17 Best Family Beaches in Hawaii

Honaunau Beach
Honaunau Beach

Hawaii, commonly called Big Island, is the largest island in the state of the same name, but its beaches are often ignored in favor of those on the other islands due to its smaller population. In spite of this, it is not without wonder and does have a large selection of beaches that are just perfect for families.

In the rest of the article, we’re going to look at some of the best family beaches in Hawaii in detail and see what exactly makes each of them so great for families.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach State Park, Hawai’i Big Island - Aerial View
Hapuna Beach State Park, Hawai’i Big Island – Aerial View

If your little ones love taking a whole lot of toys to the beach or if you love making beach days an extravagant affair for the family, Hapuna Beach on the west coast is perfect for you. The scenic drive to this location takes you almost all the way to the beach itself. The convenient parking means you can travel as heavily loaded as you want.

Kauna‘oa Beach

Kauna'oa Bay Mauna Kea Hawaii
Kauna’oa Bay Mauna Kea Hawaii

Also known as Mauna Kea Beach, this one is renowned for its exclusivity, and with its small size, it needs to be. The white sand is sandwiched between meticulously maintained greenery on one side and perfect, welcoming water on the other. If your kids love animals, the manta rays that visit Kauna’oa Beach make for a great nature experience.

Honaunau Beach

Honaunau Beach
Honaunau Beach

Another beach perfect for the budding naturalists in your family is Honaunau Beach. The marine life teeming throughout is exceptional in its diversity, and for the more confident members of your household, diving is a popular option that allows you to see this nature from a very different angle.

Carlsmith Beach

Small Island and Lava Rock Shoreline, Carlsmith Beach Park, Hilo, Hawaii Island, Hawaii, USA
Small Island and Lava Rock Shoreline, Carlsmith Beach Park, Hilo, Hawaii Island, Hawaii, USA

If you want to truly experience the Big Island’s fearsome volcanic reputation first hand, Carlsmith Beach, near to Hilo, connects the idyllic waters with black lava rock. Also known as Four Mile, this beach makes up for its lack of sand by offering a gorgeous lawn where you can have a family picnic and beach day all in one.

James Keʻaloha Beach

James Keʻaloha Beach
James Keʻaloha Beach

The James Kealoha Beach Park is a good all round package for the family. It has grassy areas for a picnic, the shore for a traditional beach day, and facilities to keep you in touch with civilization. Just make sure to keep an eye on the little ones and avoid the rip currents, which can be quite strong.

Onekahakaha Beach

Onekahakaha Beach
Onekahakaha Beach

Much like at the James Kealoha Beach, Onekahakaha offers a broad range of features for a good family day out. A huge bonus that the latter has over the former, however, is the presence of shallow waters for kids to paddle in without you having to worry too much about their safety.

Samuel M. Spencer Beach

Spencer Beach at Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park, Hawaii Island, Hawaii, USA
Spencer Beach at Samuel M. Spencer Beach Park, Hawaii Island, Hawaii, USA

Also called simply Spencer Beach, this white sand beach is located just to the south of Kawaihae Harbor. The many natural features are complemented by an array of amenities, giving the perfect balance of natural beauty and human comforts. The shallow water at Spencer Beach accommodates both unconfident swimmers and snorkelers who don’t want too much of a challenge.

Anaeho’omalu Beach

Sunset at Anaeho'omalu Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii, USA.
Sunset at Anaeho’omalu Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii, USA.

If that’s too much of a mouthful for you or the kids, the bay on which this beach sits is often called A-Bay. A reef offers plenty of shelter to the waters, so the whole family can enjoy a swim without worrying about high surf. The calm waters also make it a great place for snorkeling.

Kikaua Point Beach

Sunbathing Green Sea Turtles in the Kikaua Point Park, Big Island, Hawaii
Sunbathing Green Sea Turtles in the Kikaua Point Park, Big Island, Hawaii

The greatest value in Kikaua Point Beach for families is the fact that it is technically a lagoon. With water effectively as serene as a swimming pool, children can have a great, safe time learning to swim for the first time or even just enjoy paddling without concern for big waves disrupting their relaxation.

Manini’owali Beach

Surfers on Manini'owali beach in Hawaii
Surfers on Manini’owali beach in Hawaii

Also known as Kua Bay Beach, Manini’owali has some of the clearest waters you can find, making it great for inquisitive children who like exploring visually as they swim. Waves are a recurring feature, which makes the beach great for bodyboarding, but you will need to be aware of this turbulence coming in when little ones are swimming.

Makalawena Beach

Makalawena Beach on Big Island Hawaii, USA, a beautiful remote white sand beach and turquoise water.
Makalawena Beach on Big Island Hawaii, USA, a beautiful remote white sand beach and turquoise water.

Makalawena Beach is made up of a collection of formations, including a trio of crescent shaped beaches. With all sorts of natural features on land, this one is great for kids that love the excitement of exploring varied places but may get bored with being in the water for too long.

Wawaloli Beach

Gorgeous Lava Tube Well at Wawaloli Beach Park, Big Island, Hawaii
Gorgeous Lava Tube Well at Wawaloli Beach Park, Big Island, Hawaii

If you want a scenic vista, Wawaloli Beach offers an incredible view of the Hualalai Volcano from the shore. There’s also a big tide pool present for kids too small to deal with waves or really just anyone after a relaxed paddle.

Aiopio Beach

Aiopio Beach
Aiopio Beach

Another beach protected from rough waves by an offshore reef, Aiopio gives families access to pristine waters without any of the peril. This beach is also often visited by sea turtles, so if your kids love animals, this is a must-visit location.

Kamakahonu Beach

Kamakahonu Beach, Hawaii has sandy beach, shoreline, and palm trees surrounding cove
Kamakahonu Beach, Hawaii has sandy beach, shoreline, and palm trees surrounding cove

Also known as King Kam Beach, named for the nearby hotel, Kamakahonu offers an experience that is both natural and cultural. The nearby historic area will be of great interest to kids who like learning about culture and history.

Hookena Beach

Hookena Beach
Hookena Beach

Hookena Beach offers a full package to families that love getting in the water. The tide pools are a good place for little ones and unconfident swimmers to enjoy, while the wild waves off the main shore are perfect for bodyboarding teens and adults.

Green Sand Beach

Green Sand Beach, Big Island, Hawaii
Green Sand Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

Also called Mahana Beach, this one gets its other name from the green color of its sand, courtesy of the olivine deposited by the Mauna Loa Volcano. Unless you have many confident swimmers in your household, the tumultuous waves mean that your family is better suited for the many land attractions present rather than the water.

Waipio Beach

Waipio Valley, Waipio Bay and distant Kohala State Forest Reserve from Waipio Scenic Overlook
Waipio Valley, Waipio Bay and distant Kohala State Forest Reserve from Waipio Scenic Overlook

Just like with Green Sand Beach, Waipio is both better suited for land visits rather than water visits and has an unusual sand color. In this case, the luxurious black sand can keep you company while you enjoy watching whales or taking in the rugged scenery.

See Also

US Beaches

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!