Some of the best hawaiian beaches are found on the island of Oahu. Oahu beaches range from crowded tourist beaches, to picnic beaches, snorkel beaches, body board and surfing beaches. I will describe what I feel are the "TOP TEN" beaches in Oahu.
#1) LANIKAI BEACH
I believe that Lanikai beach is the most beautiful and secluded of all Oahu beaches. Lanikai beach is located in Kailua(my dream place to live) Oahu and can be reached by "The Bus" or private car. The beach is between on half mile and one mile long with powder sugar soft white sand. The water is clean and clear and considered the best swimming water in Hawaii. There are plenty of coconut palm trees near the shore that offer plenty of shade. Offshore reefs provide a huge calm crystal blue lagoon that is home to sea turtles, a wide variety of tropical fish and very welcoming to swimmers. The most popular water sports are sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and outrigger canoeing. This perfect island oasis is a perfect spot to view two tiny islands offshore called the mokuluas. These two small islands are bird sanctuaries
To gain access to Lanikai Beach, you have to park off the road and walk between million dollar homes to the shore. The only problem with Lanikai Beach is that there are no facilities at all. Bring your camera because this is a photographers paradise. Lanikai beach truely lives up to its name Lanikai (heavenly sea).
#2) KAILUA BEACH
My second favorite of all of the Oahu beaches is Kailua Beach which is part of a 35 acre park that has a freshwater stream running through it. Kailua Beach is just beneath the steep jagged edges of the ko olau' Mountain range. There is safe swimming in the shallow pools along the stream and there are plenty of coconut palm trees for shade. This is another tropical beach with sandy dunes, palm trees and tropical seabirds throughout the area. There is also some smaller island offshore which makes this beach another ideal tropical setting. Kailua beach is perfect for swimming, body surfing and kayaking. This beach is protected by lifeguards and has bathrooms, picnic tables, barbecues, a volleyball court, a boat ramp and free parking. The only thing to worry about is in the hottest summer month, there can be "portugeuse men of war" (jelly fish), and stinging limu in the water. Kailua beach is very close to Lanikai beach
#3) SANDY BEACH
Of all of the Oahu beaches, my third pick is Sandy Beach. Sandy beach is called "Sandy's" by the locals and is located on the south eastern coast of Oahu. This is not a really good swimming beach because of treacherous and extremely high surf, strong shore breaks and intense rip tide currents. If the water is calm, it is a great beach for swimming. Currents in front of Keawaakio Cove are always strong and waves often pound swimmers into the rocks. You just have to watch for the lifeguard flags to let you know how the current is. I like this beach because it is the best beach on Oahu for Body-boarders. This beach is not for the beginner. The beach is said to have more injuries than the pipeline on the north shore. One of the best things about this beach is the lawn that is next to the beach. It is spacious enough for spectators to watch the boogie boarders. Although there is a lawn, there is almost no shade so bring some sunscreen and an umbrella. if you are lucky, you may see a hang glider land on the lawn in front of you.
#4) YOKOHAMA BAY
Yokohama Bay is my #4 choice of best Oahu beaches. It is located on Oahu's west coast at the very end of the road. It is worth the drive because it is part of the very secluded 853 acre Ka'ena Point State Park that goes all the way around the islands western point. The beach is called Puau, or Keawalua, but it is known by the west side locals, who are pretty much the only ones that come here. The name Yokohama comes from the Japanese immigrants that came from Yokohama Japan to live and fish in this bay and work in the sugar cane fields.
The coastline here is sandy with dunes and cliffs. In the summer the surf is calm and this is a great beach to snorkel, swim or dive. In the winter the surf is high and not good for swimming. The beach gets taken over by experienced body boarders and surfers. The turquoise waters of yokohama bay are perfect for watching dolphins or surfers.
Ala Moana Beach Park
#5) ALA MOANA BEACH PARK
Ala Moana Beach Park (path to the sea)is my favorite sandy beach close to Waikiki. This beach is within walking distance from the waikiki hotels or can be reached by "The Bus", car, walking or trolley. It is located right across the highway from Ala Moana Shopping center. Ala Moana Beach Park is just that, a beautiful park. The park is 76 acres of large grassy lawns, playgrounds. picnic areas and tennis courts. There are lots of swaying palm trees and banyan trees for shade. There is a section of the beach that is contained within a lava rock wall were the water is very warm and shallow and no waves. This is a perfect spot for small children. There are plenty of lifeguard towers to help portect the swimmers. The other side of the beach has some pretty offshore waves for surfing and body boarding. The waves are good but not huge. The beach is protected by offshore lava rocks that were placed here when the park was first built in the 1930's. There are plenty of snack stands, restrooms, showers and rental stands for boogie boards, surfboards, beach chairs or whatever else you may need. I only suggest that you visit this beach during the week because the weekends get busy with locals having barbecues, picnics and birthday parties. Through the week it is very quiet. This is the #1 beach of all Oahu beaches close to Waikiki.
#6) HANAUMA BAY
The sixth best of all Oahu beaches is Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay is a really beautiful spot although it also gets very crowded. Hanauma Bay was formed thousands of years ago when a volcanic crater was flooded with water. This well protected bay became home to a amazingly diverse and abudnant number of different species of fish. Hanauma Bay is one of the best and most popular snorkeling and swimming areas in the whole world. So many people visit Hanauma Bay and swim in the waters that it killed off much of the precious reef and threatened almost all of the marine life living in the bay. In 1967 it was designated as a marine life conservation area, but that really didn't solve the problem. In 1990 they placed strict visitor limits on the bay to protect the marine life. Now they only let a certain number of visitors per day to go down the hill to the bay. The visitor limit is reached pretty quickly. So plan to arrive early. While at the bay please do not litter and most of all respect the marine life living there. After all, You are a visitor in their home!
#7) WAIKIKI BEACH
Of all of the Oahu Beaches, Waikiki beach is probably the most popular and most recognized beach in the world. Waikiki is Hawaiian for "spouting water". The beach is made up of a few smaller beaches which stretch about two miles.
Each area has it's own characteristics. The main beach is very crowded and there is very few places to sit later in the day. Although this part of the beach has a great protected swimming area. I prefer to go to either far end of the beach. If you go towards Diamond Head you have Kuhio beach and Queen Kapiolani Beach Park. These beaches have a large lawn, lifeguards, restrooms, showers, snack bars, public phones and places to rent beach gear. There are also plenty of shady spots under the coconut palm trees. Kuhio and Kapiolani beaches do have sand, but after walking a ways out into the water, you will find only rocks. I always spot sea turtles in the area between Kuhio beach and Kapiolani beach. Most of Waikiki beach was originally rocks but sand was imported in from the island of Molokai. Waikiki is a very trendy beach and is always crowded. The water in Waikiki is wonderful for swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, body surfing, sailling, diving, canoeing and fishing. The other end of the beach toward The Hilton Hawaiian Village is also very nice. The area between Fort DeRussy and The Hilton Hawaiian Village is not very crowded and is great for swimming. The beach there is also sandy, but out in the water it gets rocky. There is a long jetty made of lava rocks where you can walk way out and get great shots of the Waikiki hotels and Diamond Head. There are shaded picnic tables, restrooms, showers, a large grassy area with palm trees for shade. There is food, shave ice and souveniere stands in the alley way leading past Fort DeRussy. Take a walk to The Hilton Hawaiian Village and see the tropical virds, penguins, swans and ducks. This is a really nice resort and on Friday nights they have a free firework show.
#8) WAIMANALO BEACH PARK
One of the more beautiful of all Oahu Beaches is located in southeast Oahu in Waimanalo. The beach is in the 78 acre Waimanalo Bay recreation area. This beach is popular with locals and tourists. Waimanalo has a sandy beach that slopes gently into the ocean and is a perfect beach for swimming and the gentle waves are perfect for body surfing. There are lifeguards, restrooms, showers, plenty of shady areas and good surfing. The beach closes at dark. This park has a picnic area and campground, so it is a perfect beach for backpakers or for just enjoying a family picnic. This beach is a very pretty spot, so don't forget your camera. Please don't litter and obey all signs. Let's help to keep all Oahu Beaches beautiful for future generations. Watch out for Portuguese man of war jelly fish.
#9) SUNSET BEACH
Of all of the Oahu beaches, the north shore's Sunset Beach is best known for it's killer waves duing the months of October, November, March and April. Other times throughout the year it is a family friendly swimming and sun bathing beach. Sunset Beach is nearly two miles long and 300 feet wide. It is a very nice white sandy beach and perfect for snorkeling in the summer. There are lifeguards on duty and they will warn you of bad conditions with colored flags. During the winter months, many surfing competitions are held here when the waves reach to 50 feet high. There are some very nice small towns along the way. The best little town is Haleiwa. I like this beach in the winter to watch the surfers trying to ride the killer waves.
#10) POKAI BAY BEACH PARK
Pokai is hawaiian for "night of the supreme one". This Oahu beach is named for the legendary hawaiian chief who introduced the first cocnut palm tree to Hawaii. This beach is different from Oahu's other west coast beaches because it does not experience high surf in the winter. Pokai Bay Beach Park is a calm bay that is well protected all year long, which makes it a perfect beach for safe swimming. There are great views of the mountains and lots of palm trees for shade. This beach also gets a little more crowded on the weekends but nothing like the Waikiki beaches. The coral reef offshore help to protect the waters and sandy beach. The coral reef is home to many varieties of tropical fish which makes this a great spot to snorkel. There are lifeguards on duty, picnic areas, barbeque grills, restrooms and showers. This beach is held in high regard by local hawaiians, so be respectful and clean up your trash before you leave.
Since there are so many gorgeous Oahu beaches, I am going to show you 10 more beaches worth mentioning. Just because they did not make the top ten, they are just as beautiful and maybe in some ways better than the top ten. Just follow the link for more awesome Oahu beaches.
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