Oahu Beaches: The BEST Beaches In Oahu For Your Visit

From crashing waves to calm and serene, the endless beaches of Oahu, Hawaii provide endless fun for those travelling through Hawaii. Whether you’re looking for the perfect swimming spot, soft sand for sunbathing or beach volleyball, or just a place to relax and rewind, you’ll find something perfect in this list of the best beaches in Oahu. Each shore side venue has a completely diverse feeling, and this guide is here to make sure you find the perfect beach suited to your needs so that you can always be at the right place. Whether you’re travelling or solo or on a perfect honeymoon getaway, you can make sure your trip to Oahu is filled with the memories of surf and sand.

Oahu is the third largest island in Hawaii, an archipelago in the Pacific ocean, and the fiftieth state of the US. Oahu is home to the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, which is situated on the southeast end of the island. Oahu is home to just under a million people, with most of those residents of Honolulu. Known as ‘The Gathering Place” Oahu is a sun kissed paradise any time of the year.

If you are already thinking of planning your trip to the beach, you’ll want to know the best times to visit. The Pacific climate of Oahu keeps the island temperate compared too many tropical destinations, with consistent temperatures year round. Between June and October temperatures will hover around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and during the winter months, those will only drop to the low 70s. Visitors come to Oahu year round, but if you want to avoid the summer rush January and February is the time to go.

The most popular, wide open, sandy Oahu beaches are of the highest demand. But the island is home to a multitude of options, and the more adventurous spirit will find even more places to go. Start planning your beach trip to Hawaii today and put Oahu on the top of your travel wish list. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen, bring a towel and a sense of fun, because this post features every detail you need to know on the top ten best beaches in Oahu.

One of the best Oahu beaches, Waikiki Beach sunset

Waikiki Beach

Oahu Beaches: The Best Beaches In Oahu

Kailua Beach Park

Oahu Beaches: Kailua Beach

Kailua Beach Park, also known simply as the best beach in America, is home to open white sand, a calm blue bay and the best swimming waters in Oahu, making it one of the beast beaches in Oahu. Featuring breathtaking ocean views, this beach is found minutes from downtown and is close to nearby hotels. There are restaurants, bars, cafes and more readily available, and as a city park, the beach provides accessible facilities. Kailua is a busy, energetic beach, perfect for those visitors looking for a good time next to the sea.

Getting to the park is incredibly easy, as it is located just off the main city. This is also a perfect starting place to head to the next beach on our list, Lanikai!

Lanikai Beach:

Oahu Beaches: Lanikai Beach

Meaning “Heavenly Sea”, Lanikai is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the North America, and is the only beach in the US to be ranked as one of the best beaches in the world. This beach is often busy, at all times of the year and is frequented by models and Instagrammers alike as a perfect place to photograph. The beach has perfect white, powdery sand, and the waters around the beach are shallow enough to be warm and welcoming to the beach-going swimmer.

The only downside to Lanikai are its lack of facilities and the trouble of finding parking at one of Oahu’s most popular beaches. There is plenty of parking available for those willing to walk a short distance from Kailua, but if you want the perfect spot, you should arrive super early during the high season.

Waikiki Beach:

Waikiki is one of the most famous beaches in Oahu, located in Honolulu, this is the perfect beach for travelers staying in the city. The Shores of Waikiki are lined with high-rise hotels and resorts, and is part of a vibrant neighborhood of parties and surfers. After a spectacular sunset, the area comes alive with waterside cocktail bars, fine dining options and even hula shows. This is the perfect location for parties and those seeking excitement.

Those that want the luxurious relaxation of white sand and sun during the day followed by the excitement of a non-stop party during the evening hours will find themselves perfectly at home on the shores of Waikiki. Buses and taxis make regular stops at Waikiki and run into the evening so visitors won’t have any issues making their way home when the perfect night comes to an end.

Diamond Head Beach Park:

Also close to Honolulu, Diamond Head is an option for those that find themselves wanting to explore or who seek a quieter beach away from the noise of Waikiki. This beach is just around the corner from Waikiki, but provides a more rugged scene. The sand stretches away into rocky tide pools and stone arches, perfect for adventuring with the kids. Still within city limits you’ll find all the necessary facilities here as well as activities such as kayaking and snorkeling for those wanting to get out into the water. This is the place for a great day of exploring and activity, and is still convenient enough to have access to restaurants and bars nearby. Buses are available to this location and taxis will take you directly to Diamond Head within 20 minutes from most hotels.

Magic Island Lagoon:

This man made peninsula offers the best of both worlds, a smaller beach with a quiet bay that provides peace and quiet, as well as easy access to the bustling city. There are fantastic bars, restaurants and vendors located nearby and accessible parking close to the beach so that you can relax. This is a perfect fit for families and couples that are looking to unwind and relax without travelling out of the city.

Local buses and taxis go to the Lagoon, and those staying in downtown hotels may even be able to walk here within 10 minutes.

Hanauma Bay State Park:

Oahu Beaches - Hanauma Bay

One of Hawaii’s most beautiful nature preserves, Hanauma Bay was formed within a volcanic cone, creating a dark volcanic rock around the gorgeous turquoise bay. One of the biggest tourist attractions near Honolulu, this beach attracts those curious about the local flora and fauna. An extremely popular spot for snorkeling, this beach is one of the best places to view sea life from parrotfish to turtles.

However, Hanauma Bay does limit the number of visitors per day to keep the beach in such pristine condition and so those excited to get a glimpse of the green sea turtles for themselves should make sure to get there early. While buses do run to Hanauma, it can take some time, and a car is a better bet, just 25 minutes from downtown Honolulu.

Makapuu Beach Park:

Another 20 minutes further along from Hanauma Bay, Makapuu Beach is the perfect day trip from Honolulu. On the windward side of the island, Makapuu provides the optimal conditions for the beginning surfer, with small waves and calm seas. On either side of this small bay, dark volcanic rock provides the perfect backdrop for your endeavors.

For those more keen on keeping their feet safely on the ground, the small Lighthouse point hike is worth the 15 minute walk to provide perfect ocean views. This viewpoint also provides a better look at both the lighthouse itself as well as being known as the perfect location for whale spotting in the winter months.

Mermaid Caves:

Another fantastic day trip from Honolulu, the Mermaid Caves are the perfect 30 minute car ride for the more adventurous explorer. Both over and underwater caves are accessible from this beach, and scuba diving is even possible through the small nearby town of Kapolei.

Exploring these small subterranean caves is like a dream come true, even without the possibility of seeing a mermaid for yourself. This wonderful cave system never ceases to provide amazement to those who visit, just be wary of rising tides while exploring and stay safe!

Aki’s Beach:

Farther afield, Aki’s Beach is the perfect addition to a day trip to one of the forest reserves on the northern island. This small sandy beach is down a small path between two residential areas, and can be hard to find. But all of that is made worth it, because Aki’s beach is a local’s hidden secret, the best place on Oahu to see sea turtles. This beach is also quiet and secluded, and is a perfect place to get away from the noise for a while and relax and enjoy.

You won’t find any crowds at this small beach, though it is a 50 minute drive from Honolulu. This beach is best enjoyed by those who have rented a car for their stay. Once in Makaha, you have to park on the road, and find the small path to access the beach.

Sunset Beach:

Sunset Beach - Oahu Beaches most colorful sunset

Also an hour drive from Honolulu, Sunset Beach can be enjoyed year round, but the real draw is in the early months of the year. During the summer, Sunset beach provides a long stretch of pristine sand that is perfect for time alone or with someone special. During the winter months, the pristine views are broken up by huge waves caused by storms to the north. Sunset beach is a regular haunt for avid surfers, and those hoping to see the pros in action, or to surf some true Hawaiian waves themselves will inevitably end up here.

Following the Kamehameha Highway north from Honolulu will get you to Sunset Beach in just under an hour, but the drive is worth the wait.

Additional Information For Visiting The Best Beaches In Oahu

Enjoying the perfect Oahu beach is always dependent on what makes your vacation truly perfect. Exciting parties, cerulean seas, crashing waves, wildlife viewing, and more are all activities that you can expect from vacationing in Oahu. Once you’ve decided what you want to do, be sure to check out the beach that best suits you, or even jump from beach to beach until you have seen them all! You will be sure to have the time of your life experiencing the brilliant sun and crystal blue waters all over the island

  • Getting to Oahu
    • Most major airlines fly into Honolulu International Airport
    • During the busy summer months, book tickets in advance for the best deals
  • Where to stay
    • Oahu has a variety of lodging for every budget, from hotels to Airbnb’s and everything in between. If you plan to visit during the summer months, book in advance for the best rates.
      • If you are looking for a luxurious seaside getaway, you found the right island. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel sits right on one of the beach Oahu beaches, Waikiki Beach.
    • Getting around
      • Depending on where you stay you may not need a car because you can use taxis, Uber and the local transit system. However, if you are looking to get further off the beaten path, or across the island, then renting a car may be more convenient for you.
        • One thing to note about renting a car in Oahu: do not ever leave anything in your car. I was robbed in broad daylight within seconds of walking away from the vehicle and the local police said this happens all the time. We were told leave nothing and leave the windows rolled down if you can to avoid having the window broken.

 

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