Photo: Catherine Toth Fox

5 Tips and Tricks for These Popular Hawaiʻi Beaches and Bays

From Waikīkī Beach to Papakōlea Beach and Honolua Bay, here are a few tips and tricks to make sure your beach day goes smoothly.

We love everything about the beaches in Hawai‘i: the golden sand, the warm breeze, the lazy lapping of the ocean. But every beach, even those visitors and residents have deemed Hawaiʻi's favorites, has its own set of problems, from parking to just getting there in the first place. Here are a few tips to make sure your beach day, whether it's spent at Waikīkī Beach on Oʻahu or Papakōlea Beach on Hawaiʻi Island, goes smoothly. 

Papakōlea Beach, Hawai‘i Island 

It's a long, hot road to Papakōlea Beach.
Photo: Getty Images

The hike to Papakōlea Beach is just over 5.5 miles roundtrip on a dirt road with very little shade, so bring a good hat, sunscreen and plenty of water.  

Lanikai Beach, O‘ahu 

Don't want to deal with parking for this beautiful view? Think two wheels, instead of four.
Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to finding parking near Lanikai Beach, two wheels are better than four. Renting a bike from The Bike Shop (bikeshophawaii.com) is your best bet if you want to hit the beach without a parking-induced headache.  

Kē‘ē Beach, Kaua‘i 

Park access will require a reservation to be made ahead of time online.
Photo: Getty Images

While parking may be free for Hawai‘i residents at the new and improved Hā‘ena State Park parking lot—which leads to Kē‘ē Beach —visitors will have to pay $5 per vehicle ahead of time online at GoHaena.com

Honolua Bay, Maui 

Honolua Bay isn't just for surfing.
Photo: Getty Images

Designated as a Marine Life Conservation District—meaning, fishing isn’t allowed—this bay, just north of Kapalua, is teeming with marine life, from yellow tangs to akule (big-eyed scad) to Hawaiian sea turtles. Summers offer the best snorkeling conditions—winter months bring big surf—and the best spots are a quick swim into the bay from the beach. 

Waikīkī Beach, O‘ahu 

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Parking can be pricey—and hard to find—in Waikīkī. If you’re going to spend the day here, we have a great alternative to metered street parking (that you may not find, anyway): the International Market Place (shopinternationalmarketplace.com), a quick walk to the beach. Spend $10 at any merchant and get free parking with validation for up to three hours. (The fourth hour is just $2.) Hit the surf, grab a cup of Kona coffee and a black sesame kouign amann from Kona Coffee Purveyors (konacoffeepurveyors.com) and your parking’s free. 

The story was originally publised in our 2020 Editor’s Guide to Hawaiʻi, which you can download via our app. Find it in the Apple Store here or in Google Play here.