Oahu has a long coastline with great and varied beaches. Most are sandy, but some have coral reefs. All of them allow you to either just relax or practice various water sports – swimming, snorkeling, surfing, scuba diving or kayaking.
Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park is located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu. It is almost a mile long. The water is calm and protected by a shallow outer coral reef.
There are no waves and this makes it a favorite place for families with children, swimming enthusiasts and stand-up paddle boarders. However, beginner swimmers should be careful because the bottom of the shore drops quickly. There are more rocks and a reef at the western end, which is close to the Kewalo Basin Harbor. That’s why most people prefer the eastern end, where the ocean floor is sandy. Ala Moana is a great place to swim, picnic, walk or just relax.
This is the favorite beach of the locals. Despite this, it is often less crowded than Waikiki beach.
Ala Moana Beach Park amenities
- picnic tables
- food concessions
- BBQ grills
Magic Island Beach is a protected lagoon, part of Ala Moana Beach Park. It is located at the eastern end, next to the harbor. Many locals and visitors come to swim here to swim, surf, have a barbecue, jog in the park or just go to have a walk. This centrally located beach hosts countless events like birthday parties, weddings, etc.
If you come by car to Magic Island, parking will be easy during the working days, but difficult on weekends and holidays. Therefore, if you decide to visit the beach on Saturday, Sunday or on a holiday, the best option for you would be to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
- picnic tables
- bus transportation
- food concessions
The Hilton Lagoon
The Hilton Lagoon is located next to the Ala Wei boat harbor and in front of the Lagoon Tower. As its names says, it is part of the Hilton Village. The lagoon is not an actual beach, but it is man-made pond full with ocean water. Nevertheless, some families love it. To the kids, it is a big swimming pool with lots of sand.
Many people that are not experienced with swimming or stand-up paddling go there to practice.
Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches not only in Hawaii, but in the whole world. It is located in Waikiki, on the south coast of Oahu.
Every year the it welcomes more than 4 million visitors and is a great place for water sports such as swimming and surfing. Every day, in the park behind the beach, you can see visitors who actively play sports, have barbecues or just relax and enjoy their vacation.
Waimanalo Bay Beach Park
Waimanalo Bay is a beach park is located just a 35-minute drive from Honolulu, in the center of Waimanalo Bay. It is 3 miles long, with soft white sand, shady forest, and cooling breeze. This makes it one of the favorite beaches on the East Coast of Oahu.
When swimming conditions are too dangerous on other nearby beaches, many visitors often head to Waimanalo Bay Beach Park.
Waimanalo Bay Beach Park amenities
- Picnic tables
- Lifeguard tower
Kailua beach is located on the East coast of Oahu, about 5 minutes from Kailua town. It’s an award-winning beach with soft white sand, turquoise water and gentle waves. It is perfect for kayaking and standup paddling beginners. The beach is also know to be a world-class windsurfing and kite destination. If you are interested in one of those water sports you can rent the equipment you need in Kailua town and bring it to the beach with you.
Kailua beach amenities
- public bathroom
- free public parking
- volleyball courts
- picnic tables
Lanikai Beach is on the same stretch as Kailua beach. It is only about half a mile long and is more secluded and a bit quieter, especially on weekdays and off-season. Lanikai is favorite spot for kayakers. There are people that kayak all the way to the Mokulau islands. If you are a beginner, we recommend you to stay close to the shore.
There are no amenities at Lanikai beach. There is also no public parking, so you will have to find a place to park on the streets. This can be quite changing on weekends and holidays
Ewa Beach Park
Ewa Beach Park is located just a short drive from Honolulu and it is the main beach in the residential community with the same name – Ewa. It is a hidden gem on Oahu’s southern coast. The park is a popular place for swimming and picnics among the locals.
Shark’s Cove – Pupukea Tide Pools
Shark’s Cove, know also as Pupukea Tide Pools is an amazing snorkel and dive spot on North Shore of Oahu. It is part of Pupukea Beach Park. It got its name from the story that the reef outside the cove looks like a shark, when seen from above. You will most likely not run into any sharks there.
Shark’s Cove is a well-protected shallow ocean tidal pool. This is one of Oahu’s favorite diving spots. When good conditions prevail here you will have many different ways to enjoy the ocean.
It is surrounded by rock lava, the bay gradually becomes deeper. This allows you to discover underwater caves, which are a great variety of marine life.