There is really no beach on the Hawaiian island of Oahu that should be excluded off this list, from the turquoise waters and gleaming sands to the never ending sun. The Oahu coastline is really just one gorgeous beach park after another, with majestic mountains on one side and the impressive Pacific Ocean on the other, as anywhere you stop is a little slice of heaven and the ideal location for some fun in the sun. All we could do was pick our favourites, so here we go, let’s explore some of the best beaches on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
Easily Hawaii’s most famous beach, the soft white sands and stunning waters make it very easy to see why. Have a blast riding the long, rolling waves that Waikiki Beach is known for, whether you are an experienced surfer or just beginning, They got you covered if you don’t have a board, as you can rent one there or just relax and enjoy the sun. You will surely be impressed with the spectacular sunsets at the end of your day here.
Diamond Head Beach
Located at the base of Diamond Head crater, this beautiful beach is also dangerous even for the most experienced surfers due mainly to the sharp rocks and jagged cliff edges, but a trip here just to experience this beach from the sun soaked shores it is definitely worthwhile.
Hanauma Bay Beach
This is one of Oahu’s most popular tourist destinations and a designated nature reserve. This horseshoe shaped Bay was actually formed by volcanic explosions and now has a thriving coral reef around the shallow shoreline, making it a fantastic location for snorkelling. The stunning variety of tropical fish here is a sight to behold and you may even get to see some green sea turtles as well.
Also known as Halona Cove, this serene little spot is located next to Halona Blowhole, so named due to the curved rock formation that forms a mini geyser when it gets windy and the seas are rough. This is not to be missed.
A local favourite for those who enjoy bodyboarding, since the waves break close to the shore. This however sometimes causes some really mean rip currents, and as such, Sandy beach has the most injuries of any other beach in Hawaii. But don’t let the dangers of the water prevent you from appreciating the breath-taking views of this spectator’s paradise.
Laie Point Beach
Located on the North Shore and one of Hawaii’s most scenic points, not just popular with locals, but also with adventurous tourists who love to cliff jump into the ocean. Laie Point is a tourist attraction and no tour is complete without a stop here and a retelling of the legend attached to it that goes like this:
“Laniloa is the name given to a point of land which extends into the ocean from Laie. In ancient times this point was mo‘o, standing upright, ready to kill the passerby. After Kana and his brother had rescued their mother from Molokai and had taken her back to Hawaii, Kana set out on a journey around the islands to kill all the mo‘o. In due time he reached Laie, where the mo‘o was killing many people. Kana had no difficulty in destroying this monster. Taking its head, he cut it into five pieces and threw them into the sea, where they can be seen today as the five small islands lying off Malaekahana.”
The five small islands along this shoreline are called Keanuakaluapa’a’a, Malualai, Pulemoku, Moluaaniwa, and Kihewamoku.
A popular beach with surfers, with its tan coloured sands, warm blue water, tropical palm trees, and waves anytime of year, it’s no wonder why they are so drawn to it. However, if you are an inexperienced surfer, you may prefer to be more of a spectator at this beach.
A preferred hangout of hang-gliders and surfers, Makapuu Beach Park has some of Oahu’s best bodysurfing and bodyboarding. The beach, located at the bottom of a steep sandhill, is rather small and surrounded by dark, volcanic rocks that form a striking contrast with the white sand. Makapuu isn’t only about charming vistas and scenery, however. Powerful winter waves (up to 12 ft.) retain some of their kick in the summer, too. Makapuu is almost as infamous as Sandy Beach for neck and back injuries, and has more drownings due to deeper water; be mindful of red flags, strong tides, and dangerous shore breaks. Pack a picnic lunch; the nearest food is overpriced at Sea Life Park.
Laniakea (Turtle) Beach
Affectionately called Turtle Beach due to the large number of green sea turtles that regularly come ashore here regardless of how many tourists and surfers are around. It’s a great place for visitors to get the opportunity to get up close and personal with these turtles on the beach or in the water.
Located in Lanikai, a community in the town of Kailua and on the windward coast of Oahu, Hawaii. The name Lanikai means “heavenly sea” and from the picture above, you can see why. This small half-mile strip of beach is consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world.
We couldn’t leave it at just 10 with all the beautiful beaches to choose from on Oahu, so we’ve added one more impressive Hawaiian beach to end our list with. Enjoy the sunset!
Waimea Bay Beach
You may recognize this beautiful location from the TV show LOST, but it is also known as the home to the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational event. This incredible surfing contest has only been held 7 times in the past 20 years since the contest can only be held when the waves are at least 20 feet high. The last time it was held was in December 2009 when the waves reached an impressive 30-50 feet high. In the calmer summer months the beach is also a favourite for cliff jumpers and swimmers of all ages.