Oahu Beaches

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Beaches of Oahu

Oahu’s beaches are a true taste of paradise—whether you’re looking for high adventure on the sea, gentle waves for your first surfing lesson, a romantic sunset view or a family-friendly swimming spot. While you might already be familiar with world-famous Waikiki Beach and the high-octane winter waves of the North Shore, there’s even more to discover along the island’s 112 miles of coastline. Explore Oahu’s beaches below by region below.

Note: Heed all warning signs and be aware of changing conditions, strong currents and reefs. Use your own best judgment to determine whether a particular beach is appropriate for you and your ability level.

North Shore Beaches

 
Kawela Bay/Turtle Bay is located on Oahu’s northeastern tip, past Haleiwa and near Kahuku. It’s protected from large waves and surf, making it a great place to snorkel. You might even catch a glimpse of a honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle).
 
Sunset Beach spans from Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) to Sunset Point, encompassing a dozen different reef breaks. This two-mile stretch of sand is considered one of the longest rideable surf spots in the world, and it’s also a venue for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing (November-December).
 
Waimea Bay is notorious for producing monstrous winter waves, so it’s one of the first places surfers began to ride big waves in the ’50s. In the summer, the swells subside for great swimming and snorkeling. With full facilities, this is a popular beach for locals and visitors alike.
 
Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline) is known for powerful waves that break over a sharp reef no more than a few feet from the surface. These massive tubes make this one of the most dangerous surf spots in the world and one of the venues for the Triple Crown of Surfing.
 

Windward Coast Beaches (Eastside)

Waimanalo Beach is a four-mile stretch of sand 20 minutes past Makapuu Lighthouse on the Windward Coast. This beach park has ample parking and is host to many local picnics and parties. Its gentle waves make it a great place to bodyboard or bodysurf.
 
Kualoa Regional Park is across from Kualoa Ranch. This beautiful beach park offers spectacular views down the east coast of Oahu as well as Mokolii, an islet off the Windward Coast.
 

South Shore Beaches

Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the world, boasting more than four million visitors every year and breathtaking views of Leahi (Diamond Head). The Duke Kahanamoku statue welcomes you to Waikiki, one of the best places in Hawaii to learn how to surf or paddle a canoe thanks to its small but long-lasting wave break. Waikiki is actually made up of a few beaches, including Fort DeRussy Beach to the west, Waikiki Beach (fronting the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Westin Moana Surfrider), Kuhio Beach (along Kalakaua Avenue) and Queen Surf Beach, home to quieter stretches on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki.
 
Ala Moana Beach Park/Magic Island is just minutes west from Waikiki. This half-mile beach is protected by a fringing reef for calm waters. Extending out from the beach is Magic Island, a manmade peninsula with large seawalls and a shallow lagoon, making it a perfect place for keiki (children) to swim. Tables are available for picnics.
 
Sandy Beach is a favorite of Oahu-born President Barack Obama. This stretch of sand is 10 minutes past Hanauma Bay near the Halona Blowhole. A popular local beach, the massive shore break here can be dangerous, so only go out into the water if you’re an experienced swimmer.
 

Leeward Coast Beaches (Westside)

Ko Olina Resort and Marina is where you’ll find man-made lagoons created for the Ko Olina Resort, home to the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa and the Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. With parking, restrooms and showers available, this is a perfect beach for families.
 
Makaha Beach has the best surfing on Oahu’s west coast and is one of the places where big wave surfing was pioneered. Beware of the sloping sand beachhead that can cause backwash and catch unsuspecting visitors off-guard.
 
Yokohama Bay is the last sandy stretch on the Leeward Coast. Its curvy beach and turquoise waters are a great spot to sunbathe and watch surfers and dolphins. If you’re an avid hiker, nearby Kaena Point offers a trail with rewarding ocean views.

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