ALOHA!

 

Some of the best beaches in Hawaii can be found on Oahu!

The Oahu beaches on the list below are some of the best beaches on Oahu for tourists.

So what makes these the best “for tourists”?

The main thing is that you can easily make them a part of your day while doing another nearby activity!

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. in honolulu. in waikiki. Things to do in Oahu Hawaii. Hawaii travel blog

 

First, the quick list of the top beaches on Oahu to know about.

Then, a bit more about each of these beaches along with some of the best things to do while you’re in the area so you can maximize your time on Oahu!

 

 

Now…

11 best beaches on Oahu when it’s your first trip to Hawaii

 

1. Duke Kahanamoku Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Duke Kahanamoku Beach Waikiki. Hawaii travel blog
Go here to be near Hilton Hawaiian Village and lagoon rentals.

 

 

2. Kuhio Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Kuhio Beach Waikiki. Hawaii travel blog
Go here to be in the middle of Waikiki and for a little bit of a wave-sheltered area.

 

 

3. Queen’s Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Queen's Beach Honolulu Waikiki. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for the best snorkeling area of Waikiki.

 

 

4. Lanikai Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Lanikai Beach. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for a picture perfect white sand beach, along with views of the famous twin islands… the Mokes!

 

 

5. Kailua Bay

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Kailua Bay. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for one of the best beaches on the east side of Oahu with beach facilities… and to go ocean kayaking! 

 

 

6. Waimanalo Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Waimanalo Beach. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for a quieter white sand beach with less tourists.

 

 

7. Hanauma Bay

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Hanauma Bay. Hawaii travel blogBest beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Hanauma Bay. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for possibly the most popular snorkeling spot on Oahu.

 

 

8. Sunset Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Sunset Beach. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for a white sand beach on Oahu. In winter, this is a top beaches for surfing on Oahu.

 

 

9. Shark’s Cove

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Shark's Cove. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for one of the best snorkeling spots on the North Shore of Oahu when the water is in calmer months.

 

 

10. Waimea Bay

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Waimea Bay. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for one of the best beaches on the North Shore with beach facilities.

 

 

11. Laniakea Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Laniakea Beach. Hawaii travel blog
Go here for possible turtle sightings on Oahu.

 

 

๐ŸŒด

 
More photos/info below, but first...
Side note!
Here's some info on Hawaii trip prep!




PLUS... Oahu tour, or on your own: Can you visit Pearl Harbor without a tour?

 

 

Now…

A little more about these top Oahu beaches!

…aka the best things to do on Oahu!

 

 

A note on Waikiki Beach

Waikiki is THE tourist hotspot on Oahu.

Beaches in Waikiki are sometimes negatively portrayed because they are among the most crowded on Oahu.

But going to the beach in Waikiki can come with convenience!

It’s probably near where you’re going to be staying (most people stay in or around Waikiki), and it also comes with a good number of food options (whether that’s at a restaurant or a quick grab at the ABC convenience store).

Waikiki Beach stretches about 2 miles, and the different sections of beach in Waikiki can offer you something a little different.

 

 

Duke Kahanamoku Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Duke Kahanamoku. Hawaii travel blog

 

The Duke Kahanamoku Beach is at the far one end of Waikiki, and it’s also the beach that’s right in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Swimming here means you get to swim with views of the iconic Diamond Head crater! (Well, this is one of many areas in Waikiki that you can get views of Diamond Head from the beach!)

 

Things to do near Duke Kahanamoku Beach

There’s also the lagoon that’s located right nearby, and it comes with the opportunity to rent a variety of beach toys too.

And then around here is also where the boardwalk starts so you can go for a leisurely walk with ocean views. (Once again, one of many areas you can walk with coastal views. You can actually walk almost the entire way from one end of Waikiki to the other along the beach as long you don’t mind walking in sand too. There might be a section that’s blocked off, but just a short detour is required!)

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Duke Kahanamoku. Hilton Hawaiian village lagoon rentals. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Duke Kahanamoku. Hilton Hawaiian village lagoon rentals. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Duke Kahanamoku. Fort derussy boardwalk. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Kuhio Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kuhio Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

This section of beach in Waikiki is basically in a centrally located area of Waikiki.

It also has a bit of a protected area which can guard a bit against some ocean waves.

 

Things to do near Kuhio Beach

Right near this beach is the iconic Duke Kahanamoku Statue.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kuhio Beach. duke kahanamoku statue. Hawaii travel blog

 

This beach is also where the free Waikiki hula show takes place in the evening.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kuhio Beach. free waikiki hula show. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Queen’s Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Queen's Beach Honolulu Waikiki. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is at the other far end of Waikiki, and it’s known as one of the best snorkeling spots in Waikiki.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Queen's Beach Honolulu Waikiki lifeguard beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Queen's Beach Honolulu Waikiki snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Things to do near Queen’s Beach

Being at the far end of Waikiki on the Diamond Head crater side, it means that this beach is among the closest to the famous Diamond Head hike that will give you iconic views of Waikiki from above!

It’s not that close that everyone will consider it walking distance (but it can be walkable!), but still, it can be a perfect day to do the Diamond Head hike in the morning, and then snorkeling at Queen’s Beach in the afternoon!

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Queen's Beach Honolulu Waikiki. Diamond head hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Queen's Beach Honolulu Waikiki. Diamond head hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Lanikai Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Lanikai Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

For picture perfect beach views, Lanikai Beach can be one of the best beaches on Oahu! This is on the east side of Oahu, aka the windward coast of Oahu.

Lanikai Beach has even made the list of one of the best beaches in the world by a number of publications.

This is also where you can go to see the famous twin islands of Oahu, aka the Mokulua islands aka the Mokes.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Lanikai Beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Lanikai Beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Lanikai Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

One of the negative parts of going to this beach though is that parking can be a struggle.

Another down side of Lanikai Beach is that there are no proper beach facilities here.

But other than that, it can be a great white sand beach! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

 

Things to do near Lanikai Beach

You can make the Lanikai Pillbox Hike into a longer hike or a shorter hike.

The start of the trail for the shorter hike starts right near the road that runs parallel to Lanikai Beach.

For this shorter version, you hike up a little bit to the pillboxes, and then going back down.

For the longer hike, it can be a point-to-point hike basically making this a ridge trail as you walk along the mountain range. (Of course, you can also make it an out-and-back hike!) You can consider this the full Kaiwa Ridge Trail.

Either way, you’ll get those amazing views of the Mokulua Islands from above!

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Lanikai Beach. lanikai pillbox hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Lanikai Beach. lanikai pillbox hike. kaiwa ridge trail. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Lanikai Beach. lanikai pillbox hike. kaiwa ridge trail. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Kailua Bay

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kailua Bay Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

Another one of the things to do near Lanikai Beach is to go to Kailua Bay! This Oahu beach is down the shoreline and down the road.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kailua Bay Beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kailua Bay Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

Kailua Bay beach might be a bit more convenient than Lanikai Beach in many ways, because of the parking situation and beach facilities.

As a proper beach park, Kailua Bay has a parking lot, bathrooms, showers, and lifeguards on duty too.

You might consider parking at Kailua Bay beach park, and then walking over to Lanikai Beach too. It’s about a 15 minute walk.

 

 

Things to do near Kailua Bay

It’s possible to go kayaking from Kailua Bay as a guided tour, or you can rent the kayaks and head to the Mokes on your own.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kailua Bay Beach. kayak rental for kayaking to mokulua islands. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. best oahu beaches for kayaking. Things to do near Kailua Bay Beach. kayak rental for kayaking to mokulua islands. Hawaii travel blog

 

Getting around Kailua town by bicycle can be a fun little thing to do!

You can also take the bikes and head to Lanikai Beach, too!

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kailua Bay Beach. bicycle rental in kailua. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Kailua Bay Beach. bicycle rental in kailua for biking to lanikai. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Waimanalo Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimanalo Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a beach that doesn’t get as many tourists as some of the other beaches on Oahu.

So there might be a better chance that you can get a little bit more of a quieter beach experience if you go to Waimanalo Beach.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimanalo Beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimanalo Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

If you’ll be driving to Kailua or Lanikai, you can make Waimanalo be on the way from Waikiki if you make it a drive along the coast (as opposed to an inland drive).

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimanalo Beach. Driving from Waikiki to Kailua, to Lanikai. Hawaii travel blog

 

So you could stop to check it out along the way!

 

 

Hanauma Bay

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

Hanauma Bay is located at the southeastern point of Oahu.

This is one of the most popular spots for snorkeling on Oahu, so if you want to get some good snorkeling in when you’re in Hawaii, this is one spot to consider.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

It’s a pretty easy drive to get here from Waikiki, and you’ll also be able to get a direct bus from Waikiki too.

 

 

Things to do near Hanauma Bay

Working for stunning views?!

Sound like a perfect Hawaii activity! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Near Hanauma Bay, there are a couple of hiking trails that will get you some amazing ocean views.

The Koko Head Hike has also been called nature’s stairmaster because the hike is basically a whole bunch of stairs to reach the summit of Koko Crater.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to koko head hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to koko head hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to koko head hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to koko head hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

This crater is basically right across the street from Hanauma Bay.

So, it could be perfect to go to for the hike that’s sure to get you sweating, and then cool off with a nice recovery of swimming and snorkeling at Hanauma Bay!

 

And then for some more ocean views a little bit up the road in the direction away from Waikiki, there’s also the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail.

This is a paved coastal trail that will offer you stunning views nearly the entire way!

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to makapuu point lighthouse trail. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to makapuu point lighthouse trail. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to makapuu point lighthouse trail. Hawaii travel blog

 

If you’ll be on Oahu during whale season, it could be a good place to try your luck for spotting whales from far away.

There are binoculars on the trail for you to attempt to spot whales.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to makapuu point lighthouse trail for whale watching on oahu. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to makapuu point lighthouse trail for whale watching on oahu. Hawaii travel blog

 

Generally speaking the best time for whales on Oahu is considered to be January through March, although the season in which whales visit Hawaii are said to be from November to May.

But even if you won’t be on Oahu during whale season, the ocean views will always be there!

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Hanauma Bay. to makapuu point lighthouse trail. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Sunset Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Sunset Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

The wide stretch of sand on Sunset Beach can make for a nice area to hang out on the North Shore of Oahu.

This is one of the (nearly) white sand beaches that you can find on Oahu.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Sunset Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is a beach on the North Shore that’s known for surfing in Hawaii in the winter.

 

 

Things to do near Sunset Beach

A hiking trail that will give you views of the North Shore coast from above is the Ehukai Pillbox Hike.

The starting point of this hike is at Sunset Elementary School, which is just a few minutes from Sunset Beach.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Sunset Beach. Ehukai pillbox hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Sunset Beach. Ehukai pillbox hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Sunset Beach. Ehukai pillbox hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

Also nearby you can refuel with a fruit smoothie bowl at the Sunrise Shack that’s located on the side of the road a few minutes from Sunset Beach.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Sunset Beach. sunrise shack. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Shark’s Cove

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Shark's Cove snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is considered one of the best snorkeling spots on the North Shore.

Outside of the winter surfing months, itโ€™s usually possible to safely snorkel here.

It’s considered to be safer since it’s more guarded from the waves as an enclosed lagoon.

Although, it doesnโ€™t mean that itโ€™s completely protected, so be sure to use your good wisdom!

This snorkeling beach has a rocky beach entrance.

This means that if you won’t be wearing fins while snorkeling, you might consider wearing water shoes so you won’t be as concerned with stepping on sharp rocks and cutting your feet! (One of the top essentials to pack for Hawaii!)

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Shark's Cove snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Shark's Cove snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Shark's Cove snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Shark's Cove snorkeling beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

Another beginner-friendly snorkeling spot on the North Shore is Kuilima Cove which is a beach in front of the Turtle Bay Resort.

 

 

Things to do near Shark’s Cove

Once you’ve finished up your snorkeling, you can refuel with some food from some North Shore food trucks!

There are some food trucks located almost directly across from the Shark’s Cove snorkeling area right along the North Shore’s main road.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Shark's Cove snorkeling beach. North Shore food truck. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Shark's Cove snorkeling beach. North Shore food truck. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Shark's Cove snorkeling beach. North Shore food truck. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

Waimea Bay

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimea Bay beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

The Waimea Bay beach park is one of the beaches on the North Shore that’s considered a top spot for surfing during the winter surfing months.

During the summer when the waves are calmer, it can make a good beach for wading in the water, along with some snorkeling too.

But as with all beaches on Oahu, you will still want to be careful though.

For Waimea Bay, one of the reasons is because the shoreline can drop off quite drastically when you’re in the water.

 

 

Things to do near Waimea Bay

For some stunning views of the North Shore from above, along with a visit to an ancient Hawaiian temple, head to the Puu O Mahuka Heiau!

Not only will this give you a chance to see a bit of Hawaiian culture (heiau = ancient Hawaiian temple), you will also get some great views to go along with it!

This is a short drive just off the North Shore’s main road, and just a few minutes from Waimea Bay.

This can be a quick stop as a scenic overlook before or after you go to Waimea Bay.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimea Bay beach. Puu o mahuka heiau hike. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimea Bay beach. Puu o mahuka heiau hike. Hawaii travel blog

 

And then if you’re interested in visiting botanical gardens and waterfalls, there’s also the Waimea Valley Nature Park right near Waimea Bay.

As a nature park, this can be a nice little stroll through greenery, and there’s also a Hawaiian ancient living site set up to learn about Hawaiian culture as well.

You can also consider this to be somewhat of a waterfall hike, as the end of the paved trail through the park will lead to the Waimea Falls.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimea Bay beach. Waimea Falls. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Waimea Bay beach. Waimea Valley nature park botanical gardens and hawaiian living site. Hawaii travel blog

 

This nature park can even be considered within walking distance of Waimea Bay, as some people choose to park at Waimea Valley and then walk over to the beach.

 

 

Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

This is another beach on the North Shore.

Since it’s wildlife, turtle sightings can never be guaranteed, but Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach can be a relatively reliable beach for seeing turtles on Oahu.

There are plenty of people who have gone to Laniakea Beach and leave disappointed not having seen a turtle, but it’s a good place to test your luck.

At this beach, there are 3 to 4 of the same turtles who are regulars on this beach, and sunset or shortly before the sun goes down might be a good time to try to catch at least one of them.

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Hawaii travel blog

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. Things to do near Laniakea Beach aka Turtle Beach. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

And those are a few of the best beaches on Oahu perfect for your first trip to Honolulu!

 

More for planning your Oahu vacation:

 

Looking to split your time in Hawaii on another island?

 

HAPPY OAHU BEACH VACATION!

 

Best beaches on Oahu Hawaii. in honolulu. in waikiki. Things to do in Oahu Hawaii. Hawaii travel blog

 

 

There are affiliate links on this page. Among other partners, as an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from this.

Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
Possibly among the best Oahu maps for tourists!
The Franko maps of Hawaii have a high level of detail for activities and it's beachproof aka waterproof. There's an "adventure" guide map and a "snorkel/dive" guide map. Plus a wall map for home to get you excited for your upcoming trip to Honolulu!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.

PLUS...
Be sure to take a look at the reviews of these amazing tours on the Oahu:


ALOHA!