Oahu Is Home To More Than 125 Beaches
An introduction to beaches oo the island of Oahu,
proviced courtesty of the Oahu Visitor's Bureau.
Beaches on Oahu offer more than sunbathing and people watching on powder white sand
in the embrace of warm Hawaiian sun rays. With over 112 miles of beaches on Oahu
from which to choose, from the powerful, pounding winter waves of the North Shore
to the gentle shore break of Waikiki, there is a beach on Oahu that fits every
taste from a sunbathing visitor to the more athletic windsurfer. With water
temperatures ranging from 75-80 F year round, it’s easy to understand why
locals and visitors alike are regularly drawn to the clear azure waters of Oahu.
The South Shore coastline is known for its many family beaches. Outings such as
snorkeling, tide pooling and swimming are great recreational activities for local
families picnicking along the beach.
The West Shore (leeward side) has many spectacular beaches. This coast is known for
offshore fishing spots. Winter months see the large waves, which reach heights of
more than 15 feet.
-Ala Moana Beach is the most popular among locals. Weekends, holidays and summer
months find the 76-acre park bustling with tennis players, joggers, rollerbladers,
large groups of picnickers, kite flyers, fishermen, sunbathers, swimmers and surfers.
-Waikiki Beach stretches one half mile wide by two miles long along the shoreline
of Waikiki. Often referenced as one beach, it is actually a collection of contiguous
beaches, each with its own characteristics, and generally popular for swimming,
sunbathing, snorkeling and beginner level surfing. One of the most popular areas
is Kuhio Beach, which includes a low retaining wall constructed to keep sand from
-As seen in Elvis Presley’s movie, Blue Hawaii, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve’s white
sandy beach stretches 2000 feet and is lined with coconut trees. The crescent-shaped
bay protects swimmers and snorkelers so that even beginners can enjoy the vibrant
-Sandy Beach is one of the premier bodysurfing spots on Oahu. It is 1,200-feet-long,
with a bottom that drops abruptly eight- to 10-feet immediately offshore. This quick
change in depth creates very steep and hard-breaking waves. On days with extremely
big waves, most common during summer months, the sand erodes to form a steep shore,
causing a strong and forceful backwash.
-When big west or north swells are running, waves at Makaha Beach provide some of the
most spectacular and dangerous surfing found nowhere else in the world. Winter months
find a lot of shoreline erosion due to the heavy surf. But with summer, the sand returns,
creating a beautiful, wide beach and ocean conditions great for swimming and snorkeling.
-Nanakuli Beach is divided into two sections, Piliokahe and Kalanianaole, with a small
Hawaiian homestead separating the two sections. The Piliokahe section is situated on a
sea cliff above a small cove. During the summer, a small pocket beach in the cove provides
a good swimming area. The deeper water is popular for divers and snorkelers. The
Kalanianaole section is the most popular section. The beach is 500 feet long and
125 feet wide. The water is calm during the summer, making this a popular diving spot
-Also known as Keawaula Beach and Puau Beach, Yokohama Bay is a great place for picnicking,
hiking and shore fishing. The surf is calm during the summer, and is a popular spot for
snorkeling, diving, swimming and shell collecting. But when the surf is up, the beach is
the place to be to view the excitement of the surf.
The North Shore is best known for its world-class surfing and huge winter swells. During
the winter months, waves reach heights of 25-30 feet. The summer months are in contrast
with calm, flat conditions perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
The East Shore (windward side) has lush tropical beach settings, which are favorite
locations for wind, kite and sailing enthusiasts. Northeast tradewinds keep the
coast cool 90 percent of the year.
-Ehukai Beach Park provides access to three popular surfing areas: Ehukai Beach Park,
Pipeline and Banzai. Ehukai Beach Park is known for its high winter surf, drawing
dedicated body boarders and surfers. Pipeline is 100 yards to the left of Ehukai
Beach Park. The steepness of winter waves causes the crest of the wave to fall forward,
forming a near-perfect tube. Shooting the tube, or surfing inside a tube, is a prized
challenge for experienced surfers. World championship surf competitions are held here
because of the strong surf. Banzai Beach is located west of Pipeline. During the winter,
surfers and surf fans blanket the beaches in hopes of watching a surfer catch the
perfect wave. Strong winter waves make surfing competitions legendary at Pipeline
and Banzai Beach.
-Ideal for diving, snorkeling and surfing, Pupukea Beach has two major areas which
are easily accessible: Shark’s Cove and Three Tables. Shark’s Cove is located at the
north end, with its cave popular for day and night diving. Three Tables, named for
the three flat sections of reef visible at low tide, is located at the south end of
the beach. The best snorkeling is found near the tables, where fish and sea life
are abundant. To experience the sea’s bounty and treasures, diving is best outside
of the tables.
-Sunset Beach is known around the world for its huge surf. With waves reaching 15-20
feet from September to April, swimming is only safe during the summer months.
Regardless of the time of year, Sunset Beach attracts local surfers, sunbathers
-Waimea Bay is the world-famous home of the biggest waves for surfing. During the
winter months, the waves provide body boarders with endless challenges. Besides
the break beyond the point, the inner shore break reaches heights of 10-12 feet.
The difference in Waimea’s winter and summer surf is as drastic as night and day.
During the summer months, leisurely swimmers enjoy the placid, crystal blue waters
of the bay, while winter months attract world-class body boarders and surfers.
Every beach surrounding Oahu boasts jewel-toned waters, varying from crystal
blue to deep azure, and offers a variety of water activities and sports to
challenge all skill levels and satisfy beach goers.
-Voted the number one beach in the U.S. by Dr. Beach in 1998, Kailua Beach is the
perfect place for family fun. With a 30-acre public park, there are countless ways
to spend your day at the beach. Locals and visitors regularly picnic, sail, play
volleyball, dive, swim, snorkel and surf at this versatile park and beach. With
constant winds, Kailua Beach is the best windsurfing area on Oahu.
-Lanikai Beach is a mile-long beach that is perfect for swimming, sailing and
windsurfing. Offshore, Mokulua, two tiny islands designated as seabird sanctuaries,
are popular destinations for kayakers.
-With a three-and-a-half-mile strip of white sand, Waimanalo Beach is the longest
beach on Oahu. Popular with residents and tourists alike, the spacious plot is
perfect all sorts of beach activities.
-Makapuu Beach is the most famous bodysurfing and bodyboarding area in Hawaii.
Makapuu is also one of the only beaches on Oahu where both bodyboarders and
bodysurfers can surf together. This 1,000-foot-long, white sand beach is also
known as the location for "In Harms Way," a John Wayne movie. Summer months
bring swimmers and divers to Makapuu
Beach, while September through April are perfect for bodysurfing. Waves often
reach heights of 12 feet and break several hundred yards offshore.
Article provided courtesy of the Oahu Visitor's Bureau
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