There are many reasons people fall in love Hawaii, and its beaches are certainly one of them. So without further ado, let us introduce you to these magical islands, where you’ll find enchanted, picture-perfect views, aloha spirit, delicious local cuisine and a plethora of spellbinding bays, where you can leave your towel on the beach and go for a drip in the turquoise waters you’ve heard people talk about your whole life.

Come here to enjoy a mai tai, fresh fish brought to the shore by local fishermen and a spot of surfing – which is now a real way of life for many Hawaiian locals. Lapped by the Pacific Ocean, the islands of Hawaii are a small paradise that’s well and truly isolated from the rest of the world. Here, you can walk along the sand hand-in-hand with your partner in what feels like a dream come true.

You might be surprised to find out that some of the world’s best waterfalls can be found right here on these beautiful islands. Immersed among the rainforest’s lush vegetation, they embellish a landscape that’s already brimming with surprises and wonders. Hiking enthusiasts will also appreciate the extraordinary beauty of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, home to the world’s most active volcano – Kilauea – as well as one of its largest inactive volcanoes. 

If you love water sports, Hawaii is the place for you. Surrounded by a boundless ocean, it’s the perfect place to go surfing, snorkelling or diving, as well as fishing and paddle surfing. Ride the ocean waves and surround yourself with people who share your passion for the water.

We’ve compiled a list of the best beaches to visit on these extraordinary islands to help you get your head around just how beautiful Hawaii really is. All that’s left to do is pack your swimming costume, sun cream and choose what to do on the islands you’ve always dreamed of visiting. Ready to set sail with Costa?

  • Waikiki Beach
  • Hanauma Bay
  • Lanikai Beach
  • Kailua Beach Park
  • Waimea Bay
  • Makena Beach
  • Ka’anapali Beach
  • Mauna Kea Beach
  • Makalawena Beach
  • Anini Beach
  • Maui Beach
  • O’ahu Beach
  • Kaua’i Beach
  • Honolulu Beach

Waikiki Beach

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, you’re probably aware that Waikiki beach has everything you could want from a seaside experience. Here, on the southern coast of Honolulu (Oahu), in the district of the name, you’ll find a beach that was popular among Hawaiian royalty in ancient times. Its name means ‘sparkling waters,’ and its fame dates back to the beginning of the twentieth century, or to 1901 to be precise, which is when the first hotel (the Moana Surfrider) was opened. Waikiki is now a lively hub for world tourism, and if you get tired of travelling from one beach to the next, you can always stroll along Kalakaua Avenue, which is one of Hawaii’s most popular streets for shopping, entertainment and first-class restaurants.

Waikiki’s beaches are beautiful, and there really is no better way to describe them. With Mount Leahi acting as a backdrop to this spectacular area of coastline, the calm, crystal clear waters offer the perfect opportunity for your first ever surf or canoe lesson. While on the beaches of Waikiki, we recommend visiting the statue of Duke Kahanamoku – Hawaii’s iconic surfer. Here, surfing is no laughing matter, and over the years, it has become a real way of life for those in search of the perfect wave.

The beach boasts over three kilometres of white sands and calm, blue Pacific Ocean waters lapping at the shores of Honolulu. We suggest visiting with either your family or partner and we guarantee you will find everything you need to lie back and relax on the soft sand. Diving trips are also highly recommended, but make sure to pay attention to nearby surfers, especially those who are little less experienced. Even small waves present opportunities for people with large surfboards, and avoiding collisions in the water can be difficult!

Hanauma Bay

In 1967, Hanauma Bay was declared a nature reserve in order to conserve its marine life. Its name means ‘curved bay,’ and was once the cradle of a volcanic crater that no longer exists. Hanauma has since been turned into an underwater nature park, where thousands of tourists come every year to snorkel among the vibrant local flora and fauna. Swimmers can dive in the water and admire over 400 species of Hawaiian fish, including the humuhumunukunukuapua’a (which might take some practice to pronounce correctly!) and sea turtles. When it’s a full moon, the bay is populated with jellyfish, and we definitely suggest that you avoid swimming here at this time of the month! Among the fish you’ll find are butterfly fish, cardinal fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, Moorish idols, porcupine fish and many, many more.

Access to Hanauma is limited and requires a quick instruction course upon arrival and before entering. Local residents and custodians of the snorkelling park are very particular about following rules in this beautiful corner of paradise. The local rules guarantee maximum safety to divers, and most importantly, to the local, invaluable fauna. You can rent snorkelling equipment on the beach.

The white, sandy coral beach is soft and enchanting, and the waters are calm enough for less experienced swimmers to go for a dip. Although you have to pay a small fee to enter, it’s worth every penny for the diving opportunities alone. Just a short distance from the shore, you’ll be able to spot some wonderful coral. Swim among the cracks and crannies and admire fish in their natural habitat, completely indifferent to your presence. Just a heads up: the beach is closed on Tuesdays.

Lanikai Beach

Lanikai beach sits on the spectacular island of Oahu and is often described as the most beautiful beach on the island and maybe even the world. Surrounded by miles of pristine blue ocean, it’s quite difficult to visit Lanikai beach without wanting to put your swimming costume on, lay down a towel and jump headlong into the waves. Generous palm trees shelter this beautiful beach, where you can sit and admire the amazing views you’ve always dreamed of seeing in real life. The water is around 24-26°C, making it perfect for long swims in the sun.

Lani Kai means ‘ocean paradise,’ and its name is no coincidence. Make sure to stop by for an unforgettable dip in the Pacific ocean. Unfortunately, much of the white sand has been eroded by the sea, and if you are looking for a more traditional beach trip, we recommend going to Kailua Beach Park instead.

In any case, remember to bring sun cream, a packed lunch and a camera with you. The views here are so beautiful that it would be a shame to leave in search of food. Although the beach is a bit awkward to find, if you follow the signs down the pathway between the two houses on either side, you’ll soon discover this corner of paradise.

The beach can get very crowded, especially on the weekend. You may also find yourself in the background of a few professional photographs, with photographers choosing to come here to take unforgettable photos. Making Lanikai even more unique are the two islands on the horizon known as Na Mokulua. Kayakers love to depart from Lanikai to travel to the northernmost island, while the southern island is a protected bird reserve. 

Kailua Beach Park

Among Hawaii’s best and most characteristic beaches is Kailua Beach Park, which is one of the largest and most beautiful parks in Oahu. In addition to boasting a spectacular stretch of sand that leads into crystal clear waters, Kailua is also home to a beautiful park equipped with picnic benches, volleyball courts, barbecue areas, showers, toilets, shady trees, lifeguards and a lot of water sports opportunities. Here, you can try your hand at surfing, kayaking, kitesurfing and paddle surfing. And if you prefer to sunbathe, you will be very happy here – the sun shines brilliantly all day long and the calm waters are perfect for a dip.

It’s also a great place to come with your children, as you can relax among the numerous park facilities without having to worry about where to eat. Kailua has everything you need!

Once a year, Kailua beach puts on a fireworks display and locals and tourists gather in the park to watch the show. Kailua is also home to an important canoeing club, which is the most popular sport in Hawaii. Very similar in design to Polynesian canoes, watching Hawaiian canoes chasing each other on the water is a sight worth seeing at least once in your life.

Kailua stretches along three kilometres of coastline north of the beach of the same name, and used to be a simple stretch of countryside. . In 1940, however, it was renamed a ‘beach park.’ The Obama family comes here to relax and have fun during the Christmas holidays every year. 

Waimea Bay

There is so much to do in Waimea Bay that once you set foot here you will never want to leave. Welcome to the north coast of Oahu and one of Hawaii’s most popular beaches. You might have heard about the big waves that dominate this area, and it’s true, Waimea is the place to go for die-hard surfers looking to conquer the big waves. When the wind is just right, you’ll see surfboards and water sports lovers throwing themselves headlong into challenging waves on Waimea Bay. During winter, Waimea is known for its surfing rather than swimming as waves can reach twelve metres in height. Here, you can admire surfers pushing themselves to their limits in adrenaline-filled, unforgettable experiences.

The first thing to do when you get here is to look for the large boulder that dominates the centre of Waimea. It is a jagged rock, half immersed in the ocean water. We recommend climbing to the top and then jumping headfirst into the water on the other side. The water is usually deep enough, but always check first to avoid any nasty surprises!.

When the water is calm and surfers choose to stay ashore, Waimea is the perfect place for a spot of diving. You can rent all the equipment you need to explore the tunnels and big boulder. It’s relatively easy if you are a nimble swimmer, and the tunnels are only five seconds away from the coastline. The somewhat spooky cave is usually home to a few species of fish, and if you power through, you’ll reach the light on the other side. If caves aren’t your thing, the water here is crystal clear and transparent enough to guarantee some truly incredible snorkelling experiences. The large rocks on the seabed are home to a myriad of fish and this is also one of the best locations to admire Hawaii’s turtles.

Waimea is home to a series of cliffs that are great for climbing and diving into the sea. The highest point is six metres tall and offers spectacular diving and photo opportunities.

But what’s a beach without a food truck? Waimea is also very famous for its food trucks, which sell traditional Hawaiian dishes and snacks. Enjoy a pad thai, garlic prawns or an ice cream as you lie back on the beach.

Makena Beach

Breath-taking scenery, blue waters and a golden beach you simply won’t be able to resist. Welcome to Makena Beach on the island of Maui. The locals call it the ‘big beach’ and, in fact, it is the largest in the area. Come here to enjoy a strip of coast nestled between dense vegetation and the welcoming Pacific Ocean.

The area is perfect for a relaxing day spent sunbathing, swimming, enjoying a picnic and having lots of fun. Makena is located south of Wailea and is home to a beach that’s a lot less busy than the more famous Kaanapali and Lahaina. Nestled between two spectacular volcanic outcrops, the waters of Makena are protected from ocean currents, making them perfect for less experienced swimmers who still want to enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. The water is crystal clear, but the seabed tends to be fairly lacking when it comes to marine life. If you want to snorkel, you should opt for a different location.

The presence of lifeguards makes swimming safe for children, as long as they’re not too young. This is quite a large area, so we recommend taking a nice stroll along the coastline. Be careful when walking barefoot near the trees though, some of them have thorns that fall to the ground.

Ka’anapali Beach

With over three kilometres of immaculate coastline plunging into the Pacific Ocean, Ka’anapali is one of Hawaii’s most loved beaches. At one time, it was America’s most loved beach, too. Now the situation is a bit different, with other beaches attracting more tourists. However, Ka’anapali remains a point of reference for top-notch travel and those looking for luxury and comfort.

Ka’anapali was the home of the world’s first resort, and the concept soon caught on throughout the rest of the world. A short distance from here, you’ll also find Whalers Village, a delightful place full of shops that we recommend visiting when the sun is a bit strong or between one dip and the next. If you can, get here early in the morning in order to get the best spot. Palm trees offer protection from the sun and shelter from the wind. The water is crystal clear and lifeguards monitor the bay, displaying red flags if the waves are too high and swimming is best avoided.

Mauna Kea Beach

Also known as Kauna’oa Beach, you’ll find Mauna Kea opposite the hotel of the same name. It offers tourists an expanse of white sand considered one of the most beautiful in Hawaii. It’s safe to say that Mauna Kea is one of the few beaches suitable for the whole family thanks to its convenient access to facilities, a wide beach area and calm, crystal clear waters. The waves do tend to get a bit higher in winter so it is best to watch out for the strong ocean currents.

If you are fond of snorkelling, we advise visiting the southern part of the coast, where the rocks offer shelter to some interesting species. If you’re planning to stay on into the evening, you’ll discover that plankton are attracted by the hotel lights after dark, which in turn attract the manta rays, allowing you to observe them in their natural habitat while they feed!

The area is full of restaurants serving fresh sea food and tasty drinks, but watch out: prices tend to be on the high side. 

Makalawena Beach

The most difficult beach to reach in Hawaii – and perhaps the most beautiful – Makalawena is not accessible by road but is worth every moment of the walk it takes to get there. White beaches, clear, inviting waters and not many people. This is a truly irresistible and unique place in Hawaii. 

When the waters are calm, swimming here is a real pleasure.  It feels like you have the island all to yourself, and that is pretty much the case! The area behind Makalawena is private land and while diving here, watch out for underwater rocks, which do however, offer some great spots for snorkelling.

Makalawena is visited almost exclusively by locals but has been gaining more popularity among tourists in recent years, who read about it in travel guides.  When you come here, respect the local rules and remember to pick up your litter. If you happen to spot sea turtles, leave them well alone and keep a distance of at least six metres so as not to disturb them. 

It is places like this that will bring out your aloha spirit. In fact, the word ‘aloha’ means much more than a simple greeting. It has its roots in the peace, love and compassion that we should all show for our fellow humans and the beauty of nature. 

Anini Beach

Despite not having lifeguards stationed in the area, Anini Beach is considered one of the safest in Hawaii, especially during the summer months.  It’s equipped with a huge barrier Reef and the area is protected from strong ocean currents, offering a splendid slice of paradise, where crystal clear waters invite you in for a dip without being home to any hidden dangers.

Lay your towel down on the white sand and set off on a long stroll, a spot of snorkelling, a picnic or perhaps, if the wind is just right, some windsurfing. Anini is also famous for its camping site, plants offering shade and refreshments for tourists.

Maui Beaches

Ever dreamed of immersing yourself in a picture-perfect landscape? If you’ve decided to visit Maui, you are probably looking forward to visiting its best beaches, which are home to coastlines to suit all tastes and needs.

Among the most beautiful beaches on Maui are Makena Beach State Park, Ka’anapali Beach, Baldwin Beach Park, Wai’anapanapa State Park, Honolua Bay, Palauea, Kapalua, Hamoa, Olowalu, Ho’okipa Beach Park, Oneuli, Kamaole, Charley Young Beach and La Perouse Bay. Each of them offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, extraordinary animals (including dolphins) and many more opportunities for comfort and relaxation.

O’ahu Beaches

With over 200 kilometres of coastline, O’ahu is a spectacular island surrounded by breath-taking beaches lapped by the Pacific Ocean. Enriching the landscape is a dense rainforest that leads right up to the water’s edge and creates an irresistible setting. Come to O’ahu and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, such as Lanikai, Waikiki, Sunset Beach, Kailua Beach, Waimea Bay, Kahana Bay Beach Park, Malaekahana Beach, Sandy Beach, Pokai Beach, Ala Moana Beach Park, Makapuu Beach Park, Bellows Field Beach Park, Makaha Beach Park, Diamond Head Beach Park and Nanakuli Beach Park.

Each of these locations offers an unforgettable Hawaiian experience without having to scrimp on sunbathing, swimming, surfing, snorkelling or, of course, the spirit of aloha!

Kaua’i Beaches

Also known as Kauai, this island is probably the oldest in the archipelago. It’s also known as the garden island, with beautiful mountains and some extraordinary greenery. With its fascinating geological history, Kaua’i is the perfect destination for people wanting to see a different side of Hawaii and explore its origins.

Among the most beautiful beaches are Hanalei Bay, Kee Beach, Tunnels Beach, Baby Beach, Anahola Beach, Haena Beach, Lydgate Beach, Kealia Beach, Kekaha, Poipu, Shipwreck Beach, Anini, Polihale and Salt Pond Beach. Come to snorkel, surf or just relax on your towel and enjoy the warm sun and irresistible breeze.

Honolulu Beaches

The capital of Hawaii, Honolulu is a spectacular city where you can sit in the sun and head for a dip in the Pacific Ocean. You’ll find Honolulu on the island of Oahu, and less than thirty minutes away from town, tourists can also enjoy Hawaii’s fabulous archipelago beach life.

Relax on one of the many local beaches, including Kailua, Magic Island, Waialae Beach, Kahanamoku Beach, Hanauma Bay, Ko Olina, Sans Souci Beach or Pu’uloa. Wonderful waters, surfer’s waves and lots and lots of sun!

Travel to Hawaii with Costa Cruises


Travel to Hawaii today with Costa Cruises. Pack your sun cream, a swimming costume and get ready to immerse yourself in the waters of Waikiki while sipping on a piña colada. Join our trip and indulge in Hawaii’s spectacular atmosphere, where the spirit of aloha awaits you, ready to change your life forever with its irresistible spiritual message. What are you waiting for? 

Set Sail with Costa Cruises