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Best Beaches to Suntan | Hawaii | Hawaiian Beaches

Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States and is known for its natural splendor. Tourists, biologists, and volcanologists alike flock here to see the active volcanoes up close. From Hawaii’s natural beauty to its fabulous warm tropical climate, these islands are a vacationer’s dream come true. Hawaii is located in the Pacific Ocean just southwest of the mainland, southeast of Japan and northeast of Australia.


The culture is lively with the characteristics of Asian and native inhabitants. There are eight main islands called Hawaii, Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Moloka’i, Kaua’i and Mi’ihau; all of which were either formed by volcano or marine sediment. Hawaii has 750 miles of some of the most stunningly beautiful and varied types of beaches anywhere in the world.

Honaunau Bay is on Hawaii, the big island. A long time ago the ruling chief had his palace here. Almost half of Hawaii’s native fish are found in Honaunau Bay. The pristine white sandy beaches and the rolling surf of the turquoise water of the Pacific Ocean are mesmerizing.  The Place of Refuge is a captivating re-creation of a real royal compound. Here there are picnic areas, snorkeling, and great places for strolling. Eruptions from Kilueau, the volcano responsible for pouring lava into the ocean time and time again over the years, has caused huge smooth formations and shapes under the water. Now this large reef has beautiful colors of coral and attracts scuba divers of all experience levels from all over the world. The divers will have a chance to see the endangered green sea turtle, surgeon fish, long-nosed butterfly fish and many more varieties of flora and fauna. The Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa has a wonderful 3,200 square foot spa called Ho’ola Spa and is a great place for relaxation and healing. The gigantic pool offers a 200 foot water slide, waterfalls and whirlpools. As you are resting beside the pool sunbathing, you can sample thirst-quenching tropical beverages at the Manta Ray Bar & Grill. The ocean views from the Crystal Blue Lounge are spectacular. 

Kauna’oa Beach, Hawaii is a secluded, white sand beach about a quarter mile long and shaped like an arc. This tranquil beach is complimented by almost 80 degree ocean water temperatures and is simply heavenly. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel limits the number of sun worshipers on this beach to twenty passes at any given time. Guests enjoy this tropical paradise, plus get to stay at very lovely facilities. The hotel manages to keep the beach clean and full of healthy coral and fish. Visitors need to arrive at the beach before 9:00 a.m. or plan on dining at one of the resort’s five restaurants and try to get on the beach later in the afternoon. You may also want to play a round of golf at the Mauna Kea Golf Course before lounging on the beach later.

Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii is where the rare black-sand is located. The Punalu’u Beach is beautiful and extremely impressive. It was originally formed when lava spilled into the ocean from two of the world’s most active volcanoes spilled into the ocean, cooled and broke into tiny pieces of granules to for the sandy beach. These volcanoes were Mauna Loa and Kilauea. The black sand is always soaking up the sunshine so it is always warm and comforting. Swimming is also an experience because the waves are full of these granules and when they hit you, it almost feels like a lot of tiny needles against your skin. Rinse off in the little pool at the far end of the beach with natural freshwater. Snorkeling is another fun pastime here and while doing so keep an eye out for the endangered turtles.

Waikiki Beach, Oahu is famous for its many events held each year including canoe races, surf contests, many outdoor displays and performances, and hula dancing. The beaches’ surf is known for its long rolling break so it is perfect for long boarding, tandem surfing and beginners. The beach is home to many fabulous resort hotels like the luxurious Marriott Resort & Spa located on over five acres of beachfront property. This warm and comfortable resort allows guests to unwind on their private balconies or revel in their wonderful service. Surrender yourself to the spectacular service at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort & Spa. Their location on the beach is within walking distance to Diamond Head, the Aquarium and the zoo. The locals go to Diamond Head Center where they can jog in the park, swim at Sans Souci Beach and gather with their families and friends for barbecue. It is said that The Royal Hawaiian Resort is not only a landmark recognized the world over, but also an icon of luxury. Located in the Royal Beach Tower are intimate lanais that overlook the Pacific Ocean. The resort is painted a warm pink and the architecture is finished in grand Moorish style. On weekends The Hilton Hawaiian Village presents hulas with fireworks to finish off the evenings that can be seen miles away. Wherever you decide to stay on Waikiki Beach there is no limit on activities whether you are on the beach or in the water.

Oahu, Hawaii has seven miles of sand which covers the North Shore and makes up three beaches. In the center is Waimeia Bay which has calm waters and a very large quiet beach and just little waves in the summer. In the winter months, however, the surf can grow up to thirty feet high. Since 1971 the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic is a competition which is held each year in the winter at Banzai Pipeline. Sunset Beach is where people go when the day is coming to a close. At Sunset Beach one can experience some of the most gorgeous vistas ever witnessed as the day falls into nighttime.

Kauai has always been a favorite spot for filmmakers with its lovely lagoon, miles of white powdery sand and magnificent mountains. On Kauai there is swimming, boogie boarding, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Poipu Beach enjoys perfect sun tanning weather year-round. There are coco palm trees swaying from the cool trade winds, pristine white sand, and crystal clear blue water that is enjoyed by the surfers, body boarders, and snorkelers. There are a few resorts located here with their own unique features: Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort features the Red Salt Restaurant, Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club has a swimming and wading pool, Sheraton Resort offers different dining choices like Shells Restaurant and The Grand Hyatt Resort & Spa. The Grand Hyatt features their ANARA Spa, restaurants, large saltwater lagoon, a river pool with waterfalls and a waterslide, golf and horseback riding.


On the western shore is Polihale Beach (“home of the spirits"). This is a more isolated beach for those who shy from the crowds. It’s a great place for picnics, the sunset and stargazing after a wonderful day of sun bathing.

Shipwreck Beach has a very large stretch of picturesque and scenic beach. This beach is particularly good for the stronger surfers and swimmers because of the potentially forceful waves. It’s a great beach for the sunbathers, beach combers and those who love to walk on the beach. The Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort & Spa faces the beach and has bars, shops and five restaurants. Hanalei Bay Beach has to get the award for the most beautiful beach scenery in all of Hawaii.


Hanalei has the largest bay on this island and is a perfection of white sand set in a semi-circle formation of two miles long and 125 feet wide. The beach is bordered by the Waipa River on the west and the Hanalei River on the east. This beach is magnificent, with a setting of waterfalls and emerald mountain peaks behind the beach that is simply breathtaking at times. There are coral reefs at either end of the bay where the ocean slopes gently to overhead depths. There is a 300 foot long pier for fishing and swimming with a public boat ramp which is open to the public.  Windsurfing, kayaking and snorkeling are just a few of the popular water sports, however surfers use this bay and it is one of the favorite areas. Your next suntan will not be difficult to achieve here and get some great relaxation in while you’re at it.  Don’t forget to keep yourself and the young ones ‘sun protected’.

Papohaku Beach is on Molokai where the residents have tried to retain the culture and character more than most of the other islands. The beach is three miles long and 300 feet wide so you may never see another soul but facilities are provided. The surf is mild enough in summer for swimming and the beach invites you to sunbathe, stroll and explore. Wavecrest Resort is an oceanfront condo resort with about 40 of the 126 units available for rental. Aqua Hotel Molokai is on a beach with a swimming pool and does not look like your run of the mill hotel.

Lanikai Beach on Oahu has a half-mile of beautiful white sparkling sand, swaying palm trees, abundant marine life and very lush tropical plants.


The shore is protected by a nearby coral reef. The reef soothes the surf and keeps the water a beautiful turquoise green. Sunrises here are some of the best on Oahu. The beach is located within a quiet residential area of beach houses. Activities here include sunbathing, swimming, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling and kayaking.

Ka’anapali Beach, Maui is a welcome location for luaus, bike tours, submarine tours, horseback riding and much more. The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa offers family-oriented programs, restful days by the pool or on the beach, shopping, restaurants, and Spa Moana just to name a few. The resort’s spacious accommodations include a separate sitting area and lanai.

Ka’anapali Beach, Maui is also called the Black Rock Beach. A large black lava rock which is almost completely covered in coral splits the beach in almost in half. This makes snorkeling and swimming in this area a dream because a very large array of fish and sea turtles make this their home. The legend has it that spirits of warriors left the earth to meet their ancestors by jumping from this rock. It’s a perfect beach getaway for fun in the sun activities. Water sports such as snorkeling, sailing, scuba diving, parasailing, jet-skiing, fishing, windsurfing and water skiing are available. Some great hotels here are Kaanapali Beach Hotel, Sheraton Maui Resort Hotel, Marriott Vacation Club Maui Ocean Club II, Marriott’s Maui Ocean Club, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, The Whaler on Ka’anapali Beach and numerous others.

Lahaina Beach, Maui is partially secluded in Hawaii’s first capital until 1845, the charming whaling village called Lahaina. More than 80% of all Maui vacationers come to see Lahaina; where there are not only pristine calm waters and beautiful peaks and valleys, but also a place that is rich in the culture of old Hawaii. Lahaina Shores Beach Resort not only has a wonderful pool and whirlpool spa, but its location on the beach is where the best snorkeling, wading and sunbathing takes place. There are catamaran and boat trips that offer snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, fishing and whale-watching. Plan to visit archeological sites and monuments that were left by plantation owners, Hawaiians, missionaries, whalers and merchants; and learn of ancient voyages, religious temples and sacred kings.

Hookipa Beach, Maui is famous for trade winds that provide visitors with some of the best windsurfing conditions anywhere. There is seasonal high surf with some strong winds and currents to be watchful of. There isn’t a lifeguard on duty, but there is a great picnic area, restrooms and showers. This sandy beach is beautiful and clean and it has a rocky shoreline with tall palm trees. The surfing is spectacular in the mornings. An eatery that the local residents go to in Kuau Cove is called Mama’s Fish House and is well-liked.

There are many more beaches in Hawaii and although we don’t believe you can go wrong with any of them, we hope this will help you with your planning. But no matter where you decide to vacation in Hawaii, there is a perfect beach for you. Remember to keep the tanning lotions on while outside, wear protective clothing, sunglasses, hats, and drink plenty of water. This will probably be your dream vacation of your lifetime so you won’t want sunburn to spoil it.


Getting suntanned in Hawaii rocks!!!! Between the unique & beautiful cultural, food, surfers & waves, beaches, sights, it’s amazing. We would love to see your stories and photos. Please email them to Suntan Gal. Or would you like to visit more beautiful suntanned & bronze beaches?

-Ms. Suntan 

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