Oahu Beaches

Oahu Beach MapThe island of Oahu has a coastline of about 112 miles (180 km). Oahu beaches are diverse and there is something for everyone – there are many great beaches for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving, windsurfing, kayaking and relaxing. Most beaches on Oahu are sandy, and some have an offshore coral reef. A few beaches have little or no sand but are nevertheless popular, such as Shark's Cove, an excellent snorkeling and diving spot in the summer months. Beach sand in Hawaii comes in all kinds of shapes and colors. Read more about Hawaiian beach sand composition.

Oahu is home to popular Waikiki Beach, which is busy year-round. Oahu North Shore beaches such as Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline are some of the most popular surfing beaches in the world, where waves can get as high as 40 feet (12 m) in the winter months. And Hanauma Bay on the southeastern shore is one of the best snorkeling beaches on the island.

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Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park, located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, is a favorite beach among local residents. It is a great place for long-distance swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, jogging and picnicking.
Army Beach
Now you may wonder why a beach in Hawaii would be called Army Beach. The name doesn't exactly sound Hawaiian. Well, this beach was named for a military recreation center that was located here from 1970 to 1989.
Banzai Pipeline
Located on Oahu's North Shore, Banzai Pipeline is a popular surf site where waves can reach heights of 20+ feet (6+ m) in the winter months. Many big wave surfing contests take place here.

Barber's Point Beach Park
Barber's Point Beach Park is most known for its lighthouse. The small sandy beach is mainly used by fishermen and picnickers because the swimming conditions are poor. There is a low limestone shelf along most of the shoreline.
Bellows Beach Park
Azure blue waters, white sands and gently braking waves make Bellows one of the most scenic beaches on Oahu. Rows of trees line the beach, so there is plenty of shade as well.
Camp Erdman Beach
Located on Oahu's northwestern shore, Camp Erdman is a long white-sand beach that marks the end of Farrington Highway. Just beyond this beach, the highway turns into a dirt road.
Chun's Reef
Chun's Reef is a popular surf site on Oahu's North Shore. There is a long stretch of sandy beach that begins here and ends at Kawailoa Beach next door. It's a nice place for a long beach stroll.
Diamond Head Beach Park
Diamond Head Beach Park is located on the foothills of Diamond Head, Waikiki's popular landmark. The park includes two acres of sea cliffs on the south slope of the crater between Beach Road and the Diamond Head Lighthouse.
Ehukai Beach Park
Raging waters, towering surf and massive waves that shake the shores. Ehukai Beach Park is a daredevil's dream, with waves reaching heights of over 30 feet (9 m) in the winter months.
Ewa Beach Park
Ewa Beach Park is the main beach in the residential community of the same name – Ewa Beach. The five-acre park is fronted by a narrow sandy beach. It is a popular swimming and picnicking location among local residents.
Hale’iwa Ali’i Beach Park
Located west of the Hale'iwa Small Boat Harbor, this 19-acre beach park is a favorite gathering spot among North Shore residents. There is a large grassy area with plenty of room for a picnic.
Haleiwa Beach Park
Hale'iwa Beach Park is fronted by a narrow sand beach. Swimming isn't that good here because of the shallow and rocky ocean bottom, but the park is nice for picnics.
Halona Beach Cove
This small beach cove was made popular in the movie From here to Eternity filmed in 1953, where it was a love scene of a couple. Because of the movie, the beach was nicknamed Eternity Beach.
Hanauma Bay
Ever fancied swimming amidst some of the world's rarest marine wildlife? Named America's best beach in 2004, Hanauma Bay is Oahu's most popular snorkeling and diving beach.
Hau’ula Beach Park
Hau'ula Beach Park on Oahu's windward coast is a popular camping and picnicking site among local residents. There is only a very narrow beach, and because of a shallow nearshore reef, the swimming conditions are poor.
Hukilau Beach Park
A “hukilau” in Hawaiian is a traditional method of fishing, in which a group of people participate. Located in La'ie, Hukilau Beach is a nice stretch of sand with good swimming conditions in the summer months.
Ka’a’awa Beach Park
Ka'a'awa Beach Park on Oahu's windward coast has a narrow sandy beach. Because of a shallow reef on the nearshore ocean bottom, the swimming conditions are rather poor.
Ka'alawai Beach
This narrow, white-sand beach has a shallow reef offshore, which makes for poor swimming conditions. A famous mansion lies at the eastern end of the beach – Shangri La, an Islamic art museum.
Kaena Point State Park
Ka'ena is the name of the northwestern tip of the island of Oahu. Ka'ena Point State Park is so remote that no road leads here. It is home to numerous seabirds, including albatrosses and rare native plants.
Kahana Bay
Surrounded on three sides by the majestic Ko'olau Mountains, Kahana Bay is one of the best-kept secrets of windward Oahu. The crescent shore is set against a beautiful backdrop of ironwood trees and the steep mountain range.
Kahanamoku Beach
Kahanamoku Beach is located at the west end of Waikiki. It is part of 2-mile long Waikiki Beach. It is a wide stretch of beach and the 5-acre Kahanamoku Lagoon is located here.
Kahuku Beach
Quiet, sunny and spacious, Kahuku Beach is a remote and uncrowded beach on Oahu's northeastern shore. It has a long limestone shelf and a rocky ocean bottom, which makes swimming tricky, if not impossible, here.
Kaiaka Bay Beach Park
Located on Oahu's North Shore on the Kaiaka Point peninsula in Hale'iwa, this spacious (53 acre) beach park is a great spot to relax, have a picnic or play ball games.
Kaihalulu Beach
Kaihalulu Beach is located east of the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's North Shore. The beach is backed by a small forest and is a great place for a long beach walk or picnic.
Kailua Beach Park
If you could squeeze Hawaii into a single mile, you'd probably get something like Kailua Beach Park. Kailua gives you the whole package: soft white sand, towering ironwood trees and crystal clear, turquoise waters.
Kaimana Beach
Kaimana Beach is located at the Diamond Head side of Waikiki. Many locals like to go here because it is protected by a wide reef and because the nearshore ocean bottom is shallow and sandy.
Kaiona Beach Park
At Kaiona Beach Park you get the feeling you're swimming in a pool. It's for a reason that this beach is named Kaiona, which means “attractive sea” in the Hawaiian language.
Kakaako Waterfront Park
The history of Kaka'ako Waterfront Park is interesting. While walking over the park's green, hilly and spacious meadows one wouldn't think that this is a former landfill site.
Kalae'o'io Beach Park
Even though it is just about one acre in size, Kalae'o'io is a nice beach park with a sandy beach and a grassy area with picnic tables and trees. In the southern part of the park is a bridge that leads across a small stream.
Kalama Beach Park
Kalama Beach Park is a section of the 2.5-mile (4 km) long Kailua Beach. It has postcard-perfect white sands and turquoise waters and is a popular destination for bodyboarders and windsurfers.
Kaloko Beach
Kaloko Beach is easy to overlook. Most people visit the neighboring Sandy Beach and pass by this one. It isn't a swimming beach, and rocks along the shoreline make entering the ocean difficult.
Kaluanui Beach
The nearshore ocean bottom on the northern and southern end of Kaluanui Beach is covered by a reef. In the center of the beach is Kaluanui Channel, a reef-free area with a sandy bottom.
Kaneohe Bay
It's no stretch to say that Kane'ohe Bay is the stuff of Hollywood. This “living postcard” has provided a scenic backdrop for dozens of popular movies and TV series, the most notable being Pearl Harbor, Gilligan’s Island and 50 First Dates.
Kaupo Beach Park
This is a narrow roadside beach park with a sandy beach. Swimming isn't really possible here because the nearshore ocean bottom is rocky. There are a few sand-bottomed pools, where local families often times bring their kids to play in.
Kawaikui Beach Park
The best thing to do here is to have a picnic on the spacious grassy area with plenty of trees. The nearshore waters are too shallow and murky for a swim, but it's a good entry point for kayakers and windsurfers.
Kawailoa Beach
Kawailoa is a wide sandy beach on Oahu's north shore. It is located near Chun's Reef, a popular surf spot. The name Kawailoa means “the long water” in the Hawaiian language.
Kawela Bay
Kawela Bay is one of the most secluded beaches on Oahu. The sandy beach is narrow and is bordered by a tropical forest with mainly ironwood trees and a few coconut palms.
Ke'ehi Lagoon Beach Park
Ke'ehi Lagoon Beach Park is a great place for canoeing and boating since the waters are usually calm in the protected lagoon. Many canoe clubs do their practice session here and outrigger canoe regattas take place from time to time.
Kokololio Beach
Kokololio Beach is a nice stretch of sand, and during the summer months, swimming is possible here. In the winter time, it's a nice spot to take some great pictures of the pounding shorebreak or to go surfing or bodyboarding.
Ko Olina Lagoons
Four sandy beaches make up the picturesque Ko Olina Lagoons, one of the few man-made water bodies in the Hawaiian Islands. The four lagoons – Hanu, Naia, Kolola and Ulua – are shielded from the high surf by large rock barriers.
Kualoa Regional Park
One of Kualoa Park's main attractions is the view to Mokoli'i Island. From the shore, the island looks a bit like a coolie’s hat, which has earned it the nickname “Chinaman's Hat.”
Kuhio Beach Park
Kuhio Beach Park is part of Waikiki Beach. Three popular landmarks are located here: the Prince Kuhio Statue, the Duke Kahanamoku Statue and the Stones of Kapaemahu.
Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park
Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park lies at the foothills of Diamond Head. The 11-acre beach park has a narrow beach and is backed by sea cliffs. The beach sand has a greenish hue and glitters in the sun.
Bayview Beach
Kuilima Cove, also known as Bayview Beach, is right next to the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's North Shore. The beach lies in a protected cove between two limestone points and is mainly used by guests of the resort.
Kuliouou Beach Park
Kuliouou Beach Park is mainly visited by local residents who like to picnic here, play basketball, or wade in the shallow nearshore waters.
Laie Beach Park
The beach fronting La'ie Beach Park is known as Pounders Beach because of its often times pounding shorebreak. To the left of the surfers’ area is a calmer spot for swimming.
Laie Point State Wayside Park
La'ie Point State Wayside Park lies on a peninsula south of La'ie. This place is steeped in Hawaiian legend. The legend of the Laniloa mo'o can be read on a sign on a boulder in the beach park.
Laniakea Beach
Also known as Turtle Beach, the main attraction here is the green sea turtles who often times can be seen on the beach basking in the sun. They come out of the water and don't seem to mind the people who are snapping pictures of them.
Lanikai Beach
With a name meaning “heavenly sea,” Lanikai Beach has gained international fame as America's number one beach for several years running. The dreamlike shores have been immortalized on many postcards and wall calendars.
Leahi Beach Park
This small beach park at the foothills of Diamond Head doesn't have a sandy beach. There is a seawall at the water's edge and the nearshore waters are rocky and not suitable for swimming.
Leftovers Beach Park
Located on Oahu's North Shore, Leftovers Beach Park is one of the island's lesser-known surf sites. The small beach park can easily be missed as there is only a small pullout parking area along Kamehameha Highway.
Lualualei Beach Park
This is a narrow 18-acre park located along Farrington Highway in Waianae. The beach is sandy, but there is a rocky limestone shelf along the shoreline, which makes entering the ocean difficult.
Magic Island Beach
Magic Island Beach is a beautiful Honolulu city beach located at the end of a man-made peninsula. It is protected by a rock barrier and backed by a large grassy area with trees and picnic tables.
Ma'ili Beach Park
This is a long white-sand beach located along Farrington Highway on Oahu's west shore. Much of the shoreline is lined by rock shelves. In the winter months, the beach gets pounded by high surf.
Makaha Beach Park
Makaha Beach Park is a popular bodyboarding and surfing beach. However, be aware of strong shorebreaks and rip currents during the winter. The best swimming is in the reef-free middle section of the beach.
Makaleha Beach Park
Makaleha Beach Park is one of the lesser-known beaches on Oahu's North Shore. It is beautiful with a long and curved sandy beach, azure blue waters and trees that provide ample shade.
Makalei Beach Park
Makelei Beach Park has a small and narrow beach. The swimming conditions are limited here because there is a reef on the nearshore ocean bottom. It's a nice place to dip in the water and on most days the beach is empty.
Makapuu Beach Park
This is one of Oahu's most popular bodyboarding spots, but only for experts. Riptides and powerful waves make for a very rough ride, perfect for adventure seekers.
Makua Beach
Makua Beach is one of the most secluded and far away beaches on Oahu. This undeveloped white-sand beach is backed by the Waianae Mountain Range and Makua Valley.
Malaekahana Bay
Malaekahana Bay has a long white-sand beach, which makes it perfect for beach walks, ball games and relaxation. Two campgrounds are located along the shore, as well as a few vacation rentals.
Mauna Lahilahi Beach Park
Mauna Lahilahi Beach Park is named after the small mountain that is located on the northern end of the beach. In the Hawaiian language, Mauna Lahilahi means “thin mountain.”
Maunalua Bay
Maunalua Bay is a favorite spot among boaters, kayakers, fishermen and picnickers. Swimming conditions are rather poor here because the ocean bottom is shallow and rocky, but the views are nice.
Mokuleia Beach Park
This north shore beach features a long stretch of sand and a shallow reef that attracts many swimmers, surfers, kite- and windsurfers year-round. It's a popular beach among local residents.
Nanakuli Beach Park
Nanakuli Beach Park has a long and wide sandy beach. It gets high surf and strong currents during the winter months, and this is when swimming is not recommended here.
Paiko Beach
Paiko Beach is a narrow strip of sand that almost disappears at high tide. It is fronted by a shallow coral reef, so the swimming conditions are poor. Paiko is a better spot to kayak or fish.
Papailoa Beach
Papa'iloa Beach is among the lesser-known beaches on Oahu's North Shore. It only became more popular in recent years because of the TV series LOST, which was partially filmed near here.
Pokai Bay
Because of its breakwater offshore that blocks high surf, Poka'i Bay is the most protected beach on the leeward coast of Oahu. It is calm year-round, while other beaches on the leeward coast get strong surf in the winter months.
Police Beach
Police Beach is a remote beach on Oahu's North Shore, even though it lies between other popular surfing beaches. It is not remote in terms of distance, but rather in terms of accessibility.
Pua'ena Point Beach Park
Pua'ena Point is mainly known among the local surf crowd for being a good surf spot. It can be a good spot for beginners when the waves aren't too high. Surfing lessons take place here. But when the surf is up, it's for experts only.
Punalu’u Beach Park
Punalu'u Beach Park on Oahu's windward coast has a narrow sandy beach. The nearshore ocean bottom is shallow and has a reef, so the swimming conditions are poor. Snorkeling is possible when the ocean is calm.
Pupukea Beach Park
This beach park is narrow and has a rocky shoreline. On each end of the park lie two small pocket beaches within the rocks – Shark's Cove and Three Tables. Both offer fantastic snorkeling and diving.
Queen's Beach
A bodyboarders paradise! Walls, the name of the surf break here, is reserved exclusively for bodyboarders. And the reef in front of the Waikiki Aquarium is a great spot for snorkelers.
Sand Island Beach Park
Sand Island may not be the picture-perfect tropical beach, but it's still worth a visit. It used to be an important location for coastal defense in World War II. The deserted lookout towers and bunkers are still here today.
Sandy Beach
Sandy's is one of the best beaches in the world for experienced bodyborders. However, it is also one of the most dangerous beaches in Hawaii, and locals call it "the beach of broken necks and bones" for a reason.
Shark’s Cove
This cove got a scary name, but don't worry. This lava-rock beach is a popular snorkeling and diving spot, featuring spectacular lava tubes, caves and rock formations, as well as many colorful tropical fish.
Sunset Beach
Sunset Beach is one of Oahu's world-famous big wave surfing beaches, where waves often reach heights of over 30 feet (9 m) in the winter months. Surfing competitions take place here every year.
Swanzy Beach Park
Located on Oahu's windward coast, Swanzy Beach Park is a good spot to camp, picnic and fish. A seawall stands at the water's edge and the nearshore ocean bottom has a shallow reef, so swimming isn't possible here.
Three Tables Beach
Three Tables Beach gets its name from the three sections of flat reef that appear on the ocean's surface during low tide. Snorkeling is good here, and you'll be able to see colorful fish and underwater lava tubes.
Turtle Bay Beach
This bay is named after the large number of green sea turtles that inhabit the area. Most people come to Turtle Bay for diving, surfing and fishing. A barrier reef is situated in the nearshore waters.
Turtle Beach
Turtle Beach is named after the green sea turtles who like to feed on the seaweed that grows on the reef here. They can sometimes be seen in the early morning hours just offshore.
Ulehawa Beach Park
This is a long and narrow sandy beach bordering Farrington Highway on Oahu's west shore. Near the middle of the beach, the Ulehawa Stream crosses the beach and flows into the ocean.
Uppers Beach Park
Even though it's called a beach park, there is no park here and no facilities or a sandy beach either. The shoreline is rocky. Located next to Kamehameha Highway, Uppers is mainly visited by surfers.
Waiahole Beach Park
The views are nice from here. In the distance you can see Chinaman's Hat Island and the Waikane Pier, which has been featured in numerous Hollywood movies and TV shows, including 50 First Dates and LOST.
Waialae Beach Park
Wai'alae's beach sand is interspersed with coral rubble from the reef offshore. There's a small man-made island at the east end of the beach, which was built in 1963 during the construction of the nearby Kahala Hotel & Resort.
Waialee Beach Park
This north shore beach is a nice tidepool excursion site when the ocean is calm. The nearshore ocean bottom is covered by rocks with sandy patches, forming small pools during low tide.
Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach is Hawaii's busiest and most popular beach. It is where most Hawaii visitors spend their vacation. Many hotels, restaurants, shops and beach bars are located along its shore.
Wailupe Beach Park
This beach park is mainly visited by fishermen and picnickers because the beach is very narrow and the water looks brown and murky. The shallow nearshore ocean bottom and the coral reef make for poor swimming conditions.
Waimanalo Beach Park
Waimanalo Beach is the kind of place that makes you blink to make sure you're not dreaming. At 3 miles (4.8 km) long, it is Oahu's longest stretch of sandy shoreline. The turquoise water, white sands and tree-lined shore is picture-perfect.
Waimea Bay Beach
Waimea Bay is one of the world's best-known surfing beaches. During the winter the waves often times reach heights of 30 feet (9 m) and more, but in the summer, the bay is often times as calm as a lake.
Wawamalu Beach
Wawamalu Beach is located on Oahu's southeastern shore, near the popular Sandy Beach Park. Few people come to Wawamalu Beach, mainly because this is not a good beach to go swimming.
Yokohama Bay
Keawa'ula Beach, better known as Yokohama Bay, is the northernmost beach on Oahu's west shore, located just before the road ends and the hiking trail to Ka'ena Point, the island's northwestern tip, begins. It is truly off the beaten path.