With approximately 750 miles of coastline, one might be surprised to learn that Hawaii is fourth in terms of states with the longest coastlines – behind Alaska, Florida, and California. But what we lack in terms of coastal miles, we more than make up for with a plethora of ethereal landscapes along the coast. From tide pools and beautiful beaches to geological formations carved from ancient lava flows, here are 15 of the dreamiest spots found along the Hawaiian coast sure to make you swoon.
1. Pounders Beach, Oahu
Not far from the Polynesian Cultural Center, you will find Laie Beach Park, also known as Pounders. With beautiful turquoise water flowing around old pier pilings, this picturesque view isn’t the only thing Pounders has to offer — a beautiful limestone cliff on the south end of the beach is a popular spot for fishermen, and the offshore coral reef makes this a perfect, protected area for swimming.
2. Queen's Bath, Kauai
Located in the town of Princeville on Kauai’s north shore is a unique tide pool known as Queen’s Bath once used as a bathing spot for Hawaiian royalty. A sinkhole surrounded by igneous rock, this incredible geological formation is not only a vibrant turquoise pool set in the striking black lava shoreline, but it is also a dangerous lava bench exposed to deadly high surf.
3. Merriman’s Kapalua, Maui
Featuring a simply stunning setting overlooking the bay within the Kapalua Resort as well as mouthwatering Hawaiian-inspired cuisine, Merriman’s Kapalua is a must-visit on the island of Maui. The opulent restaurant features spectacular views, a modern open-air bar, an oceanfront lounge complete with a fire pit, and both indoor and outdoor seating — though we’re partial to dining on their stunning patio. Oh, and did we mention that Merriman’s Kapalua provides the perfect place to witness one of Hawaii’s signature sunsets over the vast Pacific Ocean?
4. Diamond Head Lighthouse, Oahu
This active lighthouse, which was built in 1899, houses the coast guard admiral in charge of the region. The lighthouse is also used as the endpoint for the Transpac Yacht Race, which starts more than 2,200 miles away in Long Beach, California. Just check out that mesmerizing turquoise water!
5. Kealakekua Bay, Hawaii Island
On the Kona coast of Hawaii Island, a dozen miles south of Kailua-Kona, sits a picturesque bay with crystalline turquoise waters and epic snorkeling where dolphins frolic off the coast. While Kealakekua Bay is no doubt absolutely jaw-dropping, it also happens to be one of the state’s most historic bays.
6. Open Ceiling Sea Cave, Kauai
This geological formation is surrounded by high rock walls and features an open ceiling to the sky. You can view the sea cave from above, or enter it on a boat tour. The light from the cave's open ceiling penetrates the water and creates an ethereal blue hue that changes colors with the moving sun.
7. Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, Maui
Located south of Hana Bay on the eastern coast of Maui, Kaihalulu is one of the 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 really, the views — and photo opp — is worth a trip.
8. Halona Cove, Oahu
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 its Hollywood fame, the only way to reach the stunning cove is via a rocky climb down.
9. Ahalanui Hot Pond, Hawaii Island
Ahalanui Hot Pond, found on Hawaii’s Big Island near Pahoa, and surrounded by green grass and palm trees, is the ultimate retreat. Though it is obvious that the cement walls that surround the pond are man-made, the pool itself is naturally geothermal, and its waters are heated volcanically to a balmy 90 degrees. Lava located beneath the park’s surface warms the fresh water that flows in from surrounding terrain.
10. Paradise Bay Resort, Oahu
Surrounded by palm trees and nestled into a quiet residential neighborhood just five miles from Kaneohe Town and eleven miles from Kailua Beach, Paradise Bay resort is a low-key haven for anyone looking to get away from it all.
11. Glass Beach, Kauai
Located in Hanapepe, near Port Allen Harbor, is this incredible beach covered with millions of sea glass pebbles in brilliant hues of aqua, blue and brown. The glass found at this beach was mainly from broken bottles and auto glass that was dumped years ago and then smoothed by time and ocean tides. The beach is pretty difficult to find, but it is heaven for lovers of sea glass.
12. Waianapanapa State Park, Maui
Located on Maui’s Road to Hana is this amazing state park, with an absolutely stunning black sand beach, hikes, a blowhole, ocean caves, sea arches, freshwater pools and cliff diving. What more could a true explorer want in a park? Camping, perhaps? Oh yeah, they have that too.
13. Lanai Lookout, Oahu
Nestled between Hanauma Bay and Koko Head to the west and the Halona Blowhole to the right on Kalanianaole Highway, the breathtaking Lanai Lookout is often overlooked for more well-known attractions. From the parking lot of this scenic overlook, you will have uninterrupted views of the stunning Pacific Ocean, and, on a clear day, the islands of Lanai, Molokai and even Maui, but the volcanic formations you’ll find here are the true standouts.
14. Papakolea Green Sand Beach, Hawaii Island
The southernmost point in the United States is memorable not just for its location, but for the natural wonders you will find there. On the southernmost tip of Hawaii Island is Papakolea, a green sand beach so unique that you will only find one other spot with this iconic sand on the planet. The stunning beach is only accessible via four-wheel drive, or a 3-mile hike, but trust us, the experience is entirely worth it.
15. Three Tables, Oahu
Located on Oahu’s north shore, this beach is a popular spot for both snorkeling and sunset viewing. The beach got its name from the three flat sections of reef that appear on the ocean’s surface during low tide, and it is quite the surreal vista.
How many of these incredibly dreamy places have you visited? If you love Hawaii’s beaches, we think this
Oahu hidden beaches road trip will blow your mind.