A rocky cliff rises above a crescent beach with yellow sand.

Best Beaches of Makapu‘u and Waimanalo, O’ahu

The best beaches of Makapu’u and Waimanalo are all a bit different, some with the most breathtaking scenery, others with dozens of tide pools to explore, or great opportunities for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. There’s even beach-side camping.

The Ohai Trail awards hikers with panoramic vistas of the island’s North Shore.

West Maui Hiking Trails

There aren’t nearly as many hiking trails on the West Side of Maui as you might expect. Much of the access in West Maui is blocked by private land or lack of proper trails. Nevertheless, the hiking options in West Maui offer their own sort of beauty, from stunning coastal treks to grueling ridgeline hikes.

The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail system stretches over half the island.

Following the King’s Trail in Kohala

A conglomeration of several trails, the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail system stretches over half the island. The National Park Service is working on improving the usability of these trails even more, but for now, there is about a 15-mile section that one can easily follow, with various access points depending on how long you wish to explore.

Rocks jut out of the sand at Hanalei Bay on Kauai's northern shore.

Best Beaches in Hanalei, Kaua‘i

The best beaches in Hanalei are along Hanalei Bay & Waikoko Beach, all excellent for sun, sand, and surf. Hanalei Bay is big, popular, and full of conveniences, while Waikoko is smaller and less-crowded but still located close to Hanalei’s amenities.

View of an interpretive sign at the edge of Kealakekua Bay.

Beaches in the Big Island’s Captain Cook Area

Beaches near Big Island’s Captain Cook Monument are all excellent for various water sports, including rental kayaking, and two have great amenities for a full day at the beach with a packed picnic lunch. All are fairly busy beaches, even the harder-to-reach ones, so plan ahead if you’re looking for solitude.

Horseshoe Bay in Southampton Parish. Roman Stetsyk/123rf.

Bermuda Beaches: Southampton Parish

Southampton Parish is home to one of Bermuda’s favorite beaches, but if you’re looking for a less-crowded beach, Southampton has that too, as well as a picture-perfect picnic beach and an excellent spot for snorkeling.

The Hoapili Trail through a rocky landscape near La Perouse Bay in South Maui.

Hiking Hoapili Trail in South Maui

Anyone who heads out on the Hoapili Trail will realize right away that this isn’t your average hike. Hot and barren and set in the middle of nowhere, the Hoapili Trail isn’t as much about hiking as it is about taking a literal step back in time.

The sun shines on a sea turtle resting on the sand of Makalawena beach.

The Best North Kona Beaches

Many of the best Kona beaches require some work to get to, and the walk over uneven lava can be difficult for some. There are equal amounts of beaches that don’t require any walking beyond from the parking lot to the sand, so feel free to out of the beaches that require more effort to get to.

Mokule‘ia Beach Park is a quiet, uncrowded beach across from the Dillingham Airfield.

Beaches in Hale‘iwa, Oahu

All four of the beaches in Hale‘iwa are beach parks, which means parking (sometimes gated), facilities like restrooms, and usually grassy public areas with picnic tables and the like. Here are the amenities for each park along with which beaches are best for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities.