Are you planning a trip to Hawaii? Undoubtedly one of the reasons that you are planning a vacation to Hawaii is to spend some time at the beach. Here are some tips for planning a trip to Hawaii and a guide to some of the best beaches in Hawaii on the island of Oahu.
A family vacation to Hawaii is pretty much the stuff dreams are made of, right? At least that’s what my dream vacation looks like!! We were lucky enough to make that trip a reality. There are so many things that make Hawaii amazing. Our vacation was filled with beautiful weather, breathtaking scenery, fun resorts, delicious foods, and lots of memories made with the kids.
One of the things I loved most about Oahu was the diversity of the beaches. While the ocean right in front of our resort was always beautiful, we wanted to set out to look around the island to see what we could find. And it felt like there was beauty around every corner! Here are my top 5 favorite beaches in Oahu:
No list of Oahu’s beaches would be complete without including Waikiki Beach. While it’s definitely the busiest of the beaches that made our list, it has a lot to offer and it’s worth a visit. With its convenient location close to the Honolulu airport it’s an easy first stop to welcome you to the island.
So what is there to do at Waikiki Beach? This beach is surrounded by beautiful hotels, lots of shopping, and plenty of dining, so it’s a nice place to spend the day. It’s also a great beach if you are looking to rent stand up paddleboards, snorkel gear, beach equipment, or sign up for surf lessons. Best of all, you can enjoy a shave ice while taking in the scene…with Diamond Head as your back drop!
Next up is Waimea Bay. During the winter months the waves get pretty big so be very careful here. If you visit during the summer though, you should find much calmer waters. Lots of people line up for the chance to cliff jump from the large rocks. We even watched a few people attempt this during the winter—although I would not advise that because of how rough the water is this time of year!
There is a convenient parking lot (with food trucks!), restrooms/showers, and lifeguard. And once you’ve had your fill of beach time you can head just across the street and take the easy hike to Waimea Falls.
Kuilima Cove is located by Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore. Because of the natural rock barrier, the calm waters are perfect for snorkeling and swimming! It was our first time attempting to snorkel and even our 8-year-old was able to enjoy the experience.
With ample parking near the resort, and showers and bathroom on site, it makes for an enjoyable place to spend a day. There are even a few beach front restaurants there…so no need to pack snacks.
Sunset Beach Hawaii
As the name implies, Sunset Beach is one of the most perfect spots to sit back, relax, and enjoy an evening sunset. As a matter of fact it’s so picturesque that we decided to have family photos taken there! With beautiful palm trees and foliage, as well as breathtaking ocean views it would be hard not to love every picture taken.
We found a great local photographer, Natalie Tocco Photography, who was very good (and very reasonably priced!) if you want to have some gorgeous beach pictures taken on your visit. It’s also a surfing hub and connects to the famous Banzai Pipeline. With a great selection of food trucks just across the street, come in time to grab a bite to eat and watch the experienced surfers catch a wave—or if you are lucky enough to visit during the summer, the ocean should be calm enough to take a swim!
My favorite beach in Oahu is Lanikai Beach. With its soft white powder sand and gorgeous calm turquoise water, it is perfect for families who want to spend the day swimming, kayaking, or kite surfing. Lanikai means heavenly sea…and I think the name fits it perfectly—Heavenly!
Visiting this beach does require a bit more planning though, as there are no restaurants, restrooms, or life guard. Also, street parking fills up quickly, and with access through a residential neighborhood, it can take patience to find a spot—but believe me it’s worth it! Pack a cooler with your favorite picnic foods (or try local flare like poke or spam musubi) and soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful heavenly sea!
Amazingly, in Hawaii all beaches are open to the public! So grab your beach bag and set out to find your own adventure—and discover your favorite beaches!