After our 3 day adventure on Kauai, we flew into Honolulu and went straight for the west side of Oahu.
We found an awesome ‘Treehouse’ AirBnB in a residential neighborhood in Waianae close to beaches, a grocery store, and the pink pillbox hike. We spent three days here, driving around to check out the sights in the area before heading to our ‘Surf Shack’ AirBnB on Oahu’s north shore.
From the north shore, we drove down to the east side for the day to try to explore as much of the island as possible.
The one most popular beach/area we didn’t make it to was Waikiki. We didn’t want to get stuck in the traffic and crowds that we heard Waikiki can attract. We have enough of that in Chicago. Next time we’re in Oahu, I’ll definitely check out Waikiki for a night and go to Pearl Harbor. If only we had more time on this trip!
Aside from going to these five pretty beaches, we also rode horses at Kualoa Ranch, ate at all the food trucks on the north shore, walked around Ka’ena Point, and went on a couple hikes. That’s for another post.
Here are my top five favorite beaches on Oahu,
and where you can find them:
Aki’s Beach in Waianae
We were so lucky to stay at an AirBnB right down the street from this hidden gem. We basically had our own private beach every morning! It was so peaceful. We took our books and coffee, and just listened to the waves crash onto the shore.
We went to catch the sunset at night, and a giant turtle greeted us – look closely at the third pic! If you’re in this area, be sure to look up this beach for some peace, quiet, and great views.
Makaha Beach Park in Waianae
I heard this one is known as a ‘local’s beach.’ Tons of surfers come here. It was so fun to watch them!
This was also the only beach where we saw whales. There was a momma and a baby whale playing in the distance, showing off and flapping their tails all around. Between the whales and the surfers, this made for great entertainment. It’s a busier beach, but very easy to find parking.
Lanikai Beach in Kailua
Can I say the most picturesque of them all? Lanikai is a perfect white sand beach with clear blue water on the east side of Oahu. You can go kayaking out to the islands from here, but we decided to be lazy and take in the scenery.
There are plenty of access points to get out to this beach, but we had trouble with finding a parking spot. I would have loved to stay on the east side so we could have visited this beach more than once!
Haleiwa Alii Beach Park in Haleiwa
This one was right across the street from our AirBnB on Oahu’s North Shore. It was a long stretch of beach with plenty of grassy areas to hang out and grill. There’s also a small harbor area if you like checking out the boats.
It was a bit windy the days we were here, but it could not have been more convenient to stroll across the street and have this big beach at our feet!
Banzai Pipeline in Pupukea
Unfortunately, we missed the surfing action during the day, but this location is one of the most amazing spots to watch the sunset. So breathtaking! I was mesmerized.
Side fun tip: right by the pipeline is a snorkel area called Shark’s Cove, where you can see all kinds of fish before watching the sun go down. The north shore was my favorite!
What are your favorite beaches on Oahu?