Getaway Compass

10 Best Beaches on Oahu

Makapuu Beach Oahu

Oahu has some of the best beaches out of all the Hawaiian islands. In order to get to these beaches and explore this beautiful island I recommend renting a car. This list includes off the beaten path beaches on Oahu, secluded beaches on Oahu, the best beaches for swimming on Oahu, and the best beaches for snorkeling on Oahu.

Tips for Visiting Beaches on Oahu

  • Be respectful of the other people on the beach and houses near the parking
  • Pay attention to signs on the beach and the instructions from the lifeguard. The waves can get dangerous and the current can get strong.
  • Watch out for Portuguese Man O’War which can cause a painful sting. There should be signs on the beach when there are a significant amount of Man O’Wars and you will also see them washed up on the sand. These are more likely on the windward side of Oahu as they travel with the wind and ocean currents and are therefore more common on windy days.
  • Make sure not to leave anything in the car while you are parked at the beach. You don’t want to give anyone a reason to ruin your day.
  • You should swim because the water is so nice, but be careful! The waves and current can change very quickly.
  • This quick dry beach towel is light and easy to carry while exploring Oahu.
  • Always bring a reusable water bottle with you to the beach. This Stanley water bottle is perfect as it can stay cold for 12 hours.
  • Don’t leave anything behind! Pack your trash out.

10 Best Beaches on Oahu

1. Lanikai Beach

Most Popular Beach on Oahu

Lanikai Beach

Located on the windward side of Oahu, Lanikai Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. Lanikai Beach has views of the Mokulua Islands and very clear blue water making it the perfect scenic beach for a swim. The beach can get very crowded, so try to visit during on a weekday. Be respectful of the residents when parking in the neighborhood and be aware of the signs.

2. Kailua Beach Park

Family-Friendly Beach on Oahu

Kailua Beach Park Oahu

Kailua Beach Park is just north of Lanikai Beach. The beach is 2-miles long, offering incredible beach walks on the white sand and plenty of space to sit and relax. This is a great beach to swim in the clear blue water. There are a few parking lots along the 2-mile stretch of beach, and as you continue north they tend to get less busy.

3. Kahana Bay Beach Park

Secluded Beach on the Windward Side

Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park

If you are looking for a scenic beach surrounded by lush green mountains, this is the one for you! Kahana Bay Beach Park is one of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu, with nice water that is perfect for a swim. Since it is in a more remote part of the island it is typically quiet.

4. Makapu'u Beach

Most Scenic Beach on Oahu

Makapuu Beach Best of Oahu

Makapu’u Beach is one of the best beaches on Oahu, tucked in between mountains on the east corner of the island. Makapu’u Beach is known to be a great spot for very experienced boogie boarders and body surfers. The waves here can be dangerous, the current can be strong, and there are large rocks underwater, so make sure to pay attention to the signs and the instructions from the lifeguard. Makapu’u beach is also a great beach to relax and enjoy a quiet part of Oahu, with soft sand and views of Rabbit Island, Makapu’u Point lighthouse, and surrounding mountains. This is a well known spot for paragliding, so you can watch people launching from the cliffs above.

There are many other fun activities to do on Oahu including a sunset boat tour, surfing lesson, and UTV Tour at Kualoa Ranch. Make sure you book these incredible experiences ahead of your trip so you don’t miss out.

5. Sunset Beach

Best Beach on the North Shore

Sunset Beach

This long stretch of beach is located on the North Shore of Oahu. During the winter months it is known to have big waves for surfing. In the summer the waves are calmer and it becomes a great beach for swimming. As the name suggests, Sunset Beach is the perfect place to watch the sunset. There are many popular food trucks nearby for when you get hungry. While on the North Shore, if you are looking for an interesting experience, you can book a tour to snorkel with sharks.

6. Three Tables Beach

Best Beach for Snorkeling on Oahu

Three Tables Beach Snorkeling

Three Tables Beach is the best beach in Oahu for snorkeling during the summer. Its name is from the three flat reef formations in the water. The best place to snorkel here is close to the reef formations as that is where you will see the most fish and sometimes even turtles. Be careful because the waves can push you towards the reef. We have many unique types of fish here such as the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Hawaii State Fish), parrot fish, cornet fish, blue tang, yellow tang,  as well as sea turtles. The sandy beach is also a nice spot to sit and relax for a snorkeling break.

7. Waimanalo Beach

Longest Beach on Oahu

Waimanalo Beach Oahu

Waimanalo Beach is a beautiful 3-mile stretch of white sand beach located on the southeast corner of Oahu. From the beach you can see Rabbit Island, the Mokolua Islands, and the sharp ridges. The water here is perfect for swimming, boogie boarding, and body surfing. Make sure to check for Portuguese Man O’War before entering the water here because they are common on Waimanalo Beach on windy days. There are several parking lots and entrances to Waimanalo Beach. I recommend going to the more northern parts of the beach like Sherwood Beach and Bellows Beach where it is more secluded and quiet. If you are interested in going to Bellows Beach, note that it is only opened to the public on weekends as it is an Air Force Station.

8. Keawaula Beach

Most Scenic Beach on the West Side

Keawaula Beach
Keawaula Beach Secluded Oahu

Keawaula Beach is one of the best secluded beaches on Oahu. This is the final beach on the west side of the island. If you are visiting Oahu and it is raining on other parts of the island, most likely it is still sunny on this beach! This scenic beach has beautiful blue water that is really nice to swim in and is surrounded by large mountains. 

9. Makua Beach

Beautiful Beach Surrounded by Nature

Makua Beach West Side Oahu

Makua Beach is the second to last beach on the west side of the island, right before Keawaula beach. This beach is also very secluded and is surrounded by large mountains. This is one of the best beaches in Oahu if you are looking to have a quiet beach (almost) all to yourself!

10. Diamond Head Beach

Quiet Beach to Watch Surfers

Diamond Head Beach

A walk down a paved path will take you to Diamond Head Beach. This beach is popular for surfing so it is a great spot to visit if you would like to watch surfers. This beach is usually not busy and it is not far from Waikiki so it is a great spot to get away from the crowds in the Waikiki and relax.

More Things to Do on Oahu

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links for products and services I recommend. At no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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