My Top 10 beaches: Oahu

When virtually the whole island is a beach, how do you choose which to go to? There are the obvious “tourist traps” where your day of relaxation turns into your day of weeding through a million people, fighting over your own 2 square feet of sand…or you can opt for a more remote, private beach where you can actually relax and enjoy your day. Every beach on Oahu has something unique to offer however, even the touristy beaches serve a good purpose. It all depends on what you’re looking to get out of your day in the sun. Here are my top ten beaches I like to frequent.

10. Sandy Beach

Great for people watching, body surfing, or just enjoying the huge waves from the safety of the sand.

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Things to know:

A Local Favorite

Summer months waves are big and dangerous (experienced swimmers/surfers only)

Not a place to go for a “quiet” beach day.

9. Queens Beach

When I was living in Waikiki, Queens beach was one of my favorite spots to go for an early morning swim and snorkel session. It’s a relatively low populated spot on the south shore of Oahu.

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Things to know:

Not a lot of beach space

Good for snorkeling

Low Crowds

8. Kaimana Beach

Kaimana’s is another good local spot also on the South shore. Located on the far East side of Waikiki, its another good spot to throw on some snorkel gear and explore.

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Things to know:

Populated Beach

A lot of sand area

Close to Town

7. Waimanalo

Waimanalo Beach has been written about and rated as a top beach in the World in recent publications. It is easy to see why. The beach is lined with big, beautiful, Ironwood trees. For this reason it is often referred to as “Sherwood” as in the forest in Robin Hood lore.

Things to know:

Very large, spacious beach

Waves are good for body-boarding and swimming

Great spot for beach BBQ’s

Dog Friendly (most beaches are but this is a spot you will see a lot of them)

Pack a meal and spend the day there!

6.  Waimea Bay

Known for one of the biggest surf breaks in the World, Waimea Bay is a beautiful destination on Oahu’s north shore. During winter months, you might be able to catch a glimpse of famous surfers, trying their hand at riding the monster waves that come to life here. This is the location of the famous “Eddie” surf competition that only occurs once every few years (maybe), if you’re lucky enough you might be on Oahu when it’s announced and be able to see it.

Things to know:

A lot of sand area

Winter months the waves are big and dangerous

Milder times it is great for swimming

Get your tan on (nice area to lay out)

Close to Haleiwa Town (get yourself a shave ice)

5. Lanikai

Lanikai Beach used to be a great kept secret on Oahu, in recent years tourists from everywhere learned of the sweet little gem that is Kailua town and consequently it’s pristine beaches. It is however still in my top 5 beaches on Oahu and definitely deserves a visit.

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Things to know:

Get there early… to try to beat some of the crowd

Usually mild surf

Great Views

You can easily rent Kayaks and paddle out to the Moke islands.

If you’re feeling extra ambitious, get up before sunrise and check out the Pill Box hike that over looks the Lanikai Beach and Moke islands. Watch the sun come up, and then chill on the beach for a few hours.

4. Sunset Beach

Sunset beach is my favorite North Shore beach. If you want to go watch some waves, lay out, or go snorkel. It is a great spot for all of that. Being that it is a north shore beach, winter time the waves could be treacherous for the mere mortal, but they are still fun to watch and take in the sun.

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Things to know:

Lots of sand

Snorkel/ hunt for shells

Surf Watching

3. Kahana

So if you’ve read my “24 hours on Oahu” post you know that my favorite hike is The Crouching Lion trail…having said that one of my favorite little beach spots is directly ocean side from that hike. I say it’s Kahana Bay, but the spot I really love isn’t necessarily Kahana but near it. If you want to check it out, you will have to sleuth it for yourself.

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Things to know (my beach not actual Kahana):

Tiny Beach

Great views

Rarely anyone around

Feels like real Hawaii, not tourist trap

2. Kahala Beach

Kahala remains on the top of my list a lot of reasons. It lies on Oahu’s south shore, and is just far enough from Waikiki to get away from the crowds, but close enough to be able to travel to fairly quick. This is a spot I like to frequent after grabbing some breakfast at Bogarts, and want to chill out for an hour or so. It”s quiet, it’s intimate, and if you want to throw a mask and fins on..go for a swim and check out the marine life.

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Things to know:

Small Sand area

Dogs and Locals frequent the beach

Several beach entrances. The best is in the residential area (near a bus stop)

1. Pray for ***

My number ONE favorite, hands down, is this spot on Oahu. I cannot straight up name it or give it away here, because I feel like it would betray my Island friends who first brought me there. But I gave you enough into that if you are feeling really adventurous, you could find it and figure it out. I could not honestly make a top ten list without any mention of this beach. It is a nearly strictly local spot, on that side of the island not a lot of tourists even venture to. All of my most favorite treasures I’ve found have been at this spot. If you get there you will not regret it.

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Things to Know:

Far from town

Very low-key and quiet

Local spot

Great Snorkeling

Lots of Sandy beach area

Be respectful

Love the Aina.

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All Photos Taken by myself or my sister.

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