Hawaii has no shortage of beautiful places to swim, as the locals know well. If you're looking for a spot to hang loose in the Aloha State this summer, check out one of these great beaches.
Finders keepers at Kaimana Beach
Located across Kapiolani Park next to the War Memorial on the eastern edge of Waikiki, Kaimana Beach remains a favorite for many. With calm waters, a natural “swim path” to a nearby buoy in the water and a reef at least 50 yards from the shore, Kaimana is the perfect place to either relax or get your swim on. Arrive early to find a parking spot near the beach as it gets crowded on weekends, and the rule of thumb is “finders, keepers.” For more information, visit www.to-hawaii.com/oahu/beaches/kaimanabeach.php.
The fish are back at Hanauma Bay
After 22 years of effort to protect Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, the creatures living under the sea are thriving in this beautiful curved bay. Snorkeling while swimming is a must, so you can interact with all the different fish feeding on the reef. Located at the tail end of Hawaii Kai (off of Kalaniana’ole Highway), parking is $1 when there is still space available. Hawaii residents get free admission, and visitors pay an entrance fee of $7.50. To get the full details and plan your visit, check out www.honolulu.gov/parks/facility/hanaumabay/information.htm.
Makapu’u won’t disappoint
Makapu’u Beach offers a fun time to those who enjoy swimming in large rolling waves or tide pools. There is a large tide pool near the base of the Makapu’u Lighthouse, but be alert for warning flags that indicate high tide and strong currents passing through. This is a great place to practice duck-diving and body surfing. For more information on how to get there, see www.aloha.com/~lifeguards/makapuu.html.
Lanikai beach for loungers
Known for its stunningly beautiful setting, Lanikai beach hums a soft lullaby to swimmers with its gentle waves. It’s definitely made for the lounging type, but beware of the jellyfish in parts of the beach. For those wanting a greater adventure, you can kayak out to "the Moks" (the two Mokuluas islands off the shore) and swim in the waters there. Access the beach from public entrance walkways off of Mokulua Drive in Kailua. Parking is free on the residential streets nearby. For more, visit www.fodors.com/world/north-america/usa/hawaii/honolulu-and-oahu/review-421695.html.
Do it island-style at Waimea Bay
Located on the North Shore of O’ahu near the historic town of Haleiwa and across from the Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden, Waimea Bay is famous for the big wave invitational surf tournament held in memory of famous surfer Eddie Aikau. During the winter, the waves can reach 15-30 feet, but this beach is a fun, swim-friendly place outside of high surf season. Usually packed on the weekends, the long drive down a two-lane road is small price to pay for a gorgeous day at the bay. For directions and location, check out www.gohawaii.com/oahu/regions-neighborhoods/north-shore/waimea-bay.
Whether you want to swim in the blue waters or lounge on the beach, Hawaii offers a wealth of spots to soak up the sun and surf this summer.