Oahu is the third biggest of the Hawaiian islands in terms of size, yet it receives by far the most tourists.
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.
15 Best Beaches in Oahu for an Amazing Time
There are 112 miles of lovely Oahu shoreline to enjoy. There are tranquil man-made lagoons like Ko Olina (home of the Disney Aulani resort) and rough, relatively untouched beaches like Yokohama Bay with white sand and beautiful blue water.
Oahu’s beaches are classified into four categories depending on their location on the island.
- Waimea Bay and Ehukai Beach, which are home to the Banzai Pipeline, are two of the most famous surfing beaches on the North Shore.
- The South Shore is home to Waikiki and other well-known recreational beaches. These big, broad beaches are lined by tall palm trees and expensive resort hotels.
- The beaches on the Westside are known as Leeward Coast beaches because the island protects them from the wind. Peaceful beaches with mild surf may be found here, such as Ko Olina and Turtle Bay.
- Waimanalo and Makapuu are two popular yet untouched Eastside beaches on the Windward Coast. You can select the right stretch of coast for your seaside activities by using this list of the greatest beaches on Oahu.
The best beaches in Oahu are:
1. Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is rated as one of Oahu’s Best Beaches since it has everything you need for an ideal beach experience:
- It’s remote yet accessible.
- The water is comfortable, transparent, and warm (protected by an offshore reef).
- The sand is quite fine and white.
The beach is in a residential area, which keeps people at bay but might present parking problems. Lanikai also offers a full range of water activities, both above and below the sea, to beachgoers.
There are options for sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, and snorkelling. Kayakers may kayak a mile offshore to reach little deserted islands.
The Paradise Palms Bed & Breakfast is roughly a 10-minute drive from Lanikai in Kailua. It’s a locally owned business with a kind and helpful team that enjoys recommending enjoyable things to see and do.
This adults-only facility is in great demand and needs a minimum stay of five nights.
2. Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach, one of the world’s best beaches on Oahu, is located on the island of Oahu’s south shore.
It receives over 4 million tourists each year and offers spectacular views of Diamond Head. Waikiki Beach is perfect for snorkelling, swimming, surfing lessons, and sunbathing.
Of course, there are several luxury resorts and 5-star hotels nearby, as well as a plethora of restaurants providing wonderful food.
Despite being the hub of Hawaii tourism and tourists, Waikiki Beach as a whole continues to provide the ideal Hawaiian beach experience.
You have two miles of white-sand beaches, palm palms that softly sway, and a warm, clear, bright-blue sea. Because many portions of the beach are roped off for swimming and sheltered by jetties, the waves are relatively mild.
There are eight separate beaches along Waikiki Beach:
- Beach of Kahanamoku
- DeRussy Fort
- Gray’s Cove
- Hawaiian Royal Beach
- The Queens Beach
- The Kuhio Beach
- Beach of San Souci
- & Kaimana Beach, each with a unique beach experience.
The beach is bordered by luxury hotels and resorts, with Kalakaua Avenue in front of them lined with boutiques and luxury retailers.
The Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk, a big commercial and residential complex, is located across the street from the beach.
It is an outstanding deal due to a wealth of included facilities like complimentary breakfast and evening poolside events, as well as all-suite rooms.
3. Sunset Beach
This well-known two-mile-long North Shore surfing beach offers significantly varied conditions depending on the season.
In the winter, it gets genuinely big waves and is highly dangerous for all but the greatest swimmers and expert surfers.
In the summer, it’s wonderfully peaceful and mild, making it excellent for families, swimming, and shoreline snorkelling.
4. Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay is well-known for its enormous waves, which can be observed from October to April.
Many elite surfers come here to ride the beach’s 25-foot waves. Because of the outstanding surfing conditions, the Vans Triple Crown Surfing competition is conducted here every year.
If you visit Waimea Bay during the summer, you may anticipate excellent swimming and scuba diving conditions.
Waimea Bay is a prominent large wave North Shore surfing destination highlighted in the Beach Boys’ tune Surfin’ USA. The beach here is a popular location for both surfers and non-surfers alike.
With all the surfers, there’s always something to watch. Keep in mind that Waimea’s legendary huge waves only occur in the winter, and throughout the summer, the surf is relatively mild, making it great for swimming and even snorkelling.
During the winter, the beach may witness waves up to 30 feet high, making it one of the world’s biggest.
Lifeguards patrol Waimea Bay, which offers limited services (public bathrooms and outdoor showers).
Join the natives for a lunch at one of the numerous food trucks that line the Kamehameha Highway near all of the renowned surf breakers after a day of water activities (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 snorkelling, 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 neighbouring islands by kayak. Try some tasty local fare at one of the small restaurants located just minutes from the beach.
6. Malaekahana Beach
Malaekahana Beach is a mile-long white-sand beach located in Malakahana Bay on Oahu’s northern shore between Kahuku and La’ie.
It has activities such as ball games, hiking, and sunbathing. Enter the water with caution during the winter season; there are strong currents and no lifeguards on duty.
Visitors can go swimming on the adjacent island of Moku’auia, where the water is shallow and safe. There are pristine waterways and even green turtles in the area.
Malaekahana Beach features an abundance of marine life for snorkelling; however, you must have your equipment. Surprisingly, Malaekahana Beach is hardly busy, making it easy to locate a peaceful location to spend the day.
7. Kahana Bay Beach Park
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, on Oahu’s southeast coast, is one of the greatest beaches in Oahu for bodyboarding and surfing owing to its tremendous waves and tight shore break.
It boasts a 1,200-foot golden sand length. It’s a great spot to get away from the throng in Waikiki, and it’s perfect for kite flying and long hikes.
The lifeguards on duty here are frequently telling visitors that swimming is risky because of the strong waves.
Remember that the surf breaks close to the sea and that the waves may be big even in the summer. The bulk of people come here to sunbathe or watch the surfers.
Ala Moana Beach Park, located between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki, is less congested than other nearby beaches. It also draws largely locals because of the tranquil seas, which are great for swimming and paddleboarding.
When the proprietor of a Dillingham Dredging Company poured sand in the park 60 years ago, it constructed the beach at Ala Moana Beach Park.
Ala Moana Beach Park is one of the greatest sites in Hawaii for swimming lessons if your child is learning to swim.
8. Diamond Head Beach Park
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 snorkelling because there are so many tidal pools to explore, all of which are teeming with colourful 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 snorkelling destination (all visitors must watch a safety and environmental protection lecture before entering), and it truly feels like you’re snorkelling 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 snorkelling.
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.
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 neighbourhood.
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 beds 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 harbour, 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.
11. Makaha Beach Park
On Oahu’s west coast, Makaha Beach Park is perfect for swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding. Summer is perfect for swimming, but winter delivers dangerous rip currents that surfers appreciate.
The northern section of Makaha Beach Park is solely for surfers. There are typically notices regarding the sea conditions placed on the beach, and if you require swimming assistance, there are numerous lifeguards on duty.
Swimming in the centre of the beach is more fun since the waves break further out along the reef.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much shade here, so if it’s hot, bring an umbrella. Makaha Beach Park is unique in that it is rarely busy during the week, but it fills up on weekends with local families. There are also restrooms and showers for your convienience.
12. Nanakuli Beach Park
The protecting coral reef at Nanakuli Beach Park makes it a perfect swimming place.
Swimming is advised in the southern section of the beach, where the currents are not as powerful as in the northern section.
This beach is well-known as one of the top diving destinations in Hawaii, attracting divers from all over the world.
Large waves make Nanakuli Beach Park an attractive beach for surfers and bodyboarders throughout the winter season.
Picnics are popular in the park’s vast grassy area, which is well-equipped with tables and seats. There are also bathrooms and showers on the beach, and lifeguards are on duty all year.
13. Pokai Bay Beach
This dog-friendly beach area appeals to both two- and four-legged visitors. Up to the high watermark, dogs are permitted in the water and on the sand (on a leash).
It is quite popular with locals, especially family groups. Because the bay is well-protected and has no currents or waves, it is perfect for swimming and wading.
Pokai Bay Beach Park has bathrooms, showers, and plenty of covered picnic spots.
14. Bellows Field Beach Park
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.
15. Makapuu Beach Park
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-coloured mountain, making it one of Hawaii’s best beaches in Oahu’s picturesque locations.
Take a walk to the picturesque Makapuu Lighthouse for breathtaking views of the mountains and shoreline. Parking is a short distance from the beach, and lifeguards are on duty all day. Restrooms and showers are also available on the beach.
Bottom Line: Best Beaches in Oahu
Have you visited the best beaches in Oahu mentioned in our list? If so, which one has been your personal favourite? If not, which one are you planning to visit next time? Comment below to let us know and have fun!
Also read: Best things to do in Queens.
Loved the article? To read more articles like this, click here.