I’ve lived on Oahu for decades and visited practically every beach on the entire island. From the most well-known shared in most blogs… to the hidden gems you (likely) won’t find anywhere else.
Some are good, some are incredible, and some you absolutely can’t miss.
This article shares the 15 you can’t miss – and it’s for you whether you want to find a beach to just relax and tan at… or surf… or cliff jump… or snorkel…
So keep reading, because you’re about to discover the 15 best beaches on Oahu, Hawaii!
1. Makua Beach
Located on the West side of Oahu, Makua Beach is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful on this side of the island. Right next to this beach is the beautiful Makua Cave, which we ranked number 5 on the best hikes on Oahu, which you can read more about by clicking here. This beach is also very well-known for encountering dolphins.
2. Kualoa Beach Park
Located at Kualoa Beach, is the beautiful Chinaman’s hat. We included kayaking and hiking to Chinaman’s hat in the article we wrote for the 45 Best Things to do on Oahu – so it’s no doubt that we are preaching about it here! Seeing the sunrise from Kualoa Beach is beautiful, but any time of day is perfect to visit.
3. Sunset Beach Park
Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Sunset Beach Park is known for its waves, gold sand, and vibrant blue waters. If you’re looking to visit Sunset Beach Park, keep in mind: during summer months, waves tend to be much more mellow and is great for swimming and snorkeling. While during winter months, Sunset Beach is the perfect place to visit to watch professionals surf some of the biggest waves on the island. Sunset Beach is home to the World Cup of Surfing competition and some other big surf competitions. Click here to see more beaches on the North Shore of Oahu.
4. Waimea Bay Beach Park
Waimea Bay Beach Park is probably one of the most lively (and fun) beaches on the island. Everybody is quite social and playing football/soccer and having a good time. If you’re looking to cliff jump off the famous Waimea Bay rock, which is 23 feet tall, we recommend going during the summer months. During summer months, waves are much more mellow, while during winter months, waves reach up to 25-35 feet high, which is a good time to sit back and watch the professionals surf. Don’t expect to swim during the winter months.
There is also a 26-foot rock wall that you can rock climb year round. The only downside to this beach would have to be the parking. It is very small and can get filled up quickly, so we recommend coming to Waimea Bay Beach Park earlier in the day from 8:00 am-10:00 am.
If you’re looking for an in-depth article featuring the most fun things to do at Waimea Bay Beach Park, then click here.
5. Makapu’u Beach
Located right next to the ever-so-popular Makapu’u Lighthouse, Makapu’u Beach is an awesome beach to visit after your hiking endeavors if you’re looking for a thrill. This is not the beach to visit if you are trying to relax – and is very much similar to Sandy Beach Park in the sense that it can have very rough conditions. It’s a very solid beach to visit for those looking to bodyboard/boogie board or surf.
6. Yokohama Bay (A.K.A. Keawaula Beach)
Yokohama Bay is the most western beach on the island and is well-known for surfing and bodyboarding. The beautiful mountains in the background combined with the beautiful white sands and vibrant blue waters are what makes this beach so perfect to visit. The waves can get pretty big – especially during winter months, so swimming is probably not an option.
7. Sandy Beach Park
Located on the southeasternmost part of Oahu, Sandy Beach Park is a popular beach for both locals and tourists. It is well-known for its surf break – which makes it very good beach for bodyboarders/boogie boarders. Because of that, it makes it a much more rough beach, so we don’t typically recommend people to swim here. The sun also rises on this side, so visiting this beach for the sunrise wouldn’t be a bad idea.
8. Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach is the perfect place to go for the sunset. The only downside to Waikiki Beach is that it can get pretty crowded at times. Every Friday night at 7:45 pm, the Hilton lights up the city with the most beautiful fireworks show that you absolutely cannot miss. If you’re in the area and have some time – you must see it!
9. Ko’olina Resort Lagoon
If you’re looking for the ultimate place to lay down and relax on the west side of Oahu – the Ko’olina Lagoons are the place to be. It can get pretty crowded on the weekends, so we recommend coming earlier in the day.
10. Haleiwa Beach Park
Haleiwa Beach Park is a nice beach to relax and eat an acai bowl at. Right next to the beach is a place we recommend called Haleiwa Bowls. If you’re looking for more to do on the North Shore of Oahu, check out the 10 Best Things to do on the North Shore of Oahu.
Note: We are not associated with Haleiwa Bowls in any way, we just genuinely love their acai bowls!
11. Lanikai Beach
Lanikai beach just feels perfect – when you get there you’ll know what I mean. From the perfectly soft sand, cool water, and overall vibes make Lanikai beach such a great place to relax. If you’re visiting the east side of Oahu, it is an absolute must to visit. It’s a beautiful beach to also walk on as the sun starts to rise. It’s a common beach people visit after hiking the Lanikai Pillboxes, which we included on our 15 Best Hikes on Oahu. A good alternative to Lanikai Beach, if there is no parking, would be Waimanalo Beach.
12. Waimanalo Beach Park
Located in the southeastern part of the island, Waimanalo Beach Park is an absolutely beautiful beach. It is a very solid alternative to Lanikai Beach when parking is filled. Being typically only 20 minutes away from Lanikai, and right next to Hālona Blowhole and Cockroach Cove, make’s this beach very practical if you’re trying to visit as much of Oahu as possible.
13. Nanakuli Beach Park
Nanakuli Beach Park is most popular for its beautiful Mermaid Caves, which is shown above. When you get here, you will realize why it’s so popular – something just feels special about this place. It can potentially be dangerous at times due to swells that can fill up the cave.
14. Cockroach Cove
Cockroach Cove is right beside Hālona Blowhole and typically a 30-minute drive away from Waikiki Beach. This isn’t the best beach to relax at because the waves can be quite unpredictable, but more so a nice beach to visit quickly after visiting Hālona Blowhole. Within the Cockroach Cove is also a nice little cave to check out. Seeing the Hālona Blowhole and visiting Cockroach cove was also included in our 45 Best Things to do on Oahu.
15. Electric Beach
Electric Beach (Official name: Kahe Point Beach Park) is a well-known place to snorkel on the west side. It attracts a lot of fish and sea life due to the warmer water – which is caused due to the power point across the street which outflows clean warm water. I would recommend coming here with someone who has snorkeled here before because it can get a little harsh at times.
Looking for more to do on Oahu? Check out our other articles:
- 45 Best Things to do on Oahu
- 15 Best Hikes on Oahu
- North Shore: 10 Best Things to do
- 5 Best Waterfalls on Oahu
- 5 Best North Shore Oahu Beaches