25 Must-Visit Beaches in Oahu, Hawaii


Oahu, also known as “The Gathering Place,” is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The island has something for everyone, from world-famous surf spots to secluded coves. Whether you’re looking for a place to catch a wave, soak up the sun, or simply relax and enjoy the scenery, Oahu’s beaches are sure to please. 

In this article, we’ll look at the 25 must-visit beaches in Oahu, highlighting their unique features and what makes them worth a visit.

Best Beaches in Oahu

1. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki beach
Waikiki beach

This 2-mile white sand beach is on the south shore of Oahu in Honolulu. Known for its turquoise waters, it is one of the most famous and popular beaches on the Hawaiian islands and a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the best of Oahu beaches.

Waikiki Beach is known for its excellent surf conditions. Beginners can take advantage of the gentle breaks and warm waters. Additionally, Waikiki beach offers paddle boarding, beach volleyball, and swimming.

Waikiki Beach has various amenities like lifeguards and beach rentals. Moreover, on Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu’s main shopping street that’s parallel to the beach, visitors can find a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. 

2. Kailua Beach Park

Kailua beach park
Kailua beach park

A coastal park on the eastern part of the island of Oahu, Kailua Beach is among the favorite Oahu beaches of both locals and tourists. This seaside park has 2.5 miles of pristine beach, ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports.

The seaside park stands out with its offshore reef that generates gentle waves and calm waters. Hence, it’s perfect for swimming and stand-up paddleboarding. 

Amenities such as picnic tables, showers, restrooms, and parking are available. While here, make sure to try Hawaii’s signature shave ice at Island Snow, where even former US President Barack Obama has been spotted. 

3. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai beach
Lanikai beach

Located on the east shore of Oahu, Lanikai Beach is a true tropical paradise. Its fine white sand and crystal clear waters make it one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. In fact, plenty of publications consider it to be among the best beaches in the world.

What makes Lanikai Beach unique is its spectacular scenery. Visitors can see the stunning offshore islands known locally as “the Mokes” from this vantage point. These islands are an incredible tropical paradise off the coast of Lanikai Beach and are only accessible via Northern Moke Beach.

For many locals and families visiting Oahu, Lanikai Beach is a favorite. This is due to its calm waters that are perfect for kayaking, paddle sports, and snorkeling.

Amenities at Lanikai Beach include public restrooms and showers, picnic tables, and a playground.

4. Ala Moana Beach Park

Ala moana beach park
Ala moana beach park

Ala Moana Beach Park is a beautiful Oahu beach between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. It is free to the public and spans over 100 acres. The park features a wide golden sand beach that’s over a half-mile long. Ala Moana Beach Park is a favorite among Honolulu residents and attracts around 4 million visitors annually.

Ala Moana Beach Park is protected by a shallow offshore reef and has a sandy ocean bottom without any reefs or rocks. Thus, it’s a very safe spot for swimming. However, the ocean bottom at Ala Moana drops quickly. Therefore, novice swimmers should keep in mind not to swim too far away.

Ala Moana Beach Park offers a variety of activities for visitors. Big grassy areas, banyans, and palm trees provide an excellent area for picnics, barbecues, playing ball games, or running. 

Amenities include lifeguards, showers, restrooms, tennis courts, picnic tables, food concessions, and a music pavilion. Moreover, Ala Moana Beach is also conveniently located next to “Magic Island,” a place where many cultural events happen. Keep in mind that it is closed from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

5. Waimanalo Beach Park

Waimanalo beach park
Waimanalo beach park

Waimānalo Beach is a must-see destination for beach lovers visiting the eastern end of Oahu, Hawaii. Known for its long stretch of sand, Waimānalo is one of the best beaches on the island and is a favorite among locals. 

Waimanalo Beach is 5.5 miles long. This makes it the longest stretch of white sand coast on the island. Sparse commercial developments along Kalanianaole Highway surround Waimanalo Beach. However, there are no hotels near it. Thus, Waimanalo Beach is a great place to escape the crowds and enjoy a secluded and peaceful day at the beach. 

Visitors can enjoy various activities such as swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and beach volleyball. The beach has picnic areas as well. It’s perfect for a day out with friends and family. 

Waimanalo Beach is close to Makapuʻu Beach and Sea Life Park, two attractions that are also popular on the island. 

6. Waimea Bay Beach Park

Aerial view of waimea bay beach park
Aerial view of waimea bay beach park

You can find Waimea Bay surrounded by majestic mountains on the North Shore of the island of Oahu in Hawaii. It’s renowned for its large waves. Winter surf is popular here, as waves can reach up to 40 feet. 

If you prefer milder water activities, fear not. Waimea Bay offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities during the summer months. It’s a good idea to wear reef shoes if you go snorkeling as they can protect your feet from shells, jellyfish, and similar. Visitors can also enjoy other activities like rock climbing, and fishing. 

Amenities at this seaside park include picnic areas, restrooms, showers, and parking. Visitors must be aware of the absence of lifeguards. Swimming can be dangerous during the winter when the waves are high.

Overall, Waimea Bay seaside park on Oahu is a must-visit destination for all visitors. It offers a harmonious blend of breathtaking natural beauty and thrilling adventure. Be sure to check out Waimea Valley which sits behind the beach and provides great opportunities to learn more about Hawaiian culture and history.

7. Sunset Beach

Sunset beach
Sunset beach

Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu is just 39 miles from Waikiki. The beach’s two-mile stretch of beige sand is a must-see for those visiting Hawaii. It is a popular destination for surfers and beachgoers known for its big waves during the winter season. 

Sunset Beach’s picturesque setting makes it unique. Tall palm trees line the shore, and you can find an abundance of aquatic life there. The beach offers an excellent opportunity to see a variety of fish as well as sea turtles during the winter months. Dolphins and whales are other fascinating creatures that may frequent the area during this time. 

Swimming conditions at Sunset Beach vary depending on the location and season. The water is generally flat and calm in the summer. This makes it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. However, the waves can be quite large and dangerous during the winter. By then, it becomes a surfer’s playground. 

Sunset Beach offers plenty of amenities, including lifeguards, picnic areas, and restrooms. It is considered one of the best beaches on Oahu, a favorite among many locals and tourists alike.

8. Kahana Bay Beach Park

Kahana bay beach park
Kahana bay beach park

Kahana Bay is a beautiful and secluded Oahu beach. You can find it on the east side of Oahu across from Ahupua’a State Park. It’s mostly known for its clear water, warm sand, and lush mountain views.

The surrounding cove protects the beach from rough sea waves. This makes it perfect for swimming and snorkeling to view the area’s rich marine life. Lush green mountains surround the beach, making it a great spot to relax and soak up the sun. 

The beach is family-friendly and perfect for a picnic or a day out with the kids. There are outdoor showers and restrooms available on-site. The beach also has a boat ramp and is a popular spot for boating enthusiasts.

9. Malaekahana Beach Park

Malaekahana beach park
Malaekahana beach park

About a 45-minute drive from Waikiki, Malaekahana Beach is one of the most secluded beaches in Oahu. Surrounded by lush vegetation and a clear blue ocean, you can expect a serene atmosphere. 

It’s considered one of the best family-friendly beaches on the island. The sandy beach stretches for half a mile, and the water is typically calm. It’s excellent for all ages. 

Activities at Malaekahana Beach include swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. The beach also offers excellent opportunities for fishing and boating. Visitors can also explore the beautiful bay with rentals such as kayaks or stand-up paddleboards.

10. Sandy Beach

Sandy beach hawaii
Sandy beach hawaii

Sandy Beach is another famous Oahu beach. You can find it on the South Shore of Oahu between Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve Park and Makapu’u Point. 

The beach’s shore break and consistent barrels make it a favorite spot for those with an adventurous spirit. Many believe it to be the best beach on Oahu for challenging bodyboarding and bodysurfing waves. 

However, the water at this beach can be dangerous due to strong rip currents and high surf. In fact, it has earned the nickname “break-neck” beach. Therefore, visitors should exercise caution and check with lifeguards before entering the water. 

In addition to bodyboarding and bodysurfing, you can also enjoy sunbathing, picnicking, and beach volleyball. The beach is also a great spot for watching the sunset.

Sandy Beach Park offers a variety of amenities for visitors to enjoy. The park includes restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables, grills, and lifeguards. In addition, parking is available at no cost. 

11. Makapu’u Beach Park

Makapu’u beach
Makapu’u beach

You can find Makapu’u Beach on the southeast point of Windward Oahu, just minutes from Sea Life Park and Ku Heiau. Most would call it a hidden gem. It is known for its seclusion and breathtaking scenery. Sheer black sea cliffs surround it, providing Makapu’u Beach with a dramatic and powerful atmosphere. 

The beach’s name, Makapu’u, has a special meaning. It means “bulging eye” in Hawaiian and references a local legend about a Tahitian goddess who had eight bulging eyes and lived in a cave in the area. Today, the beach is known for its modern “bright eye” – Makapu’u Point lighthouse. This landmark towers over the azure blue bay.

Makapu’u Beach Park is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, and relaxing. Visitors to Makapu’u Beach can also explore Makapu’u Point, an ancient volcanic peak that rises 647 feet above the sea. 

Amenities at this seaside park include a lifeguard on duty, a free parking lot, a picnic area with tables and benches, public BBQ grills, public restrooms, and showers.

12. Diamond Head Beach Park

Diamond head beach
Diamond head beach

Also known as Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park, Diamond Head is just a short drive or walk from Waikiki. The area offers a secluded and peaceful escape from the busier Oahu beaches. 

Popular among surfers and windsurfers, it offers expansive south-side views and endless surf swells. The beach is also home to the Diamond Head Lighthouse, tide pools, and beautiful beachfront homes. Amenities include picnic tables, showers, and restrooms.

In addition to water activities, visitors have the unique opportunity to hike the Diamond Head Trail. It leads to the summit, where they can enjoy stunning views of the island.

13. Laniakea Beach

Marine life in laniakea beach
Marine life in laniakea beach

Laniakea Beach, or Turtle Teach, is one of the best beaches in Oahu’s North Shore. What sets Laniakea Beach apart from other Oahu beaches is its population of green sea turtles. You can see these animals basking in the sun right on the beach.

Visitors can watch and take pictures of the protected green sea turtles at Laniakea Beach. However, it is essential to respect their space and not disturb them.

The beach at Laniakea is small and rocky and has a strong rip current when the surf is high. Surfing is a popular activity here, as Laniakea Beach offers access to Laniakea, Himalayas, and Hultin’s offshore surf spots.

Amenities at Laniakea Beach include parking across the beach. However, visitors should be aware of the crowds and traffic because it’s a popular stop for circle island tour buses.

With its soft sand, protected sea turtles, food trucks, and exciting surf spots, Laniakea Beach is definitely one of the best beaches on the island. 

14. Hanauma Bay

Hanauma bay
Hanauma bay

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is yet another must-see destination for anyone visiting Oahu. The easternmost peninsula of the island houses this popular beach, known for its unique volcanic-formed bay.

The bay is part of the Koolau Volcano and offers visitors an unparalleled snorkeling and swimming experience. The soft, white sand along the innermost part of the bay is perfect for sunbathing. 

It’s an excellent spot to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. However, due to preservation efforts, there are some restrictions in place for visitors. 

Tour buses, taxis, and shuttles are not allowed in the Hanauma Bay main tourist area. Visitors must make a timed reservation online, or they may be refused entry. Furthermore, all first-time visitors must watch a 9-minute safety and rules video. After that, you can enjoy abundant marine creatures, including coral, tropical fishes, sea turtles, and even dolphins. 

Amenities include picnic tables, food trucks, locker rentals, a gift shop, restrooms, showers, and a rental shop for snorkeling gear.

15. Pokai Bay Beach Park

Pokai bay beach park
Pokai bay beach park

You can find Pokai Bay Beach on the west coast of Oahu, between the small boat harbor in Wai’anae and Kane’ilio Point. It is one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii as well as one of the most protected beaches on the island. 

This coastal park is perfect for swimming and is specifically good for children. The breakwater offshore blocks high surf, making its waters calm. Pokai Bay is also a great spot for beginners to try surfing. It has gentle surf and a wide reef in the middle of the bay, providing suitable conditions for learning. 

Additionally, this seaside park is home to an ancient Hawaiian temple site called Ku’ilioloa Heiau. You can find it on the nearby peninsula of Kane’ilio Point. The park offers amenities such as picnic tables and restrooms. It is definitely a great option to consider when looking for the best Oahu beaches. 

16. Nanakuli Beach Park

Nanakuli beach park
Sunset in nanakuli beach park

Nanakuli Beach is a 40-acre park located on Oahu’s leeward coast. It s known for its strong shore break and high surf during the winter months. Hence, swimming is not recommended during those times. However, the conditions are ideal for it in the summer.

Visitors should bring plenty of water and sunscreen as the area can be hot and dry. Amenities include picnic tables and a ballfield for recreational activities. Camping is also allowed with a permit. Overall, this coastal park is one of the best beaches on Oahu and is a favorite among locals.

17. Bellows Field Beach Park

Bellows field beach park
Sunset in bellows field beach park

Located between Inoa’ole and Waimanalo Streams, it’s one of the best beaches Oahu houses on its windward side. The park is home to a long, wide, and sandy beach that offers excellent boogie boarding, body surfing, and body boarding opportunities. 

Bellows Field hosts an interesting array of marine species, including the Portuguese man o’war, and the pupu pani. Visitors should also look out for the Pacific mole crabs, which you can find at the water’s edge. The locals call them the “sand turtles.” 

The park offers camping permits issued by the City and County of Honolulu. Hence, it’s the perfect beach if you are looking for an overnight adventure. Keep in mind that it’s only open to the public on weekends and national holidays. 

18. Keawaula Beach

Keawaula beach
Keawaula beach

Keawa’ula Beach, also known as Yokohama Bay, is a hidden gem on the northernmost point of Oahu’s west shore. As one of the most remote beaches on the island, it is the best beach on Oahu for those looking for a secluded and peaceful experience. Keep in mind that you need a car to get here.

In the winter months, high surf and strong currents make it a popular spot for experienced surfers. While lifeguards are present, always exercise caution when you are swimming or surfing here. 

In addition to stunning views of the Wai’anae Mountain Range, visitors can also explore the Ka’ena Point State Park, which the beach is a part of. There’s a dirt trail leading to the island’s northwestern tip. 

Overall, Keawa’ula Beach is a must-visit for those who are not only looking for the best beaches on Oahu, but also for an unspoiled Hawaii tourism destination.

19. Kualoa Beach Park

Kualoa beach park
Kualoa beach park- sea side park

This seaside park on the windward coast is the best beach on Oahu for movie lovers. It’s home to the Kualoa Private Nature Reserve, which offers a variety of Oahu tours and activities. You can explore the sets of famous films and TV shows like Jurassic World, Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, LOST, and Hawaii Five-O.

Besides that, the beach is great for swimming, kayaking, and fishing. It offers amenities such as lifeguard supervision, picnic tables, BBQ areas, restrooms, and showers. 

20. Makaha Beach

Seashore makaha beach
Seashore makaha beach

This coastal park is one of the best beaches on Oahu’s western coast. It’s known for its good swimming and boogie-boarding conditions during the summer. The beach is hardly ever crowded, and the weekends tend to be the busiest.

However, during the winter months, the surf is often high, and the shore break and rip currents can be dangerous. During this time, it’s only suitable for big-wave surfing and experienced surfers. 

Amenities include picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. This makes Makaha seaside park a great option for those looking for one of the best Oahu beaches.

21. Kuhio Beach Park

Sunset in kuhio beach park
Sunset in kuhio beach park

Located between Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel and the Kapahulu Groin, Kuhio is one of the best beaches in Waikiki. There are three famous landmarks located within the park -the Prince Kuhio Statue, the Duke Kahanamoku Statue, and the Stones of Kapaemahu. 

The park is home to Queen Surf Beach and Canoes Surf Beach, some of the island’s most popular beaches for bodyboarders. There are plenty of amenities, including showers and restrooms. 

22. Ko Olina Lagoons

The ko olina lagoons are the perfect oahu beach destination for families
The ko olina lagoons are the perfect oahu beach destination for families

Ko Olina Lagoons are a must-see destination for any beach lover visiting Oahu. You can find them on the island’s west side at Kapolei. These four man-made coves offer some of the best swimming and snorkeling on the island. 

Rock levies protect the lagoons. As a result, the waters inside are calm and perfect for kids. Each of the lagoons offers a different experience. Lagoon 1 is home to the Four Seasons Resort Oahu and the Aulani Disney Resort & Spa and is always busy. On the other hand, Lagoon 4 is often the least crowded. 

The Ko Olina Lagoons are the perfect Oahu beach destination for families and groups. The amenities include restrooms, showers, and plenty of parking. With the calm water and shallow area, it’s perhaps the best beach on Oahu to swim with kids.

23. Secret Island

Secret island
Secret island

Oahu’s Secret Island at  Kualoa Ranch is the best beach for those looking to escape bustling crowds. It’s a genuinely secluded and unique beach, only accessible by boat. On the island, you can expect a white sandy beach and breathtaking views of Mokoli’i Island and Kaneohe Bay. 

You can spend your day lounging on the beach or take advantage of the access to kayaks, canoes, snorkeling gear, and stand-up paddle boards. The turquoise waters are excellent for exploring with a paddleboard, and there are plenty of amenities, such as showers, changing stalls, and restrooms.

24. Kawela Beach

Sunset in kawela beach
Sunset in kawela beach

Found on the North Shore of Oahu near the Turtle Bay Resort, Kawela Bay is one of the best beaches on Oahu that offer a peaceful escape from the crowds. A narrow beach surrounded by coconut palms and ironwood trees, it offers a picturesque backdrop for a stroll or a relaxing day in the sun. 

Swimming and snorkeling may not be the best due to the bay’s murky water and rocky patches. However, the bay is home to a large banyan tree. This landmark is known for its use as a filming location for major movies and TV shows, such as The Hunger Games, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and LOST. 

Conservation agreements protect the bay from future development. This ensures it remains a peaceful oasis on Oahu’s North Shore.

25. Kahanamoku Beach

Kahanamoku beach
Kahanamoku beach

Last but certainly not least, this seaside park on the western end of Waikiki is a great beach for tourists and locals alike. The beach gets its name from Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, a renowned Hawaiian surfer and Olympic swimmer.

With a wide stretch of sand and crystal-clear waters, it’s an incredible spot for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. The beach is also home to the 5-acre Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, which is a man-made swimming area. It’s open for visitors to enjoy a variety of water activities. 

In addition, you can find the Hilton Pier at the center of the beach, where Atlantis Submarine tours depart from. The beach is known for its excellent facilities and safety standards. Thus, it’s a great option for families with young kids. 

Your Top Questions about Oahu Beaches

What is the nicest beach in Oahu?

Some of the best beaches in Oahu are Waikiki Beach, Kailua Beach, and Lanikai Beach. However, choices may vary depending on your personal preferences. 

What part of Oahu has the best beaches?

The North Shore of Oahu is known for its stunning beaches. Popular spots such as Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach offer clear waters and excellent conditions for surfing and swimming. Additionally, the south shore of Oahu, specifically Waikiki, has various beaches and activities suitable for a more urban experience.

Which beach in Oahu has the clearest water?

Many believe that Hanauma Bay has the clearest water, making it a popular spot for snorkeling and swimming. It has a marine life conservation area status which helps preserve the clear water and the diverse marine life.

What’s the prettiest beach in Honolulu?

While personal preferences may vary, Waikiki Beach is considered the most beautiful beach park in all of Honolulu. Lush greenery surrounds the beach, and it offers an array of activities. 

What is the prettiest beach in Oahu?

People consider Lanikai Beach one of the most beautiful beaches on the island, and magazines often include it as one of the best beaches in Oahu and the world. This is due to its crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, and picturesque surroundings. 

What beach do locals go to in Oahu?

Oahu locals usually favor less touristy beaches like Makaha Beach or Waimanalo Bay Beach Park. 

What is the least crowded beach on Oahu?

Ka’ena Point State Park, at the westernmost tip of the island, is considered the least crowded beach on Oahu. Alternatively, locals also recommend visiting the beaches on the North Shore during the week. They tend to be less crowded compared to the weekends.

What is the most famous beach in Oahu?

Waikiki Beach is the most famous beach in Oahu. It’s known for its clear waters, white sandy beaches, and scenic views of Diamond Head. It fronts the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and other famous hotels, as well as restaurants and shops.

What is the number one beach in Hawaii?

Many consider Kahanamoku Beach one of Hawaii’s top beaches, and it’s frequently listed among the top 10 best beaches in the US. Its clear blue waters and white sandy beaches make it an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, and other beach activities.

Which beach on Oahu has the most tourists?

Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Oahu. It’s very close to a high concentration of hotels, shops, and restaurants. Thus, it’s the beach with the most tourists in Oahu.

What is the best swimming beach on Oahu?

Waikiki Beach is considered one of the best swimming beaches on Oahu. Due to its clear and calm waters, it’s perfect for swimmers of all levels. It’s also a popular spot for snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding.

Does Oahu have white sand beaches?

Yes, there are many white sand beaches on Oahu, with Waikiki Beach being the most famous. Hanauma Bay, Kailua Beach, Makaha Beach, and Waimanalo Beach Park are other popular beaches on Oahu with white sand. 

Explore Oahu with WildVoice

Oahu is a beach lover’s paradise. If you’re planning to visit it, make the most of your trip by booking your vacation with WildVoice. With sustainability at our heart, we can help you plan your trip and offer exclusive deals and discounts. 

Book a memorable Oahu excursion today, or sign up for volunteering opportunities in Oahu if you’d like to help preserve the island’s beauty. 

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