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Hawaii — white sand beaches, clear blue waters, surf havens, and the tropical vacation you dream of. Of course, these are the first things that come to mind when thinking of the Aloha State. Finding a beach in Hawaii is easy, but finding the best beach takes some more searching. To help, check out our list of the best beaches in Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach

Hawaii’s most popular beach was once the favored spot of Hawaii’s royalty and elite. Now, the Honolulu beach is home to the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, the Honolulu Zoo, and the Waikiki Aquarium on top of the excellent surfing and swimming. Waikiki beach also sits under the watchful eye of the Diamond Head Crater, giving your beach photos the most majestic backdrop.

(Read more: Authentic Hawaiian Food You Need to Try)

Hawaii Waikiki Beach

Punalu’u Beach

Take a break from the classic white sand beaches of Hawaii with Punalu’u. Located on the southern end of the island of Hawaii near the town of Pahala, this beach is known for its jet black sand. The beach is also famous for the animals that appear. Green turtles and endangered Hawksbill turtles come to Punalu’u Beach to lay their eggs and bask in the sun.

Hawaii Punalu'u Beach

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Lanikai Beach

On the east side of Oahu sits Lanikai Beach, by the town of Kailua. Lani Kai, in Hawaiian, means “heavenly beach” and that’s exactly what this beach is. Described as one of the best beaches in the world and the prettiest beach in Oahu, Lanikai is your go-to beach paradise vacation. With calm waters, this spot is perfect for some rest and relaxation.

(Read more: Top Five Mistakes People Make While Traveling in Hawaii)

Hawaii Lanikai Beach

Po’ipu Beach

Po’ipu Beach, in Koloa, Kauai, has been voted one of the best beaches in the United States. With two areas separated by a large sand spit, there is something to do for everyone. One side is perfect for the beginning body surfer while the other is ideal for families to let their small children swim in the shallow waters. Po’ipu Beach is not only the preferred spot for visitors, but also for the endangered Hawaiian monk seals.

Hanalei Bay

On the other side of Kauai, in the town of Hanalei, is Hanalei Bay.  With a range of waves in the bay, it’s a perfect surf spot for everyone from beginners to experts. The pier is also the perfect spot for fishing enthusiasts. Head over with your family and end your day of swimming and surfing with a picnic or a camp out on the white sand in front of the tranquil clear waters.

Hawaii Hanalei Bay

Waianapanapa Beach

How many times have you wanted to hang out on a beach made of volcanic rock? Waianapanapa is your chance. This beach’s jet black sand is actually composed of little lava pebbles that meet the vibrant turquoise waters. Waianapanapa is an ideal spot for exploring the caves, red tide pools, swimming, relaxing, or hiking through the Waianapanapa State Park.

Waianapanapa Beach hawaii

Kaanapali Beach

Maui’s ultimate luxury vacation awaits you at Kaanapali Beach on the island’s western shores. This beach was once rated America’s number one beach and was formerly a vacation go-to spot for Maui’s royalty. Kaanapali Beach’s three-mile white sand coast is perfect for a family-fun vacation on the beach and the crystal clear waters are perfect for surf lessons or swimming in the Pacific Ocean.

Kaanapali Beach hawaii

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