Top 5 best beaches on Oahu!

I’ve called this island home for almost four years now, and while there are many things I love about Hawaii (mainly the people and culture!) I can’t deny that the beaches here are easily the best part about living on a tropical island! I get asked all the time about traveling to Oahu, but the main thing everyone asks is about which beaches are the best! If you’re planning a trip and want more info on where to stay, what to pack, where to hike, my favorite spots to eat, and SO much more - snag my Ultimate Oahu Travel Guide and start planning!

I might be a little biased but I think Oahu has some of the best beaches in the entire world. Between the huge waves of the North Shore, the powdery white sand of the east side, and the bustling beaches of Waikiki, there’s something for everyone.

If you’re still not sure which island you want to visit, I wrote this to help you decide!

Before we get started, make sure you read my tips to keep in mind in order to travel mindfully and respect the people and wildlife who call Hawaii home!

Okay now onto the best beaches on Oahu. These are my personal favorites for different reasons. I hope you have a blast on your trip and enjoy this island paradise!

You can see Lanikai Beach and other east side beaches from above while hiking! The east side of Oahu is known for the beautiful blue water and powdery white sand.

You can see Lanikai Beach and other east side beaches from above while hiking! The east side of Oahu is known for the beautiful blue water and powdery white sand.

1. Waimanalo Beach Park

Lot’s of people go to Lanikai beach, and while it’s definitely beautiful, it’s actually not a very large beach and VERY crowded. If you want the same experience of powdery soft sand and a little more room to accommodate all the beach goers, then I recommend heading over to Waimanalo Beach Park! On a sunny day the water is the most beautiful turquoise and the waves never get too big so it’s perfect for kids and those who want to hop in even in the winter! And if you go on a weekday, you have a pretty good chance of having most of the beach to yourself which is a huge win on Oahu. This beach is located on the south east end of the island.

Kawela Bay  gives you those magical island paradise vibes.

Kawela Bay gives you those magical island paradise vibes.

2. Kawela Bay

Owned by Turtle Bay, Kawela Bay might be recognizable from some of your favorite movies. The Hunger Games, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Jungle Book, and lots more were filmed here. The actual beach is decent but it’s the surrounding area that make this magical. Hundreds of coconut trees, lots of walking paths, a huge and beautiful banyan tree, and lots of activities that you can book through Turtle Bay make this place so special. This beach is located on the North Shore of the island west of Turtle Bay resort.

Hukilau Beach is one of my favorite places to go for a swim!

Hukilau Beach is one of my favorite places to go for a swim!

3. Hukilau Beach Park

This beach is definitely underrated and is one of my favorites to go to on a weekly basis! You can almost always swim here, and on a sunny day it’s absolutely gorgeous. The sand is powdery white and it’s a large enough beach for lots of families to gather. The beach goes on forever and is perfect for a long walk in the sand. This beach is in Laie, near the North Shore, up in the north eastern corner of the island.

Waimea Bay is one of my favorite places to dive when there’s no waves!

Waimea Bay is one of my favorite places to dive when there’s no waves!

4. Waimea Bay

This is one of the more popular beaches on the North Shore, but with good reason. Waimea is a massive sandy beach and during the summer the water is crystal clear and you can swim out forever along a sandy bottom. There are reefs to explore, a rock to jump off of, and plenty of space on the sand to lay out in the sun. There’s also nearby bouldering rocks for those of you who are feeling adventurous. It’s the perfect place to spend all day at the beach and is one of my all time favorites. The parking is slim though, so get there early! If the lot is full you can always pay to park across the street at Waimea Valley.

The North Shore really is a 7 mile miracle! You can’t go wrong with any North Shore beach.

The North Shore really is a 7 mile miracle! You can’t go wrong with any North Shore beach.

5. Log Cabins

The entire North Shore has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world with the best surf in the world. However, the waves are not for the faint of heart, so don’t expect to be hopping in if you come in the winter time. I love Log Cabins and Ehukai Beach Park (pictured above) to watch the waves, swim in the summer, and just soak up the good vibes that the North Shore has to offer. I chose Log Cabins for number 5 because it is less crowded but still very accessible. The North Shore really is the 7 mile miracle.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide to some of my favorite beaches! Don’t forget to add your own favorites + questions down below. If you’re looking for all the info you need to plan an epic trip to Oahu, check out my travel guide and plan your dream vacation!

xoxo Heather

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