When you visit the Hawaiian Islands you’re greeted by sunny skies, balmy weather and endless beaches.  It seems there’s a coastline calling your name at every turn.  However, there are five beaches in Hawaii we think are perfect for family fun.  Let’s dive in!

We choose these Hawaii beaches for family fun based on amenities, ease of access, and quality level. It’s safe to say all of these beaches are not only pristine but perfectly ideal for any Hawaii vacation.

Hawaii Beaches for family fun

Top 5 Hawaii Beaches for Family Fun

1) Poipu Beach – Kauai

Located on Kauai’s south shore, Poipu Beach is a winding mile of crescent shapes that creates an atmosphere abundant with marine life.  Waters here are normally calm which makes snorkeling safe, while the gradual increase in water depth is helpful for swimming and wading in the waters with little ones.  As a result, it’s an easy choice as our top pick for Hawaii beaches for family fun.
There are three distinct areas at Poipu Beach – Brennecke’s Beach, Baby Beach and Lawai Beach.  You can visit all three sections during your day at Poipu.  Baby Beach is ideal for families as the protected cove offers some of the safest waters.
Hawaii beaches for family fun

Drift away on a sunshine day on the sandy shores of Poipu Beach.

2) Waikiki Beach – Oahu

Looking for a beach with something for the whole family?  Waikiki is it!  With a gentle and long-lasting wave break the waters are relatively calm at Waikiki, perfect for learning how to paddle board.  Other water activities can be found at Waikiki Beach too, including outrigger canoe excursions and surf lessons. Waikiki Beach stretches for two miles, which means there are several sections to the beach. 
Water sports activity is located near the Duke statue, while spots to relax and soak up sights like Diamond Head are best found on the western side of Waikiki Beach. 
Hawaii beaches for family fun

Waikiki Beach is the a prime spot for water sports.

3) Kaanapali Beach – Maui

With three miles of white, sandy beaches Kaanapali easily makes this list.  Known as one of Maui’s best beaches, conditions are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, gazing at sunsets and long walks on the beach.  The drop-off from Kaanapali’s soft, sandy shoreline is steep in spots but waves are gentle enough for the families.  Accordingly, it’s one of the absolute Hawaii beaches for family fun.

In addition, windsurfing and paddle boarding are popular activities at Kaanapali.  You have to stay for the early evening entertainment during which a diver leaps from the 40-foot-high Black Rock in a reenactment of a feat by Maui’s King Kahekili. 

Hawaii beaches for family fun

Kaanapali Beach has repeatedly been named to “best beaches in America” lists.

4) Kailua Beach – Oahu

Located on Oahu’s amazing windward coast, Kailua is the go-to beach for watersports.  The entire family can get in on the fun with windsurfing, parasailing, body boarding and kayaking.  When the winds die down paddle boarding and surfing are ideal activities.  The soft sand and calm turquoise waters of Kailua Beach appeal to all ages, plus it’s located just a short 30 minute drive from Honolulu. 

Hawaii beaches for family fun

Beaches don’t get much more postcard-perfect than Kailua Beach.

5) Hapuna Beach – Big Island

The half-mile stretch of sand at Hapuna Beach is the longest and widest on the Big Island. The beach here gently slopes into the ocean, too, so there is no steep drop off.   This is a total benefit for families seeking not only Hawaii beaches for family fun but safety as well.  The safest spot for children to play is in the sand-bottomed cove at the northern end, where the water is at its shallowest.  Families of all ages can enjoy a day at Hapuna Beach, though, as the southern end of the beach is fantastic for sea cliff diving. 

Located on the Kohala Coastline, the waters have a small wave action great for body boarding and bodysurfing too.

Hawaii beaches for family fun

Hapuna Beach is a state park with ample parking, food vendors nearby, and many other convenient concessions for families.

Explore the Shores of Hawaii’s Best Beaches for Families

As you can see, Hawaii’s beaches are teeming with possibilities. From secluded shores ideal for relaxing to happening spots full of amenities, families have their pick of pristine places to visit. Wherever you spend your beach days, be sure to keep Reserve Hawaii in mind for all your travel tips and insider information. We’ll keep you in the know whether you’re at your hotel or on the go!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

The crystal clear ocean waters of Kauai create the perfect environment for snorkeling.  The warm waters and thriving reef system make it a natural choice for snorkeling.  One of the reasons the reef system is so spectacular is it has been developing for millions of years.  It has become a habitat for hundreds of species of fish, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.  Plus, snorkel gear is available for rent at just about every hotel or oceanside attraction so it’s easy to grab a mask, snorkel and some fins and swim around the waters to explore the underwater world of Kauai.

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Anini Beach

The best beaches to snorkel in Kauai

Anini Beach
Home to the longest reef on the island, Anini Beach is located on Kauai’s North Shore.  The water here is fairly shallow and the reef features underwater canyons with ample sea life.
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Poipu Beach

Poipu Beach

The reef here has sea cucumbers in residence and snorkelers frequently spot sea turtles at Poipu Beach.  This South Shore Kauai beach is also home to endangered Hawaiian monk seals, which you can see sunning on the beach.
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Tunnels Beach

Tunnels Beach
Also known as Makua Beach, Tunnels Beach is the quintessentialspot to snorkel in Kauai, with amazing mountain views surrounding the beach.  The reef here is horseshoe shaped and is home to bright corals, a variety of fish including the vibrant Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, wrasse and parrotfish. 
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Kee Beach

Kee Beach
Kee Beach is a great option for beginner snorkelers as the lagoon is protected from waves by reefs.  Home to plenty of colorful fish and Pacific green sea turtles, views of the Na Pali Coast add to the scenery.
Wherever you snorkel in Kauai you’re sure to experience an underwater world teeming with sea life.  Try to go early in the morning as that is when viewing is best.  And, stay safe!  Be sure to snorkel with a buddy, stay out of choppy water and avoid touching the reefs.  Most of all though, have fun as you explore the sea!   

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Kauai to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Looking for one of the best beaches in Kauai?  Then head to Poipu Beach.  Located on the South Shore of Kauai, about 25 minutes west of Lihue, Poipu is one of the most popular and safest beaches on the Island. 

Not only is Poipu one of the best beaches in Kauai, it’s also been lauded as America’s Best Beach by The Travel Channel and consistently ranks as among the Top Ten beaches nationwide.  One of the reasons this beach is standout is the unique and diverse conditions it offers to visitors.  Created by a series of golden sand crescents curving beside turquoise waters, conditions here are near perfect for family fun.  Those of all ages can enjoy activities at Poipu Beach with excellent swimming, surfing and snorkeling opportunities available. 
Families traveling with little ones can stick near the crescents middle reaches where the water tends to be calmer.  Older kids can head closer to the rocky outcroppings to catch some surf.  The whole family can get back together at Poipu Beach Park, where a life guard is on duty ensuring safety and shallow near-shore waters make for safe swimming.  At Poipu Beach Park you also have access to showers, restrooms and picnic tables as well as aquatic equipment rentals. 

If you are traveling to Kauai December to May you might even see humpback whales off the shores of Poipu.  Year round you can spot large green sea turtles also swimming in these waters.    However, Poipu Beach is most famous for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals that sunbathe offshore.  Quite the sight to see, there are only about 1,200 Hawaiian monk seals remaining which means extra caution needs to be taken to protect these creatures.  Stay at least 150-feet from them and never, ever feed them. 

Spend the day at Poipu Beach for family fun on the shores of Kauai.  If you’d like to stay on Poipu Beach, the Sheraton Kauai Resort is located on the shores of Poipu as is the Kiahuna Plantation and Poipu Shores Resort.

Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Hawaii to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Exploring your surroundings is one of the highlights of any Kauai vacation.   The Koloa Heritage Trail, also known as Ka Ala Hele Waiwai Hooilina o Koloa in Hawaiian, is a 14-stop, self-guided 10 mile tour of the Koloa and Poipu’s area’s most significant cultural, historical and geological sites.  There are descriptive plaques at each site explaining its importance. 

1. Spouting Horn Park: Spouting Horn was called puhi, or blowhole, by early Hawaiians. Legends tell of a huge mo`o, or lizard, caught in this puhi, which was formed when waves eroded softer, underlying rock and wore through the harder top rock. Water rushing into the hole is forced through the narrow opening and shoots skyward.

Spouting Horn

2. Prince Kuhio Birthplace Monument and Park: Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole was born in Koloa in a grass hut near this beach to Princess Kinoike Kekaulike and High Chief David Kahalepouli Pi`ikoi. He became a delegate to U.S. Congress after Hawai`i became a Territory in 1900, serving for 19 years. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the Hawaiian people.

3. Koloa Landing at Hanakaape Bay:  Once, Koloa Landing was the third largest whaling port in all of Hawai`i and the only port of entry for foreign goods. The Sugar industry increased its use until 1912, when better facilities became available elsewhere. Goods and people were transferred by hand and small boat to ships in Hanaka`ape Bay.

4. Moir Gardens at Kiahuna Plantation: What began as a hobby garden by the Koloa Plantation Manager’s wife became celebrated as one of the world’s best of its kind. Numerous cactus planted in the 1930s thrived in the arid, rocky soil here. Many escaped to surrounding areas to become naturalized over time. You’ll also find water lily-filled lava rock ponds, koi and a variety of orchid and catus species.

5. Kihahouna Heiau: The walled heiau (temple) that once stood here was 130 feet by 90 feet; dedicated to Kane, a major god of Hawaii; Hulukoki, a bird god; and Ku-hai-moana and Ka-moho-alii, two shark gods. Three hala-lihilihi-ula trees situated on the outside of the naupaka hedge mark the heiau perimeter.

6. Poipu Beach Park: Abundant, easy-to-view marine life in calm waters is a major attraction at Po`ipu Beach. The endangered native Hawaiian Monk seal and threatened Green sea turtle are frequent visitors. From November through May, the endangered Humpback whale appears. Ancient Hawaiians fished and played here and harvested salt in dug-out evaporating pans nearby.

Poipu Beach

7. Keoneloa Bay: Between 200 and 600 A.D., early visitors arrived at Keoneloa Bay, meaning long sand, likely from the Marquesas Islands. They used the area as a temporary fishing camp, leaving behind stone-age tools, remnants of heiau, or temples, and ahu, or altars. They prayed to Kane`aukai, an important fishing god.

8. Makawehi and Paa sand dunes at Keoneloa Bay: The lithified sand dunes of Makawehi, calm face, and Pa`a, hard rock, yield fossilized plant roots, bird bones, crab claws and other treasures. Prior to extensive wave erosion, this prominent limestone ridge extended across Keoneloa Bay. During March through November, water birds visit and sea birds nest and roost in the dunes.

9. Ha`upu Ridge and the Puuwanawana Volcanic Cone: More than 5 million years ago, a hotspot in the earth spewed lava upward to form the volcanic mountain island of Kaua`i. Nearby Ha`upu Ridge and Mountain contain some of the oldest geologic formations. Look for the youngest volcanic cones such as Pu`uwanawana, within view. Weathered volcanic material produced rich agricultural plains.

10. Hapa Road: Lava rock walls near Hapa Road signify Hawaiian habitation ca. 1200 A.D., while the road dates to the late 1800s. Nearby tracks once held trains hauling cane to Koloa Plantation for milling. Hapa Road served as a supply and emergency evacuation route during World War II, and at various times a foot- and bicycle path.

11. Koloa Jodo Mission Buddhist temple: Buddhist temples provided Japanese immigrants a place to worship, study their language, learn martial arts and participate in social events. This Jodo Mission used a specialist in temple architecture from Japan to build the large temple’s interior. Hand-painted, wooden ceiling tiles were a gift from the Japanese artist who rendered them.

Photo Credit: Koloa Jodo Mission

12. Sugar Monument: Ancient Polynesians were the first to bring sugar cane to Hawai’i. Starting with its first cane seeding in 1835, Koloa Plantation was the first in Hawai’i to successfully mill cane commercially for export. It set the precedent for free housing and medical benefits for its immigrant employees from China, Japan, East and West Germany, Portugal and the Philippines.

13. The Yamamoto Store and the Koloa Hotel: Built at the turn of the 20th century, The Yamamoto Building functioned at various times as a plantation camp store and general store with service station. Behind it, the Koloa Hotel offered rooms to traveling salesmen and actors. The o-furo, or hot tub, provided a relaxing soak to guests.
 
14. Koloa Missionary Church: Koloa Missionary Church sanctuary is part of a homestead once owned by Dr. James W. Smith, a medical missionary. In 1842, he began a practice of over 40 years, later becoming an ordained minister at The Church at Koloa. His grandson, Dr. Alfred Herbert Waterhouse, added a clinic to the homestead in 1933.