When you think of Hawaii, you automatically think of the beach. And there are certainly plenty of those on the 137 different volcanic islands of this unique state. The main islands consist of the eight largest, including Hawai’i, Maui, Kaho’olawe, Lana’i, Moloka’i, O’ahu, Kaua’i, and Ni’ihau. It is also the only state outside of North America as well as the only tropical state. Of course, being tropical, the weather stays warm all year, ranging from 81 degrees F in January to 90 degrees F in August.
Out of the main islands of Hawaii, there are more than 100 named beaches and probably over 1,000 unnamed or private. In fact, there are 88 beaches on the big island of Hawaii alone. But how many of these beaches allow dogs to join their pup parents onto the sand and into the waves? We found 17 of our top choices of dog-friendly beaches in Hawaii for you and your fur puppy to check out this summer.
Laupahoehoe Beach Park
On the eastern shore of the Big Island, Laupahoehoe Beach Park gives you and your leashed pup easy access to the ocean as well as the tide pools. However, it is too dangerous to swim as the waves crash into the huge lava rocks with furious speed. But it is the perfect spot to walk along the water and see the different marine creatures that live in the tide pools. Be sure not to disturb any of the wildlife, including the many shorebirds you will see here.
You may also see some green sea turtles basking on the black sand beach. The park also has a grassy area with picnic tables, perfect for enjoying a meal with your pooch. Almost 50 campsites are also available if you want to stay the night. Make sure you have enough plastic waste bags to pick up whatever Fido drops, and keep him on a leash the whole time you are there.
Spencer Beach Park
On the northern tip of the Island of Hawaii, about an hour from Laupahoehoe Beach, Spencer Beach Park is a large flat patch of soft white sand with a gently sloping reef offshore. The calm and shallow waters make this a popular beach for families with children and dogs, and your pup is welcome as long as he is leashed while you are there. Besides the gorgeous blue water and white beach, you can also find a variety of other amenities at Spencer Beach Park.
There are modern restrooms, drinking fountains, and even outdoor showers, so you can clean off that sand before getting back in the car. The park also has several picnic areas with tables and barbecue grills. There is typically a lifeguard on duty during daylight hours and security guards at night to keep the peace at the campground. They even have playgrounds for the kiddos and tennis courts for everyone. In fact, you will likely find some tennis balls for Fido to play with if you look.
Kaloko-Honokohau Beach Park
Approximately 30 miles from Spencer Beach Park, Kaloko-Honokohau Beach is a large park on the northwestern corner of Hawaii with over 1,160 acres. It is a wonderful place to swim, fish, or go snorkeling, and your cuddly canine is welcome as long as he is on a lead. Almost 600 acres of the park are wetlands, including two fishponds and one fish trap that the Hawaiians used to catch fish hundreds of years ago. You can still catch fish today if you have a license.
Although you should not let your fur puppy swim in the smaller fishpond, he is welcome to play in Aiopio Fishpond and Honokohau Beach. While you are in the park, be sure to take a walk on the Ala Mauka Makai Trail, where you can see the petroglyphs from thousands of years ago. It also takes you to the beach! Bring a waterproof camera because you can often see Hawaiian seals and green sea turtles in the clear waters.
All the way on the other side of the Big Island in the southwestern corner, Punaluu Beach is about an hour and a half hours from Kaloko-Honokohau Beach. This is a famous place on the Island of Hawaii because of its stunning black sand, which is actually basalt from the volcanoes. Because of this ground cover, you will want to wear water shoes and put some on your fur puppy as well. It is not the most comfortable thing to walk on and gets incredibly hot.
The beach is also renowned for its sea turtles that frequent the beach. You will need to keep a very short leash on your pup while the turtles are around to keep him from getting too close. Swimming is not the best here because of the current, but your pup can play in the shallows. If the water is calm and you do go out there, bring a mask and snorkel so you can see the underwater beauty.
Black Rock Beach
On the northern end of Maui Island, Black Rock Beach is one of the most popular beaches with both locals as well as travelers. One of the main activities here is cliff jumping, but we do not recommend you try it with your canine companion. With more than three miles of soft golden sand, there is lots of space for him to join you in the water for swimming, snorkeling, and splashing around as long as he is on a lead.
Because locals frequent the beach, jumping off the cliffs all day long, it is important to watch where you and Fifi are swimming and be aware of undercurrents and waves. There are no lifeguards here. Snorkeling is fun, and you can see a variety of vibrant colored fish and sea turtles as well as stunning coral. The beach was formed during one of the most recent lava flows, and it has a huge shiny lava rock (cliff) where many people jump.
Baldwin Beach Park
Just about an hour to the south, Baldwin Beach Park is another pup popular place to cool off. The two best beaches in the park for swimming are Baldwin Cove and Baby Beach because they are protected from the winds so they have calm waters, and there is a lifeguard on duty. As long as your pup is leashed, he can join you on the beach and in the water. But do not expect peace and quiet because this is a popular park.
Many locals and people from all over come to Baldwin Beach Park for bodysurfing, where the surf is high in the middle of the park. And it is popular for kayaking in other areas because of the low waves. The white sand beach is soft on the feet, so you and your cuddly companion can go barefoot. Pack a lunch, and you can have a picnic at one of the tables or on the sand.
Keopuolani Regional Park
Keopuolani Regional Park is a nice beach on the Kahului Harbor and was the very first leash-free dog park on Maui Island. But the whole park is dog-friendly and allows your fur baby to join you to play on the beach and in the water. It is not just a beach, though. There are 110 acres to explore and enjoy with your leashed pup. There is a playground for the little humans, a skate park for older kids, ball fields for everyone, picnic areas, and the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens.
Keopuolani Regional Park also has a few trails, so you can explore the woods with your pooch. The fenced dog park is pawfect because it has so much space for dogs to run around and play with other fur buddies. You will also find plenty of shaded seating for pup parents as well as water fountains, and best of all, it is totally leash-free. Bring some tug toys and a ball to toss around because there is plenty of room for all that.
Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach
About two hours to the eastern end of the island, Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach is one of the most incredible and unique beaches you will ever see because it has red sand. Not only is it gorgeous and dog-friendly, but it is also quite secluded, so you may have the beach all to yourselves. This hidden treasure stands out with vivid blue water, cool red sand, and beautiful cliffs. You will not even need a leash here unless your fur baby tends to run off.
The reason Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach is so secluded is the hike. You have to walk a little bit (10 minutes) before getting there, but it is worth every step! There have been complaints about the swift current here, so it is best to wear a life vest and put one on Fido as well. There are no restrooms, amenities, or anything else here. And remember to bring doggie waste baggies.
Keaau Beach Park
Along the northeastern coast of Oahu, Keaau Beach Park will keep you and your pupster busy all day. Actually, if you book a campsite, you can stay for up to five days! They have 25 reservable sites right on the beach, and you can book yours online in advance. Oceanfront camping is an awesome experience, especially on the Island of Oahu, where the weather is always warm enough to swim but not too hot to sleep.
The park allows dogs to join their pup parents in swimming, playing in the sand, and camping. They also have picnic areas with tables and barbecue grills, as well as restrooms, showers, and plenty of shade. The one thing you may not like is the roosters that tend to wake everyone bright and early every day. Other than that, this is the perfect beach for anyone who wants to stay for a while. Just be sure to pack plenty of doggie bags and food.
Ala Moana Regional Park
Ala Moana Regional Park is all the way at the other end of the island, about two hours from Keaau Beach Park. Since it is free to the public, this beach is one of the most popular on the island, so do not expect it to be secluded or empty. Between the locals and the tourists, the 100-acre park and beach gets more than four million visitors per year. That is why you should always keep your Fifi leashed while you are there.
The golden beach is stretched out over one-half mile with a shallow reef to swim, splash, and play. Just be careful of the sharp corals on the western end of the beach. There are lifeguards, and it is suggested that you use life jackets if you plan to swim because the bottom drops out quickly. You will find concession stands, picnic tables, tennis, showers, and restrooms, as well as a playground and a music pavilion.
Koko Head District Park
At the southern tip of the island, the Koko Head District Park is part of the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline. It is only about 15 miles from Ala Moana Regional Park, so you could visit both in the same day. Many people come for the hike, but the beach is fantastic! Hanauma Bay is a rough place to swim, so bring life vests for both of you. Also, stop at the Hanauma Bay Snorkel Rental Shop on the beach so you can see the vibrant beauty under the sea.
The hike is worth it if you have the energy. It is only about a mile to the top, but it is about 1,000 steps on an abandoned railroad track to get there. Straight up! No shade. If you do make it, this is a perfect spot to go if you want to see whales. From November to March, more than 10,000 humpback whales migrate right along the warm waters near the southern coast of Oahu.
Ahupuaa O’ Kahana State Park
Ahupuaa O’ Kahana State Park has it all, from coconut groves to rainforests. On the northeastern corner of Oahu, this park is about 30 miles north of the Koko Head District Park. This is one of the wettest spots on the whole island, seeing almost 300 inches of rain per year. But you do not have to worry. Just a few minutes away, you can enjoy the beach at Kahana Bay, where it is warm and dry.
The park itself has over 5,500 acres with two easy trails to explore with your pooch. Just keep his leash on wherever you go and bring along lots of doggie bags to clean up after him. There are also 10 campsites you can reserve in advance if you want to stay longer. The park also offers showers, water fountains, modern restrooms, and picnic areas. It even has a boat ramp if you need it.
Kalihikai Park Anini Beach
On the northern shoreline of Kauai, Kalihikai Park is more than just a park. It is also a beach and a campground. There are several miles of gold sandy beachfront protected by an offshore reef making it the perfect place to swim and play with pups and kids. With crystal-clear water, you can see straight to the bottom. Get some snorkeling equipment, and you can see even more! No need to dive. You can just stick your face in the water.
Just keep your pooch on a leash and close to you. There are sea turtles and lots of different marine creatures here, so you will need to keep your pup from getting too close. Anini Beach offers excellent swimming, picnicking, and camping, but there are no lifeguards. They do have modern restrooms with showers, water fountains, and picnic tables. Bring your own food and water for both you and Scruffy.
On the southeastern end of the island, Kalapaki Beach is less than an hour from Kalihikai Park Anini Beach. Leashed pups are welcome to join their owners on the sand and in the water as long as you clean up after your fur puppy. It is the perfect swimming beach with calm water protected by the surrounding cove. Or you can get out on the water in a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard if you have one. If not, you can rent one!
Another way to enjoy this beach is with a good book and an ice-cold beverage. Be sure to bring some for your pooch too. You do not want him drinking salt water! There are nearby concessions and eating establishments, as well as a shaved ice stand year-round. However, there is no lifeguard here, so you should have a life vest for you and Fido if you plan to dive in.
Kekaha Beach Park
And on the southwestern corner of Kauai, Kekaha Beach Park can be found at the end of a 15-mile beach stretching across the Mana Coastal Plain. It is only 30 miles from Kalapaki Beach and boasts some of the nicest views of the sunset. Being on the western side of the island, you get strong wind and large waves so you have to be careful if you plan to swim. Put a life jacket on and get one on your pup too.
You will see a lot of surfers here, catching those big waves, but swimmers are here too. You may also see some other fur babies here because there are a lot of pup parents in the area. Be sure to have your canine companion leashed and pack some cleanup bags to pick up after him. It is also a great place for saltwater fishing, but you will need a license.
One Alii Park
Molokai is one of the smaller main islands at only 38 miles long and 10 miles wide. It is also the home of some of the tallest cliffs in the world and the longest fringing reef line. The best dog-friendly beach here can be found at One Alii Park on the southeastern section of the island. Whether you swim really depends on the weather because some days the water is rough and wild while other days it is calm and mellow.
One of the coolest attractions at One Allii Park is the fishpond. It was only used by royalty to raise fish and swim many years ago. Today it is great for fishing and wading. There is also a playground for the little humans, restrooms, and picnic tables, as well as a large coconut palm tree playing field. If you want to stay, camping is available for up to four days at a time.
Hulopoe Beach Park
Lanai is the smallest of the major islands in Hawaii and is only about 18 miles long and 16 miles wide. It is shaped like an apostrophe and is nicknamed the Pineapple Isle because of the pineapple plantation. And located on Lanai, Hulopoe Beach Park in Hulopoe Bay is right in front of the Four Seasons, but it is open to the public. This includes your leashed cuddly companion. However, you should keep him close because it gets crowded here.
Hulopoe Beach is one of the few white sand beaches in Hawaii, and when you see it up against the deep blue water, it is impressive. In fact, it is the perfect spot for beach selfies! It is also great for snorkeling because of the clear water, and there are some incredibly colorful corals and fish down there to see. Bring along some food, and you can barbecue in the picnic area.
The Final Woof
Thinking of trying some SUP with your pup? Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has become incredibly popular in the past few years, and there are many places in the Hawaiian Islands to try it. One of the best places is SUP Dog Hawaii because they love dogs. They will rent you the equipment and teach both you and Fido the ropes. For surfing lessons, check out Surf N Sea on the north shore of Oahu. Afterward, take your fur puppy to the brewery so you can enjoy a nice cold brew. Kohola Brewery in Lahaina is very popular with the pup parents, and they offer food during happy hour from 4 to 6 PM.