5 Best Oahu Beaches

Our must-visit list of best beaches in Oahu, Hawaii

Whether you want to watch the world’s best surfers catch waves on the North Shore or learn to surf in Waikiki, Oahu has something for everyone…including the most popular snorkeling destination in the state, Hanauma Bay.

1. Lanikai Beach is a big tropical swimming pool good for children.

2 kayaks at Lanikai Beach with islet in background.

With two islands in the distance, soft white sand, and cool breezes – Lanikai Beach is hard to beat.

2. Kailua Beach Park is one of Oahu’s most beautiful beaches.

Kailua Beach is a beautiful white sand beach that’s fun for the whole family. Great for kayaking, swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.

Editor's note: After a relaxing day at Kailua beach, you can stroll across the street to Buzz's Steak House for a cool drink or a snack. It's a local favorite since 1962!

3. Waimea Bay is more than just big waves.

Couple walking on white sand beach of Waimea Bay, Oahu

Home to the famous Eddie Aikau big wave challenge, Waimea bay boasts Oahu’s largest waves between December and February. Most of the year Waimea bay is a relaxing white sand beach great for swimming and sunbathing.

Did you know? "The Eddie" only happens when waves reach 20 feet tall or more!

4. Makaha Beach Park is a local favorite!

Aerial view of Makaha Beach

A local favorite, this beach is far from the normal tourist areas of Oahu and great for experienced bodyboarders and surfers.

5. Makapuu Beach Park is a classic, natural Hawaiian beauty.

Makapuu Beach

Just past the Makapuu lighthouse and around the horn of the island lies a small beach nestled in a cove. Nearby you can visit Sealife Park or take the Makapuu lighthouse trail.

All Oahu Beaches

Beaches on Oahu offer so many options.

Raining on the windward side of the island? On Oahu, it’s easy to get from a rainy day on the windward side to a sunny day on the leeward side. Most beaches can be driven to in a matter of one hour or less. Soon visitors will be able to ride the light rail from Honolulu to Ewa Beach!

Fishing from the beach.

Oahu’s leeward coast is known for its beach fishing. Fishermen cast from the beach with large polls and catch Opa, Aku, and O’io.

North Shore Oahu Beaches are plentiful.

From three tables to Sharks cove. North shore has a little bit of everything. Three tables has soft sand and a nice protected area for kids. It’s commonplace for Scuba divers to practice their craft. At night, driving by three tables it’s common to see lights in the water from night scuba divers. Sharks Cove is a fantastic snorkeling place and scuba spot. After swimming all day you can mozy across the street to the local fish taco shop or shrimp truck. Pro-tip: Year-round parking can be crowded. Get there early!

West Oahu Beaches go on forever.

From Kahe Point Beach Park (PowerPlant Beach) onto the end of Waianae it’s one beach after another. Power Plant Beach is close to Kapolei right along the old railway tracks. It’s a long time favorite of locals. The powerplant adjacent uses the seawater in the production of electricity. Warm water comes out of the powerplant and attracts loads of fish and plant life. Often it’s common to see swimmers go out to the large outlet and swim down to get blasted under the ocean by the current. Be careful as the current from the powerplant can be strong. Pro-tip experienced swimmers only in this area.

East Oahu Beaches can be wild!

When I think of East Oahu beaches I think of Sandy Beach Park or as locals call it, Sandy’s or Broke Neck Beach. Sandy’s is home to some serious waves almost all year long. But be forewarned, Sandy’s is notorious for injuries. With a serious current and shore break, many people get injured annually. Fun fact: Sandy’s is President Obama’s favorite beach. If you’re scared of the water then there is more to do there. The winds are often strong there. It’s common to see people flying kites year around.