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7 Tips for Beach Hopping in Hawaii

beach on north shore oahu
One of the many beautiful beaches on Oahu's north shore.

Be aware of no parking signs. Many of the best beaches in Hawaii are accessed through residential neighborhoods with very limited parking. In the joy and excitement of finding a coveted parking spot it's easy to overlook the no parking sign right next to it. Make double sure you're legally parked and don't block driveways, mailboxes or fire hydrants.

roscoe at the beach
Roscoe says: Stay vigilant and don't let anybody steal your treats.

Don't leave valuables in the car. Unfortunately petty theft is a problem in Hawaii. A backpack, purse or even an empty box will be a tempting target for thieves. Brings your valuables with you, lock your car and don't leave any tempting targets on display.

Don't let your guard down. Thieves can be lurking on the beach too. That bag or backpack with all your valuables inside will be a tempting target if nobody is watching it. Always keep an eye on your stuff.

Leave valuables in your room or locker. The two aforementioned points is why I bring as little as possible when going to the beach. Leave all the valuables in your room. Just carry a credit card and ID if you think you'll need to buy something. If you absolutely have to bring your cell phone and/or a key fob that you can't get wet, consider putting them in a small dry bag or sandwich bag and bringing it with you on your swim. If you're in Waikiki you can rent a locker to store your stuff. Rates range from $2-5 per hour (depending on locker size) but well worth it so you can relax and enjoy your time at the beach.

coral bleaching in hawaii
Corals throughout Hawaii, like these colonies in Kaneohe Bay, are showing signs of bleaching and death. Abnormally high temperatures this summer have stressed Hawaii's coral reefs. Photo courtesy of Sherya Yadav/Madin Lab/Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

Wear Reef-safe Sunscreen. I can't stress enough the importance of sunscreen. Ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from the sun will lead to sunburn and eventually skin cancer. Hawaii has the highest UV index in the nation. You can get sunburn in as little as 15 minutes. Wear 50 SPF or greater to prevent sunburn. BUT BEWARE: not all sunscreens are created equal. Sunscreens that use oxybenzone or a number of other chemicals in their active ingredients can contribute to coral bleaching and decreasing fish populations. Read the active ingredients and only use sunscreens with micro-sized (or non-nano) mineral particles like zinc oxide or titanium oxide and avoid the chemical active ingredients. And just because a sunscreen label says "reef-safe" or "reef-friendly" that doesn't mean it is. Be sure to read the active ingredients and help keep Hawaii's oceans full of life!

Pick up your trash. If you're visiting the beach with food, snacks, drinks and other goodies, be sure to bring a container to put your trash in. Not all beaches have trash cans so be prepared to bring your trash with you when you leave. You don't want that rubbish washing into the ocean. Be sure to pick up all your trash and help keep Hawaii's beaches beautiful!

Stay safe. is a great resource for safety tips and is a great source for real-time ocean conditions. I'm just going to say know your limits, watch your children and avoid the shorebreak.

Hopefully I haven't scared you away from the beach because beaches really are some of the best places to have fun and create memories in Hawaii. You can be active (snorkeling, surfing, swimming, etc.) or just relax (sunbathing, reading, watching the sunset, etc.) and have a great time either way. But if the beach isn't your thing and you'd rather just admire pretty beach art, we got you covered.

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