Best Beaches in Oahu: A Comprehensive Guide of 10 Beautiful Beaches

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best beaches in oahu
Image by alemus from Pixabay Copyright 2016

Best beaches in Oahu, we are here! Sunshine, palm trees, a tropical drink in hand, and Oahu’s stunning beaches are right at your fingertips. Pinch me! What could you possibly want more from?

Selecting among the best beaches in Oahu to spend the day at is the only difficult decision in this idyllic paradise. Not to worry, though; that’s where I come in.

best beaches in oahu
Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay Copyright 2015

I want you to be aware of your possibilities since you only have so much vacation time and a day at the beach in Hawaii is about as ideal as it gets! These best beaches in Oahu are all family-friendly.

Let’s go on a tour to find the best beaches in Oahu.

1. What do you Know About Oahu?

Oahu is the third-largest Hawaiian island in terms of area, yet it draws the most tourists. There are several most famous beaches to select from throughout the island’s gorgeous 112 km of coastline. We have brought a comprehensive list of some of the best beaches in Oahu.

There are calm man-made lagoons like Ko Olina (where the Disney Aulani resort is located) and undeveloped, undeveloped beaches with white sand like Yokohama Bay.

2. Beaches in Oahu

Based on where they are located on the island, the best beaches in Oahu are categorized into four groups. Waimea Bay and Ehukai Beach, the Banzai Pipeline’s location, are two well-known surfing beaches on the North Shore.

Waikiki, Lanikai beaches, and other well-known vacation spots are situated on the South Shore. Tall palm trees and upscale resort hotels line these broad, expansive, and famous beaches.

The beaches on the Westside are known as Leeward Coast beaches because the island shields them from the wind. Ko Olina and Turtle Bay, among other calm beaches with mild surf, may be found here.

Popular yet untouched amazing beaches on the Eastside, known as the Windward Coast, include Waimanalo and Makapuu.

With this list of the top best beaches on Oahu, you can choose the ideal length of the shore for your seaside activities.

2.1 Best beaches in Oahu

i. Lanikai Beach

best beaches in oahu
Image by Ted Coombs from Pixabay Copyright 2015

One of the best beaches in Oahu is Lanikai Beach because it has all the elements of a dream beach: it’s distant but accessible; the water is warm, clear, and softly lapping; and the sand is white and very fine. It is a very famous beach.

Because the Lanikai beach is situated in a residential area, there are rarely large crowds. However, parking can be a problem. Beachgoers may engage in a wide range of water sports at Lanikai, both above and below the sea. You may go sailing, windsurfing, sea kayaking, or snorkeling. Kayakers may even paddle out to tiny, deserted islands a mile offshore.

The Paradise Palms Bed & Breakfast is located in Kailua, about a 10-minute drive from Lanikai. The business is locally owned, and the friendly, accommodating staff enjoys recommending exciting things to do and see.

There are only two rooms on this Lanikai beach with a little bed and breakfast. This adults-only hotel is in high demand and needs a five-night minimum stay. At Lanikai beach, your accommodation includes boogie boards, beach chairs and umbrellas, and beach towels.

ii. Waikiki beach

best beaches in oahu
Image by Jed S from Pixabay Copyright 2017

Waikiki Beach, as a whole, manages to provide a genuine Hawaiian beach experience despite being the center of Hawaii’s tourism industry. It is one of the secluded beaches on the list of best beaches in Oahu.

Two kilometers of sparkling, fluffy white sand beaches with a warm, clear, vivid blue sea are available. These beaches are encircled by tall, gently swaying palm trees. Since many parts of the beach are roped off for swimming and protected by jetties, the waves are often calm.

Along with Waikiki Beach, there are eight different beaches: Kahanamoku Beach, Fort DeRussy, Gray’s, Royal Hawaiian, Kuhio, Queens, San Souci, and Kaimana. Each of these beaches offers a somewhat different beachgoing experience.

The Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk is a substantial business and residential building across from the beach. It’s a terrific deal because of the abundance of free extras like breakfast and a free evening reception by the pool.

iii. Hanauma Bay

best beaches in oahu
Photo by Brian Bondoc on Unsplash Copyright 2020

Since Hanauma Bay was formed inside the cone of an extinct volcano, it appears to be a gigantic aquarium. It is a great beach.

The park is a very well-known snorkeling destination. It is like snorkeling in a large aquarium (all visitors must see safety and environmental protection lessons before entering). It is one of the best Oahu beaches.

Only 30 minutes from downtown Honolulu, this popular aquatic Hawaii state park is a great place to explore the beach and snorkel. There are many different species of sea life in the well-protected bay.

Even snorkelers who have never done it before will be in awe of what they see. It doesn’t need much work; all you have to do is float on top and gaze below.

Coral reefs are covered with warm, clear water, which draws in various fish and other species.

The park has very severe regulations to protect it and ensure that future generations may enjoy it. For example, sunscreen is not permitted. There will be a cap on attendance to manage overcrowding.

A little shuttle will take you up and down the hill from the parking lot, which is optional, but it costs money and is definitely worth the experience. Hanauma Bay has a huge beach area with lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and a snack bar.

While Hanauma Bay day trips are available from all the Waikiki resorts, staying at The Kahala Hotel & Resort puts you around five miles away. Directly on the beach in Kahala, a residential neighborhood sits the vast luxury resort.

Travelers who want a beachfront hotel experience but don’t want to stay in downtown Waikiki frequently choose it.

The resort provides many alternatives, a selection of lodgings, and its own dolphin lagoon. The hotel even participates in Malama Hawaii, a state-wide sustainability effort that gives visitors a discount on their stay for practicing mindful travel.

You may volunteer at beach clean-ups, take a guided hike to learn about coastal restoration, or visit a nearby organic farm.

iv. Turtle Bay

best beaches in oahu
Image by nuansarudy from Pixabay Copyright 2017

The five miles of wide beaches surrounding this protected harbor, also known as Kawela Bay, are located high on Oahu’s northeastern point. The area got its name from the numerous Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Although the low surf makes it perfect for swimming and snorkeling, only experienced swimmers should attempt it owing to the rocky bottom. It is the most popular kayaking spot on the North Shore because of the gentle surf.

If you want to take a break from the beach, around 12 miles of routes ring the bay, some of which offer hikers amazing ocean views.

A North Shore peninsula with Turtle Bay on one side is where the Turtle Bay Resort is located.

Although the accommodations and facilities are more mid-range than luxury, the views are breathtaking, and the pricing is very low. Because of the resort’s relative isolation, getting off-site requires a car.

v. Waimea Bay

The North Shore surfing hotspot Waimea Bay is well-known for its big waves and is highlighted in the Beach Boys’ popular song Surfin’ USA. All year long, both surfers and non-surfers love going to this beach. With so many surfers, there is always something intriguing to see.

It’s important to remember that Waimea is primarily famous for its huge waves in the winter; throughout the summer, the surf is essentially gentle, making it perfect for swimming and even snorkeling.

The beach may see some of the tallest waves in the world during the winter, with waves reaching 20 to 30 feet.

Waimea Bay is adequately protected with lifeguards on duty and has few facilities (public bathrooms and outdoor showers). The sand is as fine as powder, and the beach is very big. It is one of the best Oahu beaches.

After a day of water sports, have a bite with the locals at one of the countless food trucks lining the Kamehameha Highway near all the big surf breaks (including Waimea).

vi. Waimanalo Beach

best beaches in oahu
Image by Margaret Martin from Pixabay Copyright

This beach stretches four miles along the island’s Windward or eastern shore. Windward means it faces the wind, unlike the beaches on the west coast, which are protected from the wind by the island itself.

Waimanalo is a typical Hawaiian beach since it is broad and flat, has excellent amenities, and has picnic sites. Although the waves are minimal, bodyboarding and bodysurfing are very popular here.

There are a few basic bed & breakfasts nearby, even though Waikiki hotels like the Prince Waikiki are only a 15-minute drive away.

This modern hotel’s apartments and rooms provide views of the Ala Wai boat harbor and the surrounding sea.. A complimentary shuttle is available to Waikiki Beach.

Additionally, this hotel takes part in the Malama Hawaii environmental program. Get your fourth night free, the resort fee waived, and an additional 5% off your stay by learning more about the local ecosystem.

vii. Ko Olina

best beaches in oahu
Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash copyright 2017

The Ko Olina Resort and Marina is located on Oahu’s Leeward Coast and has pristine, well-kept beaches and well-designed artificial lagoons built expressly for the area’s huge resorts. For families or couples, this is the ideal destination.

The Ko Olina resort complex features several properties that offer holiday opportunities for different price ranges.

Visitors who do not stay at the hotel are also welcome. It’s a safe beach for families, even if you’re not a resort visitor, and it’s well-guarded. On the beach, there are a few places for public use, and all of the beachfront hotels provide a wide variety of food alternatives.

The opulent Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina is an amazing oceanfront hotel in this vicinity. The Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, which offers the ideal Disney Hawaii holiday experience for kids, is also located in the vicinity. It consists of a Disney Hawaiian theme park and a resort.

viii. Yokohama Bay

best beaches in oahu
Photo by Colin + Meg on Unsplash Copyright 2022

The final beach along that stretch of the Leeward Coast is Yokohama Bay, another beach.

The Keawaula Beach region is ideal for unwinding since the sandy bottom reflects sunlight, making the water a vivid blue color. It’s one of Hawaii’s most picturesque beaches and wonderful for photographers (and Instagram stars).

The bay’s bright, sandy, slightly sloping beach is ideal for soaking up the Hawaiian sun while watching the occasional pod of passing dolphins. A short hike will lead you to a vantage point with a panoramic view of the entire beach and harbor, which is ideal for taking pictures.

ix. Kailua Beach

best beaches in oahu
Image by markof4123 from Pixabay Copyright 2018

Only a mile from Lanikai Beach lies Kailua Beach Park, consistently rated as one of the country’s top beaches. And that is why we have included this in our list of best beaches in Oahu.

You get three miles of broad, white sand beach with calm, mild water that is greenish-blue in color. The beach is a part of a 35-acre park with several amenities for outdoor leisure.

Businesses in Kailua are also close by for dining and shopping, including Island Snow, the president’s preferred spot for Hawaiian shave ice.

If you want to stay close to Kailua Beach, pick one of the many inexpensive guesthouses and bed-and-breakfasts in the tranquil town of Kailua.

x. Sunset Beach

best beaches in oahu
Image by cgordon8527 from Pixabay Copyright 2016

The climate at this two-mile-long surfing and one of the best beaches in Oahu on the North Shore vary greatly throughout the year. The winter months, when the waves are truly big, should be avoided by everyone save the best swimmers and experienced surfers.

It is incredibly calm and gentle in the summer, perfect for swimming with children and snorkeling from the shore. It has white sand beaches and wonderful, clear water in addition to the surf.

The Courtyard by Marriott Oahu North Shore’s spotless, comfortable accommodations are immediately across from the beach. By providing free Wi-Fi, the hotel adds value, and the higher-floor rooms enjoy stunning ocean views. There is a fitness center and a resort-style pool.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is close next door if you want to take a break from the beach. One of the most well-liked tourist attractions on the island, this living museum and tourist attraction has a Polynesian theme.

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3. What to Bring with You to The Best Beaches in Oahu

What should be on your packing list for Hawaii now that you know “where to go” to ensure that you have the greatest experience enjoying the best beaches in Oahu?

  • Mask and fins: If you want to snorkel more than once or twice while visiting Oahu, carrying your own mask and fins with you is simpler and more cost-effective than renting them there.
  • Nothing would be more disappointing than being prepared to go into the water but without the proper equipment. However, most beaches don’t offer on-site shops where you may rent snorkeling equipment.
  • Reef-safe sunscreen: I touched on this above so that I won’t go into too much detail, but don’t get burnt and don’t kill coral reefs- instead, bring along reef-safe sunscreen.
  • Wetsuit: The water temperature in Oahu is generally nice year-round, ranging from 76°F (24.4°C) to 81°F (27.2°C), if you intend on playing in the waves.
  • GoPro: This little camera is ideal for preserving your experiences both above and below the sea. In addition to being waterproof (to a depth of 33 feet), it is also highly portable, light, and adaptable, allowing you to take amazing pictures and record your next TikTok with it.
  • Reusable water bottle: Bring lots of water with you in a reusable bottle since lying on the beach in the intense Hawaiian heat and the humid tropical air may dehydrate you more quickly than you would expect.

4. Where to Stay in Oahu

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this upscale resort is directly on the beach and has a private lagoon.
  • Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxurious hotel featuring the island’s most breathtaking infinity pool that views the beach.
  • Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): The Ewa Hotel in Waikiki is only one block from the beach and costs slightly more than $150 USD.
  • Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): Budget-friendly option and is still in a great location.
  • Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This resort will leave your children with lifelong memories. You genuinely have the impression of residing in a theme park.

Which one from the list of best beaches in Oahu is your favorite? Are there any undiscovered treasures you overlooked while wandering through these beautiful beaches? Please share in the comments section. Hope you have a great time.

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