Get Beach Ready!: Tips for Visiting O‘ahu's Beaches

Posted in: Things to Do

Sun, sand and blue ocean are hard to resist, but before plunging in, first things first, check with the lifeguard for ocean conditions and heed any posted warning signs. We’ve also got a few handy tips to round out your beach day!

An aerial view of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
An aerial view of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve [Photo Colin Maruoka]


O‘ahu has many beautiful white sand beaches, but none boast the rich variety of marine life that call Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve home. 

You’ll be amazed by the abundance of marine life just beneath the ocean surface. Triggerfish, tangs, butterfly fish, parrotfish, moray eels, sea urchins and more are just a few of the residents. Listen carefully, and you just might hear a Green Sea turtle munching away on coral!

The state’s first Marine Life Conservation District has been successful in overcoming years of neglect and abuse to create a healthy and pristine marine ecosystem that millions of visitors enjoy each year.

The award-winning Marine Education Center plays a role in that success offering visitors a brief overview of the bay and its inhabitants as it encourages all to become stewards of our natural environment.

Winter hours (ends Memorial Day weekend) are 6 a.m.-6 p.m.; summer hours (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend) are 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Closed every Tuesday. Parking is $1/vehicle. Admission is $7.50/person, 12 years and younger are free.

Tips: Go early to ensure parking, and avoid long lines at the ticket booth and on the beach. Masks, fins and snorkels and lockers are available for rent at the beach. (808) 768-6861.


Whether you’re a loyal fan or just someone who loves quality tees, Crazy Shirts has them for all ages. Look good and feel good while at the beach. They feature legacy designs, “adopt-a-dog” shirts, their popular Kliban Cat line, and specialty dyed fabrics—including their newest dye, the deep, rich green of pine trees. A few others include pineapple, lavender, Kona coffee, coconut, tangerine, and the newest, blueberry!

Crazy Shirts President Scott Maroney recently told us, “We’re proud to be the luxury t-shirt brand. We have so many customers who tell us they’ve been collecting shirts for over 30 years. We even know of two loyal fans who made quilts out of all their shirts.”


Snorkel Bob's
Get snorkel gear and tons more from Snorkel Bob

No snorkel gear? No worries! Snorkel Bob’s rents and sells quality Snorkel Bob Brand gear: Seamo Betta™ and Li’l Mo Betta™ Rx masks, Bigfoots (15-17) and Moflex™ fins; and MoflO2™ and MoflO2RS snorkels for fresh air with every breath. Keep the gear with you while on vacation so if you come across a beautiful beach (preferably with a lifeguard) and feel the urge, you can go for a quick snorkel. Free 24-hour interisland gear return.

For the discriminating snorkeler seeking adventure: quality and service with boat trips, lū’au, surf lessons, ziplines, heli tours and more. Book two seats on most activities and get a beach bag or boogie board for the week.


As the saying goes, the family that plays together, stays together, and it seems they work together as well!

A former beach boy in the 80s and 90s, Chet Chester, owner of Dreadz School of Surf Hawaii, met his wife Nadia while working. Both surfers have raised their three children in the sport as well—their oldest, Joshua, is a pro surfer currently competing in the World Surf League tour. Together, the family has a combined 35 years of surf experience.

The three siblings—Joshua, Nate and Chloe—provide surf lessons for the surf school, which include surfboards. Call to book individual or group lessons in Waikīkī or Kapolei.


Put Oils of Aloha in charge of your skin’s defense. Since 1988, Oils of Aloha has manufactured traditional natural oils from botanicals grown throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Their proprietary processes have pinpointed many things—everything from how oils benefit the skin to why they are great for cooking. But the overall concept remains the same: oils that offer the best that both science and nature have to offer. You can find many of their skincare products at ABC Stores.


ABC Stores is usually the first place to come to mind when thinking about one-stop shopping and where to go when searching for daily conveniences. It’s here that you’ll find everything for a day at the beach, plus a lot more!

Here’s your checklist—casual top and shorts, maybe a colorful sarong to cover up after a swim, rubber slippers, reef-friendly sunscreens, tanning lotions, Oils of Aloha skin care products, beach towels, tote bags, isle snacks and more.

If you’re in Kapolei, stop by Island Country Market before heading to the beach. They’ve got fresh deli items such as local plate lunch faves, sandwiches, gourmet hot dogs, pizza and burgers. That way, you won’t have to vacate your spot!

After a day in the sun, sometimes it’s just nice to grab something from the store for a night watching TV, movies or enjoying the view from your hotel room balcony. Duke’s Lane on Kūhiō Avenue has all you need—fresh produce, gourmet foods, spirits, wines and craft beers, perhaps even a late-night coffee accompanied by a sweet treat. Perfect!


[A version of this article appears in print in the pages of This Week O‘ahu]


An aerial view of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve [Photo Colin Maruoka]


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