How To Hit The Beaches In Hawaii
Choosing a Hawaiian beach is a little bit like planning a night on the town: How exciting do you want this to be? Are you looking for a peaceful family getaway or a scene-making, swinging singles scene? Is it dinner and the opera or rip-roaring adventure you're after? Hawaii's beaches deliver all of the above, and exploring the options is as fun as, well, exploring the nightlife of a city.
Everybody writes about their favorite beaches with golden sands and gently lapping waves, but I want to offer readers a couple of warnings about Hawaiian beaches drawn from my own experience. One time I decided to try boogie-boarding at Makapu'u Beach on Oahu's eastern tip, and almost got ripped to shreds by a fierce shore break and fiercer boogie-boarders who had far more experience than me. Definitely not the place for beginners, nor is adjacent Sandy Beach. The same can be said at Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, which is part of the string of big-wave surfing beaches during the winter months. Even in the summer, when the waves are relatively benign, the steep pitch of the beach as it meets the surf creates a scary rip that can be dangerous for weak swimmers and small children. Better to spend your time at Sunset watching the surfers and passing scene.
For boogie-boarding, I always head to Bellows Beach in Waimanalo, a long stretch of sand that is rarely crowded and has a gentle break. And on the North Shore, after I'm done taking in the cool scene of Sunset Beach, I drive towards the town of Hale'iwa and swim at Waimea Bay Beach Park, which has a gentler shore break as well as a protected lagoon that is perfect for little kids.
Here's a link to a story about more beach finds in Hawaii that was written by my friend Rita Ariyoshi, a long-time islander who knows all of the best spots, with a special emphasis on beaches that are beloved by the locals:
What's your favorite beach in Hawaii, and why?