The best beaches on Oahu, Hawaii and how to get to each one.
|Guide Series: Hawaii's Best Beaches
Oahu is Hawaii's most populated island in terms of residents and visitors so it's a good thing it's full of amazing beaches. If you're visiting Oahu you may not have time to stop at all 120+ beaches on the island to find the best one. No worries, we have you covered with a complete list of Oahu's best beaches.
Here's our list of the best beaches on Oahu, Hawaii.
It's the most iconic beach in all of Hawaii, but Waikiki Beach isn't really a single beach. There are actually quite a few "Waikiki Beaches" here, all of them in a row in the greater Waikiki area. There are a lot of people here but it's still one of those "must visit" beaches on Oahu for sure. The Waikiki beaches are often calm and good for swimming for most people but if you have kids you'll want to try Kuhio Beach Park @ Waikiki for sure. More at: Waikiki Beaches
Kailua is an amazing beach. From the powdery sand to water that seems to come in the perfect shades of blue, this one has something for everyone. Of course, that means pretty much everyone will try to come here too! So the next best bet is to try Kalama Beach Park which is right next to Kailua Beach, shares the same stretch of sand, is still part of Kailua Bay, and offers a similar experience with less people. More at: Kailua Beach Park
This is another classic Oahu beach and one most people have heard of. In the winter time it's not a place you'll go to swim but instead watch the professional surfers do their thing. This is, after all, home to The Quiksilver In Memory Of Eddie Aikau which is one of the largest big wave surfing competitions on the planet. In the summer, big waves often turn into calm, clear waters that you can swim in. More at: Waimea Bay Beach Park
Lanikai has some of the softest, most powder-like sand you'll ever find. Toss in crystal clear, perfectly blue waters, and some offshore islands and you have a living postcard. The people who live along the beach have known this for a long time and they're not exactly happy that the rest of the world gets to play in their backyard (quite literally). But that's that price of living in paradise I guess. Respect the locals, don't leave a mess, keep quiet, and have a good time. More at: Lanikai Beach
This is a long stretch of sand surrounded by clear, shallow waters that are well protected from the open ocean most of the time. That means it's a great place to swim and good for kids as well. It's going to be packed here on the weekends so come early or go during the week instead (when it will only be sort-of-packed). More at: Ala Moana Beach & State Recreation Area
People are drawn to Waimanalo for the amazing shades of blue that this side of the island is known for. The stretch of sand here is absolutely huge so even when it's busy you can often find a place that's still away from the crowd. It's a great place to swim, relax in the sand, or just to hang out and read a book. More at: Waimanalo Bay Beach Park
Sunset beach isn't just fun for watching the sunset, it's a fun place to spend a day. This beach is best in the summertime when the waves aren't dangerous. The water is gorgeous here and you could probably spend hours just bobbing up and down in it as the gentle waves pass you by. It's sort of the Waikiki of the north shore, and sometimes just as crowded. More at: Sunset Beach
The Ko Olina lagoons are actually four man made beaches and lagoons but you won't care that mother nature had a little help with these beauties. The most popular is Ko Olina Lagoon 1 (Kahola Lagoon) since it backs up to Aulani A Disney Resort And Spa and the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina. If those are too packed for your liking you can also access the slightly less crowded Ko Olina Lagoon 2 (Honu Lagoon), Ko Olina Lagoon 3 (Nai'a Lagoon), or Ko Olina Lagoon 4 (Ulua Lagoon).
Another name that almost everyone knows is Pipeline, though the real name is Ehukai Beach Park. When the winter waves slam the north shore of Oahu you won't go anywhere near the water here. Instead, that's the time to come and watch the professional surfers defy gravity and common sense. During the summer, the ocean can be very calm and make it a fun places to splash around and hang out for the day. More at: Banzai Pipeline / 'Ehukai Beach Park
A lot of people don't know about this beach, though it's not at all a secret. But it's located at the northwest tip of Oahu and there just aren't as many tourists that come out this far compared to other areas of the island. The locals are completely okay with that but this beach is worth the drive. In the winter, the waves will be too strong for swimming. But in the summer, they can sometimes be okay (always check with the lifeguard to be sure). Even if you don't swim, you'll have a hard time finding a beach with better views. Mountains in the back, clear and blue waters in the front, and sandy beach all around. More at: Keawa'ula Beach (Yokohama Beach)
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