Girl on a surfboard on Waikiki Beach
November 23, 2020
| by
Jana Free

Oahu Travel Guide: 10 Best Beaches on Oahu

On your next trip to Oahu, consider visiting some of the island’s best beaches. See this Oahu Travel Guide article, ‘10 Best Beaches on Oahu,’ to see what the different popular beaches offer and which beaches you might like to visit first.

These are unusual times we find ourselves living in, with restrictions being put in place and lifted with little notice, so please be sure to confirm operating hours before visiting any of the attractions or venues mentioned in this article.

The island of Oahu is home to more than 125 beaches, each offering something special for locals and visitors. With so many beaches to enjoy, how do you choose one to visit - or which to visit first if you’ll be hitting several beaches during your stay?

In a previous article, we featured a list of the '6 Best Beaches on Oahu.' This new Oahu Travel Guide article offers 10 picks for ‘best beaches on Oahu,’ so you can choose which beach best suits you...but hey, you're on vacation...you can visit them all!

Our latest Oahu Travel Guide article, ‘10 Best Beaches on Oahu,’ highlights the top beaches on the island for singles, couples and families - and for visitors who want serenity as well as big-wave surf.

When you visit Oahu, you have your choice of more than 125 beaches to visit all over the island, from Honolulu on the southern part of our island to the North Shore. Oahu has the perfect beach for you whether you want to sunbathe, people watch, play in the sand, surf, enjoy water sports or just dip your toes in calm waters.

From beaches with large and powerful waves to those that are ideal for leisurely snorkeling, here are our picks for the 10 Best Beaches on Oahu:

1.    Waikiki Beach 
Location: Waikiki
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 2 blocks

Ok, let's start with a long time favorite and one time, 'Best Beach in the World' award winner! Waikiki Beach stretches a half-mile wide and 2 miles long along the Waikiki shoreline near downtown Honolulu. It’s a popular beach for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing and entry-level surfing, making it great for families. Waikiki Beach is ideal for walks at night with views of the sparkling lights of Waikiki. Waikiki Beach also offers a number of fun and exciting water sports, surfing schools, and the always populate 'Mai Tai' catamaran which offers day time and sunset cruises.

2. Ala Moana Beach
Location: Waikiki
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 1.4 miles

Ala Moana Beach is popular with locals who want to surf, swim, sunbathe, picnic and fly kites. The surf and sand at this beach are joined together with a 76-acre park to provide extreme fun on weekends and holidays, as well as throughout the summer.

The island of Oahu is home to more than 125 beaches, each offering something special for locals and visitors. With so many beaches to enjoy, how do you choose one to visit - or which to visit first if you’ll be hitting several beaches during your stay?

3. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
Location: Southeast Coast of Oahu
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 11 miles

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve was featured in Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Hawaii’ movie and is perhaps the most popular spot for snorkeling on Oahu. It is amazing! This white-sand crescent-shaped beach stretches 2,000 feet and is lined with beautiful coconut trees, which set a stunning backdrop for swimming and snorkeling.

4. Ehukai Beach Park (Banzai Pipeline)
Location: North Store
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 40 miles

Ehukai Beach Park provides access to the famous Banzai Pipeline, an Oahu beach known for its high winter surf that draws daring bodyboarders and surfers. The steep winter waves cause the crests of the waves to roll forward, creating near-perfect tubes. The town of Haleiwa is close by for shopping, restaurants, gifts and more.

5. Sunset Beach
Location: North Shore
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 40 miles

Sunset Beach is known all over the world for its large and tremendous surf. Waves regularly reach from 15-20 feet, from September to April, so swimming is only safe during the summer here. Any time of year, you can sunbathe and watch local surfers at Sunset Beach. While you may not want to brave the giant waves, it is fun to watch those brave souls who do choose to take on these giants.

6. Waimea Bay
Location: North Shore
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 37 miles

Another big-wave beach on the North Shore, Waimea Bay features big surf that hits in winter and it can bring in 10-12-foot waves on the shore break. During the summer, locals and visitors love to swim in the crystal blue placid waters. If you're up for a bit of excitement you can jump off the rock at Waimea Bay - this is a very popular activity...but be prepared to wait in line! 

7. Kailua Beach 
Location: Windward Side of Oahu
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 15 miles

Dr. Beach rated Kailua Beach the #1 Beach in the U.S. in 1998. This beach is the perfect place for family fun as it features a 30-acre public park and mild winds that are great for windsurfing.

8. Lanikai Beach
Location: Windward Side of Oahu
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 16 miles

Lanikai has been rated the 'Most Beautiful Beach in the World,' and one visit to this spectacular beach will show you why.  Lanikai Beach is the beach to visit if you want to swim, sail and windsurf. This mile-long beach offers striking views of Mokulua - 2 tiny islands designated as sanctuaries for seabirds - right from the shore. Lanikai Beach is also one of the best beaches on Oahu for seeing beautiful Sea Turtles relaxing on the beach or swimming in the water.

9. Makaha Beach
Location: Leeward Side of Oahu
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 37 miles

Waves at Makaha Beach are arguably the best when big north or west swells run. These conditions are only appropriate for professional or experienced surfers, however, as they can be quite dangerous. The summer months bring ideal swimming and snorkeling conditions to Makaha Beach.

10. Nanakuli Beach
Location: Leeward Side of Oahu
Distance from Ambassador Hotel: 28 miles

Nanakulu Beach is actually 2 beaches, Kalanianaole and Piliokahe, which are divided by a small Hawaiian homestead. The Kalanianaole section is the most popular as it offers calm summer waters that are perfect for diving.

We hope our latest Oahu Travel Guide article, ‘10 Best Beaches on Oahu’ has provided you with inspiration to enjoy a day, or a few days, enjoying the various scenery and experiences at Oahu’s top beaches.

You may also enjoy this article, 'Oahu's Top 20 Bucket List of Things to do.'

See our Oahu Visitor Guide for more recommendations for all there is to do, see and experience when visiting Oahu.

For the 'Best Rates Guaranteed' at our Waikiki Hotel go here to Book Now or call: 808-941-7777.