Five Best Oahu Beaches
The Hawaiian islands are naturally surrounded by water, so by default, Hawaiʻi is surround by beaches. Which is the best? To be honest, they’re ALL beautiful in their own way, but here are the 5 we think are the best on Oʻahu. In no particular order:
Lanikai Beach, Windward Oʻahu:
It once had a reputation as a low key, “secret” beach, but Lanikai is now probably the worst kept secret on the island. While relatively inaccessible compared to its neighbor, Kailua Beach, Lanikai is frequented by locals and tourists, alike. On holidays and long weekends, like Memorial Day and July 4th, the place will be overrun. But catch this spot on an “off” day and you’ll find that the powdery sand, calm waves, and crystal clear waters make for a beautiful beach day experience, the kind you think of when you think “Hawaiʻi.”
Waimanalo Beach, Windward Oʻahu:
Not far from the aforementioned Lanikai and Kailua Beaches, Waimanalo Beach is at least just as beautiful, if just a little bit more remote. The striking Ko'olau mountains make for a beautiful backdrop, pulling you even further from civilization. Check out neighboring Bellows and Sherwoods, too, if you want to experience something even more pristine. In fact, any of the beaches along this stretch of coastline are worth checking out.
Waimea Bay, North Shore, Oʻahu:
Pounding surf, a spacious beach, and a beautiful drive. Leave behind the lights and sounds of Waikiki and you’ll experience a bit of a small town vibe as you head on up to the North Shore. It won’t take you long to understand why “Keep the Country Country” is a popular expression up here. This coastline is famous for its Winter swells and its world-famous surf competitions that pitch their tents year after year. During the Summers, the surf at Waimea is generally much calmer, much better conditioins for snorkeling in the clear, blue waters, or just chilling out and enjoying the clean Norh Shore air.
Mokuleia Beach, North Shore, Oʻahu:
Mokuleia is as remote as one can get on Oʻahu. To get here, head towards the North Shore, and just keep going until you can’t go anymore. Okay, I’m only slightly exaggerating, but Mokuleia is basically the end of the road. Long stretches of pristine beach with stark mountain sides providing the backdrop make for some striking scenes. It’s no wonder that this was the setting for the castaways from “Lost” for several seasons.
Keawaula Beach (Yokohama Beach), West Oʻahu:
If you’re up for the drive to the far West Side of the island, you’ll be rewarded with one of the island’s most beautiful stretches of shoreline, including Keawaulu Beach, more commonly known to locals as Yokohama. Far from the city limits, the gorgeous scenery, beautiful white sands, and waves that are ideal for surfing in the Winter and chilling in the Summer makes this one of our top picks.
BONUS: Okay, we said Top 5, but here’s a 6th, for good luck!
Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu:
For all the notable beaches outside of the urban core, it’s easy to miss this little gem right under our noses. Ala Moana Beach Park is kind of like Honolulu’s answer to NYC’s Central Park, in that this is a popular gathering place that’s pretty much in the center of all the action in Honolulu. Picnic with the family, play some beach volleyball, get in a few rounds of tennis, try your hand at SUP, or, of course, go for a swim in the calm waters. This park has about a half mile of shoreline and 400 acres of land for you to enjoy, so finding a space to carve out for yourself won’t be an issue except on the biggest holidays.
There are certainly way more Oahu beaches that are worthy of including on a "Best Of" list, far more than space could allow for here. Perhaps we'll find a way to squeeze them in another post. In the meantime, if you have a favorite beach, let us know!
Plan Your Trip
Book Your Vacation
Plan your own idyllic getaway with the Hawaii travel experts. Our partner, Pleasant Holidays, has created unforgettable vacations to the Hawaiian Islands for more than half a century, and can help you with all your travel arrangements.
Experience Your Hawaii
Enhance your vacation with activities and experience the very best of the islands. From helicopter flights to snorkeling adventures, from luaus to eco-tours, Pleasant Activities has hundreds of engaging activities that will catch your fancy.