Exploring Nude Beaches in Hawaii: History, Culture and Top Picks [Update guide for 2023]

Hawaii is well-known for its beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and laidback atmosphere. What many visitors may not know is that Hawaii also has a number of clothing-optional or nude beaches. While nude sunbathing may not be for everyone, it’s a unique Hawaii experience. This guide will cover everything you need to know about visiting nude beaches in Hawaii, from locations to etiquette.

What are Nude Beaches?

Nude beaches, also known as clothing-optional or free beaches, are public beaches where individuals have the freedom to be fully nude if they choose. The concept of nude beaches originated in Europe and has spread worldwide, with many countries now having designated areas for nude sunbathing and swimming.

At a nude beach, individuals have the option to completely disrobe or keep some clothing on. There is no pressure or requirement to be fully naked. This allows people who may feel uncomfortable with full nudity to still enjoy the atmosphere and experience of a nude beach.

One of the primary reasons people enjoy visiting nude beaches is the opportunity to avoid tan lines. Many people find tan lines unsightly and prefer to have an all-over tan. Nude beaches provide a judgment-free environment where individuals can sunbathe without worrying about awkward tan lines.

In addition to avoiding tan lines, nude beaches offer a unique and liberating experience. Being able to shed one’s clothing can be a freeing experience that encourages body acceptance and confidence. Nude beaches are often viewed as a safe space where individuals can express themselves without fear of judgment or ridicule.

It is important to note that while nudity is allowed at these beaches, there are still rules and regulations in place to ensure a safe and respectful environment. Most nude beaches prohibit any kind of sexual activity or behavior, and visitors are expected to respect each other’s personal space and privacy.

While nude beaches may not be for everyone, they offer a unique and freeing experience for those who do choose to visit them. Whether it’s for the purpose of avoiding tan lines or embracing body positivity, nude beaches provide a welcoming and non-judgmental environment for anyone who chooses to visit.

History of Nude Beaches in Hawaii

Nude beaches have been a part of Hawaii’s culture for decades. In the 1960s and 70s, nude sunbathing gained popularity with the growing counterculture movement and sexual revolution. Remote beaches in Maui and Kauai became popular spots for nudists and people seeking a freer lifestyle.

While nude beaches faced some backlash, the state eventually took a tolerant stance. Hawaii doesn’t have any laws against public nudity, leaving it up to local jurisdictions to regulate. Today, nude sunbathing is accepted on certain beaches that have traditionally had a clothing-optional culture.

Popular Nude Beaches in Hawaii

There are a handful of beaches across Hawaii islands where nude sunbathing regularly occurs. Here are some of the most nude beaches in Hawaii:

Little Beach in Maui

Little Beach is a popular nude beach located on the southeast shore of Maui, Hawaii. It is situated adjacent to Makena State Park, although it is not officially part of the park. The cove is renowned for its natural beauty and pristine waters, as well as being a hub for nude recreation, which has been enjoyed here since the 1970s.

Little Beach in Maui

Weekends see a large influx of visitors to Little Beach, with several hundred people gathering to sunbathe and swim in the buff. Despite its popularity, the beach maintains a laidback atmosphere, making it an excellent option for first-timers looking to experience nude recreation.

Kehena Beach in Hawaii Island

Kehena Beach, which is also known as Kehena Black Sand Beach, is situated on the eastern edge of the Big Island. This beach is distinguished by its striking black volcanic sand that contrasts with the crystal-clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The black sand is formed from lava fragments that have been crushed and weathered over centuries, creating a unique and awe-inspiring landscape.

One of the notable features of Kehena Beach is that nude sunbathing is quite prevalent on the left side of the beach. While it may not be for everyone, those who wish to partake in this activity will find a welcoming and accepting community here. However, visitors should be aware that nudity is not officially permitted, and they do so at their own risk.

To reach Kehena Beach, visitors must hike down a steep cliff that takes approximately 5-10 minutes. This adventurous trek can be challenging for some, but the payoff is a secluded and intimate environment that is less crowded than some of Maui’s popular beaches. Once you reach the bottom of the cliff, you’ll be greeted by a stunning vista of the ocean and the striking black sand.

The beach tends to be quieter during weekdays, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing getaway. However, Sundays are known to draw larger crowds, particularly among the nude sunbathers. Despite the popularity of this activity, visitors should still be respectful towards others and practice proper etiquette.

Secret Beach in Kauai

Located on the north shore of Kauai, Secret Beach or Kauapea Beach is a secluded and picturesque destination that draws in many nudists. Though it’s not an officially designated nude beach, it has become a well-known spot for those who enjoy sunbathing and swimming in the nude. The privacy provided by the high green cliffs makes it an ideal location for those who want to avoid prying eyes.

Secret Beach in Kauai

One of the most significant advantages of Secret Beach is its calm ocean waters make it an excellent spot for swimming. The beach itself is relatively long and sandy, providing plenty of space for visitors to relax and soak up the sun. Some visitors may choose to wear clothes while others may opt to go naked. It’s essential to keep in mind that just because it’s known as a nude beach doesn’t mean everyone will be nude.

It’s a good idea to exercise caution when visiting Secret Beach, as it is not an official nude beach. There are no lifeguards or other facilities available, so visitors should take care to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. While the beach may provide some privacy, there’s always the possibility that others could stumble upon it unexpectedly.

Red Sand Beach in Maui

Red Sand Beach, also known as Kaihalulu Beach, is a stunning hidden gem situated along the Hana coast on the Hawaiian island of Maui. This extraordinary cove boasts an otherworldly beauty characterized by its distinctive red sand, which contrasts dramatically with the vivid blue ocean waters and lush green surroundings.

The beach’s seclusion attracts nude sunbathers, who typically gather on the left side of the cove to enjoy the sun and surf in a more natural setting. The remote location and difficult access contribute to the tranquility of Red Sand Beach, ensuring that it remains a peaceful escape from the busier tourist spots on the island.

Reaching this awe-inspiring destination requires navigating a challenging trail, which involves a steep scramble down a rocky path. The route can be precarious, but for adventurous visitors willing to undertake the journey, the reward is truly breathtaking scenery that is unlike any other spot on Maui.

As a haven for both nude tanning enthusiasts and photographers alike, the unique combination of colors, textures, and landscapes at Red Sand Beach creates an unparalleled visual experience. To secure a prime spot for relaxation or photography, it is advisable to arrive early in the day, before the limited space fills up.

Venus Pool in Maui

Located up a short trail in a scenic valley near Hana Highway, Venus Pool is a natural swimming hole that has become a popular spot for nudists to soak up the sun and cool off in the crisp mountain water. The pool is surrounded by rocky cliffs and lush greenery, which provides a tranquil and secluded atmosphere for visitors to enjoy.

One of the main attractions at Venus Pool is cliff diving, which is a thrilling activity that draws visitors from all over the world. The rocks surrounding the pool provide excellent launching points for adrenaline junkies looking to test their courage and show off their skills. However, it’s important to exercise caution when cliff diving, as the water can be shallow in some areas and injuries are not uncommon.

Despite its popularity, Venus Pool remains relatively unknown to many tourists due to its remote inland location. This makes it an ideal destination for those seeking a more authentic and off-the-beaten-path experience. Furthermore, the lack of onlookers means that nudists can feel comfortable and free to express themselves without fear of judgment or offending others.

For those who prefer to keep their clothes on, there are other activities to enjoy in the area. There are numerous hiking trails nearby that offer stunning views of the valley and its surroundings. Additionally, visitors can explore the waterfalls in the area, which are a popular attraction in their own right.

Beach Etiquette for Nude Sunbathing

Nude beaches may have a relaxed vibe, but proper etiquette is still important. Here is some beach etiquette to follow when visiting a clothing-optional beach in Hawaii:

  • Get naked at your own pace. Don’t feel pressure to get nude if you’re not comfortable. Many regulars will be nude, but it’s not mandatory. Undress when you feel ready.
  • Bring a towel to sit on. This will make sunbathing more comfortable and hygienic. It also shows consideration for others.
  • Apply sunscreen thoroughly and frequently, especially on any exposed delicate areas. The Hawaiian sun is strong.
  • Keep a sarong or swimsuit nearby in case you need to cover up quickly. Beachgoers sometimes wrap up if a family approaches, out of courtesy.
  • Maintain reasonable space between groups and don’t ogle or gawk at others. The nude section is for relaxation, not cruising.
  • Don’t take photos or video without getting consent first, as many prefer privacy.
  • Leave no trace by packing out any trash or belongings. Help care for these natural places.
  • Illegal activity like public sex acts or lewd behavior is absolutely prohibited. Families may be around, so be discreet.
  • Realize textile beachgoers (wearing clothes) also use these beaches, usually on the right sides. Be respectful of differing comfort levels.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy the opportunity to experience the beaches of Hawaii naturally! Shedding clothing does not mean shedding manners. Use sound judgment.

Finding the Nude Section of the Beach

At most nude beaches, beachgoers will self-segregate, with the clothing-optional crowd staying on one section of the beach, and textile users on other parts. There are some exceptions where the entire beach is clothing-optional.

Look for beach signs or flags indicating the nude section. For beaches without clear boundaries, the nude section is usually to the left or far ends as you face the water. If you’re not sure, scope out where naked swimmers and sunbathers are congregating. Don’t just strip down anywhere.

Ideally, try to arrive early in the day to stake out a spot in the designated nude area. This prevents awkward situations later as the beach fills up. Setting up early also helps avoid spectator crowds that sometimes gather at busier beaches.

Are Nude Beaches Legal in Hawaii?

There are no state laws in Hawaii prohibiting public nudity at beaches and parks. However, Hawaii does allow individual counties to implement their own rules. Currently, public nudity is officially legal at state beach parks and undeveloped areas.

County ordinances regulate behaviors considered indecent exposure or lewd conduct. Simply being naked at a beach is not illegal in Hawaii as long as you demonstrate sound judgment. Lewd acts can lead to arrest and prosecution, though.

Essentially, nude sunbathing is tolerated on traditional clothing-optional beaches. But disrespectful behavior or nudity at family areas will prompt complaints. Visitors should follow local sensitivities and customs.

What to Bring to a Nude Beach

Visiting a clothing-optional beach is a liberating experience to enjoy nature without clothes. But you’ll still need to pack strategically. Here are some tips on what to bring:

  • Sunscreen – Thoroughly apply waterproof SPF 30 or higher everywhere. Reapply often on delicate skin.
  • Hat – Shield your face from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Sunglasses – Protect your eyes from UV damage.
  • Sandals – Wear footwear to navigate trails and hot sand.
  • Towel or mat – Lie on a towel instead of sand. Look for quick-dry travel towels.
  • Sarong or swimsuit – Use for quick cover-ups when needed.
  • Water – Stay hydrated in the heat and salty air.
  • Trash bags – Carry out all your belongings and waste.
  • Sun shade (optional) – An umbrella or pop-up tent creates shade.
  • Beach chair (optional) – A folding chair offers comfort and back support.
  • Insect repellent (optional) – Apply repellent if bugs will be bothersome.
  • Book or magazine (optional) – Reading materials can enhance relaxation.

Avoid bringing valuables to the beach. Carry only essentials and watch your belongings. Most beaches don’t have lockers or secure storage.

Read related article about Nude Beaches in Virginia

Frequently Asked Questions about Nude Beaches in Hawaii

Here are answers to some common questions about visiting nude beaches in Hawaii:

Q: Do I have to be fully nude at a nude beach?

No, nudity is optional. Some people stay partially clothed or swimsuit-clad. Do whatever you are comfortable with.

Q: Can I take photos at a nude beach?

Photography or video is prohibited without consent. Many nudists refuse to be filmed. Cell phone cameras should be avoided.

Q: Are nude beaches only for couples or singles?

Nude beaches welcome singles, couples, and families. However, lewd conduct is unacceptable. Behave appropriately.

Q: Do nude beaches in Hawaii allow sex or touching?

Absolutely not. Nude beaches are non-sexual spaces. Any sex acts, touching, or perving will get you arrested. Respect everyone.

Q: Is nudity allowed on all beaches in Hawaii?

No, nudity is limited to select traditionally clothing-optional beaches. Nudity at other beaches may be punished as indecent exposure.

Q: Can women go topless on Hawaii beaches?

Legally, yes, though customs vary by beach. Check for local laws against exposing female breasts or areolas before going topless.

Q: Will nude beaches have amenities like bathrooms or showers?

Most nude beaches are fairly natural without facilities. Prepare accordingly and do not expect amenities. Carry necessities like toilet paper.

Q: Are nude beaches safe for solo women travelers?

Generally, Hawaii’s nude beaches provide a safe, respectful environment. But exercise normal beach precautions as everywhere. Avoid secluded areas.

Q: Are nude beaches clean and well-maintained?

As undeveloped beaches, cleanliness varies. Come prepared to pack out trash. Join local efforts to care for these natural places.

Q: Can nude beaches be accessed by public transit in Hawaii?

Most nude beaches require a car to access. The exceptions are Little Beach in Maui, reachable by Makena Landing shuttle.


Hawaii’s island offer a handful of gorgeous beaches where clothing-optional recreation is tolerated and respected. Visiting a nude beach in Hawaii is the perfect way to truly experience Hawaii’s paradise naturally with no swimsuit tan lines. Follow proper etiquette, arrive early, respect others, and you’re sure to have an amazing time. Shed your clothes and worries at one of nude beaches in Hawaii for a liberating island adventure.

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