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. A few are accessible only by helicopter or watercraft, while others annually disappear due to high winter surf only to reappear come summer. Which Hawaii beaches are the best for swimming and snorkeling, you ask? A handful are highlighted below. 

  • Kauai – Poipu Beach Park is one of the island’s most popular beaches, boasting crystal-clear waters and occasional appearances by Hawaiian monk seals. Lydgate Beach Park is a family-friendly East Side beach shielded from the open ocean by a lava rock wall, providing ideal conditions for snorkeling and leisurely swimming. 
  • Oahu – With its wide white-sand expanse and clear waters, Ala Moana Beach is considered one of Hawaii’s best swimming beaches by many Oahu residents. Further east, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is arguably the most famous of Hawaii’s snorkeling beaches and one of the best in the world for viewing marine life up close.
  • Lanai – The island’s Hulopoe Beach, with its enviable expanse of golden sand and deep blue waters, has been ranked among America’s best beaches. Its clear waters and diversity and abundance of marine life make it ideal for swimming and snorkeling, too.
  • Molokai – Also known as 20 Mile Marker Beach, Kumimi Beach features some of the best snorkeling conditions on Molokai and is easy to access.
  • Maui – Kaanapali Beach is Maui’s signature beach and a swimmer’s paradise, offering a mile-plus of white sand, clear and gentle waters, and easy access to beachfront hotels, shopping and dining. On the island’s south shore, Makena Beach State Park, with its own lengthy stretch of white sand, is one of Maui’s largest beaches.
  • Island of Hawaii – The sparkling, fine-grained white sands and clear waters of the island’s Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area have made it one of Hawaii’s finest swimming beaches. Kahaluu Beach Park, a tiny sheltered cove with a large (and quite tame) fish population and shallow, calm waters is renowned for its excellent snorkeling. Learn how to enjoy the bay without harming its fragile corals and marine life at Kahaluu Bay Education Center
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