Hawaii’s Best Swimming and Snorkeling Beaches

Hawaii has some of the best and most famous beaches in the world, including Oahu’s iconic Waikiki Beach. Some are only accessible by helicopter or watercraft, while others literally disappear under the high winter surf on the islands’ north shores. But which beaches are the best for swimming and snorkeling?

  Last Updated: August 29, 2016 at 2:05 pm
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1. Kauai

Hanalei Bay Beach, Kauai, HI. Photo: Robert Lindsdell

Hanalei Bay Beach, with a nearly perfect semi-circle of white sand and breath-taking backdrop of waterfalls and mountain peaks, is one of Kauai’s most scenic swimming beach. Kee Beach Park, with an offshore reef lagoon teeming with colorful fish, is a favorite snorkeling site.

2. Oahu

Lanikai Beach, Oahu, HI. Photo: Hakilon

Lanikai Beach, with a clean, wide white sand beach and crystal clear water, is considered by many among the top swimming beaches in Hawaii. Hanauma Bay is the most famous of Hawaii’s snorkeling beaches and one of the best in the world, due to its high fish population.

3. Lanai

Hulopoe Beach, Lanai, HI. Photo: Tata Aka

Hulopoe Beach, with an expanse of golden sand and deep blue waters, has earned the title as one of America’s best beaches. Clear waters and a variety of marine life make it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

4. Molokai

Papohaku Beach Molokai Hawaii. Photo: Pat McNally

Papohaku Beach is billed as Hawaii’s largest white sand beach, and with very little foot traffic there’s plenty of space to spread out, as well as enjoy the excellent swimming and snorkeling conditions.

5. Maui

Kaanapali Beach, Maui, HI. Photo: Brian Lauer

Kaanapali Beach, Maui’s signature beach, is a swimmer’s paradise with miles of white sand and easy access to beachfront hotels, shopping and dining. Black Rock Beach at the northern end of Kaanapali Beach, with an abundance of coral and tropical fish, is an excellent spot for snorkeling.

6. Hawaii’s Big Island

Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, HI.

Hapuna Beach State Park, with white sands and clean, clear water has earned the reputation as one of Hawaii’s finest swimming beaches. Kahaluu Beach Park, a tiny sheltered cove with a large tame fish population and shallow, calm water, is renowned for its excellent snorkeling.

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Brad Delaney

Brad is the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Pacific Tribune. In addition to his work at The Pacific Tribune, he is President of Sound Strategy, a Seattle based creative design agency that builds and maintains websites and advertising for small and medium sized businesses around the world. In his spare time he serves as co-director and Board President of One Million Kids For Equality, a federally recognized 501c3 nonprofit that works to elevate the voices of LGBTQ youth and the children of LGBTQ parents.

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