Beaches on Oahu
Amongst the Best in the World

The beaches on Oahu are some of the most beautiful in Hawaii I think.

If you know where to go they can span for what seems like miles into the distance.

Some are well known but some you definitely need to get off the beaten track in order to explore.

For starters get out of Waikiki. They're packed and crowded and the quality of the sand itself is not that great because it's landfill sand.

beaches on oahu

If you want to truly experience what it is like to be on a beach in Hawaii seek out the noncommercial, non-touristy areas for the best experience.


South Shore Beaches

waikiki beach

Years ago they went to the north shore, copped out a bunch of sand and brought it down to the south shore when they were creating Waikiki.

There are a few hidden beach gems in Waikiki that most tourists don't know about.

They are Kaimana/Sans Souci beach, Ala Moana beach and Magic Island beach.

Another of the beaches on Oahu that I like if you want to stay on the south shore is Diamond Head beach.

Tucked beneath the base of Diamond Head crater and the lighthouse at the base of the cliff this beach is stunning.

It's the closest to a "real Hawaiian beach" on the south shore of the island.

The sand is of a thick, powdery consistency and stretches for blocks.

It also feels very private and you have views of Black Point which is an exclusive enclave of high end homes and estates such as Doris Duke's.

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North Shore Beachessunset beach oahu big wave surfer

The North Shore of Oahu is an eclectic mix of beaches offering everything from world class surfing in the winter time to snorkeling and swimming in the summertime.

People come from all over the world to descend upon this 7 miracle mile oasis in order to watch surfers catch waves as tall as trees and buildings and risk their lives in the pounding surf.


For the north shore the winner is Waimea Bay for me.

Home to the Eddie Aikau surf contest when the wave height faces are over 50ft it is one of my favorite beaches on Oahu.

In the summer it is completely flat like a lake and cliff jumpers can be seen jumping off of the famous rock on the side.

Hugged by steep cliffs and the lighthouse it is the beginning of the famous stretch of north shore world class surfing beaches.

Every year in December is the Triple Crown of Surfing where a new world champion is crowned after proving his abilities at three of the toughest breaks including the famous Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach.

Even though the north shore is known for surfing this tight knight community offers a laid-back, almost hippie style of living where people live to surf not the other way around.

You can see people of all ages riding their bikes, skateboarding or just sitting by the water's edge talking story.

Most people know one another and it has sort of a small town vibe surrounded by surf shacks and modern day villas.

I strongly encourage you to spend the day up there no matter what time of year and stop by the charming town of Haleiwa to get a shave ice, view the turtles sleeping on shore at Turtle Beach and grab lunch at the shrimp farms in Kahuku to get a famous plate of garlic shrimp.

Learn more here

Read more about great places to eat on the north shore.

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East Side Beaches

lanikai beach oahu Out of all of the Oahu beaches I would say Lanikai is the most stunning.

It's the supermodel of beaches.

Whenever I show people a picture of Kailua and Lanikai beach I point out tht it looks JUST like that picture!

No exaggeration, photo retouching, nothing. Their jaws drop and they want to go immediately.


Whenever I want to escape the hustle bustle of Waikiki and Honolulu I go over there.

Instantly I feel like I've escaped and traveled to an outer island. I remember why I moved to Hawaii and love living here.

The East Side beaches begin at Hanauma Bay and include the From Here to Eternity Beach, Sandy's, Makapuu, Waimanalo and Bellows Beach and conclude with Kailua and Lanikai.

That's a rough, broad description but it's pretty comprehensive.

There are the more northern beaches of the windward coast such as Kahana Valley but those really fall under a different category.



West Side Beaches

beaches on oahu

The western side beaches of Oahu are stunning as well but I generally don't recommend that most tourists venture over there beyond Ko'Olina.

It is an area still in transition with some economic challenges and if you don't know where you are going you may find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.

I do think Yokohama beach at the end of the road there is beautiful and can be safe if you go when the lifeguard is there during normal daylight hours.

It stretches for miles down to Kaena point, a reported "jumping off" place for spirits to the other side...

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