When we were planning our Hawaii trip there was a lot we were looking forward to, but to be honest, we were most excited to spend all day lying out on some of the world's most famous beaches. When we think of Hawaii, we think golden sand, perfect waves, and drinking out of coconuts. And while that is only a small part of the appeal of this beautiful destination, it certainly hasn't disappointed in that department. Driving around the island there are beaches every couple of miles so there are plenty to choose from, but if we had to pick, these four spots would be our favorites. Be sure to add them to your list if planning your own Hawaiian getaway!
The longest beach in all of Hawaii, Polihale is 17 continuous miles of white sand and surf. The beach is huge and frequently empty because of it's "out-of-the-way" location. So if you are looking to have a big stretch of sand all to yourself, this is the place. It is on the far west side of the island, at the end of Rte 50, down a long unpaved road. Our rental sedan handled the dirt road just fine, but apparently, it can get a little dicey without 4-wheel drive after a lot of rain. Once you make it out there, choose your own swathe of paradise and spend the day sunning and swimming in the surf. There are no lifeguards and the current can be strong so be careful when swimming. One day might not be enough time here, in which case, bring a tent and you can pitch it on the dunes overlooking the beach. If this isn't one of the world's most beautiful campsites, I don't know what is!
This long, beautiful beach is located right next to the town of Hanalei and can get pretty crowded, but don't let that stop you from checking it out. With two miles of beach, multiple surfing spots, and various picnic and bathroom facilities, there is plenty of space for everyone. If you are looking to work on your surfing, there are breaks right on the shore fit for surfers of all levels. More experienced riders can paddle out to the reef break for some serious waves! There are a few places in Hanalei that you can rent surf and SUP boards from. If you are more of the sunbathing/beach walk type, this is a great place for that as well. Be sure to check out the pier on the East end of the beach which offers a great vantage point of the bay and the mountains in the distance!
This beach on the North Shore is one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots on the island. It gets its name from lava tube rock formations under the water. Snorkelers and scuba divers from all over Kauai come here to explore the underwater caverns and see a wide variety of fish. Although snorkeling is the go-to activity here, this is also a great beach for everything else. The golden sand and jungle-covered mountain backdrop make for a stunning place to lounge away the day. In the winter months, the surf can be pretty large, so stop by to watch pro surfers ride some death-defying waves. Parking is very limited at Tunnels Beach, but if you head a little farther west to the Haena Beach parking area you will probably have better luck finding a spot. It is just a short beach walk back to Tunnels.
Ok, this is not technically a beach, but it is an amazing spot to swim so we are gonna include it! The bath is actually a large tidal pool located in Princeville on the North Shore. It is just a short hike from the parking area down to the rocky stretch of coastline where the pools are. You can jump off the rocks, swim in the pool, and look out at the ocean beyond. This is an especially beautiful place to come watch the sunset. Be warned, people have drowned here before. Large waves can crash on the shore and sweep people into the ocean so always keep an eye out. This spot is best to visit during the summer months when the surf is not as big.