Three of my favorite beaches in Oahu are located on the East Coast of the Island. A short drive from Waikiki (less than 30 mins) and accessible by bus, it’s close enough to spend a day or two exploring.
Although it is also a favorite amongst tourists and tourist buses, you break away from these groups about mid-way up the coast and start to notice a different Hawaii, less crowded, less inhabited and rural.
With fantastic beaches and lookout spots abundantly available, it’s hard to decide where to go. A day is not enough to spend time in all beach parks, so if you want to narrow down to the Best Beaches on the East Coast of Oahu, try Lanikai/Kalua, Makapu’u and Waimanalo.
If you want to experience the “country” or some horseback riding or ziplining drive further up the coast to Kualoa- a 4,000 acre cattle-ranch owned by a multi-generation Hawaiian family. Along the road, they also rent land to local businesses to sell their products, so you can buy souvenirs such as coffee, macadamia, jewelry, art, etc…
Around Kualoa, there are also fantastic and more secluded Beach Parks perfect for picnics, bbqs and water activities, however due to its remoteness, it can be quite a long drive..
The East Coast lookouts can provide beautiful views of the ocean and even real amazing moments like witnessing humpback whales bridging during calving season.
Another popular activity on the East Coast is hiking. There are several parks and trails. Try the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail for amazing views.