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Best Autism-Friendly Beaches in Hawaii

Updated: Mar 9

A sunset beach with palm trees and the beach.  It's got a title that reads a yellow hue and has a title that reads Autism Friendly Travel Best Autism-Friendly Beaches in Hawaii.  Many of the best autism friendly beaches can be found right here in the US.

There are hundreds of gorgeous beaches scattered around the world. Some of them are located in foreign countries. However, many of the best autism-friendly beaches can be found in the US. If you have been searching for the best autism-friendly beaches, I recommend traveling to Hawaii. This spectacular state is comprised of numerous islands. Each island offers sandy shorelines, sparkling blue water, and plenty of water activities to keep your autistic family happy and busy. I know you will be thrilled with all the possibilities that come with a fabulous Hawaiian beach vacation. Imagine all the relaxing moments you can have in the water and surrounding area. Start to feel your worries fade away during what can be an incredible time away from home. Before you know it, you will be inspired to contact me and make all those Hawaiian dreams a reality.

I firmly believe that travel is for everyone. I wrote this blog post to show you how autism-friendly Hawaii can truly be. Many people have their doubts about the islands. Because they have never taken the time to visit before, I can tell you that the Hawaiian Islands are one of the best places in the world to relax and explore the great outdoors with autistic children. You can spend time in national parks. Or you can choose to focus on the best autism-friendly beaches in Hawaii. The choice is always yours regarding how your autistic family wants to experience the beauty of any Hawaiian Island.

A shot from the water.  There is blue water with palm trees and the sky.

So, are you ready to see precisely what is waiting for you on the shorelines of all the Hawaiian Islands?

To get you started imagining the possibilities, think about:

  • Windsurfing

  • Surfing

  • Submarine Rides

  • Kayaking

  • Snorkeling

  • Parasailing

  • Boogie Boarding

  • Kitesurfing

  • Wakeboarding

  • Jet Skiing

These are just a few water activities available in the Aloha State. There are so many others that may pique the interest of your autistic family.

You can spend as much time as you wish, creating lasting memories on the beaches in Hawaii. Some beaches in Hawaii will WOW you more than others. But only you will know which ones are the best for your autistic family. And to discover them, you must check out the different beaches on the Hawaiian Island you are visiting for vacation.

Of course, if you want to get a head start and save time, you could always use my handy list of the best autism-friendly beaches in Hawaii. I have spent a lot of time on Hawaiian beaches, so I know firsthand which ones are better than the rest. And I am going to share them all with you today. Here are the best autism-friendly beaches in Hawaii.

* This post contains affiliate links; I earn a small commission if you decide to purchase something; this helps me keep blog posts like this one and running the site!*

Oahu Beaches

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu

A shot of Diamond Head with the hotels in the shot and boats.

The island of Oahu is commonly called The Gathering Place. Most people live in Oahu, so you will never be alone when on vacation there.

Waikiki Beach is a top-rated beach. You have probably heard of it already! What you may not know is that it was once the location of spouting waters caused by the rivers and springs that were once in the area.

Waikiki Beach is an excellent location if your family wants to surf during your Hawaiian vacation. Beginners and expert surfers will love catching waves while capturing views of Mount Leahi in the distance.

Snorkeling is another popular family activity at Waikiki Beach. The water is crystal clear, so it is easy to see the Hawaiian marine life up close.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: April, May, and October are the best months to visit Waikiki Beach. The weather is beautiful, and the crowds are smaller.

Waimea Bay Beach in Haleiwa

A photo of a kayaker in Waimea Bay on Oahu.

Waimea Bay Beach is another favorite beach in Hawaii for surfing. You can’t beat the soft, powdery sand, lush greenery, and cerulean water. It’s one of the places I consider paradise. If surfing isn’t on the list of things to do for your family vacation, you have options. I recommend snorkeling, swimming, body surfing, or boogie boarding.

You may even want to consider jumping into the water from the massive rock on the shoreline. Active teens will love the thrill of the jump, but they will also enjoy all the other adventures waiting for them at this beach in Hawaii.

Waimea Bay Beach has restrooms and showers—both must-haves for family vacations! Lifeguards patrol the beach to ensure everyone’s safety. Picnic tables are scattered around for picnic lunches and snacks—you know, all those times when the kids are starving from all the action and time in the water!

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: Winter is the best time to surf to tackle 30-foot waves. However, if your autistic family is starting to surf, summer may be your best option. The waves are much calmer at this beach during the summer months.

Ko’Olina Beach in Kapolei

Lagoon number 4 in Ko'Olina on Oahu.

Ko’Olina Beach has 2 miles of sandy shoreline. Palm-lined walkways lead to the four manmade lagoons on the beach. This is one of the most autistic-friendly beaches on Oahu. The reefs keep the water calm, so you will never need to worry about strong waves or rip currents.

A few of the best water activities at this beach in Oahu include swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. The marina has lots of boats docked, including tour boats. I can easily schedule your autistic family for a whale—or dolphin-watching cruise, diving excursion, or sunset dinner cruise.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: Parking at Ko’Olina Beach is very limited. The first-come, first-serve spots fill up quickly, especially during peak season. Arrive early for the prime spots closest to the beach. Prime spots are also available near lagoon number four. Public parking is also available, but it is further away from the sand.

Hanauma Bay State Park Beach in Honolulu

A sunset shot of Hanauma Bay State Park.

Hanauma Bay State Park Beach, also known as The Curved Bay, is within a volcanic cove and has crystal clear blue water. This Hawaiian beach is best for family snorkeling vacations. When you swim and snorkel, you will find yourself amongst the green sea turtles and other colorful fish.

I recommend taking the time to walk along the shoreline. This will allow you to spend time with your family, search for shells, and enjoy the ambiance of one of the best beaches in Hawaii.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: Morning is the best time to visit this Hawaiian beach. The water is more transparent earlier in the day, making it better for viewing marine life. Calmer water is also present early in the day, creating safe swimming conditions.

Lanai Beaches

Hulopo’e Beach in Lanai

A shot of Hulopo'e Beach in Lanai.

Hulopo’e Beach is located within Manele Bay, also known as Shark’s Bay. Don’t worry, there aren’t many sharks waiting to swim with you in this bay. Your swimming buddies will be dolphins, monk seals, and sea turtles.

This is one of the quieter beaches in Hawaii. It is located further from the city, so there aren’t enormous crowds, noise, or vendors vying for your money. All you will hear is your family’s laughter and waves coming onto the shoreline.

When visiting Hulopo’e Beach, you can watch the kids build sand sculptures while you read a book and relax.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: It is best to pack food, snacks, and plenty of drinks when visiting Hulopo’e Beach. There is only one restaurant in the area, which can become quite busy at mealtimes.

Big Island Beaches

Hapuna Beach in Waimea

A shot of the beautiful pristine waters of Hapuna Beach in Waimea on the Big Island

One of the best family beaches in Hawaii is Hapuna Beach. During the summer months, the shimmering white sand, clusters of lava rocks, and sparkling turquoise water will take your breath away.

There are barbecue stations and picnic tables for families of all sizes. Accessible restrooms make routine tasks easier for autistic families. You can even rent a pavilion for more space if you are on vacation with other families.

Kids of all ages will love surfing, snorkeling, and bodysurfing at this autism-friendly beach in Hawaii. You can choose to join them or sunbathe on the soft sand.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: Vacationing at this beach in Hawaii at the beginning of the year allows you to watch pods of whales migrating to the area.

Maui Beaches

Ka’anapali Beach in Ka’anapali

Ka’anapali Beach is considered one

A shot of Ka'anapali Beach in MAui.

of the most beautiful beaches in the US. There are 3 miles of soft powdered sand to walk along as a family. Of course, the sparkling clear water is perfect for all those water sports your family wants to do on vacation. A few of the possibilities your family will love include kayaking, scuba diving, boogie boarding, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. I recommend snorkeling to see the green sea turtles up close.

Magnificent hotels surround this family-friendly beach in Maui. Most of those hotels offer “keiki” programs, which are children’s programs designed to keep kids busy during their stay.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: Black Rock is the best spot for snorkeling near Ka’anapali Beach. Older teens will love jumping off the cliffs near this rock into the water below.

Baldwin Beach Park in Paia

A Baldwin Beach Park in Paia Town photo during the day time.  There is a bright blue sky with a sandy ornage beach and trees with the Waimea Mountain Range in the background.

Baldwin Beach Park is on the northern shoreline of Maui. It offers a long white sandy beach, perfect for families who enjoy collecting seashells. Baby Beach to the west and Baldwin Cove to the east are better for smaller kids. The protected swimming pools offer shallow water and no waves.

Lifeguards will watch everyone in the water, giving you extra safety.

The barbecue area and picnic tables are perfect for lunch, snacks, and dinner. Restrooms and showers can also be found at this Hawaiian beach. That means you can spend as long as you wish at the beach, knowing all your needs are met.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: The best time to visit Baldwin Beach Park for surfing and boogie boarding is during the winter months. The shore breaks get larger at that time of the year, creating amazing waves.

Kauai Beaches

Poipu Beach in Koloa

A photo of a plumeria flower on the beach a wave is gently washing over it.

Poipu Beach is two beaches in Hawaii separated by a tombola, Nukumoi Point. This oceanfront area is crescent-shaped. Hawaiian monk seals are known to wander around and swim in the water at this beach. They are wild animals, so make sure your family keeps their distance. Don’t worry; you can watch their antics from a distance!

Lava rocks protect the sandbar on the left side of the beach. Head to that side if you are searching for a kid-friendly beach with gentle waves and shallow water. The right side is better for bodyboarding, snorkeling at a nearby reef, and sailing.

I recommend taking a dolphin sightseeing tour when you visit this beach in Hawaii. Taking a tour means you get the best of both worlds. Time out on the water and time watching dolphins in their natural habitat!

There is plenty of parking at Poipu Beach. Lifeguards will ensure your family is safe in the water. And the beach has you covered with restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: As I mentioned above, the left side is better for gentle, shallow water. All other water activities are best done on the right side, where the water is deeper.

Lydgate Beach Park in Lihue

A photo of a tree branch on the Lydgate Beach Park in Lihue with some trees in the background.

One of the safest beaches in Hawaii is Lydgate Beach Park. If your family is still learning how to swim, you will love the jetty-enclosed swimming area. The jetty protects the shoreline and prevents rip currents and strong waves from reaching the sand. Lifeguards are always on duty to ensure everyone stays safe while swimming.

I recommend arriving at this Hawaiian beach early in the morning. It is one of the best spots on the island to watch the sunrise.

Pro Travel Advisor Tip: There are two pools at this beach in Hawaii. If you want the shallower of the two, choose the inner pool. Stronger waves can be enjoyed in the outer pool.

All these beaches in Hawaii offer unique autism- and kid-friendly experiences for your family. There are so many fun things to do in an area that don’t require a passport. You can see why I always say Hawaii is an autism-friendly destination by reading this post. Ultimately, you could be more than ready to visit the Aloha State. If you have been considering planning a vacation in Hawaii, these two posts should give you a few ideas to help you dream of the possibilities. Of course, if you need more help with the planning stages, you can reach out to me and schedule a chat. This will allow you to see how I can help you plan a vacation in Hawaii as your travel advisor.

A photo of a Hawaiian Beach with a wave crashing on the sand.  There is a title that says Fun & Autism Friendly Autism-Friendly Beaches in Hawaii Spectrum

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