Oahu is regarded as the third largest of the Hawaiian islands in terms of size, but it receives the most visitors by far. There is a large number of people who want to know about the best beaches in Oahu. We, in this article, present to you the 15 best beaches in Oahu.
The 112 miles of the beautiful coastline of Oahu are to enjoy. There are serene man-made lagoons, such as Ko Olina (home of the Disney Aulani resort), and rugged, relatively undeveloped beaches, such as Yokohama Bay, with white sand and warm sand turquoise water.
The beaches of Oahu are divided into four areas based on their geographic location on the island.
- Famous surfing beaches on the North Shore include Waimea Bay and Ehukai Beach, which is home to the Banzai Pipeline.
- Waikiki, as well as other well-known leisure beaches, are located on the South Shore. Tall palm trees and luxury resort hotels line these vast, wide beaches.
- The beaches in the Westside area are known as Leeward Coast beaches because they are protected from the wind by the island. Peaceful beaches with gentle surf, such as Ko Olina and Turtle Bay, can be found here.
- Popular yet unspoiled beaches on the Eastside, known as the Windward Coast, include Waimanalo and Makapuu. Using this list of the best beaches in Oahu, you can find the ideal stretch of coast for your seaside activities.
Let’s Dive Into 16 Best Beaches in Oahu
Lanikai Beach is regarded as one of the Best Beaches in Oahu because it has everything you need for a perfect beach experience:
- It’s remote yet accessible.
- The water is warm, clear, and gentle (protected by an offshore reef).
- The sand is white and very fine.
The beach is located in a residential area, which keeps the crowds at bay but can cause parking issues. Lanikai also provides beachgoers with a full range of water sports, both above and below the water. Sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and snorkeling are all options. Kayakers can even paddle a mile offshore to small uninhabited islands.
The Paradise Palms Bed and Breakfast is located in Kailua, about a 10-minute drive from Lanikai. It’s a locally owned establishment with a caring and friendly staff who loves to recommend fun things to see and do. This adults-only property is in high demand and requires a five-night minimum stay.
Waikiki Beach, one of the world’s Best Beaches in Oahu, is located on the south shore of Oahu, Hawaii. It attracts over 4 million visitors per year and provides breathtaking views of Diamond Head. Waikiki Beach is ideal for snorkeling, swimming, learning to surf, and relaxing in the sun. Of course, there are several luxury resorts and 5-star hotels in the vicinity of Waikiki Beach, as well as numerous restaurants serving delectable cuisine.
Despite being the epicenter of Hawaii tourism and tourists, Waikiki Beach as a whole still manages to deliver the ultimate Hawaiian beach experience. You have two miles of white-sand beaches surrounded by tall, gently swaying palm trees and warm, clear, bright-blue water. The waves are very gentle because many parts of the beach are roped off for swimming and protected by jetties.
Along Waikiki Beach, there are eight different beaches:
- Kahanamoku Beach
- Fort DeRussy
- Gray’s Beach
- Royal Hawaiian Beach
- Queens Beach
- Kuhio Beach
- San Souci Beach
- and Kaimana Beach, each with a slightly different beach experience.
Luxury hotels and resorts line the beach, with Kalakaua Avenue in front of them lined with stores and luxury retailers. Across the street from the beach is the Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk, a large commercial and residential development. A plethora of included amenities, such as free breakfast and evening poolside receptions, as well as all-suite accommodations, make it an excellent value.
3. Sunset Beach
This well-known two-mile-long surfing beach on the North Shore has dramatically different conditions depending on the season. It has truly massive waves in the winter and is extremely dangerous for all but the best swimmers and professional surfers. It’s incredibly calm and gentle in the summer, making it ideal for families, swimming, and shoreline snorkeling. It has beautiful clear water and white sandy beaches, in addition to the waves. It is one of the best beaches in Oahu among tourists.
The Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore offers clean, comfortable accommodations across from the beach. Rooms on higher floors have nice ocean views, and the hotel adds value by providing free Wi-Fi. There is a fitness center and a resort-style pool. The Polynesian Cultural Center is right next door for a break from the beach. One popular tourist destination is Polynesian-themed, family-oriented tourist attraction, and living museum.
4. Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay is popular for its massive waves, which can be seen from October to April each year. Many professional surfers come here to ride the 25-foot waves that crash on the beach. Every year, the Vans Triple Crown Surfing competition is held here due to the excellent surfing conditions. The bay is located on Oahu’s windy North Shore and is ideal for picnicking and sunbathing.
If you want to visit Waimea Bay in the summer, you can expect ideal swimming and scuba diving conditions. Swimming, on the other hand, is nearly impossible during the winter season, when only surfers can be seen in the water. Waimea Bay, mentioned in the Beach Boys’ hit Surfin’ USA, is a popular big wave North Shore surfing spot. The beach here is always a popular destination for both surfers and non-surfers.
There’s always something to see with all the surfers. Keep in mind that Waimea’s famous monster waves only occur during the winter; the surf is almost gentle during the summer, making it ideal for swimming and even snorkeling. During the winter, the beach can see waves up to 30 feet high, which are among the largest in the world.
Waimea Bay has basic amenities (public restrooms and outdoor showers) and is patrolled by lifeguards. The beach is quite wide, and the sand is powder smooth. After a day of water sports, join the locals for a meal at one of the many food trucks that line the Kamehameha Highway near all of the popular surf breaks (including Waimea).
5. Kailua Beach
Only a mile away from Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach Park is consistently ranked as one of America’s Best Beaches in Oahu. Kailua Beach, on Oahu’s Windward side, is a 30-minute drive from Honolulu and features a 30-acre public park with picnic tables, restrooms, volleyball courts, and dozens of food stands.
This sandy beach has a variety of water activities available, including snorkeling, windsurfing, sailing, swimming, and diving. What’s excellent about Kailua Beach is that it’s usually half-empty during the week, making it easy to find your private secluded spot for the day. There are numerous shops where you can rent sports equipment, and adventurous visitors can visit the neighboring islands by kayak. Try some tasty local fare at one of the small restaurants located just minutes from the beach.
Malaekahana Beach, located in Malakahana Bay on Oahu’s northwestern coast between Kahuku and La’ie, is a mile-long beach with white sand. It offers activities such as ball games, hiking, and relaxing in the sun. Enter the water with caution during the winter season; strong currents exist, and there are no lifeguards on duty. Visitors can visit the nearby island of Moku’auia, where the water is shallow and safe for swimming. There are crystal-clear waters and even green turtles there.
If you enjoy snorkeling, Malaekahana Beach has abundant marine life; however, you must bring your equipment. Surprisingly, Malaekahana Beach is not overcrowded, and finding a quiet spot to spend the day is simple.
The salt and pepper sand, Kamani trees, and jagged cliffs of Kahana Bay Beach Park are well-known. Because of the murky and shallow waters, this beach is not ideal for swimming, but if you’re looking for a peaceful place to relax on the sand, Kahana Bay Beach Park is well worth a visit.
There are no restrooms or showers on the beach, and there are no lifeguards on duty. In addition, there are several hiking trails in the area, as well as camping and picnic areas.
8. Sandy Beach
Sandy Beach, located on the southeast coast of Oahu, is one of the most popular best beaches in Oahu for bodyboarding and surfing due to its great waves and close shore break. It has a 1,200-foot stretch of golden sand. It’s an excellent place to get away from the crowds in Waikiki, and it’s ideal for kite flying and long walks.
Lifeguards on duty here are constantly warning visitors that swimming at the beach is dangerous due to the rough waves. Remember that the surf breaks close to the water and that the waves, even in the summer, can be massive. The majority of visitors come here to relax in the sun or to watch the surfers.
Ala Moana Beach Park, a man-made beach located between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, is less crowded than other beaches in the area. It also attracts mostly locals because the waters are calm and ideal for swimming and paddleboarding.
The beach at Ala Moana Beach Park formed 60 years ago when the owner of a Dillingham Dredging Company dumped sand in the park. If your child is learning to swim, Ala Moana Beach Park is one of the best places in Hawaii for swimming lessons.
Although swimming is not permitted because of the sharp and rocky reef near the shore, the park is less crowded than the nearby Waikiki Beach and is a popular surfing destination. When the waves aren’t too high, the reef here is a great place for snorkeling because there are so many tidal pools to explore, all of which are teeming with colorful fish. This beach is also counted as one of the best beaches in Oahu.
Diamond Head Beach Park has beautiful steep, rugged cliffs and a rocky shelf, making it one of the most scenic beaches in the area. Photographers will appreciate the dramatic landscape at any point along the beach.
9. Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay, which was formed in the cone of an extinct volcano, resembles a massive aquarium. The park is a popular snorkeling destination (all visitors must watch a safety and environmental protection lecture before entering), and it truly feels like you’re snorkeling in a giant aquarium. This aquatic Hawaii state park is only 30 minutes from downtown Honolulu and is a popular spot for both beach fun and snorkeling.
The well-protected bay is teeming with sea life of all kinds. Even inexperienced snorkelers will be astounded by what they see. It is not difficult; simply float on the surface and look down. The warm, clear water surrounds coral reefs, attracting a variety of fish and creatures.
The park has very strict rules (such as no sunscreen) to ensure its preservation and enjoyment for future generations. Attendance is restricted to control crowds. There is an admittance fee (which is well worth it for the experience) and an optional little shuttle fee (which is also worth it after a long day of snorkeling). A large beach area with restrooms, showers, a snack bar, and lifeguards is available at Hanauma Bay. There are many package day trips to Hanauma Bay from all of the Waikiki resorts, but staying at The Kahala Hotel & Resort puts you about five miles away.
This large luxury resort is located directly on the beach in the Kahala residential neighborhood. It’s popular with visitors who don’t want to stay in downtown Waikiki but still want to stay in a beachfront hotel. The resort offers a range of accommodations as well as its dolphin lagoon. The resort even participates in Malama Hawaii, a state-wide sustainability initiative. The guests receive a discount on their stay in exchange for participating in mindful travel. You can participate in a beach clean-up, a guided hike to learn about coastal restoration, or a visit to a local organic farm.
10. Waimanalo Beach
It is a four-mile-long beach on the island’s Windward or east coast. Windward means it faces the wind, as opposed to the west coast beaches, which are protected from the wind by the island itself. Waimanalo is a typical Hawaiian beach, with wide and flat sand, good facilities, and picnic areas. Although the waves are small, it is popular for bodyboarding and bodysurfing.
Although there are some small bed and breakfasts in the area, Waikiki hotels such as the Prince Waikiki are just a 15-minute drive away. This contemporary design hotel is located on the Ala Wai boat harbor, and some of the rooms and suites have views of the water. There is a free shuttle service to Waikiki Beach. This property also supports the Malama Hawaii sustainability initiative.
Makaha Beach Park, located on Oahu’s west coast, is ideal for swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding. Summer offers ideal swimming conditions, while the winter season brings dangerous rip currents that surfers adore. The northern part of Makaha Beach Park is reserved exclusively for surfers. There are usually signs about the sea conditions posted on the beach, and there are several lifeguards on duty if you need swimming advice.
Swimming is more enjoyable in the center of the beach because the waves break further out near the reef. Unfortunately, there isn’t much shade here, so bring an umbrella if it’s scorching. One amazing thing about Makaha Beach Park is that it is rarely crowded during the week, but it fills up on weekends with local families. Restrooms and showers are also available.
Nanakuli Beach Park has a protective coral reef, making it an ideal swimming spot. Swimming is recommended in the south part of the beach, where the currents are not as strong as in other parts. This beach is well-known as one of the best diving spots in Hawaii, with marine life that draws divers from worldwide.
During the winter season, large waves make Nanakuli Beach Park an ideal beach for surfers and bodyboarders. Like other beaches in Oahu, it is also one of the best beaches in Oahu. Picnics are popular in the park’s large grassy area, which has plenty of tables and benches. The beach also has restrooms and showers, and lifeguards are on duty all year.
13. Pokai Bay Beach
This dog-friendly beach area is enjoyable for both two- and four-legged beachgoers. Dogs are permitted in the water and on the sand (on a leash) up to the high watermark. It is very popular among locals, particularly family groups. The bay is well-protected, with no currents or waves, making it ideal for swimming and wading. There are restrooms, showers, and plenty of shaded picnic areas at Pokai Bay Beach Park.
Bellows Field Beach Park is popular among body surfers due to its soft sand and beautiful scenery. Because the breaks are smaller than on Sandy Beach, the waters can be shallow, making it popular with families with small children. The east corner of the park is protected by a reef, making it ideal for swimmers. This beach also counts as one of the best beaches in Oahu.
Remember that jellyfish can be found in these waters, so proceed with caution and consider wearing a protective wetsuit. Bellows Field Beach Park has a camping area with plenty of shade from ironwood trees, but you will need a permit. The beach has showers, restrooms, and picnic areas.
Makapuu Beach Park is popular among body surfers, but swimming can be dangerous due to strong currents during both the summer and winter seasons. The beach, on the other hand, is surrounded by a black-colored mountain, making it one of Hawaii’s best beaches in Oahu’s picturesque locations.
Take a stroll to the scenic Makapuu Lighthouse for stunning views of the mountains and coastline. Parking is a short walk from the beach, and lifeguards are on duty throughout the day. On the beach, you will also find restrooms and showers.
So there are some Best Beaches In Oahu to visit.
Have you visited the Best Beaches In Oahu mentioned in our list? If so, which one has been your personal favorite? If not, which one are you planning to visit next time? Comment below to let us know.
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