Hawaiʻi’s Best Swimming and Snorkeling Beaches

Hawaiʻi has some of the best and most famous beaches in the world, including Oʻahu’s iconic Waikīkī 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 Hawaiʻi beaches are the best for swimming and snorkeling, you ask? A handful are highlighted below. 

  • KauaʻiPoʻipū 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. 
  • Oʻahu – With its wide white-sand expanse and clear waters, Ala Moana Beach is considered one of Hawaiʻi’s best swimming beaches by many Oʻahu residents. Further east, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Nature Preserve is arguably the most famous of Hawaiʻi’s snorkeling beaches and one of the best in the world for viewing marine life up close.
  • Lānaʻi – The island’s Hulopoʻe 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.
  • Molokaʻi – Also known as 20 Mile Marker Beach, Kūmimi Beach features some of the best snorkeling conditions on Molokaʻi and is easy to access.
  • MauiKāʻanapali 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, Mākena Beach State Park, with its own lengthy stretch of white sand, is one of Maui’s largest beaches.
  • Island of Hawaiʻi – The sparkling, fine-grained white sands and clear waters of the island’s Hāpuna Beach State Recreation Area have made it one of Hawaiʻi’s finest swimming beaches. Kahaluʻu 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 Kahaluʻu Bay Education Center
Reforestation image in Hawaii

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