Hawaii Beach Access

A Closer Look Into How It Affects Real Estate Ownership

Beach access in Hawaii is a fairly common concern to owners, residents, and visitors alike. We all share and enjoy the beautiful beaches that Hawaii's islands have to offer. This article is written to delve a bit further into this topic which is close and dear to many of us. The answer is actually quite simple and certainly good news for those who can't afford a multi-million dollar beachfront estate, Hawaii beaches are open to the public. There are a few exceptions which mainly relate to areas that the Federal Government has excepted.

That is correct, there are no private beaches in Hawaii. To go a little bit further, here is the definition according to Hawaii Supreme Court law; "any land below the highest wave line is considered state property and open to the public." Along with this article you can also click these links to read more on the topic, here is one directly from the DLNR - Department of Land and Natural Resources and it's Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, the following link will get you started with really helpful information, Hawaii Beach Access.

Landowners of coastal property are required to maintain the vegetation along the seaward boundary of their property. This is in order to ensure that the public is able to access the shoreline and provide fair use. Their have been issues in the past and still in the present of landowners actually committing offenses and attempting to obstruct access to public property. According to the DLNR website this is considered a misdemeanor. Bottom line is that we all want to enjoy Hawaii's pristine beaches, waters, and shorelines. In order to do so, everyone needs to do their part.

Another note of importance is the issue of shoreline surveys. They can take several months to complete due to the changing tides during different seasons. If you are purchasing or selling Hawaii oceanfront, beachfront, or waterfront property, it's crucial to keep this in mind. Especially pertaining to single family homes and vacant land.

Below, are some additional links that may be of interest to those always looking to learn more:

Request for Compliance to Control Vegetation in Beach Transit Corridor - Encroaching Vegetation

Coastal Access in Hawaii - Sea Grant University of Hawai'i

Public Access to Coastal and Inland Recreational Areas

Shoreline Certifications - Surveys

Shoreline Certification - Application Form

As always, our best recommendation is to seek the advice of a Hawaii attorney.

They will have full knowledge on the matter and be able to guide you accordingly.

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Contributed by Paul Adams, Broker in Charge - Luxury Big Island