Beach + Island

Natural Swimming Holes Around the World



Waimea Bay: Oahu, Hawaii

For big-wave surfers, Waimea has been a necessary pilgrimage since Greg Noll first conquered its 30-foot walls of water in the 1950s. This month brings smaller swells, allowing mere mortals to test their bodysurfing skills. Shack up at the 474-room Turtle Bay Resort, overlooking nearly five miles of secluded beachfront that will be familiar to fans of Hawaii Five-O and Lost (808-293-6000; doubles from $259). Between waves, fuel up at Haleiwa Joe’s, a North Shore institution serving guava juice and tacos filled with fresh-caught mahimahi (66-011 Kamehameha Hwy.; 808-637-8005; entrées from $16). Indulge your spiritual side at Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Monument, a seventeenth-century native-Hawaiian ceremonial temple with astounding views of Waimea Valley and the bay below (808-587-0300).

Water Temperature this Month: 79º

What to Wear: Look like a native in board shorts and Locals-brand flip-flops—they start at $11

You'll Share the Water with: Eels, sea turtles, brilliantly striped butterfly fish, and yellow tang. Prepare to snorkel.

Photograph by Wayne Levin

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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