Surf’s up: Best secluded Hawaiian beaches

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Hawaii remains one of the most popular holiday destinations for Aussies. In 2017, the number of hotel bookings by Australians on the Big Island alone saw a 36 per cent year-on-year growth, according to Travel Talk, and July 2017 was the most popular time to travel to the string of islands.

But do you want a beach vacation without the big beach crowds?

If you’re considering going on holiday to Hawaii, it’s worth looking into which beaches you should seek out, especially if you want some peace and quiet.

Here’s a look at the best beaches in Hawaii if you’re aiming to avoid big crowds.

Makua Beach, Oahu

Condé Nast Traveler named Makua Beach one of the best secluded beaches in Hawaii. It’s on the island of Oahu, just like Waikiki and Honolulu, but is removed from the tourist hubbub. With the backdrop of the Waianae Mountains and the blue crystal of the ocean, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise while enjoying the silence.

There is no lifeguard on duty, so you swim at your own risk, but if you’re looking for a secluded spot to sunbathe, this is the place for you.

Photo credit Getty/Dmitrii Sakharov

Kawakiu Beach, Molokai

Molokai is a hidden gem that rests between Hawaii’s two most popular islands, Oahu and Maui (with 4.7 million and 2.4 million annual visitors, respectively, according to Hawaii Guide. Molokai and the island Lanai account for only 200,000 Hawaiian visitors annually, combined.

Needless to say, the island’s beaches are pretty secluded and quiet. Kawakiu Beach is the island’s northernmost beach and can be accessed after a 45-minute hike down to the area, according to Condé Nast Traveler.

Polihale State Park, Kauai

This remote beach is along Kauai’s western shore, near the Napali Cliffs. It’s secluded and tranquil, as it takes some effort to get to – you have to drive over sand dunes, which requires four-wheel drive in your vehicle.

But once you’re there, you’ll relax in the sun and take in the beauty of the Pacific without a lot of extra noise.

Photo credit Getty/Michael Runkel

Waipi’o Valley Beach, Big Island

Reaching this beach may be more difficult than the rest, but you’ve likely never seen anything like the black-sand beach of Waipi’o Valley. If it’s been a rainier season, off in the distance you’ll be able to see the Kaluahine Falls to the east.

To reach the Waipi’o Valley floor and get to the beach, you’ll either need to go on a tour or rent a car with four-wheel drive, as the way down has some of the steepest inclines on Big Island. You can hike down, but it’s over six miles and is quite a difficult trek.

Photo credit Getty/Matthew Micah Wright

Things to keep in mind when going the secluded route:

  • Prepare to do a lot of hiking to get to these hidden gems, or to rent a tough vehicle with four-wheel drive.
  • Do research in advance to prepare for the longer hikes or drives so you bring enough food and supplies.
  • Remember there are often no lifeguards on duty so swim at your own risk.
  • Especially during winter months, surf can be rough, so pay attention to the state of the waves before surfing or swimming.
  • If you opt for a more popular beach on any of the Hawaiian Islands, weekdays are usually not quite as crowded.
  • Some beaches close at night, so make sure you check beach hours that could change throughout the year.


TID is an Australian online travel insurance company.


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