When someone says “beach,” both our minds go right to Hawaii. Sure, we’ve been to some of the best beach destinations in the world – Bali, Bora Bora, Greece – but Hawaii’s beaches have our hearts.

So here are a few favorites, along with Hawaii hotel tips, on some of the islands we’ve visited.

Kauai

This is the island that put Hawaii back on the map for us. Visiting Kauai made us realize that we don’t have to go too far away for that faraway feeling. A 6-hour flight from Seattle is much better than a 12-hour one!

Our favorite beach on Kauai is Hideaways Beach, located on the north side of the island. Although not easy to get to, this small stretch of sand rewards you with very few people and stunning views. It’s unquestionably worth navigating the frayed ropes and rusty handrails that show you the way down to the sand.

Maui

Each visit we make to Maui blows our minds. We continually uncover new hikes and beaches to add to our “best of” lists. Although we love to visit Hamoa Beach, especially when we stay at the ultra-relaxing Travaasa Hana, our favorite beaches are those along the Wailea Coast.

Maluaka Beach, adjacent to Makena Golf and Beach Resortis probably our top pick (so far!). During a visit last year, we spent an entire morning kayaking around the bay searching for turtles. We then spent the afternoon, toes in sand, recollecting our many turtle sightings and taking in the view of Molokini Island Preserve in the distance.

Lanai

A short ferry ride from Maui, Lanai is a place we’ve quickly grown to love. One of our very best travel memories is lingering over delicious breakfasts, watching the spinner dolphins at play near our favorite beach, Hulopoe. The nearby Four Seasons property is an ideal base. Pack a lunch and hang out on the sand all day or, better yet, jump in the tranquil bay for your favorite water activity.

 

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Hulopoe Beach at Four Seasons Manele Bay

 

During our last visit, we took a stand-up paddleboarding lesson and were able to get as close as legally possible to the whales that were hanging around the area. It was picture-perfect, except for our regular – and loud – falls from our boards. What can I say, we’re beginners.

Oahu

This is where we go big and traditional, despite our inclination to visit small beaches. We are keen on Waikiki Beach, especially at sunrise and sunset. Early in the morning, this huge beach has a distinctly local feel with residents plunging in the water for surfing and swimming. During our last visit, we watched the beach come to life from the balcony of our favorite Honolulu hotel, Halekulani.

Viewfinder Tip: Hit Waikiki Beach early in the day if you want a jump on the sleep-til-noon vacationers.

Not until sleep-til-noon vacationers wake up does it begin to feel like a tourist mecca. Even so, the midday people watching is fantastic. Best of all, the view of Diamond Head off in the distance never gets old. This isn’t a get-away-from-it-all beach, it’s one you accept – and learn to adore – for what it is.

Hawaii Island

If we can pull ourselves away from the lava and coffee purveyors on Hawaii Island, we enjoy chilling out on Hapuna Beach. Like Waikiki Beach on Oahu, this is another big one.

Measuring in at nearly a half-mile long, this beach is a haven for swimming and snorkeling when the waves and rip currents aren’t too intense. Those looking for plenty of parking, picnic areas, and restrooms will want to put Hapuna at the top of the list.

Molokai

This is our dream entry. While we haven’t yet visited Molokai, we’ll be sure to visit Papohaku Beach when we do. Our most trusted source promises miles of white sand. We’re in!

What’s your favorite beach on the Hawaiian Islands?