Best Beaches in Oahu, Hawaii

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If you are visiting the Hawaiian Islands, here are the Best Beaches in Oahu to make the most of your vacation!

Collage of Top 5 Beaches in Oahu, Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands are home to some fantastic beaches and Oahu has many hidden gems outside the famous Waikiki beach.

After driving the entire island, I’ve compiled my favorites in this post.

Top 5 Beaches in Oahu, Hawaii

5 | Kalua/Lanikai Beach

Best Beach in Oahu for swimming and people watch.

Oahu, beach, ocean, hawaii, travel, travelblog, Kailua Lanikai BeachOahu, beach, ocean, hawaii, travel, travelblog, Kailua Lanikai Beach

Rounding up this tough list is Lanikai Beach. I have written a previous post about Lanikai’s laid back vibe and incredible beauty. It is one of those places you can’t believe your eyes and your luck.

You can play sports, snorkel, kayak to nearby islands or just work on your tan. The calm waters are perfect for flotation devices!

You might be thinking… “So how is this number five in your list?”

Lanikai is breathtakingly beautiful, but it also has a few negatives. It is located close to Honolulu, so there are quite a few tourists who come here. Parking is tricky, because the area is mostly residential and on the weekends it draws the young and single crowd, which can get a little rowdy.

If you want to people watch and hang out with friends this is the perfect place!

However if you are traveling as a couple or with family, Lanikai might not be for you.

4 |Makapu’u Beach

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Best Beach in Oahu to Bodyboard.

Number four is also highlighted in my post of Best Beaches for Bodyboarding in Oahu.

Makapu’u Beach is small, but is located just 30 mins from Waikiki and relatively empty due to the proximity to other popular beaches on the East Coast.

What it lacks in size, it makes up for with clear and powerful waters that are perfect for active lifestyles and beachcombers alike.

A big plus is that it has public restroom facilities and parking available off the road.

Best Beaches in Oahu Map

3 | Molukeia/Ka’ena Point Area

Best beach in Oahu to get away from it all.

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The next two locations are the twins of the NorthWest side of the island. Remote and surrounded by mountains and military bases, you will need a car and your own food and water.

During the week, you are likely to be the only one in the whole place. The beautiful mountains craddle the coastline and add refuge to the wildlife in the region. Other than a couple other cars parked along the road, the odd fisherman or family, I was completely alone with all this coastline!

The weather was cloudy and the waters were rougher, but it provided the silence you can’t find in the South side of the island.

2 | Yokohama Beach

Best Beach in Oahu in the North Shore and to hang out with the locals.

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Number two is Yokohama. On the Westernmost side of the island, it’s a hike by car from just about anywhere, but the drive and the beach are worth it. One of the most unspoiled locations, it’s cut off from the North Shore by a nature reserve.

Tide pools are perfect for small children (with supervision of course) or just to lay around and cool off.

On the weekends, quite a few local families come to Yokohama beach so you get to mingle if you want.

Great hikes are also available in the nearby nature park. If you are feeling fit and adventurous, you can hike it all the way to the West side of the North Shore, but bring plenty of sunscreen, water and sturdy shoes. The trails are rocky.

1 |Waimalano Beach

Best Beach in Oahu for families.

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Coming up in number one of the Best Beaches in Oahu, HI – is my absolute favorite: Waimanalo Beach!

It’s as picturesque as a beach can possibly be. Miles and miles of white, soft sand, surrounded by miles of lush green park and blue waters, Waimanalo beach will certainly tick off every possible request you have of paradise.

It’s a favorite of couples getting married in Hawaii for their wedding pictures, locals and military personnel during the weekends, but because it’s so big, you can claim your own sunny or shaded spot and still feel like you are in a private beach.

I had such a hard time doing research and picking these five locations for my list, but someone had to do it, right?

For more posts on Hawaii check out these posts.

Are these the Best Beaches in Oahu in your opinion?

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the 5 Top Beaches to Visit in Oahu, Hawaii

This post was updated in April, 2019.

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7 Comments

  1. May 11, 2015 / 10:03 pm

    These are gorgeous! Hawaii is on my list of places to visit, so I’ll put this in the mental Save for Later folder. Thanks for sharing!

  2. July 6, 2015 / 4:43 am

    Looks awesome! I’m thinking of doing a solo trip to Hawaii next time I fly home to break up the trip. Do you think visiting Hawaii solo would be awkward since its such a ‘romantic’ getaway?

    • July 6, 2015 / 8:06 pm

      Thanks Elliott! Where is home? A stopover in Hawaii is always worth it and it is not at all awkard for solo travelers. It’s true that Hawaii is a famous honeymooner’s destination, but my impression was that those couples rarely left the resorts or chose the more romantic islands of Kauai or Maui. In Oahu and the Big Island, I did not feel “out of place” venturing out solo.

      • July 7, 2015 / 7:06 am

        Yeah I’m currently in New Zealand so it’s actually quite cheap to fly there and then continue on home to Canada. Good to know I won’t feel out of place.. even though I’d still go if I was! Thanks for the tips!

        • July 8, 2015 / 3:44 am

          New Zealand. I think the country is following me on Social Media. Everywhere I look, there it is calling me to visit. Lucky you! But, I digress, do stop in Hawaii and let me know if you need any info.

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