17 Feb 2023
How to Prepare for a Perfect Hawaii Beach Day
Nothing draws visitors to Hawai'i quite like its beaches, and for good reason. Instantly recognizable from a single photo, they're legendary around the world for their crescents of soft, inviting-looking sand and turquoise ocean water lined with coconut palms, all set against a baby blue sky filled with puffy, carefree clouds. This is a scene of tranquility that's sought out by mre than a million people every year who come to the island chain to see it for themselves, from surfers to snorkelers, spear-fishers to sunbathers, picnickers to sand castle builders.
Whether you dream of long swaths of white sand and gentle surf or have your sights set on short patches of course lava pebbles nestled between jagged cliffs, here are some simple tips for planning the perfect beach day in Hawai'i:
1. Pick a Suitable Spot
Consider the wants and needs of friends and family members you may be traveling with – what do they want to do at the beach? The best snorkeling spots typically don't make for the best boogie boarding spots, and vice versa. Many beach parks throughout the islands are outfitted with pavilions, picnic tables, barbecue pits, modern toilets, public shower stands, lifeguard towers, and other amenities. Beaches in farther-flung places, however, can lack some or all of these things, including safe access down to the shore for those with mobility issues.
It's important to also keep ocean safety in mind while choosing a good place to swim, snorkel, and board. Consider whether those you are traveling with are strong swimmers or not. Ocean conditions at beaches in the islands are not static; they differ based on location, weather, season, and layout of the coastline and near-shore seafloor. Generally, a beach with a formidable offshore reef will have smaller waves breaking on the sand, since this wall of coral and sunken boulders temper the force of big rollers coming in from the open ocean. These reefs create the breaks that surfers ride, and provide habitat for myriad Hawaiian sea life including schools of brightly colored tropical fish, octopus, eels, urchins, and our famed green sea turtles, making them ideal snorkeling grounds.
So, check ocean conditions at the beach you're planning to visit in the morning before heading out, and after arriving, spend a few minutes standing on the shore and watching the waves, current, and other swimmers and surfers.
2. Pack the Right Gear
The baggage claim carousels at Hawaii's airports are constantly stuffed with all sorts of beach gear – from portable coolers to mesh bags of snorkels and masks to boogie boards and suitcases filled with beach towels, among other things. Thrifty travelers have learned that it's more affordable to check a bag or two of gear at the airport than to buy the items upon arrival, although this can entail quite a bit of schlepping in the end.
An easier and smarter option for vacationers is to utilize the gear already at their rental. Many Hawai’i vacation rentals outfit their properties with amenities that you’ll be happy you brought with you to the beach, including beach chairs, towels, coolers, umbrellas, boogie boards, and blankets. In fact, many Hawai'i Life Vacation Rental properties offer amenities like these for guests' convenience, and lists of the items available can typically be found under the amenities section. This makes for some helpful considerations when comparing places to book, and allows for a much simpler (and lighter) packing list.
If your rental has a cooler to use, stock it full of ice, food, and drinks for the day, keeping in mind that alcohol consumption is banned at some beach parks while permitted at others. If possible, find a safe spot in the shade of trees growing along the beach to stash the cooler – this will make the ice last longer – and make sure to malama aina (care for the land) which in this case means “pack it in, pack it out”.
One beach item that visitors to Hawai'i should be sure to bring is reef-safe sunscreen. Conventional sunblock contains the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate (among others), which are extremely harmful to coral. Sales of sunscreen containing these ingredients have been banned in the state since 2021, and extensive media campaigns have been launched to persuade visitors to leave these products at home. Reef-safe sunscreens are typically mineral-based, containing UV-blocking ingredients like titanium dioxide, and can be found at drug stores and supermarkets throughout the islands.
3. Book A Comfortable Rental
After a long day at the beach, it's wonderful to be able to hop in a jacuzzi or lay out on a hammock and watch the sunset. Finding a Hawai’i vacation rental that suits your needs and offers a few of these extra creature comforts can go a long way in making your trip one-of-a-kind.
So, go ahead and browse the properties that Hawai'i Life has to offer, take note of where they're located and what types of gear are available to guests, and then read some reviews for nearby swimming holes and jot down the names of a few that look promising.
With so many different properties to choose from, it's easy to put together a perfect Hawai’i beach day. To find your well-outfitted Hawai'i Life rental, contact us today!
Vacations@HawaiiLife.com | 855.447.3685