Intro to Hawaii
Hawaii Travel Guide
Best Places to Visit in Oahu
Best Places to
|Best Places to Visit in Oahu|
Beaches You May want to visit in Oahu, Hawai'i
Clicking on the map symbols in the text will show you the beach location on a detailed map of Oahu's Beaches.
The beaches on the south shore of Oahu are generally calm and safe for swimming. It is recommended that you always check conditions at a lifeguard station before entering the water. Even the calmest waters can sometimes become life threatening - especially when strong currents are present. Also, keep an eye out for box jellyfish that swarm beaches about 10 days after a full moon.
Waikiki – Waikiki Beach is the scenic beach that is most often
associated with visions of Hawai'i and usually pictured with Diamond
Head in tourist brochures. It is where the Pacific shore meets
Hawai'i’s most luxurious resort hotels. The two-mile long beach is a
playground for tourists. Its warm, calm waters are inviting for
swimmers, and there are several sports equipment rental companies
along the beach, that can provide kayaks, snorkels and surf boards.
Also, you may be interested in a ride on the
Atlantis submarine .
We provide more detail on Waikiki
Ala Moana (1201 Ala Moana Boulevard) is a large “family” beach and
recreational area. This is generally a safe beach for swimming, but
there are dangerous rocks, sharp coral and strong currents near the
Hanauma Bay Nature Park
(7455 Kalanina'ole Highway Southeast). This crescent shaped
bay, created from the crater of an ancient volcano, is a marine life
conservation area and underwater park. The cove features a large coral reef that
is rich is sea life, and the protected waters make a great place to snorkel and
scuba dive. Snorkel, mask and fin rentals are available at the beach. In
addition to swimming and sun-bathing, the park offers several hiking trails
along the coast and nearby ridges, all with spectacular views.
Sea Life Park north of Hanauma Bay and near Makapuu Point is an aquarium that has shows featuring dolphin, sea lions and penguins, as well as a number of programs that allow you (for an additional fee) to swim with their Dolphins, an activity that is always great fun for kids. See the official website of Sea Life Park for costs and other details on attending.
Sandy Beach Park (8800 Kalaniana'ole Highway). Sandy Beach is a popular beach with body surfers and body boarders from around the world. The beach is a great place to watch the pros, but lifeguards warn against trying this yourself. Sandy Beach has a mixed reputation. On some days it is great for swimming and on others it can be extremely dangerous. Exercise caution and common sense. According to an article in Honolulu’s Star Bulletin, this one of Hawai'i’s most dangerous beaches and lifeguards make more rescues here than at any other beach on Oahu.
The North Shore is the place you go in winter to watch experienced and professional surfers contest nature and ride the “big surf”. The winter months can bring waves reaching a height of twenty-five feet or more. Swimming is popular in the summer months, but always check for safety conditions. Between June and September, keep an eye out for stinging Limu, a seaweed that grows off shore and can cause a burning, itching, rash. Signs are usually posted when the presence of Limu is known.
(59-104 Kamehameha Highway) Sunset Beach is one of Hawai'i’s premier surfing beaches. The highest waves, some over twenty feet, are
experienced in the winter months. High surf and rip tides are common, so if you
are not an expert swimmer, this may not be the place for you. If you are a
expert, but unfamiliar with Hawai'ian waters, always check with the lifeguards on
local conditions before you enter the water.
Ehukai Beach Park
(59-337 Ke-Nui Road) Home to the “Bonsai Pipeline,”
Ehukai is a popular place for many surfing competitions. Spectators often line
the sands in hopes of seeing a surfer “shoot” the Pipeline.
Waimea Beach Park
(61-031 Kamehameha Highway) In the summer
Waimea Bay can be a great place for swimming, but the winter months bring some
of the highest, most dangerous and magnificent surf in the world. Even
experienced and daring surfers approach these waves with caution.
Ali’i (Kings or Royal) Beach Park
(66-167 Hale’iwa Road). This is a nice beach for
swimming and snorkeling in the summer. Swimming is best in the small, protected
bay to the south. Deeper waters around the break water have a strong current.
The winter months bring high waves popular with surfers.
The east shore is on Oahu’s windward side and is popular with wind surfers and sailing enthusiasts. It is also home to some of the Island’s finest swimming and snorkeling beaches. Keep a watch out for Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish, which can be found along all the east-shore beaches throughout the year due to the strong off-shore winds. The sting from these creatures can be very painful, or even life threatening to those allergic to their venom. Stay out of the water if life guards have posted signs warning of their presence. Contact the life guard on duty for first aid if you are stung.
The West Shore is where you’ll find the driest climate on Oahu. There are a
number of beaches on the West Shore, but we do not recommend visiting them
for a variety of reasons. Foremost is safety, as the beaches are dangerous
in summer and treacherous in the winter, with waves that can range between 15
and 20 feet. If you are a professional surfer, you may want to try you
skills here, but do so at your own risk. When visiting the beaches on this
side of the island, always bring plenty of water to avoid the risk of
If you need information about another travel destination, try our Destination Guide Index or Googling ThereArePlaces.
Sandy Beach Park (Photo courtesy of USGS)
Waimea Beach Park (courtesy of USGS)
Makapu'u Beach (courtesy of USGS)
Makaha Beach (courtesy of USGS)
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