Welcome to the best beaches in Hawaii for families awards show!
When my boyfriend and I decided to take our families to Hawaii for summer break, I was a little worried about how we were going to manage such a big group (our parents, siblings, and their kids!) and still have time for fun. But boy, was I wrong.
We spent the most amazing month in Hawaii, exploring all the top beaches and finding the best kid-friendly options on every island. We also stayed at world-class resorts that took care of all our needs and had the most breathtaking views of nearby mountains and volcanoes.
This article aims to save time and help you make the best family vacation choices.
After all the sun, sand, and waves, I’ve ranked these six beaches according to their kid-friendliness, amenities, beauty, and value.
These are the best of the best, so you can have a fun and memorable beach vacation in Hawaii no matter which one you choose.
I hope this list helps you plan the perfect family vacation to Hawaii and saves you the time and hassle of figuring it out on your own.
Let’s dive in and discover the best beaches in Hawaii for families!
Oahu is a gorgeous island in Hawaii for those of you looking for sprawling coastlines and lots of big beach parks. There are plenty of things to do in Oahu with kids, which is why it is often considered the best Hawaiian island for families.
Visit the Waikiki beach here for a fun-filled day at the beach, followed by a night out in the city.
Try Lanikai Beach for beautiful views and a private beach stay.
Waikiki Beach is the go-to beach for families visiting Hawaii for a vacation. If you’re traveling with children, teenagers, or even elderly family members, you can’t go wrong with Waikiki as your first stop.
The shore is right alongside bustling restaurants, shopping centers, and major hotels in Waikiki. We were staying at a hotel that opened on the beach, so we didn’t even need a rental car to get places.
And the beach here is beautiful! With soft sand, clean and clear water, and calm waves, it’s perfect for swimming. We met so many families on the beach that came with their children. My nieces and nephews made friends with some of them, and all the kiddos went swimming.
Since the beach is flat, kids and adults can swim safely for a vast distance. In addition, a coral reef nearby is perfect for snorkeling, as a wide variety of exotic fish swim alongside it.
Another touristy benefit to Waikiki Beach is the aesthetic sunset view! You can’t miss it if you stay here, especially with the Diamond Head volcano’s view. Also, it’s a great spot to get some pictures and add to your travel ‘gram.
We had so much fun here! You’ll also love it whether you’re traveling solo or with family. Here’s why Waikiki is the best beach in Hawaii for families:
- It’s close to great restaurants, bars, and shopping centers.
- You can make a reservation beforehand and enjoy a great lunch with a view of the beach.
- Musicians line the boardwalk and play some fine tunes for you to enjoy.
- Hotel parking lots nearby allow you to park in their lots, so finding a space is possible even with the crowds.
First things first: families with younger children coming to Lanikai beach should consider that it doesn’t have facilities like restrooms, showers, food shacks, and even lifeguards. There’s even a bit of a walk to get here after parking.
However, it’s undoubtedly the most beautiful beach in all of Hawaii.
The shore spreads for miles, the sand is powdery and soft, and the water is clear with calm waves, even warmer than Waikiki beach. Lanikai is ideal for swimming with children as the waves are gentle.
Snorkeling is a favorite activity, and green sea turtles are often spotted here.
Even with the lack of facilities, there’s still much to enjoy here. So we packed a lunch, beach chairs, and towels and drove to Lanikai. As there’s not enough parking space, you can park at the boat ramp lot nearby and walk a third of a mile to the beach.
My boyfriend and his brother tried stand-up paddle boarding here, and they enjoyed it a lot. You’ll love it too as the calm water makes it a fun activity, even for children.
Children will love it here because there’s plenty of space to run and fewer people to bump into. In addition, the sun shines all day long, so take full advantage of it and sunbathe.
The atmosphere was so laid back and peaceful at Lanikai beach. I consider it the best beach in Hawaii for families looking for a day to relax. Brownie points:
- The view of the sunrise is spectacular here!
- It’s within walking distance from the nearby Kailua Beach, which is great for beach bumping.
- Wear beach shoes and sunscreen as the lack of shade makes it hot.
Maui’s beaches will become your go-to place for a day of fun in the exciting waves. The swimming here is terrific, and it has impressive resorts for tourists.
The Ka’anapali beach is the ideal spot for snorkeling and cliff-diving.
Don’t miss out on Baldwin and Baby beach for a safe yet fun day with children.
Families staying in any of the resorts and hotels lining West side Maui can’t afford to miss Ka’anapali Beach. The water here makes it perfect for water sports like scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, etc.
A famed activity here is the cliff jump from Black Rock. It’s a thrilling activity that older children and teenagers will enjoy. Try snorkeling in the beach’s beautiful and calm waters for a safer and equally fun activity.
Not to mention, the range of marine life in the waters at Ka’anapali is worth seeing! You can expect to swim alongside green sea turtles and a variety of fish while snorkeling at Black Rock.
Restrooms and shower facilities are available, and some kiosks will rent you the gear for water sports. Since parking is hard to find after 8 am, I recommend coming early for a good spot.
One thing to consider is that the sand gets hot during the day, so wear surf socks. If you’re looking for a break from the sand and water, there are shady trees lining the shore behind the beachfront, a very comfortable place for kids and the elderly.
Our families enjoyed the laid-back environment at Ka’anapali and consider it the best beach in Hawaii for families looking for an adventurous day at the beach.
Here’s why you will too:
- It was voted the Best Beach in Hawaii in 2016 by BeachUSA.
- This beach is perfect during peak season, with calm waters and lots of sunshine.
- Resorts nearby provide surfing, swimming, snorkeling, and paddle boarding lessons.
Baldwin Beach Park and Baby Beach
Baldwin is an excellent beach for families because it has something for people of every age. Aside from having a gorgeous shore, there are top-notch facilities and many water activities.
Since we were visiting the neighboring town of Paia for some shopping and lunch, we came here afterward to explore, and I highly recommend doing the same. The water here was clear and calm on the east and west shores, with the center having stronger waves.
If you have children along, bring them to the West shore where there’s Baby beach. The water there is in a protected lagoon, making it very calm and gentle, perfect for kids to go swimming. We saw a lot of families teaching toddlers how to stay afloat in the lagoon – so adorable!
You’ll appreciate Baldwin for its ample facilities, including restrooms, showers, picnic tables, changing sheds, and a bbq area. As it’s mostly crowded on the weekends, come during the week, and you’ll get free parking in the beach’s lot too.
Also, green sea turtles commonly appear here, so you might run into a group lounging on the sand.
Aside from safe swimming, don’t miss out on a thrilling surf here, which is ideal when the surf is active in the middle of the shore.
After spending quite a few days here, we considered it the best beach in Hawaii for families looking for safe shores for children to swim in. Some other things that’ll make you love Baldwin Beach:
- Lifeguards are on duty all day and keep a strict lookout on the children.
- Parking is pretty easy to find here, even when the beach gets crowded.
- The airport is nearby, so it’s convenient to come here for a final visit before you leave.
Kauai is unmatched when it comes to the best Hawaiian islands to visit with kids. It’s one of the quietest, most laid-back, and most remote islands. Children can learn to swim and surf in its calm waters and safe shores.
Visit Poipu Beach Park for a warm swim alongside Hawaii’s precious marine life.
Don’t miss out on Kalapaki Beach if you’re looking for various water sports.
Poipu Beach Park
Poipu Beach should be the only beach you visit when it’s cloudy. When other beaches on the North and East shore of Kauai are cast over, it stays sunny and cool. A must-visit for families looking to enjoy a day of sun and surf.
To get the most out of this beach, go early in the morning. There were plenty of sea turtles out on the sand at that time. You can swim and snorkel alongside them in the clear blue waters.
Another exciting thing at this beach is the Hawaiian monk seals! They lounge on the sand during the day, and you can take pictures of them from a distance. However, the lifeguards here are attentive to marine life, so don’t get too close.
This beach is ideal for kids because a reef protects it. The waves inside it are calm and great for swimming, snorkeling, and splashing around (a favorite activity among kids, I’ve learned).
Poipu beach is well known for its resort-like feel, with a grassy park overlooking a beautiful postcard ocean scene. And there’s a great restaurant nearby serving delicious lunch and drinks.
The adults in our group enjoyed Poipu beach as much as the youngsters. So you will too after visiting its spectacular shores.
- There’s good parking available here all day long.
- Perfect for a nighttime swim as the sea turtles come out the most then.
- Snorkeling is great on the larger side of the shore.
Kalapaki is like a ‘come-one-come-all beach’; perfect for a day of swimming, suntanning, hanging out, and watching cruise ships go by. We loved it for the wide range of activities, and you’ll definitely have a fantastic time here!
As the beach is a short distance from the airport, many people stop by before leaving. We had a big crowd with us before departing, so we did the same. It was great to rent some chairs, sit on the beach’s left side where it’s less crowded, and watch the gorgeous coast.
You’ll want to bring children here for swimming as the water is safe inside the cove. Just outside it are rough waves that a lot of surfers go in. My family signed up for surfing lessons here, and we learned pretty impressive moves like the hang ten.
You can’t go wrong with Kalapaki beach. It’s the perfect way to tie up your Hawaii beach experience. Here’s why you’ll love it even more:
- There are plenty of restrooms, showers, and picnic tables available here.
- The beach is nearly empty on the weekdays, and parking is spacious.
- There are great restaurants and shopping centers nearby.
- Tip: Bring binoculars and watch the cruise ships coming in and out of the nearby Nawiliwili Harbor.
Big Island has many smaller islands with gorgeous beaches and great water all year round.
Hapuna Beach is the best for families to enjoy the water and scenery alike.
Hapuna Beach State Park
Full disclosure: Hapuna Beach is a 45-minute drive from Kona, so rental cars are necessary to get here. When you arrive, a large, paved parking area requires a $10 fee for cars and a $5 fee per person for parking. Also, the beach doesn’t have rental chairs, so bring some along.
But all of that aside, this is the best beach in Hawaii for families to enjoy.
In fact, anyone coming to Hawaii must visit this beach at least once for its excellent views and water conditions.
Since the water is crystal clear, you can often see fish and turtles on the surface!
We went there early in the morning and found a near-empty beach. Of course, it gets crowded as the day passes but the shore is spacious enough to fit the crowds comfortably.
We heard that waves here could get 10 ft high. However, the lifeguards are attentive, so you’ll always be safe in the water.
If the waves get rough, you can lounge in the dunes and enjoy gorgeous views of the Mauna Kea and Hualalai volcanoes.
Families wanting a break from the water should take this magnificent hike – the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail; that’s easy to walk and gives breathtaking views from the bluffs, especially during high surf.
Here’s why you’ll love Hapuna Beach as much as we did:
- There are good facilities; clean bathrooms, shaded pavilions, and picnic tables.
- Boogie boarding here is a favorite activity when the surf is up.
- The water is incredibly warm and clear. It was like being in a heated pool!
Hawaii, home to the world-famous Waikiki Beach, is a top pick for hawaii family vacation spots. Family beaches in Hawaii, like Kamaole Beach Park, Lydgate Beach Park, and Waimea Bay Beach are some of Hawaii’s beautiful beaches. They cater to the entire family with their soft powdery sand and gentle waves.
Wailea Beach and Maui’s North Shore are must-visit areas known for kid-friendly beach vacations. Don’t forget the North Shore and sunset beach, perfect for boogie boarding and whale watching. Whether you’re exploring Hulopo’e Beach or enjoying family beach picnics at Launiupoko Beach Park, the family-friendly beaches and Hawaii beach parks for kids promise a memorable time.
As for the locals, their warm hospitality makes it a top choice for Hawaii family holiday destinations. So, consider Hawaii family resorts near the beach for your next trip. Hawaii awaits!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Which Hawaiian island is the most family friendly?
There are plenty of family-friendly things to do in Maui and Oahu, and you will get a great introduction to the Aloha spirit. Most people say Oahu is the most family-friendly Hawaiian island.
Is Hawaii a good destination with kids?
Ohana (family) is important in Hawaiian culture, which makes its islands a welcoming destination for kids of all ages. From snorkeling and sandcastle building on sun-soaked beaches to exploring volcanoes, the Hawaiian Islands are a natural playground for kids.
Where should I go for my first-time family vacation to Hawaii?
The Maui, Honolulu, Oahu and Kauai islands are perfect for a first-time family vacation to Hawaii. They have stunning beaches, great hospitality, and nature walks.
Last Updated on August 17, 2023 by Brigitte