Many people assume nude beaches in Hawaii exist at every turn. After all, the state’s mild climate–on the Big Island and everywhere else–would allow for nudity all year on its beautiful beaches if there were no laws regarding clothing.
Surprisingly, though, nude sunbathing in Hawaii is not always an easy activity. However, it is indeed possible. It all boils down to how determined you are to discover all the best nude beaches this lovely state has to offer.
We’ve been to Maui’s Little Beach and absolutely loved it. There’s nothing better than playing in the surf and warm sun totally naked.
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Are There Really Nude Beaches in Hawaii?
Full public nudity is technically illegal in Hawaii, making nude sunbathing a bit tricky to pull off. Nevertheless, fans of sun-worshiping in the buff are typically pleased to discover that there are quite a few beaches where such laws are overlooked.
There are also some bona fide nude beaches and clothing-optional beaches where it’s A-okay to bare it all, but it’s essential to know which is which so that you don’t inadvertently violate the Hawaii state obscenity code.
For example, most of Big Beach in Makena State Park and beaches in other state park areas in Hawaii strictly implement nudity laws. By contrast, at non-state beaches, these rules are more relaxed.
Hawaii’s shore is also graced with clothing-optional beaches, and areas referred to as “topless beaches” abound as well.
The Fine (Tan) Line Between Topless Sunbathing and Full Nudity in Hawaii
Interestingly, in most areas of Hawaii, it’s acceptable to go topless regardless of your gender. Therefore, it’s not considered nudity to expose one’s breasts anywhere in the state.
Full nudity, on the other hand, is not allowed on many beaches, particularly in family areas such as Oahu and Honolulu.
To muddy the waters even more, some areas in which you would be well within your rights to go without a top, such as Baldwin Beach Cove, you may find locals who are offended by this activity.
In fact, in some areas of Oahu and Kauai, many local residents are not pleased when tourists pop their tops.
The wisest approach is to visit areas where nudity or toplessness are expected, rather than assuming it’s all right to drop your duds anywhere. Below are the best nude beaches in Hawaii where you’ll be pretty safe sunbathing in all your glory without having to worry about getting arrested for indecent exposure!
Maui Little Beach
Little Beach, also called Makena Beach, is a quiet, clothing-optional beach situated a bit south of Wailea. Beautiful, lush hills obscure the shoreline, which is already tucked in its own tiny world at the coast’s edge.
Frequently referred to as the best nude beach in America, Makena Beach is an ideal area for swimming, with temperate waters–typically in the upper 80s Fahrenheit–and fine, soft sand.
Little Beach is popular with nude body surfers, many of whom describe the area as a “corner of paradise.” When we went to Little Beach, I partook in this body surfing, enjoying the feel of the cool waves on my skin.
We also loved how so many people were friendly on this beach. Hellos and conversation were common, with some bringing coolers and snacks to blankets spread on soft sand.
You may sometimes feel small rocks here and there when wading in the water, but there are essentially no drawbacks to nude sunbathing at Little Beach.
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Red Sand Beach
Also called Kaihalulu Beach, Red Sand Beach is one of Hawaii’s loveliest private beaches. Located in Hana, this crescent-shaped beach is situated against the picturesque backdrop of a stunning island cove and is known as one of the most relaxing beaches in the state.
However, it’s important to understand that this remote Hawaiian beach is not the easiest place to get to, and requires a bit of walking from the area where you’ll park in order to get to the Cove itself. In fact, some of the trail was lost in a landslide, making parts of the walk in unstable and dangerous.
Nevertheless, it’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and you’ll rarely be bothered by anyone who finds nude swimmers or in-the-buff boogie boarders offensive.
NUDE BEACH MUST HAVES
If you’re heading to a nude beach, here are some items you’ll want to have!
- A Turkish towel. These quick-drying, super comfortable and absorbent towels are my very favorite
- A sun hat. Even though I love feeling sun on my skin, I also love keeping it out of my eyes. A sun hat for us is a MUST.
- Mineral sunscreen. As nudists, we have to make sure we do NOT damage our skin if we want to do this for the long haul. Mineral sunscreen is better for your body and the environment.
- Face sunscreen for sensitive skin. I just LOVE this face sunscreen, which is light and easy to apply
- Beach chairs. Beach chairs that are easy to pack and carry are definitely essential for nudists!
- Soft-sided cooler. If you want to bring snacks and lunch to the beach, we recommended a soft-sided cooler
- Portable beach umbrella. Beach umbrellas are super popular for nudists. They keep you out of the hottest rays of the day
- Sarong. If for some reason you need to cover up quickly, a sarong will do the trick
- Insulated water bottle. You can bring cold drinks like iced tea to the beach with an insulated water bottle
Once one of Kauai’s best-kept secrets, this wonderful, tranquil clothing optional beach is a secret no more. Technically named Kauapea Beach, it earned its nickname due to its hidden location, and the outstanding privacy it offers.
Tucked between Kilauea Point and Kalihiwai Bay on Kauai’s north shore, Secret Beach features an unmarked trail that leads to a 3,000 foot-long shoreline where you can go without your top. A bit further away, is the official clothing optional area where you can bare it all.
Located on the coast of Oahu, Polo Beach is known for golden sand, turquoise water, and no need for beach shoes. The sand is silky, there are virtually no rocks, and the water temperature is ideal year-round.
Many people feel this makes it the best beach in Oahu, or in Hawaii overall.
Nude sun worshiping on Polo Beach is common, and even expected, but this area is surprisingly uncrowded regardless of when you visit. It’s the perfect option for quiet relaxation or a slow and leisurely walk in a secluded atmosphere.
However, this isn’t technically a nude beach, and in 1998 some people were arrested for going bare here, but fought charges that were later dropped. People still sunbathe naked at this beach, but do so at your own risk.
Located on the east coast of the Big Island in the Puna district, Kehena Beach with its impressive black sand is a must for fans of nude beaches in Hawaii.
This clothing optional area is tucked in between the coastline and the trees, giving you the perfect opportunity–and the necessary privacy–to enjoy the sun and breeze uninhibited.
Not surprisingly, Kehena is home to yearly dolphin sightings, which happen far more frequently than you might expect. This is likely due to the quiet atmosphere of the beach and, of course, its location.
Strip at Your own Risk
Because of Hawaii’s rather strict nudity laws, and the many gray areas that seem to exist on its shores, below are some beaches that probably should make the big list, but are not official nudists beaches.
In all probability, it is almost certain you can get away with nude sun worshiping or naked body surfing in the following areas. But strip at your own risk because this activity may be considered illegal!
Makalawena Beach is a terrific place to get away from the madness of everyday life and indulge in Hawaii’s natural beauty.
Beware, however, that Makalawena is not regarded as an official nudist area, but it is frequently empty, and often secluded. This is why you’ll find naked sunbathers on a more or less regular basis on the beach’s southern side.
It’s important to understand that beach access is somewhat tricky, though. The best way to get there is via the trail from Makalawena Head. It will take you through some rough lava rocks, so be prepared for a serious hike or make the trek in a 4 x 4 vehicle!
A highly popular snorkeling spot, the Big Island’s Kealakekua Bay is home to a secluded area where many people indulge in nude sunbathing. Although not officially a beach for those who enjoy going naked, many people come for the incredible views and strip down while they’re at it.
If you decide to take that risk at Kealakekua Bay, however, keep your eyes peeled for passing boats and have a cover-up handy, as you will likely see at least one per hour.
A few years ago, Donkey Beach on Kauai’s east shore was one of the best nudist beaches in the state. It was considered ideal for au naturel sunbathers. Even though it was never the best swimming location, it was perfect for a walk or hike and visitors described the locals as super-friendly.
Its secluded location made it a perfect nude beach, especially since a hike across a sugarcane field had to be made to reach it at all.
A victim of its own fame, it was renowned as a nude-friendly beach by the time the sugarcane field was sold to new owners. The latter did not want to offend certain of their clientele, so they began adhering strictly to Hawaii’s general anti-nudity laws, which stifled the fun for certain visitors.
Topless sunbathers are welcomed at Donkey Beach, but for anything more, strip at your own risk.
Nude Versus Topless Beaches in Hawaii
Several other secluded coves and beaches are worth mentioning, such as Baldwin Beach Cove, where sunbathing without a top sometimes turns into full nudity until the authorities show up.
Jungle areas are also sometimes used by naked sunbathers, who may find waterfalls or remote pools in which to wear their birthday suit. Regardless of the areas you choose to visit, whether populated or private, keep your clothes on in the parking lot, and when taking a walk, do not accidentally wander into areas where clothing is required.
Additionally, always observe the following when any degree of nudity is allowed:
Wherever you see nude sunbathers, whether on the sand or in the water, it’s considered highly inappropriate to spend long periods of time staring at another person’s body.
Everyone enjoys taking pictures of Hawaii’s beautiful scenery, but cameras –whether a separate device or your phone’s camera–are frowned upon on official nude beaches.
Since there are Hawaiian beaches where you’ll find nudity, make sure you observe appropriate distances and avoid getting too close to anyone else on land or in the ocean.
Even if you don’t mean anything by it, another person’s boundaries may be different from yours and you don’t want to make anyone else feel uncomfortable, or worse yet, be invited to leave.
No X-Rated Performances
Although clothing can obviously be removed on nude beaches, it’s unacceptable to participate in sexual activity in front of others. This is true no matter how private or secluded the area is from streets or highways.
Use our custom map to book your stay in Maui, where you’ll find our favorite nude beach, Little Beach:
Whether visiting Kauai, Little Beach, Oahu, or classic tourist spots in Maui or Honolulu, be aware of your surroundings and adhere to the rules. You never want your fun trip to the ocean to end with you being accused of illegal activity.
Ultimately, if going all-natural under the sun is one of your favorite things to do, you will not be disappointed at any of the locations outlined above.
Other nude beaches to check out: