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Two Big Island Beaches Make TripAdvisor’s Best in US List

February 26, 2019, 10:28 AM HST
* Updated February 26, 10:30 AM
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TripAdvisor has announced the winners of its Travelers’ Choice awards for Beaches, a PR Newswire press release revealed on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019.

Of the 25 best beaches in the U.S., almost 30% are in Hawai‘i and 40% are in Florida.

Seven of the top 25 beaches are located in the Hawaiian Islands: two on the Big Island, three on Maui, one on Kaua‘i and one on O‘ahu.

Hapuna Beach. PC: TripAdvisor

Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area in Puako on Hawai‘i Island ranked No. 7. “A big golden beach in the northwest part of the island,” the recent TripAdvisor review said. “As Hawaiian beaches go, this one was long with plenty of soft sand that made it great for walking and watching the waves. Also, there is a path at the end of the beach that runs along the lava rocky shore which makes for a nice hike if you are wearing sturdy closed toe shoes. All in all a beautiful park and beach.” The review went on to add that Hapuna is one of the nicest sand beaches on the Kohala Coast.

Kua Bay. PC: Jamilia Epping

Manini‘owali Beach (Kua Bay) in Kailua-Kona on Hawai‘i Island ranked No. 22. “Favorite of locals for good boogie boarding and surfing, as well as just playing in the surf,” TripAdvisor said. “Small beach, but nice white sands, with good places in the surrounding rockery to set up chairs, umbrellas, etc., to spend a few hours. Also a good beach for whale watching. Nice restroom facilities, plenty of parking and an outdoor shower for cleaning the sand off before getting in your car.” But watch out for lava rock, the review said.


But for the second year in a row, Florida’s Clearwater Beach is named the No. 1 beach in America.


TripAdvisor has awarded 352 beaches overall, including a top 25 world list and dedicated lists for AfricaAsiaEuropeSouth AmericaAustraliaCentral AmericaMiddle East, South Pacific, CaribbeanBrazilCostaRicaFranceGermanyGreeceIndiaIndonesiaIrelandItalyJapanMexico, New ZealandPortugalSpainThailandTurkey, U.K., and the U.S.

In the global ranking, Baia do Sancho in Brazil, has been crowned the No. 1 beach in the world.

Top 25 Travelers’ Choice Beaches in the U.S.:


1. Clearwater Beach – Clearwater, Florida

2. Kā‘anapali Beach – Lahaina, Maui, Hawai‘i

  • Recent TripAdvisor review: “One of the most beautiful and cleanest beaches I’ve visited. Whales jumping in the distance becomes commonplace. Beautiful sunsets. There is an awesome Beachwalk with restaurants and resorts along the way. Relaxing vibe, not very crowded.”
  • Helpful tips: Some of Maui’s best snorkeling

3. Panama City Beach – Panama City Beach, Florida

4. Saint Pete Beach – St. Pete Beach, Florida

5. Pensacola Beach – Pensacola Beach, Florida

6. Siesta Beach – Siesta Key, Florida

7. Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area – Puako, Hawai‘i Island

8. St. Augustine Beach – Saint Augustine Beach, Florida

9. Fort Lauderdale Beach – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

10. Driftwood Beach – Jekyll Island, Georgia

11. Cherry Grove Beach – North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

12. Navarre Beach – Navarre, Florida

13. Poipu Beach Park – Poipu, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i

  • Recent TripAdvisor review: “Perfect sand, nice ledge about 10 feet from the shore line. There are sections that have either rock or coral that can make it a challenge to stand but those areas are small. The sunsets from this beach are absolutely stunning. Best on the island hands down!”
  • Helpful tips: Some of Kauai’s best snorkeling

14. South Beach – Miami Beach, Florida

15. Hollywood Beach – Hollywood, Florida

16. Coronado Beach – Coronado, California

17. Wailea Beach – Wailea, Maui, Hawai‘i

  • Recent TripAdvisor review: “This is such a relaxing beach, I would’ve stayed there the whole day if I had the chance. The sand was so soft, almost like brown sugar. I seriously couldn’t stop feeling how soft it was – it was almost therapeutic. The views were amazing with cliffs on one side and a mountain on the other. There was a parking lot specifically for the beach. Washing stations and bathrooms were available.”
  • Helpful tips: Great for snorkeling

18. Ogunquit Beach – Ogunquit, Maine

19. Newport Beach – Newport Beach, California

20. Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i

  • Recent TripAdvisor review: “This stretch of beach is great to walk in the early morning or at sunset. The water is a perfect temperature any time of the day. Stand up paddle boarding, surfing and snorkeling are all doable in this area. There are areas for just the little kiddies to play safely. It’s great to watch people or hang out for the day and turn a golden brown. Check with lifeguards for surf and water conditions.”
  • Helpful tips: Jellyfish are common in the area when winds change

21. Coligny Beach – Hilton HeadSouth Carolina

23. Napili Beach – Lahaina, Maui, Hawai‘i

  • Recent TripAdvisor review: “The ocean here is calmer and the beach is more private. Tons of whales jumping in the background. Some of our best sunset photos are from this beach. It is a little to the north of Ka’anapali, so more ‘tropical’ with more palm trees and greenery. This is a good beach for honeymooners and people with kids.”
  • Helpful tips: Great for snorkeling

24. Race Point Beach – Provincetown, Massachusetts

25. Sandbridge Beach – Virginia Beach, Virginia

Award winners were determined based on the quantity and quality of traveler reviews and ratings for beaches on TripAdvisor, gathered over a 12-month period.

For the complete list of Travelers’ Choice award-winning beaches for 2019, go online.  

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