Win a trip to Hawaii
Sign up for FREE and enter for a chance to win!
Find the pineapple and win!
Tip: This Kauai attraction is one of the wettest spots on earth.
Save on Hawaii Activities
Luau, whale watching and more
Top 5 Beaches on Oahu
As an island chain, Hawaii is home to hundreds of beaches, each possessing its own set of unique qualities. What makes one beach great for surfers and water-sport enthusiasts does not necessarily make for a great destination for families or vacationers looking to relax on the shore.
To help narrow down the search for the your own personal perfect beach destination, the following list is a compilation of what are widely agreed to be the top five beaches on Oahu.
Twin Islands Guided Kayak Tour in Kailua
Experience the original Kailua Bay eco-tour, try kayak surfing, explore hidden tide pools and remote island sanctuaries. Fit for adventurers 13 and up; Includes Snorkeling, Lunch and Hotel Pick-up. The authentic Kailua kayak tour (5-Hours) will have you understanding what all of the fuss is about.$152.15 BOOK NOW Click Link
Nestled in the sleepy beach town of Kailua on Oahu’s Windward side, Lanikai Beach is one of Hawaii’s most picturesque and famous beaches. An offshore reef keeps the water calm year-round, offering excellent swimming conditions from January to December. Less than a mile offshore are two small islands that house bird sanctuaries and those looking for an adventure can easily reach the islands by kayak. Other water sports to enjoy on the clear-blue waters include snorkeling (reef fish and sea turtles are common sights), sailing and windsurfing, while half a mile of fine white sand is the perfect setting for sunbathing. Beachgoers should note that parking is limited, as Lanikai Beach is sandwiched between residential housing.
Kailua Beach Park
Located approximately one mile up the road from Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach Park often is cited as one of Hawaii’s best beaches. In fact, Kailua Beach Park was name “America’s Best Beach” by coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, in 1998. With nearly three miles of light-colored sand and crystal-clear water, the park is the perfect spot to spend the day. While many enjoy playing in the gentle waves or learning how to windsurf, the 35-acre beach park also boasts a volleyball court and ample picnic areas where families can relax in the shade with a refreshing treat from local eatery Island Snow, a favorite spot of President Obama. Other nearby establishments, such as Buzz’s Original Steak House and Kalapawai Market, are perfect for picking up a quick lunch or souvenir, or choose to spend a bit more time and book a room at one of the many local bed and breakfasts or vacation rentals in the area.
Waimanalo Bay Beach Park
Stretching nearly five miles from Wailea Point to Makapuu, Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is one of the longest beaches on the island. The northern section of the beach is known to locals as Bellows and was once part of an air force base that is now closed. (The area is still used today as a popular vacation spot for the military.) Despite rougher waters, which make it less suitable for inexperienced swimmers, the size, scenery and soft sand make Waimanalo a classic Hawaiian beach that is great for boogie boarding, fishing, sunbathing or walking along the shoreline. Waimanalo Beach Park was name “America’s Best Beach” by coastal expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, in 2015.
Possibly the most famous beach in all of Hawaii, Waikiki Beach has been an epicenter for tourists since the 1950s. The 2-mile stretch of white sand coast is actually divided into several sections by various hotels, but each is connected to the other by a boardwalk. The peaceful waters offer good swimming and surfing year-round, and other fun activities abound, including surfing, canoe racing, stand-up paddling, volleyball and more. Attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium are mere minutes from the beach, while world-class restaurants, entertainment and shopping destinations offer respite from a day in the water.
Situated on the historic North Shore of Oahu, Sunset Beach is a beautifully long expanse of beach that has enamored both locals and tourists for decades. During the summer, the blindingly blue ocean waters are calm and crystal-clear, making it the perfect destination for swimmers, snorkelers and families. But as the winter months roll in, so do the large waves, making conditions suitable only for the most experienced of surfers. Surf fans are still welcome to watch pros ride these giants from the safety of the shoreline and take photos of this awe-inspiring natural phenomenon.
Ocean Safety Message Brought to You by Kona Community Hospital
Let’s keep it fun — and safe — by following a few ocean safety tips. Remember to swim in a designated swimming area protected by lifeguards. For a list of lifeguarded beaches, go to hawaiibeachsafety.com. When at the beach, always check for warning flags. Obey lifeguard instructions or ask them about water conditions, which can be unpredictable. Young children or inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets in and the around water. Larger waves and ocean currents can surprise even the strongest swimmers. So, keep an eye on children as well as elderly persons. They can easily stumble, even in shallow water, when large waves come ashore. Snorkeling? Get a buddy to go with you and learn basic skills before getting in the water.
Let’s keep it fun — and safe — while enjoying Hawaii’s beautiful beaches. This ocean safety message is brought to you by the Kona Community Hospital Trauma Injury Prevention Program. Visit kch.hhsc.org for details.
What did you think? Share your reaction and earn 100 points!
Recent most reacted articles
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Makes Progress Toward Sept. 22 Reopening
This time-lapse video shows Halema‘uma‘u crater and Kilauea caldera in…
Six New Fall Restaurants to Satiate Your Cravings
From brunch to butchery and the latest tequila bar, here’s…
Activity Discounts & Specials
Get discounts and specials on Hawaii activities and attractions from Hawaii.com, right in your email inbox — it's FREE!
- Rental Cars
- Have you tried the best Brunch on Maui? Come to Sunday Champagne Brunch at Kaanapali Beach Hotel!
- Famous Manta Ray Night Dives with professional and knowledgeable staff. Meet Lefty, Bertha or Koie in a night to remember. 2 tank dive starts at $155.
- Royal Lahaina Romance Pkg: Daily breakfast, Luau, private dinner, $150 food & beverage credit, & more! $499/nt
- Dine on imported Italian cheeses and hand-cut meats paired with Italian and Domestic wine selections. Make your reservation at Il Lupino
- Best Big Island Vacation Rentals starting from $89/night! Rentals range in size from studios to 5 bedroom homes. BOOK NOW!
- "GUARANTEED" Dolphin Tour with Snorkeling Na Pali
- Kayak the famed Kohala Ditch at Flumin' Kohala..808-933-HAWI
- 10-Night Hawaii Cruise from $922, on Royal Caribbean.
- Explore exclusive, private waterfalls from $153!
- 10% OFF Kauai horseback riding! Click here & call to book!
- Experience the real Hawaii in small group tours, from $59
- Discover the epic creation story of the Hawaiian Islands!
- Little Village Noodle House - Award winning Chinese cuisine!
- Get 20% Off your vacation rental at Castle Vacation Rentals
- RIDE Horseback, Double Zipline & more-starting at just $119!