Welcome to this blog post on “Clear Water Beaches in Hawaii.” When looking for the best clear water beach in Hawaii, you may be wondering where to start. There are over 100 beaches on Oahu alone, let alone the other Hawaiian Islands.
Before you even set foot on any beach, it's important to know what type of water you'll be swimming in. This article will review some of the best clear water beaches in Hawaii that we recommend.
Before we proceed, why not check out our previous post on 23 Clear Water Beaches in Michigan That Are Perfect For a Swim. I believe you will find it interesting.
19 Clear Water Beaches in Hawaii
If you want a day at the beach with crystal clear water and nothing but sand surrounding you, then Hawaiian islands should be on your bucket list. Check them out.
1. Kaanapali Beach
The north end, near Black Rock, has crystal-clear waters perfect for snorkeling. Watch the many surfers ride the 8-foot waves in the high surf season. And during the winter, you can observe humpback whales.
If you're not interested in these popular activities, there are also opportunities for kayaking, sailing, and even taking surf lessons. The best part is that rental gear is readily available from nearby booths, ensuring endless entertainment for the entire day.
2. Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu, alongside Kailua Beach. Clearly, one of the clear water beaches in Hawaii, the Lanikai beach boasts clear, blue water, two offshore islands, and pristine aqua waters, making it a perfect destination for a Hawaiian beach vacation.
Although not ideal for snorkeling by some standards, Lanikai Beach is still a great place to get acclimated to the ocean, especially for those new to snorkeling. The calm waters are ideal for swimming, but it's important to note that there are no lifeguards present.
With only about half a mile of sand left due to erosion, Lanikai Beach can become crowded quickly on weekends.
3. Hapuna Beach
Hapuna Beach, situated on the northwest coast of the Big Island, is also one of the clear water beaches in Hawaii and it boasts white sand and sunny days ideal for sunbathing. When the waters are calm, snorkeling is also a possibility.
For those who find the waters too rough or unclear, they can explore the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. However, non-resident visitors must pay a fee to enter the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and park their vehicle.
4. Anini Beach
Anini Beach, located near Princeville on the Hawaii Island, is a serene and hidden gem. Though its waters are protected by a narrow reef and therefore appear shallow and tranquil, one must not be misled. Dangerous currents can still be present, even when the ocean is at its calmest.
It is one of the clear water beaches in Hawaii that you can fully enjoy the clear and inviting waters. Although it's recommended to stay near shore and within protected areas of the reef.
5. Kauapea Beach – Secret Beach
One of the clear water beaches in hawaii also is Kauapea Beach, known as Secret Beach, it is situated on the north shore of Kauai island. The east end of the beach features a clothing-optional area, while the west end boasts tidal pools that are great for kids to play in. Additionally, a small waterfall can be found on the beach.
Reaching Kauapea entails a challenging descent via a slippery trail. However, visitors are treated to stunning panoramic views, including a lighthouse, as a reward. Whales and dolphins can also sometimes be spotted from this beach.
6. Makalawena Beach
The journey to Makalawena Beach may require effort, but the reward is well worth it. Makalawena Beach, accessible by a 20-minute hike across a lava field, offers a secluded and clear water beach experience.
Ideal for snorkeling, body surfing, and swimming, but be mindful of changing water conditions as no lifeguards are present. Packing lights are recommended for this non-strenuous but rewarding Kona hike.
Read also: 30 Clear Water Beaches in the US
7. Poipu Beach
Poipu Beach Park, located on the south shore of Kauai, is named “America's Best Beach by The Travel Channel”. This crescent-shaped beach is separated into two by a tombola, a narrow strip of sand connecting the mainland to an island.
Known as one of the clear water beaches in Hawaii, Poipu boasts crystal-clear waters and the occasional appearance of endangered Hawaiian monk seals, who may be found taking naps on the tombola.
The gentle waves make it ideal for bodyboarding, and snorkeling is possible with a nearby reef. Lifeguards are on duty, and during the winter months, visitors may catch a glimpse of humpback whales playing in the ocean.
8. Kailua Beach
Located on the eastern coast of Oahu, Kailua Beach is the sister beach of Lanikai. It boasts 2.5 miles of soft, white sand and a beautiful turquoise ocean.
Thanks to a protective reef, the waters are calm and ideal for activities such as swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, and snorkeling (although the visibility may not always be the best for snorkeling).
Kailua Beach is equipped with amenities like restrooms, picnic areas, lifeguards, and three parking lots, making it a great place to enjoy sunbathing or any other preferred activity.
9. Maluaka Beach
Maluaka Beach, located on the southwest coast of Maui along the Turtle Town shoreline, is a prime spot to view green sea turtles. Additionally, visitors may spot octopus, parrot fish, eels, and butterfly fish.
The beach boasts soft white sand and calm, crystal-clear waters, making it ideal for swimming and snorkeling along the coral reef.
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10. Ulua Beach
The quarter-mile-long sandy and aquatic strip lies on the southeast coast of Maui. Early mornings, before the winds pick up, it's perfect for snorkeling. One can spot various sea creatures like fish, turtles, moray and spotted eels in the tranquil waters. The north end of the beach is the best for snorkeling.
It's also a stunning place to admire the sunset, with ample shade, a petite picnic park, and delicate soft sand.
11. Kealia Beach
Kealia Beach is situated on the eastern coast of Kauai and offers various amenities for visitors, including lifeguards, picnic tables, showers, and washrooms. The beach boasts lovely white sand for walking or sunbathing.
Swimming and surfing are popular pastimes, and it's a great place to catch the sunrise in the morning. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the frequent sightings of whales from this beach.
12. Kua Bay
Manini'owali Beach, also known as Kua Bay, is a secluded spot on the north shore of the Big Island. This beach is famous for its stunning sunsets and picturesque white sand. When the water is calm, it offers great opportunities for snorkeling, and surfing is popular with strong waves.
Visitors may see turtles, as well as dolphins and whales on occasion. Kua Bay has lifeguards, showers, and washrooms, but no food amenities. It's recommended to bring an umbrella, as there is limited shade at the beach.
Read also: 15 Best Family Beaches In Miami
13. Makena Beach
Makena State Park boasts one of the largest beaches on Maui, with a stretch of over 3,000 feet of soft, golden sand. This vast size earned the beach its nickname, “Big Beach.”
A dormant volcanic cinder cone splits Big Beach and Little Beach (the names are quite unoriginal). Despite the alluringly clear waters, the waves break directly on shore, making swimming hazardous.
However, there are times when the ocean is more tranquil, but it's advisable to check current conditions online or with a stationed lifeguard. Even if you can't swim, you can still enjoy the natural beauty of the surroundings!
14. Ke’e Beach
Ke'e Beach, located at the end of Kuhio Highway on Kauai's northern shore in Haena State Park, is a spectacular destination known for its clear water, stunning views, and proximity to the Napali Coast and Kalalau hiking trail. A large reef protects the beach, making it a popular spot for snorkeling.
However, visitors should be aware that water conditions can be dangerous during the winter months and should always follow the advice of lifeguards. When planning a visit to Ke'e Beach Park, be sure to anticipate breathtaking views, awe-inspiring sunsets, and crystal-clear water.
In addition, Haena State Park now requires reservations for both entry and parking, which must be made in advance.
15. Hulopoe Beach Park
The crescent-shaped Hulopoe Bay Beach on the south coast of Lanai can be reached by taking a ferry ride from Lahaina, Maui. Known for its clear waters, it's a great place to go snorkeling. Visitors should bring their own equipment, as there are no rental shops on the beach.
The beach offers plenty of parking, picnic areas, showers, and washrooms. Explore the tide pools and coral reefs and see sea turtles, fish, and even sharks.
16. Honolua Bay
During the summer, Honolua Bay on the northwest coast of Maui offers clear waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. To spot an array of marine life, you need to swim about 600 to 700 feet from the shore.
Alternatively, you could join a snorkeling tour. The bay is known for its diverse marine life, including butterfly fish, surgeonfish, eels, turtles, and various coral reefs. However, there are no lifeguards present and no restroom facilities available.
17. Richardson Ocean Park
Looking for a beach that is both unique and exciting? Look no further than Richardson Ocean Park! With its black sand and green speckles, this beach is the only one of its kind in the Hilo area.
Even if the colorful sand doesn't catch your eye, the clear and calm waters are sure to impress. Thanks to a natural lava rock seawall, the ocean here is relatively calm, making it a great spot for snorkeling.
You'll also have the chance to spot a variety of marine life, including Hawaiian Island green sea turtles, monk seals, tropical fish, and even the occasional humpback whale (from a distance).
18. Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach, located on the vibrant island of Oahu, is a world-famous destination that draws visitors from far and wide. The beach is divided into seven distinct sections, each offering different activities and water conditions. Some are ideal for families, while others are bustling and lively.
One thing that is certain, however, is that Waikiki offers breathtaking views of Diamond Head and turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. You may even spot vibrant fish and sea turtles in the clear waters.
While Waikiki beaches have lifeguards on duty, it's important to heed all warnings for high surf or unsafe water conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
19. Mahukona Beach
Mahukona Beach, located at the north end of the Big Island, offers a unique snorkeling experience among the remnants of an old sugar mill and shipwreck underwater.
The calm and clear waters provide good visibility, allowing for sightings of schools of fish, octopuses, and even whales. Though the shoreline is rocky, a ladder is available to enter the water, or daring snorkelers may choose to jump in.
Frequently Asked Questions on Clear Water Beaches in Hawaii
1. Where is the clearest water in Hawaii?
Located three miles off the southwest coast of Maui, Molokini is a small crescent-shaped island known for its crystal clear waters with visibility reaching up to 200 feet. As a state-protected animal sanctuary, fishing is prohibited on the island.
2. Where is the prettiest water in Hawaii?
Lanikai Beach is a favorite among both residents and visitors, and is widely considered the premier spot for swimming in Hawaii thanks to its tranquil waters. This is due to the presence of a coral reef which also makes it an ideal location for snorkeling.
3. What is the number 1 beach in Hawaii?
Kā'anapali Beach, located on Maui's west side, is considered the best beach in Hawaii, taking the top spot in 2003. The three-mile long white sandy beach and turquoise ocean make the shoreline picture-perfect and the epitome of a tropical paradise.
4. Where in Hawaii has the bluest water?
The 10-mile stretch of Oahu's windward coast, from the Marine Corps Base Kaneohe to Makapu'u Beach Park, is home to the most striking blue waters in Hawaii and will make your next beach day an unforgettable experience.
5. What part of Hawaii has the prettiest beaches?
When it comes to the prettiest beaches in Hawaii, Oahu and Maui are both top contenders, with their long stretches of golden-sand beaches that extend for miles in some areas. However, most people who have lived on both islands say Oahu emerges as the clear favorite.
6. Does Hawaii have glowing water?
Due to ocean currents, Hawaii's waters frequently host bioluminescent plankton called dinoflagellates. When conditions are favorable, a nighttime beach walk may result in encountering these microscopic glowing organisms.
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