Which are the best beaches in Hawaii? TripAdvisor’s 2020 answers that question based on reader input. Let us know if you agree. TripAdvisor looked at the top 25 beaches in the United States, and here’s what they found. This year, six Hawaii beaches made the cut on Oahu, Maui, and Big Island. Sorry, Kauai.
Would any of these be at the top on your list of best beaches in Hawaii?
Kaanapali Beach, Lahaina Maui (#3)
Stretch out on an amazing three miles of beautiful sand and turquoise ocean on what was, and has remained a most popular vacation refuge. A concrete path runs its entire length. There are five free parking lots. The north end is best near Black Rock and the south end has a reef that can be uncomfortable on your feet.
This is a great spot to see humpback whales in season. Enjoy the iconic cliff divers at Black Rock (Puu Kekaa) every sunset. You can stay nearby at one of the many hotels and condos that now line Kaanapali, which was Hawaii’s very first planned resort community. Also on hand is great shopping and dining and a plethora of activities. In normal times you’ll find yourself in a crowd of frolickers, that’s for sure.
Napili Beach, Maui (#10)
A great and generally uncrowded beach on West Maui, perfect for whale watching in season and beautiful views stretching to Molokai. Swimming, snorkeling, and boarding are dependent on conditions, and it is always a perfect sunning beach. Always enjoyable, from sunrise to sunset. Does not get much afternoon wind and the offshore waters are sandy. Access via Hui Drive and Napili Place.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu (#12)
Turqoise waters, white sand, and post-card views of Mokumanu and Mokolua islands are very nice but the narrow beach and number of people there have made us want to leave. The last time we tried we gave up due to lack of parking. Today that wouldn’t be a problem.
Wailea Beach, Maui (#14)
(Lead photo at top). Calm waters and excellent swimming are highlights of this crescent sand beach fronting the Grand Wailea. Great for snorkeling when calm and during morning hours. Excellent boogie boarding at the far south side.
Wailea has grown tremendously over the years to become the most popular destination on Maui, in part due to the natural beauty, as well as great accommodations, shopping, and dining.
Hapuna Beach, Big Island (#16)
One of Beat of Hawaii’s personal favorites, Hapuna is renowned for swimming, surfing, boarding, snorkeling, and sunbathing that are consistently top notch. Do you know about Turtle Cove? At the far end of the beach, near the Westin Hapuna Beach Hotel, you’ll see Hawaiian green sea turtles.
This is big and beautiful, yet away from the hustle and bustle. We’ve never felt crowded on Hapuna Beach.
Maniniowali Beach (Kua Bay), Big Island (#22)
Part of Kekaha Kai State Park (also known as Kona Coast State Park). This beach is on the north Kona coast. Adjoining it is Makalawena beach at Puu Alii Bay as well as Mahaiula Bay.
The beach is largely white sand and is often the perfect spot for summer snorkeling as well as big winter waves. We’ve seen both Green Sea Turtles and dolphins there. Sunsets are exceptional, year-round.
The sunny beach isn’t the easiest to get to, as you’ll have to climb over some lava rock, in order to be rewarded. You’ll find restrooms and showers in the parking lot, and there is a lifeguard on duty too.