15 Best Beaches In Oahu Where Surfing Meets Leisure

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Oahu is a pretty Hawaiian island, blessed with more than 125 beautiful beaches. Be it the sleepy beach town of Kailua or the Kahana Bay Beach Park hidden away in the mountains, you will find several beaches in Oahu worth your visit. So, refer to this travel guide when you are planning your Oahu vacation. It will help you discover some of the best Oahu beaches where you can catch a tide or some tan, depending on your interest. 

1. Kailua Beach - A popular choice 

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Turquoise blue water to soothe your eyes and soft powdery sand to caress your feet - that’s Kailua Beach for you. Covering the area of 30 acres, this is a public park where you can spend an entire day lazing around. 

Activities like sailing, snorkeling, swimming, diving, and windsurfing along with facilities like food stands, picnic tables, and restrooms make Kailua Beach one of the best beaches in Oahu. Water is usually calm and clear, creating ideal conditions for paddling and kayaking. The best part is, though crowded, this beach is wide enough for everyone to find a peaceful spot. 

2. Lanikai Beach - Swim with sea turtles 

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Lanikai Beach is the perfect example of an idyllic shore. This half a mile of beach is for those who want to snorkel with sea turtles and enjoy sparkling clean water. 

The lack of facilities has not stopped Lanikai Beach from being one of the top-rated beaches in Oahu. In fact, it has helped the beach in maintaining its serene charm. With 2 islands in the backdrop, Lanikai Beach provides a lovely space for photoshoots, attracting a plethora of models and travel enthusiasts throughout the year. 

3. Sunset Beach - Mecca for surfers 

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Sunsets in Hawaii are always breath-taking, but when you are visiting Sunset Beach in Oahu, it will redefine your experience. 

Mecca for surfers and a little slice of paradise for leisure-seekers, Sunset Beach offers the best of both worlds. Summer months are ideal for taking a dip in the ocean whereas winters come with a surfing season. Keep in mind that waves are sometimes considered dangerous for amateur surfers. And if you are not in the mood to try adventure sports, be a beach bum and laze around on the soft sand. 

4. Waikiki Beach - The true Hawaiian charm 

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Even though there are more than 5 stunning beaches in Waikiki district, it has earned the fame mostly for the spectacular Waikiki Beach. 

Located on the south shore of the island, this beach is lined with some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts. A number of restaurants and cafes are also only a stone’s throw away, ready to take your taste buds on a ride. The beach, as well as water in itself, is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. So, when you are visiting Waikiki - one of the most famous Oahu beaches - get ready to soak in the Hawaiian vibes. 

5. Waimea Bay - Shades of blue to entice you  

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Even though the name of ‘Waimea’ translates to ‘reddish water’, the shades of blue this beach carries will take your breath away. 

The months from October to April mark the surfing season at Waimea Bay. Surfers from all around the world come here to catch the famous 25-foot waves as it offers the best surfing in Oahu. Some of the top contests in Oahu like ‘Vans Triple Crown Surfing competition’ are held here in winters. You can also visit the bay for picnicking with your loved ones or sunbathing peacefully. 

6. Makapuu Beach Park - Leisure with a hint of adventure 

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Makapuu Beach Park is one of the lesser-known beaches in Oahu where cliffs rising majestically from the dark blue ocean create an awe-inspiring backdrop. 

You can take a relaxing walk on the shore or if a little adventure is on your mind, then hike to the Makapuu Lighthouse and enjoy a panoramic vista. This lighthouse, perched on top of the black mountain, is as picturesque as it can get. You will find several bodyboarders and bodysurfers around here, but keep in mind that the water is ideal for those with a little experience. 

7. Kahana Bay Beach Park - Secrets of Oahu 

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Kahana Bay Beach Park, due to its remote location, is one of the best secret beaches in Oahu. A perfect peaceful escape from a touristy crowd, that’s what Kahana Beach is! 

The lush green Ko'olau Mountains surround the beach from three sides and the deep blue ocean creates a postcard-perfect vista. Do not expect many facilities as Kahana Bay Beach Park is not fully developed yet. But you can stroll on the beach to spend some quality time or take a permit and enjoy camping near the ocean. 

8. Diamond Head Beach Park - Soak in the peace 

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Explore the foothills of Diamond Head - an extinct volcano crater in Oahu and you will find a gem hidden away in this remote land. The Diamond Head Beach Park is a rugged beauty that you must visit in Oahu. 

When the waves are high, take your surfboard here and when the water is calm, go snorkeling while visiting Diamond Head Beach. Even though it is located near the famous Waikiki, it offers an entirely different experience, full of peace and tranquility. But keep in mind that swimming is usually avoided here as sharp reefs are located around the shore. 

9. Sandy Beach - When an adventure calls you 

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Sandy Beach stands true to its name as powdery sand is all you will find in your hair and clothes even after leaving the shore.

It is one of the top Oahu beaches where you can get away from crowds and have some peaceful time on the shore. If you are not a seasoned surfer, then it is recommended to enjoy the beauty of this beach from the shore and not go in the water. Strong currents, high surf, dangerous shore break, and sharp coral make it unsafe for amateurs. So, fly a kite, go for a picnic, or take a walk and be safe. 

10. Ala Moana Beach Park - Home to the perfect sunset 

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Ala Moana Beach Park has something for every type of traveler and has become a playground for beachgoers. It is one of the few man-made beaches in Oahu. 

From picnic tables and tennis courts to swimming and surfing, you will get to do it all here. But, what truly makes it special is the sunset you get to catch when visiting Ala Moana Beach Park. It is the perfect time to witness the Hawaiian sky turning into a canvas full of red, orange, and golden shades. Do not miss a chance to visit one of the prettiest beaches in Oahu and spend some time at Ala Moana Beach Park. 

11. Pokai Bay - A family-friendly Oahu beach 

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When it comes to underrated beaches in Oahu, Pokai Bay ranks on top of that list. This beach park is a beauty worth exploring. 

As it is one of the calmest beaches in Oahu, it has become popular amongst kids and families. You can come here to take a leisurely dip in the water throughout the year. If you are a beginner when it comes to surfing, Pokai Bay can work wonders for you. Opt for stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, or fishing if you want to make the best of your visit.

12. Bellows Field Beach Park - Go camping near the ocean 

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Bellows Field Beach Park is the place where history meets natural beauty and where you will be greeted by a wide sandy shore. 

Its clear water and white sand make it one of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu. A part of this beach is protected by a reef, making it great for swimmers. It is also one of the few Oahu beaches where camping is permitted. So, spend a day or stay for a night when visiting Bellows Field Beach Park and you are bound to have a memorable vacation. 

13. Nanakuli Beach Park - Small yet full of activities 

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Nanakuli Beach Park, even though one of the smaller beaches in Oahu, has 400 acres of area that you can explore. 

Its 500 feet long beach is also known as Kalaniana'ole Beach. It has a few grassy areas dotted with picnic tables which make it an ideal place to enjoy a picnic or a relaxing day out with your loved ones. Summers are when you can go diving and swimming here and if you are visiting Nanakuli Beach Park in winters, then waves transform it into a surfer’s playground. It also has a small area where play equipment for kids are offered. 

14. Malaekahana Beach - A lesser-known destination 

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If you are looking for a mile-long combination of white sand and blue water to catch some tan, then Malaekahana Beach is the place to be! 

When the water is calm, go snorkeling to spot the turtles. If you are not interested in water activities, then explore hiking trails along the beach. Even though Malaekahana Beach is usually frequented by locals, it is yet to be popular amongst tourists. And it means you might get a whole beach to yourself! All the more reasons to visit some hidden beaches in Oahu, right?

15. Makaha Beach Park - Something for everyone 

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Makaha Beach Park is one of the few places where one part of the beach is dedicated entirely to surfers. And at the same time, summers transform it into a perfect swimming area. 

So, no matter when you are visiting Makaha Beach, you will find something interesting to keep you engaged. Go to the northern end when you want to surf and take the middle part when you are looking forward to taking a dip in the water. Amenities like restrooms and showers are also available here. 

When Hawaiian vacation is on your mind, head off these beaches in Oahu and you will get the perfect beach-y holiday! 

Read more about some of the other best beaches in Hawaii