheltered beach is ideal for families with younger children who prefer a more peaceful atmosphere over rough surf.
Spencer Beach Park provides conveniently available restrooms and outdoor showers. The park features a pavilion with electrical outlets, barbecue grills, and picnic tables, providing ample space for gatherings and outdoor dining. While lifeguards are present at certain times, it is recommended to check the schedules for their availability.
Enjoy the calm waters and reef barrier by swimming and snorkeling. Snorkelers will appreciate the shallow reef, which teems with colorful tropical fish and even sea turtles. Additionally, the beach serves as a prime spot for whale-watching during the winter months when humpback whales migrate to the area. Sunset photography, sunbathing, and engaging in water sports like kayaking are also popular.
Nearby attractions include Pelekane Beach, situated north of Spencer Beach, which is considered sacred and is home to the Pu’ukohola Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple. Hapuna Beach State Park, with its pristine white sand and ample recreational opportunities, is a short drive away. Visitors can also explore the Ala Kahakai Trail, which offers stunning coastal views and access to various beach parks along its route.
Sunset Beach Park, Oahu
Located on Oahu’s North Shore, Sunset Beach Park is a great beach for families. While surfers flock to this beach during the winter months for its world-famous waves, it also offers a serene summer experience, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. However, caution is advised when entering the inviting blue waters, as strong currents, including the notorious Sunset Rip, can be present. Even when the ocean appears calm, the nearshore waters exhibit a noticeable alongshore current.
During the winter season, Sunset Beach Park hosts internationally acclaimed surfing contests such as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The waves can reach impressive heights of over 30 feet, making it a paradise for surfers seeking thrilling experiences. To the west of Sunset Beach, you’ll find Ehukai Beach and Banzai Pipeline, two additional popular surfing destinations.
Waikiki Beach, Oahu
Waikiki Beach, located on the island of Oahu, stands as one of Hawaii’s most renowned and picturesque beaches. With its pristine white sand and crystal-clear waters, it offers a truly exceptional beach experience. Beyond its natural beauty, Waikiki is a well-developed area, with restrooms, concessions, and showers conveniently located across the road.
If your family is interested in surfing, snorkeling, or other water activities, the beach has numerous equipment rental businesses, providing opportunities for thrilling ocean adventures. Additionally, lifeguards are present year-round, ensuring the safety of beachgoers.
It’s worth mentioning that Waikiki has a rich history tied to Hawaiian culture. The beach was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty, who enjoyed activities like surfing on longboards. Today, Waikiki caters to tourists from around the world, providing a wide range of accommodations, from historic hotels to modern resorts.
Wailea Beach, Maui
Wailea Beach, situated in Maui, is a well-developed coastal paradise your family will love. The beach boasts clear waters, soft sand, and a gentle entrance into the ocean. During the summer months, don’t miss the opportunity to embark on guided snorkeling tours, immersing yourself in the vibrant underwater world. In the winter, treat your crew to unforgettable whale-watching cruises, where you can witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Paddleboarding is another popular ocean sport that allows you to explore the scenic coastline at your own pace.
Convenience is key at Wailea Beach, with nearby restaurants catering to various tastes and fast food options for quick bites. Restrooms and showers are conveniently available, ensuring comfort for beachgoers, and lifeguards patrol the area to ensure everyone’s safety.
Waimea Bay, Oahu
Waimea Bay, located on the island of Oahu, is a stunning destination renowned for its picturesque beauty and is a prime spot to witness expert surfers tackling the waves. While the ocean conditions at Waimea Bay can be challenging, families with younger children can still enjoy the soft sand along the water’s edge. For added safety, lifeguards are on duty. The beach offers convenient amenities such as showers, restrooms, and shaded areas for picnics.