Current Time


see + do

View As:
‹ Previous | Next ›

Editors' Pick
Save For Later

Beaches on Oahu's insider take:

The most famous beach on Oahu (and possibly in the world), Honolulu's Waikiki Beach lives up to the hype. Though the sections in front of major hotels can get crowded, the scene—a mix of local bathing beauties, Japanese surfers, and pink-roasted visitors—is endlessly entertaining. The surf breaks are far from shore, so there's plenty of gentle water for swimming. And the options for pre- and post-beach drinks, dining, and shopping are numerous. Also in Honolulu, Ala Moana Beach Park's wide stretch of sand, protected swimming area, and ample parking draw families with young children and coolers.

Body-boarders dominate at Sandy Beach, on Oahu's southeastern coast (locals call it "Sandys"), where the pounding shore break makes for gnarly rides. Beginners or casual boogie-boarders should definitely find another spot; reportedly, more injuries occur here than at Pipeline. The beach and adjacent lawn are plenty spacious enough for spectators, though (as well as the occasional landing hang glider). Bring a beach umbrella: There's almost no shade here.

Idyllic, half-mile-long Lanikai Beach, in Kailua, fronts a suburb of multimillion-dollar homes on the shore. Though it's the island's prettiest beach, you'll have to park on the road and walk between the houses to get to it. This is completely kosher—all beaches are public in Hawaii—but there are no facilities of any kind.

The North Shore's Sunset Beach, clearly visible from Kamehameha Highway, has a split personality. Between May and September, it's a family-friendly sunning and swimming beach with a bit of rough shore break; but in October/November and March/April, it morphs into a premier surf spot with killer waves. During these hairy periods, the surf has been known to sweep unattended towels, beach bags, and even beach-walking tourists out to sea.

At the very end of the road on Oahu's west coast, legendary Yokohama Bay is well worth the drive. Its remoteness keeps the crowds away; the only people you'll likely see here are west-side locals. These residents get a bit of a bad rap for being unfriendly, but if you're respectful you won't have any problems with them. Do, however, keep an eye out for strong currents and undertow when you're swimming or boarding.

User Reviews

write a review › | see all user reviews ›

Lanikai Beach

Recently visited Lanikai Beach on a return to Hawaii. I lived on Oahu for eight years and, all that time, I never got over to Lanikai. I spent more time at Waikiki... more

*The Daily Traveler: The day's best travel tips, secrets, and news that won't wait.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement, Privacy Policy, and Mobile Terms and Conditions.

iPhone App:

Create personalized postcards out of your favorite travel photos!

Learn More ›
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:

Get the latest destinations picks, hot hotel lists, travel deals and blog posts automatically added to your newsreader or your personalized homepage.

Learn More ›


Special Advertisement

Contests, Sweepstakes & Promotions


Send  to your phone!

Don’t show this box again.
This information will be sent directly to your phone and waiting for you in a text message. Simple click on the url in that message or browse on your phone.
Need more help? Our FAQ may contain the answer you need.
Never want to type in your cell phone number again?
Register now with and you'll be able to save your number and enjoy other great features like this.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement , Privacy Policy, and mobile terms and conditions. Standard text messaging rates apply.