Tourists flowing in to see the Pearl Harbor Memorial, the famous North Shore Pipeline known as the “Banzai Pipeline”, and the world renown area of Waikiki. Oahu is full of beautiful tourist destinations and extraordinarily magificent beaches. There are nice beaches on the mainland, but there aren’t scenic backdrops like we have here on Oahu. Here is a list of the top ten beaches here on Oahu:
1 – Waikiki Beach
Reigning in at number one is Waikiki Beach. Located on the South Shore of Oahu, it isn’t the most scenic on our top ten list, but it is the most popular with tourists. Put on the map in the early 20th century, large resort hotels and shopping centers have been continually building here to cater to tourism. This is the perfect spot for beginner paddle boarders and surfers. The waves aren’t large and most everybody out in the water is learning as well. It makes it a safe zone for those that might have a hard time staying on their boards. Not only that, but there are many fun activities like tour boats, booze cruises, and if you’re tired of the sun you can escape into boutique shops or the bars & grills that crowd the streets of Waikiki.
2 – Bonzai Pipeline
Holding the number 2 spot is the Bonzai Pipeline located on the famous North Shore. Known for its surfing competitions and extra large waves during the winter months, this beach boasts some beautiful sunsets and an enter at your own risk feel to it. Not because of sharks, but because during the winter months the large waves can create a sserious rip tide. The waves can be fun, but be careful if you’re not an experienced swimmer or surfer. On a lighter note, the North Shore has a whole different feel to it. It’s more laid back, more country, and less populated by tourists. Unless, of course, there’s a surfing competition going on.
3 – Hanauma Bay
A huge tourist destination for snorkeling & diving Hanauma Bay State Park is a nature perserve and a Marine Life Conservation District. Hanauma Bay is a crater created by a series of volcanic eruptions around 32,000 years ago. It now offers a pristine marine ecosystem with a family safe beach for all to enjoy. The catch is that you have to pay to get in (not much) and watch a 7 minute video about perserving the coral reef and marine life. If you’re not arriving on one of the many tour buses, try to make it there early in the morning when it opens. Not only will you beat the crowds, but the water will be more clear before the crowd churn it up.
4 – Waimea Bay
Located on the North Shore as well, Waimea Beach is definitely one to experience. If you want the full experience, check out Waimea Valley and swim in its waterfall. This beach is littered with mosaic rocky out crops from which you can jump from. The tallest being about 25 ft above water. Depending on the day Waimea can have decent sized waves that are fun to for everyone and while relaxing on this large beach area you may get to watch some local surfers showing off their skills. There is limited parking, but is worth the wait.
5 – Kailua Beach
On the East Side or “Winward Side” is the beautiful Kailua Beach. Think turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. The waves aren’t large and it’s fun for the whole family. You can also rent kayaks and paddle boards here. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can kayak out to the tiny Moku Islands. Tons of fun.
6 – Lanikai Beach
A little more off the beaten path, less known, is Lanikai Beach. Nestled in the tiny neighborhood of Lanikai, this place is great for white sandy beaches, and many coral outcrops. Bring your snorkely gear and venture out. You’ll get to see moray eels, tons of fish, green sea turtle, and if you’re lucky you may encounter a shark or and octopus. This beach is near Kailua beach, but more directly across from the Moku Islands.
7 – Sandy’s Beach
More popular with the locals, they also call this “break-neck beach” given how the waves stay tall to the very end and crash on the beach. Lots of experienced surfers, body boarders, and body surfers come here for the epic waves. If you’re the adventurous type and love this type of excitement, this is the beach for you.
8 – Ala Moana Park
Located right in the downtown area of Honolulu, this is popular for families. Known for its calm, pool like waters, it’s a safe place to take the kids. It’s also an easy spot to set up a family BBQ. Parking is hit or miss depending on how busy it is.
9 – Haleiwa Bay
This bay area is littered with Beach Parks. You can enjoy a day at the beach with a more pristine feel to it. Although if you want adventure, this is the place where you can cage dive with sharks. North Shore Shark Adventures would love for you to encounter sharks on one of there shark tours. Open from 6:30am-6:30pm, be sure to check them out. This is something that will make your vacation memorable.
10 – Halona Cove
This little beach area is unique as it is nestled right in a rocky cut out of the island. Most tourist buses make a pit stop here for the Halona blow hole, but little do they know if you look off the right side of the parking lot, down a rocky hillside is a beach area. It’s a narrow beach and swimming area with a mean flow of water, but it’s a fun place to swim. On either side of the swimming area are many rocky outcrops to jump into the water from. None are very high so no worries. This is also a hot spot for experienced scuba divers.
There you have it! Top Ten beaches on Oahu. Of course there are many that immediately follow these, but this is a good starter list.