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Hawaii’s best swimming beaches revealed!


What are the best “swimming” beaches in Hawaii?

When HAWAII Magazine wanted to get the lowdown on the best beaches on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island for a day of swimming and water activities, we went to John R.K. Clark.

Clark knows more about Hawaii beaches than anyone in the state. He’s walked the shorelines and swum the waters of every stretch of sand in Hawaii—more than 500 beaches in all. Clark, 63, has spent much of the last four decades compiling a lauded series of Hawaii beach guidebooks.

He began writing his first book—Beaches of Oahu—in 1972, after leaving a brief stint as an Oahu lifeguard to join the Honolulu Fire Department. Clark burned up serious vacation time visiting every beach in the state, while rising to the rank of deputy fire chief. Beaches of Oahu was published in 1977—followed by Beaches of Maui County, Beaches of Kauai and Niihau and four other titles (available from University of Hawaii Press).

best_swimming_beaches_revealed_HawaiiWe were so impressed by stories of Clark’s book research—paddling rugged coastlines alone on his surfboard  to reach Hawaii’s most remote beaches; scribbling beach notes on his board while circled by dolphins and, one time, a large tiger shark—we profiled Clark for HAWAII Magazine’s September/October 2010 issue Portraits in Paradise column. Check it out. It’s a great read.

But back to the subject of Hawaii’s best swimming beaches.

“A ‘swimming beach’ to me, is a place I would take my family to swim,” says Clark (pictured, right), explaining the criteria for his selections here. “A great one will have nice, white sand. It’s going to be relatively danger-free, with no big surf and no worries about reef, wana (spiny sea urchin), box jellyfish or Portuguese man-o-war. There are going to be showers and bathrooms for the kids, too.”

Here, exclusively for HAWAII Magazine readers, Clark shares his personal choices for best swimming beach on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island, along with reasons why Clark chose the beach, his advice for enjoying your beach time, and photos.

Now, grab some sun block and get ready to jump into the surf ... here are the best swimming beaches in Hawaii ...

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
A guide to Hawaii's best beaches for bodysurfing
Top 5 favorite Maui swimming beaches: HAWAII Magazine facebook poll results
Maui beaches No. 1 winter destination

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