Here’s why Hawaii’s beaches are the best in the world

In my past few years of international travel, I’ve been ultra blessed to experience a small handful of exotic beach destinations in Mexico, Bali, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, France, California and Costa Rica.

Like Hawaii, these are places I went to be warm and sultry and get sand between my toes, and even surf a few waves.

And each of them are spectacular in their own right. For example, beaches in Australia go on forever. The beaches of southern France? Best people watching. Costa Rica is a seashell collector’s dream. Bali — perfect waves.

And yet…

Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore

Of all the beaches I’ve been to, Hawaii beaches are by far the best.

I’m not just claiming that because I’m from Hawaii, or that this blog is about Hawaii. I’m saying it for a number of good reasons:

Hawaii beaches have something for everyone

Keawaiki Bay on the Big Island

Want big and powerful surf? Or calm waters for swimming? Lots of people, or the entire place to yourself? Palm trees or lava field? Drive up or hike in? Endless stretch of sand or room for just a few? Golden, black, red or green sand?

Thankfully, Hawaii’s beaches are extremely varied and offer almost every kind of scenario you could dream of, from total relaxation in solitude to world-class professional surfing theater.

The water temperature is just right

Hanauma Bay, Oahu

A common mainland complaint is “the ocean’s way too cold.”

Not only are Hawaii’s waters warm year-round, they are actually cool and refreshing when compared to equatorial waters, which tend to run too warm.

During the winter months in Hawaii, the ocean cools off but is never too cold to enter. You never need a wetsuit.

It’s, how shall I say…perfection.

Most beaches are walkable (or runnable)

Makena Beach, Maui

For those who like to move their bodies, many Hawaiian beaches offer long, uninterrupted stretches of sand.

A few of these beaches include Polihale on Kauai (15 miles), Waimanalo on Oahu (3 miles), Makena on Maui (1.5 miles) and Hapuna on Big Island (.5 miles).

Beach runners can rejoice, too, as the sand texture can vary between hard packed (like asphalt, good for fast pace) or soft and mushy (good for intense lower back, butt and legs).

Quintessential beauty

Makena Beach, Maui

The classic dreamy image of a beach includes:

  • palm trees swaying in the breeze
  • golden sand
  • turquoise water
  • a tropical drink with tiny umbrella in hand
  • the sound of the surf
  • the occasional dolphin, turtle and rainbow

Hawaii has all of it!

Not too hot, never too cold

Pounders Beach, Oahu

In the equatorial countries I visited, it would be ludicrous to hang out on the beach between the hours of 10 am–4 pm. Why? Because of the intense heat! We’re talking oven-roasting hot, with sand that feels like hot coals on the bottom of the feet.

The opposite is true for the beaches we visited in cooler places like California and southern Australia. Gotta wear shoes and a sweatshirt!

It’s true that beaches in Hawaii can be pretty scorching in the July–September, but that’s not always the case. Most days it’s super comfortable.

Clean sand and clear water

Beach on Na Pali Coast, Kauai

Unlike a few beaches I saw, Hawaii’s are clean both on sand and in the water. No sewage or river runoff, rotting piles of kelp or excessive amounts of litter.

You can safely take a dip in the water and come out feeling cleaner than when you entered.

This has a lot to do with the islands being surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which constantly circulates the water surrounding our coastlines.


Some Hawaii beaches are havens for seashell collectors, especially on northwest-facing coasts when the powerful winter surf churn the shells up from the deep ocean and deposit them on the beaches. It’s such a treat!


Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui (chat with our in-house Concierge at extension 71).

Image credits: Coral Ouellette, Michael Pfister, Anqi Lu, Jeremy Bishop, neko43, Kiarash Mansouri, Ethan Robertson, Luca Bravo, Luke McKeown

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.