A Hawaaian sea urchin in a coral crevice.

Ocean Safety in Hawaii

More people drown in Hawaii than anywhere else in the world. But don’t let the statistics deter you from enjoying the ocean! Use common sense along with these tips for respecting both the ocean and the creatures that live in it to stay safe.

Ulua Lagoon, the first of the four Ko Olina Lagoons. Photo © Leigh Meeks/123rf.

O‘ahu’s Leeward Beaches

If you’re feeling adventurous and don’t mind an hour’s drive across the island, the beaches of leeward O‘ahu offer wide swaths of white sand under clear, sunny skies. As the trade winds blow across the island from east to west, the leeward coast’s waters remain calm and protected. Here are beach highlights, amenities, and the best activities for each.

Waves crash on the rocky, volcanic shorline of Wawaloli Beach.

Kona’s Beaches: South of the Airport

Kona’s beaches south of the airport are a motley crew. Worth a visit if you’re in the area looking for sand, you’ll find plenty of picnic areas and one or two spots to get in the water for snorkeling, swimming, or boarding. Here are directions, the best activities for each beach, and amenities.

Makena Beach, Maui, Hawaii.

Best Beaches of Wailea and Makena

Whether you’re looking for a quiet, secluded beach, a great spot to get into the water for your sport of choice, or simply some sun and sand, the beaches of Wailea and Makena deliver. Here’s where to go, including beach overviews, amenities and directions.

A kitesurfer at Kanaha Beach Park in Central Maui.

Best Beaches in Central Maui

The undeveloped beaches of Central Maui are defined by wind, waves, and water sports. You won’t find any tiki bars or activities stands, but there are long stretches of undeveloped beaches where the world’s best watermen hang out.

Surfboard rack on the ocean shore in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Surfing Lessons and Outfitters in Waikiki

You’ll find surfing is a way of life in Waikiki. There’s a long history here of welcoming visitors to learn how to catch a break and ride the big one that continues on today with several surf schools offering private, group, and customized surf tours for reasonable prices, as well as boards and gear.

A woman sits cross-legged on the beach with her surfboard.

Surfing Lessons and Rentals in South Maui

In South Maui, you’ll find plenty of outfitters and instructors ready to give you a lesson or set you up with some gear based on your level of skill. Since choosing which school or outfitter to go with is more of a challenge, here’s all the info you need to make it easy.

A surfer contemplates the waves at Honolua Bay on Maui.

Best West Maui Surf Spots

Surfing is more than a hobby in West Maui—it’s a way of life. Here you’ll find the best surf spots in West Maui for visitors from beginners to experts, as well as plentiful recommendations for lessons and where to rent a board.