From breathtaking colored sand to beaches with crystalline turquoise waters, and from shores littered with tourists to those where you might be completely secluded, the Hawaiian Islands are home to some of the greatest beaches in the world. And while most of these beaches are easily accessible – with parking lots just steps from the sand – there are others that require a bit more effort. These 11 beaches – found everywhere from Kauai’s northern shore to the Big Island’s southern tip – are only accessible via hiking. Some of these beaches are available simply walking for 20 minutes, while one requires an 11-mile backpacking trek along the coast.
1. Kauapea Beach
This Kauai beach is often referred to as Secret Beach, probably due to the steep hike to reach the massive 3,000-foot-long stretch of sand. Even if there are other people here when you visit, with so much sand, you’re bound to feel pretty secluded.
2. Papakolea Green Sand Beach
A 2.5-mile trail brings hikers to Papakolea Beach, also known as Green Sand Beach, the southernmost point in the United States. The trail is reserved for pedestrians and four-wheel drive vehicles – and the dangerous offshore waters make it one of the best spots for shoreline fishing.
3. Kalalau Beach
This rugged 11-mile trek (one way) into Kalalau valley + beach on Kauai's Na Pali Coast may only be recommended for experienced hikers, but there is certainly something to be said for the incredible ocean views - and perhaps the most secluded beach in all of Hawaii.
4. Polulu Valley Beach
Often bypassed for other lookout points on the Big Island is Polulu Valley, perhaps due to the fact that you must drive to the end of the Highway 270 to reach this picturesque location. If you do make the drive out here, don’t settle for the views from the lookout – definitely take the time to hike the Awini Trail that leads down to the stunning black sand beach. The half-hour hike is steep at times, but the views – and the destination – are well worth it.
5. Alan Davis Beach Park
At the trailhead for the Makapu'u Lighthouse trail, take the dirt path to the right to reach this beautiful Hawaii beach. It will take you approximately 10 minutes on the Kaiwi Shoreline Trail to reach Alan David Beach, a place famous for its cliff jumping.
6. Waipio Beach
While this Big Island beach is often seen from above at the Waipio Valley lookout, you will need to hike 1.5 miles from the parking lot down to the beach, so you can bet that you’ll be mostly alone once you arrive.
7. Hanakapiai Beach
Found approximately two miles from the Kalalau Trailhead is this gorgeous beach and waterfall. It's a popular day trip for those who aren't experienced enough to tackle the famous Kalalau Trail.
8. Honomalino Beach
This secluded salt and pepper beach on Hawaii Island's Kona coast is surrounded by coconut palms, and is accessible via a 20 minute walk from nearby Miloli'i Beach Park.
9. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach
This stunning red sand beach on Maui’s eastern coast is one of only a few red sand beaches in the world. You’ll have to access the stunning beach via an overgrown cliff-side trail, and the water is rough, but the views are well worth the effort.
10. Ha'ena Beach
The moderate 5-mile round trip Puna Trail weaves through stunning coastal rainforest, and ends at the secluded Haena Beach, a picturesque spot seldom visited by tourists.
11. Halona Cove
Situated between Halona Point and the Halona Blowhole, this small rocky cove is perfectly picturesque, and has been featured in films like Pirates of the Caribbean and 50 First Dates. Despite it’s Hollywood fame, the only way to reach the stunning cove is via a rocky and slightly treacherous hike.