Best Beaches on Oahu- Hawaii

Hawaii is home to some of the most incredible beaches in the world. I was fortunate enough to spend 4 months on the island of Oahu, exploring beautiful beaches day in and day out, to bring you the best!

Lanikai Beach

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. 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.  A morning spent hiking the Lanikai Pillboxes then relaxing on Lanikai Beach with a snorkel and book will create a perfect day on Oahu. 

Lanikai Beach can get really crowded so if you are looking to escape the crowds, check out Kailua beach, right next door. 

Best Beaches on Oahu
Best Beaches on Oahu
Best Beaches on Oahu

See my guide to Hiking Lanikai Pillboxes

Kailua Beach

Like Lanakai, Kailua Beach has white powdery sand, perfect waters and incredible view of the offshore islands. 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. Chances of spotting turtles are high. Kitesurfing is another popular activity in Kailua on a windy day. If you dare you may want to give it a go for yourself. 

Best Beaches on Oahu
Best Beaches on Oahu
Best Beaches on Oahu

Hanauma Bay

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.

Best Beaches on Oahu

Makapuu Beach

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.

Best Beaches on Oahu
Best Beaches on Oahu
Best Beaches on Oahu

Waikiki Beach

The world-famous Waikiki Beach has a truly unique atmosphere that you must experience for yourself. No doubt it is already on your itinerary. In Waikiki you can hire a board and go for a surf on one of the many breaks.

Best Beaches on Oahu
Best Beaches on Oahu

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.

Best Beaches on Oahu

Kalama Beach Park

This beach is 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?

Packing for a day at the beach 

If you are heading to one of Oahus beaches, you must come prepared, because you will not want to leave. For a day at the beach you should pack: 

  • Reef safe sunscreen and a hat
  • A good book
  • Snorkel
  • Towel
  • Snacks and water
  • Swimmers
  • A change of clothes

Getting to Oahus best beaches

The best way to get around Oahu is by hiring a car. Car hire starts at around $50 USD per day. Alternatively, Oahu has a great public transport system. Buses circle the island and will get you to where you need to go. A bus ride costs $2.50. The only disadvantage is that it will take much longer to get around. 

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Best Beaches on Oahu- Hawaii

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Disclosure: This post on the best beaches on Oahu contains affiliate links.

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