With nearly perfect weather year-round, the Hawaiian Islands are absolute paradise. And while we will gladly hang out in the water no matter what the time of year, we love cooling off in the summer at our favorite little-known swimming spot. From stunning beaches and waterfall swimming holes to coastal tide pools, these 11 magical swimming spots will undoubtedly make your summer epic.
1. Kalihiwai Beach, Kauai
Kalihiwai is an ironwood-lined crescent shaped bay located on Kauai's northern shore. Be sure to check out the brackish pools located behind the beach near the stream - this is a perfect area for kids to wade, swim and float.
2. Kapena Falls, Oahu
Located near the Nu’uanu Memorial Park is this swimming hole that requires only a short walk to reach the modest 20-foot waterfall. Follow the road from the park toward a small traffic circle, and then head left – there is a small parking lot near the dead end, and the trailhead is on the left, unmarked.
3. Honomalino Beach, Hawaii Island
This 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. The stunning stretch of sand is often overlooked for more popular black sand beaches, and is relatively secluded.
4. Pua’a Ka’a Falls, Maui
A short hike within the Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside will reward you with a relatively secluded and quite picturesque waterfall, cascading into the delightful pool below. Another stop on Maui’s Road to Hana, Pua’a Ka’a translates to "rolling pig" in Hawaiian.
5. Alan Davis Beach Park, Oahu
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. Olivine Pools, Maui
These dramatic tide pools located along Maui’s western coast were first recognized in a popular Maui guidebook, though we would like to urge visitors that the short hike to reach the pools can be dangerous – and that you should only enter the water during calm ocean conditions.
7. Secret Beach, Kauai
Though not suitable for novice swimmers, this gorgeous gem, also known as Kauapea Beach, can be seen from a nearby lighthouse and offers stunning views and great surfing in the winter. 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.
8. Kalepolepo Beach, Maui
Once the site of a historically significant fishpond, this beach is off the beaten path. Located in North Kihei, Kalepolepo is out of the way for most Maui tourists, so there’s a good chance you might have the beach to yourself.
9. Lulumau Falls, Oahu
Located off Pali Highway is this extraordinary waterfall hike – complete with a trek through a bamboo forest, views of a stunning field and reservoir, the beauty of the Hawaiian jungle, and – of course – the jaw-dropping, 50-foot Lulumahu Falls.
10. Kapoho Tide Pools, Hawaii Island
Located on Hawaii Island are the Kapoho tide pools, a series of interconnecting tide pools extending some 200 yards off shore, with many of the pools large enough for snorkeling. Also fun: some of the pools are heated volcanically, and can reach temperatures of up to 90 degrees.
11. 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 pillings, 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.