The best beaches in Oahu boast some of the most picturesque and pristine beaches in the world. This island paradise has something for everyone, from secluded seashores to bustling shorelines. Whether you’re looking for a place to relax or have fun in the sun with friends and family, Oahu’s beaches are sure to offer something unique. From Waikiki Beach and Lanikai Beach to Kailua Beach and Ala Moana Beach Park, get ready to experience some of the best beach days of your life!
The Best Beaches in Oahu
1. Lanikai Beach
Visiting Lanikai Beach in Oahu is an unforgettable experience that you won’t soon forget. Located just minutes from Honolulu, this idyllic beach paradise offers visitors stunning white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and plenty of activities to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or some of Oahu’s best water sports, here’s your guide for making the most out of your visit to Lanikai Beach:
- The Beach: Lanikai Beach features picture-perfect white sand and tranquil turquoise waters, making it perfect for lounging in the sun or taking refreshing dips in the ocean. You can even spot the Mokulua Islands in the distance on a clear day!
- Water Sports: With its crystal-clear waters and windy conditions, Lanikai Beach is ideal for swimming, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and other water activities.
- Cafes & Restaurants: If you need a break from the beach fun or are looking for somewhere to grab a bite, several cafes and restaurants nearby serve delicious local cuisine.
- Shopping: After spending time on the beach, take a stroll through some of Lanikai’s unique shops to pick up souvenirs or find an outfit to wear while exploring more of Oahu
2. Waimea Bay Beach Park
Waimea Bay Beach Park in Oahu is one of Hawaii’s most gorgeous beaches, boasting a stunning backdrop of cliff-sides, craggy rocks, and breathtaking views. With its expansive white sand beach and crystal blue waters, it’s not hard to see why Waimea Bay is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike! Whether you’re looking to soak up some sun or get your adrenaline pumping with an array of water activities, Waimea Bay is the perfect place to spend a summer day.
- Swimming & Snorkeling: The calm, clear waters of Waimea Bay are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and other fun activities such as stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking—make sure to check the signs before entering the water, as high waves can be dangerous during certain times of the year.
- Surfing: For those looking for an adrenaline rush, head over to the left side of the bay where strong waves make for exceptional surfing opportunities. Don’t forget to bring your own surfboard!
- Hiking Trails: The area around Waimea Bay offers beautiful hiking trails that showcase panoramic views and passes by several scenic spots like ponds and lush forests—all perfect for capturing amazing photos!
3. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is a protected marine life conservation area and a popular tourist destination. With its stunning white sand beaches and tranquil waters, it’s no surprise that Hanauma Bay is one of the most visited places in Hawaii.
Here’s everything you need to know when planning your visit to this picturesque bay:
- Activities: From snorkeling and swimming with colorful tropical fish to exploring the vast underwater world, there are plenty of activities available here at Hanauma Bay! Before entering the water, stop by the Visitor Center, where you can participate in an interactive educational program about Hawaiian marine life and pick up snorkel gear to rent.
- Food & Drinks: You won’t have to look far for something to eat or drink after a long day at Hanauma Bay—several restaurants near the beach serve some delicious local cuisine and thirst-quenching tropical drinks.
- Wildlife Viewing: Home to over 450 different species of reef fish, Hanauma Bay offers terrific opportunities for nature lovers—be sure to keep an eye out for turtles, eels, octopuses, and a variety of coral species as you explore the surrounding waters!
- Sunset Views: End your day with some spectacular views as you watch the sunset over Honolulu from Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve—a truly unforgettable sight you won’t soon forget.
4. Waimanalo Beach Park
Situated along the Eastern Shore of Oahu, Waimanalo Beach Park is one of Hawaii’s best-kept secrets. With its picturesque white sand beach and crystal clear turquoise waters, it’s no wonder why this hidden gem is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Highlights of Waimanalo Beach Park:
- Swimming & Snorkeling: The peaceful, clear waters of Waimanalo Bay are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities such as stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking—make sure to keep an eye out for solid waves during certain times of the year!
- Surfing & Bodyboard: For those looking for something more adventurous, head over to the left side of the bay, where waves break consistently throughout the day—great for surfing and bodyboarding!
- Hiking Trails: Explore Waimanalo Beach Park’s breathtaking scenery by taking one of several nearby hiking trails—you won’t be disappointed by the lush forests and panoramic views of Honolulu!
5. Kailua Beach Park
Kailua Beach Park is an idyllic stretch of white sand beach situated along the windward coast of Oahu. With its crystal clear turquoise waters and consistent, calm waves, it’s no surprise that this picturesque beach park is one of the most popular places to visit on the island! Here’s what you can expect when visiting Kailua Beach Park:
- Swimming & Snorkeling: The tranquil shallow waters of Kailua Bay make it an excellent spot for swimming and snorkeling—be sure to keep an eye out for tiny jellyfish during certain times of the year!
- Kayaking & Stand-Up Paddleboarding: If you’re looking for more adventurous activities, take one of many kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding tours available in the area—you’ll be able to explore further into the bay and get up close with a variety of marine life!
- Picnic Areas & Grills: After a long day at the beach, enjoy a peaceful meal under one of several coconut trees near the shoreline—make sure to bring your own food and drinks, as not all areas readily have grills available.
- Sunset Views: End your day with unforgettable views as you watch the sun go down over Honolulu from Kailua Beach Park—a must-see sight that will leave you mesmerized and in awe! No matter how you spend your time here, one thing is sure—Kailua Beach Park is guaranteed to provide you with a fantastic experience worth remembering!
6. Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park is an idyllic stretch of white sand beach situated near the bustling city of Honolulu. With its always-calm turquoise waters and plenty of nearby amenities, this oasis in the heart of the city has become a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike. Here’s what you can expect when visiting Ala Moana Beach Park:
- Swimming & Snorkeling: The shallow waters near the shoreline make for great swimming and snorkeling—be sure to keep an eye out for solid waves during certain times of the year!
- Surfing & Bodyboarding: If you are looking for something more adventurous, head to Magic Island at the south end of the beach park, where waves break consistently throughout the day, making it perfect for surfing and bodyboarding!
- Shopping & Nightlife: For those who want something more lively than sitting on a beach blanket, take a short walk and explore Ala Moana Center—home to around 270 different stores and eateries perfect for after-beach entertainment! No matter what you decide to do, there’s no doubt that Ala Moana Beach Park will provide an unforgettable experience like no other!
7. Makaha Beach Park
Makaha Beach Park is an idyllic stretch of white sand beach situated along the leeward coast of Oahu. With its breathtaking panoramic views and waves consistently crashing against the shore, this beach park has become a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Here’s what you can expect when visiting Makaha Beach Park:
- Swimming & Snorkeling: The waters near the shoreline are typically calm and shallow, making them perfect for swimming and snorkeling—be sure to keep an eye out for small jellyfish during certain times of the year!
- Surfing & Bodyboarding: On larger swell days, Makaha Beach Park is known to have some of the best surfing conditions on the island—so whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced rider, head to the south side of the park and find your wave!
- Picnic Areas & Grills: After a long day at the beach, take advantage of several picnic areas near the sandy shore—complete with grills that make it easy to prepare your own meals with ease!
- Sunrise & Sunset Views: One thing is sure—you won’t want to miss watching one of Hawaii’s legendary sunsets over this stunning coastline or watching as golden rays appear over tumultuous ocean waves as they welcome a new day in paradise! No matter how you spend your time here, one thing is sure—Makaha Beach Park provides an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting to come back again and again!
8. Kahana Bay Beach Park
Kahana Bay Beach Park is a tranquil beachfront paradise on the Windward side of Oahu. With its soft white sand, crystal clear waters, and stunning views of the lush Ko’olau Mountains in the distance, it’s easy to see why this is one of Hawaii’s most secluded and beautiful spots.
Kahana Bay is great for swimming and snorkeling—you can spot colorful coral reefs and plenty of tropical fish while also enjoying some peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. There are also plenty of activities here, such as sunbathing, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.
The park is also known for its unique rock formations, which provide excellent opportunities for exploring and photography—especially during low tide when more rocks are exposed. And if you only have time for a short visit, Kahana Bay’s breathtaking sunsets are definitely worth seeing!
9. Yokohama Bay Beach Park
Yokohama Bay Beach Park is a stunning stretch of white sand beach located along the leeward coast of Oahu. The waters here are crystal clear, and the shoreline boasts spectacular views of both the Molokai and Lanai Islands. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach or an adrenaline-filled day of surfing and bodyboarding, Yokohama Bay has plenty to offer!
There are plenty of spots along the beach for sunbathers to soak up the sun in peace. If you’re feeling adventurous, head out into the water and take advantage of the perfect conditions for swimming and snorkeling. In addition, fishing enthusiasts will find plenty of spots where they can cast their line out into the deep blue ocean and have a chance at catching some beautiful fish! After a long day at the beach, take advantage of several picnic areas near the shoreline—complete with grills that make it easy to prepare your own meals. You may even spot some turtles grazing in the shallows during certain times of the year!
10. Ka’ena Point State Park and Beach
Ka’ena Point State Park and Beach is a stunning stretch of shoreline situated on the northwest tip of Oahu. This secluded spot is perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, as it provides both breathtaking views and plenty of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.
Swimming, snorkeling, surfing, bodyboarding—all can be found here at this tranquil beach park! Additionally, several spots along the shoreline make excellent fishing spots. For birdwatchers, Ka’ena Point is home to several protected species, including Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles, which can often be found basking in the waters. For those looking to explore more inland, the area features lush vegetation and hikes ranging from leisurely strolls suitable for all ages to more strenuous adventures that will take you above and beyond the shoreline.
11. Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is one of the most breathtaking beaches in Oahu. Located on the North Shore, this iconic beach is a favorite among surfers and beachgoers. The crystal clear waters here make for an ideal spot to take a dip and relax while the white sand stretches up to the shoreline in majestic waves.
The sunsets here are particularly memorable, with gorgeous colors filling the horizon as it dips below the sea’s surface. If you’re lucky enough to be at Sunset Beach during these times, take some time to relax and take in your surroundings—the sight of it all can be truly mesmerizing! For thrill-seekers, there are plenty of opportunities for surfing and bodyboarding on some of Hawaii’s most intense waves. There’s also a lively scene regarding local events like surfing competitions or beach bonfires.
12. Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park
Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park is a paradise for those looking for an idyllic beach experience. Located on Oahu’s North Shore, this picturesque beach park provides the perfect setting for sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, and other coastal activities. The stunning clear waters make it a great place to go swimming and boogie boarding.
There are also plenty of tidepools to explore, so bring your snorkel gear. If lounging by the shore is more your speed, you’ll fall in love with Haleiwa Ali’i’s white sand beaches – they make every day feel like a vacation! In addition to its famous beachfront location, Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park also features an array of plants and wildlife that visitors can observe in their natural habitat. For example, if you keep an eye out, you may even spot sea turtles or Hawaiian Monk Seals while exploring this unique ecosystem.
13. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail and Lookout
One of the most scenic spots on Oahu is Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail and Lookout. Located just outside Honolulu, this incredible trail offers breathtaking views of the Koolau mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. From its peak, visitors can get an impressive view of Oahu from above.
At the end of the path lies the iconic Makapu’u Point Lighthouse, one of Hawaii’s most historic landmarks. Built-in 1909, this stunning structure stands tall against verdant hillsides and picturesque scenery. The lighthouse is open to the public for self-guided tours, offering an opportunity to learn about its history and even snap some unforgettable photos!
The Makapu’u Point Lookout is also a great place to go whale watching during certain times of the year. On your journey up or down the path, you may see spinner dolphins playing in the waves or humpback whales breaching in the distance. It’s a magical experience that will stay long after you leave the lookout.
14. Waikiki Beach
No trip to Hawaii is complete without a visit to Waikiki Beach. This iconic beach on the island of Oahu is renowned for its white sand, turquoise waters, and incredible location in the heart of Honolulu. Waikiki Beach beckons people worldwide with its warm, inviting atmosphere and endless activities for everyone to enjoy. Swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and surfing lessons are famous tourist attractions.
In addition, Waikiki offers a vibrant nightlife with clubs, bars, and restaurants along Kalakaua Avenue that stay open late into the evening. The view from Waikiki Beach cannot be beaten—you’ll be able to take in stunning views of the Diamond Head crater and colorful sunsets over the ocean every night!
On top of that, there are plenty of nearby parks and shopping districts where you can explore more of Honolulu’s culture. With its iconic beauty, prime location, and a plethora of things to do and see, Waikiki Beach truly is one of Hawaii’s must-visit destinations.
15. Sandy’s at Turtle Bay Resort
Sandy’s at Turtle Bay Resort is a fantastic beachfront bar and restaurant on the North Shore of Oahu. Set against a backdrop of lush tropical landscaping and the iconic Ironwoods, Sandy’s offers an unbeatable atmosphere for locals and visitors alike. The menu here features many delicious dishes, from fresh seafood to creative salads, burgers, sandwiches, and more.
The outdoor vibe is laid-back yet lively, with live music playing daily, plenty of seating options, and breathtaking ocean views. Of course, no visit to Sandy’s would be complete without a signature cocktail! Their selection includes unique craft beers, classic Mai Tais, and other signature drinks, all made with local ingredients.
In addition to its great food and drinks, Sandy’s also offers private cabana space with an array of amenities such as sun umbrellas, chairs, TVs, and more. It’s perfect for relaxation or hosting small parties in style! And don’t forget about their special events—from Friday night fireworks to Sunday movies under the stars, there’s always something fun happening at Sandy’s.