Updated: June 16, 2023 | Has affiliate links

6 Gorgeous Beaches in Oahu, Hawaii


Each year there are millions of vacationers that choose the Hawaiian Islands for their top destination. There is a lot to see and to do here that showcases not simply the beauty of the state and its sensational landscapes. Oahu is definitely one of the best places to visit when it comes to getting immersed in culture and tradition. Let’s explore together my favorite beaches in Oahu and explore the Hawaiian culture.

Everything in Oahu, from beaches, cuisine, and tourist attractions, work together in harmony to make an impression. When we settle on accommodations in a particular part of the city, it’s time to truly explore our surroundings. Many people include the amazing beaches that are a big part of what attracts vacationers to Hawaii. Let’s take a look at 6 great beaches in Oahu to visit while getting immersed in the local culture.

1. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach is one of my favorite beaches in Oahu
The famous Lanikai Beach on the East Shore of Oahu ranks first as one of the best beaches in Oahu.
See my photos from Lanikai Beach

My favorite beach in Oahu, is Lanikai. Those looking for a quaint and slower-paced beach will simply love this spot. Lanikai Beach is situated in the heart of Kailua a beautiful town to visit. The beach happens to be on the windward side of Oahu, which makes it unique. Sea turtles and reel fish can be seen here on a regular basis. Although parking is limited at this location, it receives no shortage of visitors.

Snorkeling, windsurfing, and sailing are some of the best ways to enjoy the beach. Vacation can be a time to keep active. Hawaii has a variety of different attractions that incorporates physical fitness with culture. Visiting different area beaches in Oahu not only gives you a sense of the area but the many ways that people utilize these spaces.

2. Kailua Beach Park

Oahu, Hawaii - Looking north from Kailua Beach
Oahu, Hawaii – Looking north from Kailua Beach
See my photos from Kailua Beach

Exploring the many beaches in Oahu may require a short walk from your luxury accommodations or a drive to another area. One of the great options we present to vacationers is Kailua Beach Park. The bright sand and crystal clear waters here make it stand out from many other locations. This is a 3-mile beach that is near Lanikai Beach and is easily accessible to those touring the area.

It is not necessary to worry about bringing a lot of different equipment here. Vacationers of nearby luxury villas can come here and find accessible facilities. Over the years, this particular beach has seen expansion, which offers tourists even more to do. Views of ironwood trees that scale the area provide even more of a stunning setting.

3. Hanauma Bay

Oahu, Hawaii - Beautiful view of the beach and lagoon at Hanauma Bay
Oahu, Hawaii – Beautiful view of the beach and lagoon at Hanauma Bay
See more photos from Hanauma Bay, Oahu

Our most important goal when visiting this area is to find fun things to do. This is one of the reasons that vacationers settle on luxury villas in Hawaii. It is possible to book these gorgeous accommodations based upon their proximity to specific beaches. Hanauma Bay is one of the best beaches in Oahu. Hanauma Bay is a public area that offers the tourist a chance to swim and sunbathe. Hanauma Bay’s main attraction however, is snorkeling. The clear waters and abundance of tropical fish make this spot an amazing experience.

Since Hanauma Bay is a state park with a closing time, it is important to plan your trip here. Most people arrive between 12 and 2pm, and during those times, parking can be a problem. If you see the road leading to Hanauma Bay Parking closed, come back 15 minutes later. The park closes at 7 pm daily during the summer, which gives you time for eating breakfast or even dinner here. We know the beauty and enjoyment that these nature settings bring to vacationers. This and all area beaches are great choices for a day trip to include sunbathing, swimming, or reading a good book.

4. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu - Hawaii
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu – Hawaii (image by Cristo Vlahos)

This may be one of our most popular beaches in Oahu to visit. It is the place that gets a lot of attention and showcases area attractions. You might come here to swim, surf, or sail any day on your vacation. This sensationally sandy beach is also where vacationers come to book their excursions. Pirate ship adventures or sailing trips can be located and booked along the Waikiki Beach area.

As locals, we love participating in water sports and activities in this location. This is also a fine place to dine and to shop. Outdoor shopping malls with food courts are within a short distance from the beach. Kalakaua Avenue has become synonymous with fashion, fine dining, and cocktail bars. This is an intriguing area to get immersed in on your vacation.

5. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park

Waimanalo Beach, located on the windward side of O'ahu, Hawai'i.
Waimanalo Beach, located on the windward side of O’ahu, Hawai’i. (image by Jim Harper)

We all know that Hawaii is a perfect blend of new and old sites. These are usually locations that have beautiful nature settings and exciting spots to explore. Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is a good example of this category and it is one of the best beaches in Oahu. Here we get to experience one of the island’s longest beaches. It literally stretches 5 miles in distance from Wailea Point to Makapuu.

The additional park adjacent to the beach offers families and groups with many possibilities. You can spend the day at the beach participating in fun activities. This also a great place to plan picnics and parties. Here is where we direct vacationers who are fans of big beaches. The size and the setting at this location are why it’s considered as a beautiful location in Oahu.

6. Sunset Beach

Oahu, Hawaii - People enjoying the Sunset Beach
Oahu, Hawaii – People enjoying the Sunset Beach (image by Eric Guinther)

Sunset Beach is one of the jewels that make the North Shore popular. This is where seasoned surfers come to catch a wave. It is also a great location to witness some of the most memorable sunsets. Restaurants like the Beach House present diners with delectable dishes and a special view of the Pacific. Nearby villas make this another Oahu area offering to visit while staying on the island.

The surroundings here make it easy for vacationers to see what attracts tourists and surfers to the area. In fact, even during the winter months, it is possible to catch what is commonly referred to as big waves along the shoreline of Sunset Beach. This location is approximately 40 miles from Waikiki. The primarily beige-colored sand here is iconic and attracts sunbathers, families, and more.

For families with small children, I would add a word of caution before heading to the beach on the North Shore of Oahu.  The currents and waves are very strong on the North Shore beaches.  We pulled out kids out of the water very quickly and opted to only explore the beach area.

Plan Your Trip to Oahu

Find budget hotels on Oahu. We prefer the East side of Oahu when we visit as it is much calmer and provides beautiful uncrowded beaches.

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