Hawaii has it all. From massive canyons and moon-like lava fields to lush tropical valleys and active volcanoes, the islands’ landscapes are just as impressive as they are diverse.
However, nowhere in Hawaii gets more fame and attention than its beaches.
With close to 800 miles of coastline and beaches for every type of explorer, it can be hard to know where to begin.
Luckily, USA Today has just released its curated list of the best beaches in Hawaii, as selected by readers.
The best beaches represent the top spots where travelers can enjoy warm waters, soft white sands, colorful marine life, and epic waves.
6. Waikiki Beach, Oahu
The world-famous Waikiki Beach is located 4 miles south of downtown Honolulu in the shadow of Lēʻahi Head.
The beach and surrounding area have been highly developed and now make up Ohau’s main hotel and resort area.
Waikiki’s relatively calm waters make it a great spot to learn to surf, but the less adventurous beachgoers have options too.
The beach’s proximity to hotels, restaurants, and shopping means that stopping for a cocktail, lunch, or some retail therapy is incredibly convenient.
5. Big Beach, Maui
Maui’s Makena Beach, also called Big Beach is, well…. big!
Stretching close to 2/3 of a mile long, this wide swath of sand is one of the biggest beaches in Maui.
In stark contrast to Waikiki, Big Beach is totally undeveloped, so beachgoers can enjoy the beautiful nature away from the hustle and bustle of big resorts and city streets.
Waves at Big Beach can be powerful, so children and inexperienced swimmers should stick to the sand.
4. Hāpuna Beach, The Big Island
Hāpuna Beach is the largest white sand beach on the Big Island and consistently has good conditions for swimming and snorkeling, but well-trained lifeguards are on duty for days when the sea gets rough.
Visitors remark about the impressive views of the Mauna Kea and Hualalei volcanoes and nearby scenic hikes.
Observant beachgoers can sometimes see migrating whales in the distance between December and March.
3. Poipu Beach, Kauai
Kauai’s famous Poipu Beach consists of two crescent-shaped beaches that are separated by a tombola (a narrow spit of sand that jets out into the water).
Poipu is perfect for all types of beachgoers – there is a calm section protected by rocks that are perfect for families, while the more adventurous type can enjoy bodyboarding the small waves on the western end of the beach.
Beach bums aren’t the only creatures at Poipu.
Endangered Hawaiian monk seals often nap along the tombola, and at dusk, green sea turtles come ashore before re-entering the water in the morning.
2. Hanalei Bay Beach, Kauai
Hanalei Bay Beach in Kauai is one of the most photographed beaches in the world, and for good reason.
The pristine white sands, clear blue waters, and lush tropical mountains in the background make for a stunning view.
The two-mile-long bay is home to coral reefs and shallow sandbars and has impressive waves during winter. However, outside of the winter months, it is generally safe for swimming, boating, and snorkeling, and is the ultimate picnic spot.
1. Kaanapali Beach, Maui
The top spot goes to the much-loved Kaanapali Beach in west Maui.
With three miles of soft white sands, Kaanapali has so much to offer visitors. The beach is home to some of Maui’s best resorts and rental properties, which means beachgoers have plenty of options for drinking and dining.
Whalers Village, a shopping complex with retail shops, restaurants, and a whaling museum, also provides plenty of entertainment when you need a break from the sun.
There are also nightly torch-lit cliff diving ceremonies where jumpers playfully launch themselves off a 20-foot lava rock outcrop into the sea below.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.