The Best Beaches on Oahu

By Laura Jemetta

Waikiki Beach

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View of Waikiki Beach from the air

You can’t go to Honolulu or stay in Waikiki without going to Waikiki Beach. You will have seen this beach in those tourism shots of Hawaii, and it is just as beautiful in person. Crowded at almost every time of the day, Waikiki is a pristine, white sand beach with the bluest of blue water. The ocean is usually dotted with surfboards and outriggers, which are both a fantastic way for you to experience the beach. If you prefer, you can sit on the sand and watch the surfers, enjoying Diamond Head to your left, and Honolulu to your right. Whichever way you choose to enjoy Waikiki Beach, my tip is don’t let the tourists deter you; just join them and take in the beauty around you.

Waialae Beach Park

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Waialae Beach

Waialae is a beautiful and more secluded beach about 10 minutes east of Waikiki. This is a beautiful beach for a walk or a picnic, and a great place to take some beautiful palm trees. This beach is less popular with the tourists and more popular with the locals, but we recommend taking the short drive to Waialae for a peaceful retreat from bustling Waikiki. Waialae’s more secluded atmosphere, along with the palm trees and blue, blue ocean make it a popular choice for Hawaiian weddings; in fact, I chose it as the location for my parent’s 30th wedding anniversary vow-renewal.

The North Shore Beaches

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A quiet beach on the North Shore

Is this a cop-out? Maybe. But I couldn’t choose just one beach on the North Shore, because as a whole, the North Shore is known for both its swells, and it’s beauty. The beaches of the North Shore stretch for more than seven miles up the coast of Oahu, and are home to some of the biggest waves in Hawaii, and some of the best surfing competitions in the world. Less busy and bustling than the beaches around Waikiki, the North Shore offers a laid-back taste of the real Hawaii. Rent a car and explore Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay, or Ehukai Beach; also known as the Banzai Pipeline. If you go during the winter months, you will be rewarded with some of the biggest swells you’ll ever see – just remember to leave them for the professional surfers, and don’t attempt to swim or surf on the North Shore.

Halona Beach Cove

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Halona Beach Cove

Halona Beach Cove is a secluded cove on the East Shore of Oahu which is colloquially known as ‘Eternity Beach’ because part of the movie “From Here to Eternity” was filmed here. The cove can only be accessed by a hike down steep and jagged rocks, so make sure you wear proper shoes if you plan on heading down. If you are brave enough to take the hike, (I wasn’t!), you will find a small and beautiful beach at the bottom, which is perfect for sitting and watching the ocean, or maybe for a picnic. Just remember not to try and swim here, as the water can be dangerous, and there are definitely no lifeguards here. If you do visit Halona Beach Cove, don’t forget to check out the blowhole a little beyond the cove; it is pretty spectacular in itself!

If you’re in/going to Oahu check out our article on must see places while you’re there. Let me know in the comments below what your favourite beaches on Oahu are!

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