Oahu's Top Beaches - Waikiki and Lanakai
The word Oahu is synonymous with the beach and the ocean. No picture of paradise is complete without sand and palm trees. Beautiful, golden beaches are found all around Oahu. Each of these paradise treasures has something unique that makes them unforgettable.
There are those Oahu beaches renowned for surfing, others are especially known for boogie-boarding or sailing, while others still are familiar family friendly spots. All Oahu beaches are open to the public and most are accessed through Beach Parks. There are eighteen beaches on Oahu that have lifeguards on duty during the summer months, otherwise, flags will warn you of swimming conditions. Always use common sense when swimming in the ocean, the currents and waves are unpredictable.
The south shore has great family beaches with low wind, lots of sand and gentle water. The two beaches closest to the city are Ala Moana Beach where the locals like to frolic, and Waikiki Beach - the haunt of tourists. Both can become very crowded as they are popular destinations, however, there is usually room enough for everyone. Further away from the city is Hanauma Bay Beach voted the US's best beach in 2004. The beach is set in the protected enclave of a seaside crater resulting is gentle waters and loads of marine life and coral. Hanauma Bay prides itself to be the best snorkelling spot in the state. Beyond this is Sandy Beach which is popular with surfers and boogie-boarders because the water here has plenty of power. The south shore of Oahu offers a beach for every need.
The west shore beaches on the Waianae Coast are less crowded then those in the popular Waikiki area. In this region the best known beaches for surfing include: Kahe Point, Tracks Beach and Makaha Beach. Mostly, beaches renowned for surfing are not too good for swimming, so if you would like to take a dip, try one of these more protected gently-sloping beaches: Nanakuki, Maili and Pokai. If you want time out from the crowds and just a stroll along the beach try Yokohama Bay at the entrance to Kaena Point State Park. Not many people come here as it is not a recommended swimming or surfing spot.
Many claim that the east shore beaches are the best on Oahu. These are your postcard type, typically tropical Hawaiian beaches with the golden sand and deep blue sea. Most have a broad expanse of sand, a gentle drop-off and are good for swimming. These are Waimanalo Bay Beach, Bellows Beach and Kailua Beach . A more secluded option is Lanikai Beach further south then the abovementioned beaches.
North shore beaches are world renowned surfing spots. North Shore is the Mecca for any serious surfer and is home to numerous international surfing competitions. These infamous beaches include: Sunset, Banzai Pipeline, Ehukai and Waimea Bay. Others like Haleiwa Ali'i Beach and Mokule'ia Beach are well-known local surf spots.
No matter where you are on Oahu, the beach is beckoning!