The Best Beaches on Oahu
Collected by Amanda Castleman, AFAR Local Expert
Around 112 miles of coastline fringe Oahu, including some of Hawaii's best beaches, perfect for kayaking, snorkeling, and surfing. From rocky shores to sugar-silky stretches of sand, options abound for a day—or even a week—spent soaking up the sun and sea. Grab a towel and some reef-safe sunscreen (bereefsafe.com), then dive in!
Magic Island, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA
Less popular with tourists than Waikiki, but more popular with the locals, Ala Moana Beach Park is the location for citywide events like the Lantern Floating Memorial, Relay for Life, and occasional holiday fireworks displays. The park's long...
Hanauma Bay, Hawaii 96825, USA
Hawaii's waters boast an exciting wealth of biodiversity, accessible with a swimsuit and a snorkel. The rocky shores of Richardson Beach on the Big Island are a favorite jumping-off point for humans and sea turtles alike, while the island’s...
Kapolei, HI 96707, USA
When you think of snorkeling on Oahu, most people tend to think of Hanauma Bay, the beautiful nature preserve on the eastern side of the island. However, there's a beautiful spot on the Western side of the island just north of the Ko Olina resort...
Kailua Beach, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
Kailua Beach in Hawaii has been named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and there is a reason why. With the softest sand I have ever experienced, it feels like powder under your feet. We visited the local corner store where you can...
2877 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Some of the best snorkeling we did on Oahu didn't cost a cent—including Sans Souci Beach, a walkable distance from the Waikiki hotels and close to the aquarium. But why pay to get into the aquarium when you can wade right into the water and see...
Laniakea Beach, North Shore, HI 96712, USA
More commonly known as Turtle Beach, this Oahu North Shore cove often attracts honu, aka Chelonia mydas, the largest of the hard-shelled sea turtles. These big, friendly giants can reach 400 pounds as adults and are herbivorous, feeding primarily...
Kailua, HI 96734, USA
Lanikai Beach is no secret to the locals, or to tourists, as it is consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world, and it's arguably the best beach on the island of Oahu. Chances are that if you're visiting Hawaii then you're probably on...
Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
Sunbathing—throwing down a towel, propping up a beach umbrella, and idly sifting sand through your toes—remains one of the greatest pleasures of visiting Hawaii. Lanikai beach on Oahu ranks as one of the world’s best, inspiring devotion with its...
Honolulu, HI, USA
There's a certain kind of peace that one feels when basking in the Waikiki sun. You go there, banana daiquiri on one hand, and a trusty old camera on the other. You capture the moment and say to yourself, "ahh...this is paradise."
2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
A renowned group of Hawaiian watermen worked on the Waikiki beaches during the first half of the 20th century. These "Beachboys" shared their culture, aloha, and intimate knowledge of the ocean—and led the revival of traditional aquatic...
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