(Last updated on: 09/09/2022)
The beaches on Oahu are quite simply to die for! Oahu is the third largest island in beautiful Hawaii. It’s got so many things to see and visit on the island, but most importantly, one of the best things about Oahu is its beaches! Read on to find out all about the 25 best beaches on Oahu you shouldn’t miss if you visit.
- Tourism on Oahu
- How many beaches on Oahu are there?
- Why visit the beaches on Oahu?
- What are the nicest beaches on Oahu?
- What are the most famous beaches on Oahu?
- What beaches on Oahu do the locals go to?
- Other awesome beaches on Oahu
- 25 Beaches on Oahu You Shouldn’t Miss – Conclusion
Tourism on Oahu
Oahu is a very popular destination for tourism in Hawaii. In fact, one of the main destinations in Oahu, Waikiki, generates around 42% of the visitor revenue through all of its hotels, shops and extras that are on offer for tourists. In 2018, Oahu was the most visited island in Hawaii, and a total of 5,900,000 tourists visited Oahu – which is a staggering amount!
The most common way that visitors get to Oahu is by plane. There is one major airport in Hawaii which is called Hawaii Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), but sometimes is simply just known as Honolulu International Airport. As Hawaii, in general, is a very sustainable destination that highly tries to make sustainable tourism a priority, it’s important that if you want to try and instil these values during your visit that you think of offsetting your carbon emissions caused by flying into Oahu.
Responsible tourism is also very important to practice when in Hawaii as there are lots of sacred places that should be respected at all times. The best way to learn about the customs of Hawaii is to research beforehand or if you’re in doubt, ask the locals as they would rather let you know instead of having you accidentally do something disrespectful.
How many beaches on Oahu are there?
How many beaches on Oahu are there? Oahu has more than a whopping 125 beaches in total. Due to this, you can see why it can be hard to choose which beaches on Oahu to visit; luckily, I’ve managed to find you the best 25 beaches on Oahu – so keep reading to find out about the most unmissable ones!
Why visit the beaches on Oahu?
Why visit the beaches on Oahu? Because they’re stunning and have so much to offer. Each beach has something special that differentiates it from the others, whether that be the size of its waves or the wildlife that can be spotted there. There is always something new to discover! If you love beaches in general, then a trip to Oahu is a must – so add it to your bucket list now!
What are the nicest beaches on Oahu?
What are the nicest beaches on Oahu? Of course, this answer is subjective, and it can be hard to choose just a few as it feels like every beach in Oahu deserves to be on here, but I believe that I’ve successfully managed to narrow down my top picks for the nicest beaches on Oahu:
1. Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is known for being one of the nicest beaches on Oahu. This is because it has all the necessary elements to provide the best beach experience – it’s isolated but still accessible for people to visit, the sand is gorgeous and white, the water is perfect for swimming as it’s warm and calm, and finally, there’s lots of beautiful wildlife surrounding it and an offshore reef that is perfect for snorkelling around.
What to do: If you visit Lanikai Beach, then make sure to try out this amazing kayaking tour of Kailua Bay. On this tour, you will get to visit some islands and then snorkel with turtles on Lanikai Beach whilst finally having a delicious lunch on shore. It’s the perfect activity for people who are trying to be more environmentally friendly and practice ecotourism.
Where to stay: Manoa Valley Inn – This inn is perfectly located just a couple of minutes walk from Lanikai Beach. It has an outdoor swimming pool, free WiFi, free buffet breakfast and air conditioning for guests to enjoy. It is the perfect place to stay for couples, as it’s very romantic and is decorated beautifully.
2. Yokohama Bay
Yokohama Bay is a great beach to simply relax and unwind on. The golden sand stretches far and wide, and the water is a beautiful turquoise colour – making it a very great place for photos, and it’s quite famous for travel influencers due to its beauty. It is great for watching the sunset on, and you might even spot some dolphins too!
What to do: When visiting Yokahama Bay, you’ll want to lounge for a while and possibly top up your tan, so this St. Moriz Tanning Set is perfect for helping you with achieving the tanning look you desire. It’s vegan, very easy to use, and comes in a cute bag which makes it easy to carry around with you.
Where to stay: Spacious Beach House – A stay at this spacious beach house promises comfort! It is perfectly located, just a 2-minute walk from the beach and has amazing views. There is a kitchen with appliances for guests to use, as well as 2 bedrooms which can fit around four people in total.
3. Ehukai Beach
This beach is a fantastic choice if you want to see some large, breathtaking waves forming in the ocean and crashing on the shore. It’s recommended not to swim at this beach, and surfing should only be done here by experienced professionals. Ehukai Beach is one of the most well-known beaches for surfers, so it’s worth checking out if you’re into surfing.
What to do: If you’re not a professional surfer, then you can still join in on the fun of watching them glide along the waves. These Kylietech High Power Binoculars are perfect for helping you see the surfers in better detail and will help you feel like part of the action.
Where to stay: Courtyard by Mariott Oahu North Shore – This hotel is perfect for staying in if you want to be close to Ehukai Beach. It is tastefully decorated, and each room comes with a coffee machine, en-suite with free amenities, a cable TV, and a refrigerator. Additionally, there is also an outdoor pool for guests to cool off in.
4. Pokai Beach
If you are travelling with your dogs, then a visit to Pokai Beach is a must! It is one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Ohau. Dogs are allowed in the water and on the sand, so even if you don’t have a dog, you’ll be sure to spot lots of them running around and having fun here. Additionally, the water is calm, so it’s great for swimming in.
What to do: If you want a different type of activity to do near Pokai Beach, then this Oahu: Nighttime Polynesian Culture Centre Paddle is the perfect thing for you to do. You will enjoy privileged access to the Polynesian Culture Centre during their off-hours and will get to paddle through the beautifully lit lagoon.
Where to stay: Embassy Suites By Hilton Kapolei – These suites are the perfect place to relax after a long day of having fun on Pokai Beach. The rooms are very spacious, and there is a business centre, free breakfast, an outdoor pool and a hot tub to make use of. There is also a shuttle service to help you get around.
5. Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is a very romantic, peaceful beach to visit, and it has beautiful surroundings. In the summer, the waves are perfect for paddling in and snorkelling as the waves are very calm and serene, but in the winter, the waves are large and vastly different. There are plenty of palm trees surrounding the beach, so you will feel like you’re in paradise.
What to do: Hawaii: Small-Group, Full-Day Diamond Peak Hike and Oahu Tour is the perfect thing to do if you want to visit all the major beaches in Oahu, such as Sunset Beach. It’s a great thing to do if you’re a solo traveller as you will be able to meet other like-minded individuals, and also won’t have to worry about transport as it’s included.
Where to stay: Kalani Hawaii Private Lodge – This private lodge is just a few minutes away from Sunset Beach. It comes with a seating area, air-conditioning, flat-screen TV and a fully equipped kitchen. It’s a great place for couples to stay and there is also private parking in case you have driven there.
What are the most famous beaches on Oahu?
What are the most famous beaches on Oahu? Oahu has lots of well-known beaches which are famous for good reasons. Here are the most famous beaches on Oahu:
Waikiki is perhaps the most famous beach on Oahu. There are over 2 miles of stunning white sand and clear blue water to take a dip in. In the past, it used to be used by royalty who would usually use the beach for surfing – so you know it’s a good beach to visit! Today, there are lots of events and competitions that are held at the beach, such as surfing competitions, Hula dancing and canoe racing.
What to do: If you visit Waikiki, then you should consider taking part in the Waikiki Luau Buffet with Rock-A-Hula Show, as it’s the perfect thing to do to get a taste of Hawaiian culture and food. There is live music, hula dancing, cocktails and tasty food being served all throughout the event. It’s a must-do in Waikiki.
Where to stay: Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach – This is the perfect place to stay for all types of tourists, whether you are travelling for business, as a couple or as a family. The hotel offers spacious rooms with free WiFi, on-site dining options, a fitness centre and an indoor pool for guests to enjoy.
7. Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay is located at the northeastern point of Oahu and is the perfect place to spot turtles – if you hadn’t already guessed by the name! It’s a great place for surfing and other watersports such as kayaking or paddle boarding. Swimming can be a little tricky here as there are lots of rocks in the water, which can be slippery, so just keep that in mind if you’re thinking of swimming here.
What to do: When visiting Turtle Bay, it’s the perfect place to try some surfing, so why not rent a board from Turtle Bay Resort – there’s a wide range of packages to choose from, such as lessons or learning to surf with dogs!
Where to stay: Turtle Bay Resort – This is one of the best places to stay in Turtle Bay. The resort offers lots of activities to participate in, such as group hikes, bicycles to rent, snorkelling lessons and much more. There is also an amazing restaurant serving a wide range of dishes to suit every taste and almost every diet.
8. Ala Moana Beach Park
This beach park was created in the 1950s and is over 400 acres big- it is one of the biggest beaches on Oahu! There is an outer reef which helps make the water calm; therefore, it’s perfect for swimming and doing things like kayaking or paddle boarding. There is usually a lifeguard on duty, as well as changing rooms, toilets and outdoor showers.
What to do: This Scoot Coupe Day Rental is fun for everyone – and also a great way to get around if you want to beach hop. There are also maps of the island provided, so you won’t get lost. It’s one of the best things to do near Ala Moana Beach Park.
Where to stay: Ala Moana Hotel – Perfectly situated right across from Ala Moana Beach Park, this hotel is a great choice to stay. There is a Starbucks lounge, outdoor pool, fitness centre and on-site restaurants for guests to dine in. Furthermore, there are also ocean and city skyline views that look perfect in the sunset.
9. Kaimana Beach
Kaimana Beach is also known as Sans Souci Beach, which is French for ‘carefree’. It is a great beach to relax on, and if you have children, then they will love making sandcastles here as the sand is perfect for them. There is usually a lifeguard on duty, and it’s good to know that the water is usually free from strong currants.
What to do: This Small-Group Hoverboarding Experience in Diamond Head is a fun activity to do near Kaimana Beach. On this tour, you will be guided to all the major sites and told all about them by your knowledgable and friendly guide – it’s great for people of all ages.
Where to stay: Mokuleia Beach House – This beach house is the perfect place to relax on your vacation. There are free BBQ facilities, private parking and free WiFi for guests to use. Additionally, there is also a fully equipped kitchen, flat-screen TV and a garden to relax in.
10. Hanauma Bay
If you want to spot some amazing wildlife, then Hamuana Bay is the place to visit. The bay was formed by a volanic crater which instantly sets it apart from the others. It is quite secluded, which means that it’s great if you want to be far away from the city. There are plenty of turtles and fish that can be found swimming in the waters, so definitely give it a visit if you love animals.
What to do: Hanuama Bay Snorkel is one of the best companies in Hanauma Bay to do snorkelling with. Their package comes with hotel pick-up and drop-off, all of the equipment and instructions and tips on how to do it safely. It’s an ideal activity for anyone, especially people who love adventure tourism.
Where to stay: Ocean View Hawaii Kai Studio – This accommodation offers a perfect stay for every guest. There is a private pool and private parking, free WiFi, and air-con. In the bedroom, there is a cable TV, an en-suite with free amenities and a comfortable double bed.
What beaches on Oahu do the locals go to?
What beaches on Oahu do the locals go to? If you want to find some hidden gems, mostly known by the locals, then these are the main beaches on Oahu that the locals go to:
11. Sandy Beach
Sandy Beach is best known for its gorgeous sand (if you couldn’t tell) and the former President Obama, as this is one of his favourite beaches in Hawaii. It is a great place for body surfing, but be careful as Sandy Beach also has the nickname ‘Break-Neck Beach’ due to more injuries occurring here than any other Hawaiian beach. Try not to worry too much, though, and if you use common sense, you will be fine!
What to do: Sandy Beach is best for bodysurfing, so it’s a great place to visit if you want to practice your skills as most likely there will be lots of body surfing professionals around to offer you some friendly advice.
Where to stay: Hale Maunalua – This stunning accommodation has everything you need to make your stay in Oahu perfect. There is an outdoor swimming pool, a garden and bikes that guests are free to use. It is best for couples who want a romantic getaway or families.
12. Outrigger Canoe Club Beach
This is one of the smallest beaches in Oahu but is very well known amongst the locals. It is named after the outrigger canoe club that uses the beach for take-off, so often, you will spot some outrigger canoes dotted around in the water. The water here is usually very calm, which makes it perfect for swimming.
What to do: Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise is the perfect way to see all of the different beaches in Oahu from a different angle. It includes a 3-course meal with a fantastic show, and the whole experience lasts 2 hours in total. It’s one of the most memorable cruises you will ever take.
Where to stay: Espacio The Jewel – This beautifully designed hotel is an ideal place to stay if you want to visit Outrigger Canoe Club Beach. Each room comes with a private bathroom with luxury amenities, a coffee machine, flat-screen TV, desk and a comfortable double bed to lounge on. There is also an outdoor pool and a full-service spa for guests to use.
13. Bellows Field Beach Park
Bellows Field Beach Park is popular for body surfing, but it is less known than Sandy Beach – which is why it is also popular among locals to visit. The waves are much smaller here, which makes it great for beginners who want to learn how to body surf. There is a lifeguard who is usually on duty, and there’s plenty of shade from the palm trees.
What to do: Why not take your own body board and learn to body surf? This bodyboard is perfect for beginners and has a very important wrist strap attached in case you fall off. The board is also textured, which helps with keeping a grip on the board.
Where to stay: Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club – A stay here is perfect for all types of tourists as there is something for everyone to enjoy. The rooms come with a fully equipped kitchen, seating area, washing machine and cable TV. They are also all air-conditioned and come with secure private parking.
14. Chun’s Reef
This beach is perfect for longboarding and is one of the best-kept secrets by Oahu locals. There are quite a few rocky areas at this beach, so if you go in the water, then just bear that in mind. During certain times of the year, you can also spot some turtles in the sea or on shore as they hatch around here.
What to do: This Oahu Snorkel Cruise: Swim with Dolphins, Turtles in the Wild is ideal for animal lovers who want a once-in-a-lifetime experience close to Chun’s Reef. You will be taken out to see on a boat and will be provided with all the gear you need for snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding in order to spot the animals.
Where to stay: Pagoda Hotel – This stunning hotel is ideal for families to stay at. It comes with an outdoor pool, a big family room, an on-site restaurant, and a fitness centre. Each room comes with a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee machine and a cable TV.
15. Waiahole Beach Park
Waiahole Beach Park is mostly only known by the locals. There is plenty of greenery here to be explored, and the view is magnificent. It’s perfect for walking along or for picnics, and there is accessible parking nearby. It is a great beach location to visit if you want a more quiet and peaceful beach experience surrounded by nature.
What to do: If you want to do something different, then the Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure is the perfect activity. You will be able to ride underneath the water on a submarine scooter and get to see the marine life up close and personal. All of the equipment is provided, and you will be guided by an experienced tour guide.
Where to stay: Paradise Bay Resort – Perfectly located just a few minutes away from Waiahole Beach Park, a stay here will help make your trip the best it can be. Every suite comes with a flat-screen TV, seating area, kitchenette and a patio. The resort often offers yoga and meditation classes for guests, as well as free kayak rentals and a buffet dinner.
Other awesome beaches on Oahu
Here are some other awesome beaches on Oahu that deserve a mention if you’re thinking of visiting lots of beaches on Oahu:
- 16. Waimea Bay
- 17. Waimanalo Bay
- 18. Ko Olina
- 19. Halona Beach Cove
- 20. Makapuu Beach Park
- 21. Kokololilo Beach Park
- 22. Three Tables Beach
- 23. Waimea Bay Beach Park
- 24. Papailoa Beach
- 25. Camp Erdman Beach
25 Beaches on Oahu You Shouldn’t Miss – Conclusion
Hopefully, this post has helped you learn all about the 25 best beaches on Oahu you shouldn’t miss if you visit. Have you ever been to Oahu? Which was our favourite beach? What beaches on Oahu do you want to visit the most? Let me know your beaches on Oahu recommendations! If you’d like some further reading, then this is what I’d suggest: