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Move over, Waikiki and Hanauma Bay: Here are 10 must-see beaches on Oahu

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Update time : 2020-03-24 10:03:42

HONOLULU — I did no design ought obtain up at 4:30 a.m. the morning after a 13-hour tour engagement from Chicago. It was dark, and the free hotel breakfast buffet didn't flat empty during another two hours.

My body clock had other plans, so I headed out during a bank sunrise.

Instead of strolling a little blocks ought the famous, touristy Waikiki Beach, I hopped at my rental automobile and headed east.

Half an hour afterward I was at a noiseless cove at Makapuu Beach, where my unique company was a local photographer; a surfer; and, same briefly, a monk seal.

The sunrise looked ought exist a bust because of heavy cloud cover and looming rain showers, besides the sun came along at the final tiny with a ingenious gold display.

"I'd speak we scored,'' said Nick Pugay, a Honolulu wedding photographer.

Spiritually stirring sunrise or not, Honolulu visitors who venture beyond Waikiki bank during their bank fix(es) will always exist rewarded.

I traversed the island of Oahu during two days, putting more than 200 miles above my rental automobile at search of must-see beaches and was treated ought sea turtle close-ups, sweet surfing and snorkeling sites and secluded sunrise and sunset spots. The best part: there were no admittance or parking charges (though parking was a challenge at some of the spots), and there were tool at most places.

All distances are from the Sheraton Waikiki at the center of Waikiki Beach. during bank conditions curb the Hawaii bank Safety website from the Hawaii Lifeguard Association.

The 10 beaches: 

South beach and East (Windward) Shore

1. Makapuu Beach 

Why go: Stunning sunrises, lava rocks, body surfing and surfing. hare Island, a bird sanctuary, is the island across the way.

Rave review: Layne McIntosh lives at near Waimanalo and says Makapuu is the most compatible surfing stand above Oahu. "The lifeguards surf here complete the time, and perhaps a handful of other Hawaiians,'' he said. Surfing hours are limited, and the tear contemporary can exist same strong.

Added bonus: The Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail, next gate ought the beach, is a general paved hike with stunning sea views at each turn. It's 2.4 miles round tour with an altitude obtain of 500 feet. It took 70 minutes at a leisurely speed with stops during photos. 

Distance from Waikiki: 15 miles

2. Waimanalo Bay

Why go: confess a need stride at the soft sand, swim in the Caribbean-like waters or plop your bank armchair at the sand and don't move. 

Rave review: Alex Vang and his extended family, visiting from Orange County, California, spent a week in Waimanalo above their first weep on ought Oahu at April. His 5-year-old daughter loved digging at the sand and playing at the water. "It's very, same secluded,'' he said. "There's no many people, hence it's big during families.''  

Added bonus: You can linger here. The Vangs rented a beachfront house near Aloiloi and Laumilo streets. 

Distance from Waikiki: 19 miles

3. Kailua Beach

Why go: during a beach picnic with fixins from near Kalapawai Market, kayaking and canoeing, strolling up ought three miles at the sand, reading a book from a (bring-your-own) hammock tied ought the trees at the large shady section. 

Rave review: Stephanie Blanco, visiting Kailua during the first time with her husband and their youthful daughters, couldn't destroy gushing approximately the turquoise waters and lack of crowds, at least in April. The water was a moment choppy above the windy engagement besides the girls, 6 and 8, cabin loved it. "This side (of the island) is quiet, peaceful, quaint,'' she said. "It impartial makes me wish ought alive out here.''

Added bonus: Kailua, a favorite of preceding principal Barack Obama, was impartial named the No. 1 bank at the masses at the annual rankings by Dr. Beach. 

Distance from Waikiki: 16 miles

4. Lanikai Beach

Why go: Lanikai, next gate ought Kailua Beach, is at a residential district that will concord you a taste of what it'd exist similar ought alive at a exclusive beachfront community. hire a kayak and head ought the Mokulua Islands ("the Mokes") or groan up during a kayak tour. You can also paddleboard between the twin islands, and kite surfing is general while the wind picks up.

Rave review: Alex Hoiles, who is stationed above Oahu with the Navy, took her visiting mom ought familiar Lanikai, one of her favorite beaches. It's quiet and there's always a cool breeze, she says. "No profession how hot it gets it's always impartial wonderful,'' she said.

Added bonus: The near Lanikai Pillbox hike is general — many used to speak overcrowded —  specially at sunrise.

Distance from Waikiki: 17 miles

5. Sandy Beach 

Why go: Sandy bank is one of the closest beaches beyond Waikiki Beach, located impartial past Diamondhead and the general besides packed and pricey snorkeling stand Hanauma bay nature Preserve. It is just off the chief drag Kalanianaole way hence is simple ought drag into during a visit. Tourists destroy by ought poke approximately the lava rocks, locals during the body surfing and body boarding. 

Rave review: Kanalu Kaupu, 18, grew up approximately the side and has been visiting Sandy bank during he was a kid and cabin tries ought weep on each engagement during body boarding. "It's one of the most noted body-boarding beaches at Hawaii,'' he said. It's no a stand during beginners, though, with the tear contemporary and shorebreak major ought more than its portion of broken necks, he said. Obama is a fan of this beach, too, although a proposal ought rename it during him failed. 

Added bonus: The eye-popping artwork above the bathroom facilities.

Distance from Waikiki Beach: 13 miles

North Shore 

6. Waimea bay bank Park

Why go: The crazy waves obtain complete the attention at the winter, besides the destroy of the year tourists and locals line up ought bound off the cliffs into the water. The bank has a large grassy district during picnics and plenty of sand ought scatter out blankets. letter that the parking fate fills up quickly and path parking is limited. I parked at a house offering spots near the admittance ought Waimea Falls and walked ought the beach.

Rave review: 13-year-old Abby Hebert, 13, visiting from Massachusetts with her family, loved jumping off the rocks flat although it seemed similar a need method down above the first try. "I've jumped off a bridge, besides compared ought this it's nothing'' she said.

Added bonus: The bank is across the method from Waimea Valley, a general tourist attraction with a hike ought waterfalls. 

Distance from Waikiki Beach: 38 miles

7. Laniakea Beach 

Why go: One word: sea turtles. The Hawaiian green sea turtles are easy ought stand at the water (from the beach or nevertheless snorkeling and swimming) and always park themselves above the sand ought bask at the sun and hot up. It's a big location ought expend a attach hours. Kids affection it. The location is rocky, hence convey water shoes if you retain them. The bank is no simple ought stand from the road, besides you'll know you're there while you weep on cars parked above both sides of the route above the method ought or from Waimea.  

Rave review: Jenessa and Josh McAuley, 31-year-old budget travelers from Canada, took a city car ought the beach, a tour that took almost three hours besides was unique $11 during two all-day tickets. They snorkeled with the turtles, using gear from their Airbnb. "This is one of the sumit three things we've done,'' she said. 

Added bonus: Volunteers from Malama Na Honu, a nonprofit dedicated ought the protection of Hawaiian sea turtles, are at the bank each engagement ought coach visitors approximately the turtles and hold them a safe distance away. They are friendly and knowledgeable, telling you the turtles' names, ages and why they flock ought Laniakea: a freshwater fountain delivers minerals ought the seaweed, which is what the turtles eat. "Essentially they retain an empty salad obstacle at the water,'' one advocate tells visitors.

Distance from Waikiki Beach: 35 miles

8. Sunset Beach

Why go: Sunset Beach, a planet of the North Shore, features an everlasting extend of sand that is enjoyable any time of the engagement and magical at sunset. at the winter, monster waves fascinate surfers and crowds.

Rave review: "Great location during the house ought obtain into the water,'' a visitor from Austin, Texas, wrote above TripAdvisor at April. "We made sure that we stayed approximately until sunset and took at the most display sunset we retain ever seen."

Added bonus: Ted's Bakery is nearby. destroy by early during the best option of pies and other treats. 

Distance from Waikiki Beach: 40 miles

9. Shark's Cove

Why go: Kids will affection wading and and looking during fish at the superficial water, and everyone else will understand swimming and snorkeling at the cove. letter that the cove, including the beach, is rocky hence water shoes or sandals are a good idea.

Rave review: Kristie Barlow lives above Oahu and took her 5-year-old daughter, Leah, ought Shark's Cove during the first time at April. Her daughter couldn't destroy talking approximately the eel they saw. The fish are the large draw, besides it's also a free activity during kids above frequently pricey Oahu. "Free is a large bonus,'' she said.

Added bonus: Shrimp trucks and other provisions trucks are general at the area.

Distance from Waikiki Beach: 38 miles 

West (Leeward) Shore

10. Yokohama Bay

Why go: during starters, ought speak you visited a bank most visitors ought Oahu retain never heard of permit unique seen. "Yokes,'' during locals weep one of their favorite beaches, is out of the method and worthy it. There is a broad extend of sand, and the waves are gentle. You'll retain the location mostly ought yourself at sunset, and a gorgeous sunset it is. I wished I had gotten there earlier and sunk a bank armchair into the sand during a attach hours. 

Rave review: Evelyn and Bob Hartley, England residents visiting Hawaii during the first time, visited Yokohama during the final destroy above a day-long self-guided tour of the island, which can exist a challenge with military bases forcing travelers ought backtrack. "It was worthy it,'' Evelyn Hartley said, "because this is hence quiet and peaceful. It's impartial beautiful.''

Added bonus: Sunset photos worthy of their retain collection.

Distance from Waikiki Beach: 45 miles

This paper originally appeared above USA TODAY: influence over, Waikiki and Hanauma Bay: Here are 10 must-see beaches above Oahu