Living in the Hawaiian islands for six years I’ve visited my fair share of Hawaii beaches but today I asked myself a question – Which is the Ultimate Hawaii Beach? The ultimate beach in Hawaii would have it all – and would fit all sorts of people. You could take whoever you have visiting to this beach and they’d have a great time because it has everything a person could expect.

The Ultimate Hawaii Beach has…

  • Surf. Great bodyboardable, surfable, bodysurfable surf. Kids could ride in the small 2 feet shorebreak and everyone else can enjoy 2-4 foot waves further out. A protected area where one could snorkel within walking distance would be too much to ask for – but, I’m asking for it.
  • View of an island off the coast. To me this is part of what makes Hawaii so cool. Beaches in Florida, don’t have this. Beaches in California – I don’t think generally have this.
  • A cool breeze sometimes, or most of the time. Not so much wind that you’re sandblasted like what goes on over at Sandy Beach, but the ultimate beach in Hawaii would have some wind most of the time. I don’t like sizzling in the summer in Waikiki in in front of the Royal Hawaiian (The Pink Hotel) all that much anymore. The air in Waikiki – even at the beach, doesn’t move much in the summer. Add to that you get blisters walking across Waikiki sand sometimes – and it’s not the ultimate experience!
  • Free parking – even if I have to walk 3 blocks. All of you living in Hawaii or having driven in Hawaiii all know how this is.
  • Shave ice  and ahi poke stand. At a bare minimum, the ultimate Hawaii beach should have a handful of food and beverage stands stocked with ono kine grindz. One of those food stands should have huli-huli chicken. One should have ahi shoyu poke and ahi limu poke (Ahi means tuna, poke means cut crossways into pieces. Ahi poke has amazing spices including raw tuna with maui onions, seaweed, chili water, scallions, sea salt, here’s poke recipe.) Ideally they’d import the poke straight from Kahuku Superette which has poke to die for. Note: you haven’t experienced Hawaii unless you’ve eaten 3 things: Shave ice, preferably from Matsumotos. Ahi shoyu/limu poke. Pupus.
  • Mix of people. The ultimate Hawaiian beach would have all sorts of people – Hawaiian, Filipinos, Haoles, Japanese, everyone having a good time in same place.
  • Shady spots to grill out. Ten hours of straight sun will toast you crimson. There should be some big trees with a lot of shade either over the beach or in a grassy area behind the beach. Ideally one could camp here too. Nothing like stretching out the day beach trip into 2 or 3 days!
  • Kid-friendly beach. Soft sand to dig through and cover each other with. Big crabs the kids can chase. There might be nothing more fun than chasing crabs bigger than your hand (or head) until they run into their hole. Then, digging them out and freaking when they jump out of the hole at you.
  • Restrooms.
  • Freshwater showers. Gotta get the salt off ya after swimming.
  • Lifeguard. At least one – even if it’s just to handle things like feet cut by the reef, jellyfish stings, etc.

Napali July 2014 – 102 by Todd Wiggins is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Image may have been resized or cropped from original.

Ok, that’s what I came up for in describing what the ultimate Hawaii beach would look like. Have any in mind?

I can think of a few beaches that fit some of these, and even most of these criteria – but you know what? I can’t think of any beach that fits them all.

My favorite Hawaii beach? I’ve gotta say it must be Bellows AFS up past Makapu’u in Waimanolo. The atmosphere is ultra cool and laidback. The water is safe and clean. There are usuall 2-3 foot waves. There are plenty of big trees providing shade. You can grill and campout. There are restrooms, showers, crabs running around, and they sell huli-huli chicken outside the front gate.

Ok, I’ll make a Google spreadsheet to compare Hawaii beaches. If you have more information you want to add to this spreadsheet comparison of candidates for the ultimate beach in Hawaii just let me know and I can add you to the list of editors.

Here’s the link to see the Ultimate Hawaii Beach chart in full-size.

Here are links to maps of the beaches on the Ultimate Hawaii Beach spreadsheet:

Kailua Beach Park, Oahu >

Waimanolo Beach Park, Oahu >

Waikiki Beach, The Wall, Oahu >

Ka’ena Point State Park, Oahu >

Makapu’u Beach, Oahu >

Ka’anapali Beach, Maui