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After living in Hawaii for over 4 months and exploring beautiful beaches day in day out, I have put together a short list of the best beaches on Oahu.
Perfect white powder sand, crystal clear water and stunning views of the twin islands of Na Mokulua make Lanikai beach the most picturesque on the island. I spent many of my days in Oahu hiking the Lanikai Pillboxes then heading down to Lanikai Beach with a snorkel and book to set up for the day. Lanikai Beach has been voted the number one beach in the US for the past 10 years and is ranked amongst the best beaches in the world, after visiting you will understand why. Lanikai Beach can get crowded so if this isn’t your thing, check out Kailua beach, right next door.
Kailua was my home beach. I lived in the gorgeous suburb of Kailua and absolutely loved the laid-back atmosphere and stunning beaches of course. I spent many afternoons walking along the beach during sunset, total perfection. Like Lanakai, Kailua Beach has white powdery sand, perfect waters and an incredible view. If it is a windy day you will see many kite surfers cruising around the bay. If you dare you may want to give it a go for yourself. From Kailua Beach Park you can hire stand up paddle boards and kayaks and paddle out to Flat Island or the islands of Na Mokulua. On my paddle out, I got to see turtles, it was incredible. Book tours to Lanikai and Kailua Beach here
Anyone that has been to Hanauma Bay will tell you… DO NOT MISS IT! Hanauma Bay offers some of the best snorkelling conditions on the island (and in the world). Entry into Hanauma Bay is $7-50. See my Ultimate Guide to Hanauma Bay.
Hanauma Bay is nearby to Makapuu Point, another one of Oahu’s best beaches.
Makapuu Beach is a Hawaiian gem that sits below Makapuu Point, located south-east of Oahu. Most visitors venture out this direction to hike up to the Makapuu Lighthouse but rarely stick around to enjoy the spectacular beach. It is a small stretch of beach and a beautiful one.
The world-famous Waikiki Beach has a truly unique atmosphere that you must experience for yourself. No doubt it is already on your itinerary. Hire a board and go for a surf, many breaks to choose from.
Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline
No trip to Oahu is complete without a trip to Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline. Famous for its massive waves and world-renowned surf competitions during the winter, these beaches attract many travellers. I honestly much prefer the Southern and Windward beaches like Lanakai, Kailua and Makapu’u but I still feel a trip to this beach to see the waves is essential for any traveller visiting Oahu.
Kalama Beach Park
Located along the same stretch of beach as Kailua Beach Park, offering the same perfect conditions, with fewer crowds.
Bellows Beach – Waimanalo
Bellows beach is a long stretch of beach along the windward side of the island near Waimanalo. The beach usually has calm waters making it a great place for a relaxing swim and long walk on the beach.
What beach on Oahu would you visit first?
Book a tour on Oahu
This tour circles the Island and takes you to all the best beaches on Oahu – book here.
Disclosure: This post on the best beaches on Oahu contains affiliate links.