Nudity is illegal at state beaches in Hawaii, according to state park regulations. That's the official position of the State of Hawaii, however, as is often the case, nothing is that simple. The fact is that there are beaches that are well known as "nude", "topless" or "clothing-optional" in Hawaii.
There is also some question as to whether nude sunbathing or swimming is actually illegal in Hawaii. Dr. George R. Harker, a former professor at Western Illinois University and nude enthusiast based in Hawaii wrote an interesting overview of a court case addressing these issues in his article, "Is it Legal to be Nude on a Nude Beach in Hawaii?"
Putting the legal issues aside temporarily, let's take a look at some of the "nude" or "clothing-optional" beaches in Hawaii.
Big Island of HawaiiHonokohau Harbor Beach is located in the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park on the Kona Coast, north of Honolokohau Harbor off of Highway 19. The north end of this yellow sand beach is a popular gay beach. Privacy is difficult to find here, and Federal Park rangers often patrol to enforce a ban on nude sunbathing. However, with its warm climate and good snorkeling, this remains a very popular nude beach.
Kehena Beach (Dolphin Beach) is located in the Puna district (Hilo side) off of Highway 137 near the 19 mile marker. This is a well shaded black sand beach protected by steep cliffs and tall trees. Swimming can often be hazardous due to rough current and high waves. It is a popular beach for local residents.
View of gallery of 12 photos of Kehena Beach
Steam Vents located near Hilo at mile Marker 15 of Highway 130 feature clothing optional steam baths in natural caves. This is private property, but the owners continue to allow people to use it. The large house nearby is a clothing-optional guesthouse called "Steamvent Guesthouse."
KauaiDonkey Beach is located 7/10 of a mile north of mile marker 11 on Highway 56. It is not visible from the road. Access to the beach is via a path through an old sugar cane field on private property. The previous owners allowed access to the beach. (All beaches in Hawaii are public beaches.) Donkey Beach was known as one of Kauai's best nude beaches, however, the new owner, a mainland developer, has hired security guards to patrol the area and enforce a no nudity policy.
Secret Beach, also known as Kauapea Beach, is accessed by hiking a trail at the end of a red dirt road off of Kalihiwai Road, which is found about a half mile north of Kilauea on Rt. 56. This has now become Kauai's premier nude beach, although County authorities attempt to enforce the nudity ban. Secret Beach is a long, yellow sand beach which offers beautiful scenery. Swimming in winter is not advised due to high surf, but at other times of the year excellent snorkeling can be found here.
View a gallery of 12 photos of Secret Beach (Kaupea Beach).
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