Oahu, home of Hawaii’s capital of Honolulu and the most populous of all the islands, features 180 kilometres of beaches dotting its 365 kilometre shoreline. The island was created from the eruptions of two ancient shield volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau. It is the third largest Hawaiian Island and home of the state’s only intercontinental airport, Honolulu International Airport.
Enjoy Oahu’s many spectacular tropical beaches when you book a Honolulu hotel room on a site like Expedia. You can sunbathe, snorkel, swim or surf at these top Oahu beaches. Some of them boast man-made or natural lagoons perfect for the kids.
Arguably the most famous beach in all of Hawaii, Waikiki Beach on Oahu’s South Shore is one of the most popular beaches in the entire world. Four million holidaymakers flock to its white sand beaches each year. Though it will be crowded, Waikiki Beach is still a great place for beginning surfers to get some experience. Plus, it offers great views of Diamond Head, one of the state’s most famous landmarks.
Ala Moana Beach Park
If you’re looking for a great place to take the kids, this half-mile beach a few miles west of Waikiki Beach features calm waters protected by a fringing reef. The man-made peninsula that is Magic Island offers a shallow lagoon surrounded by large seawalls where young children can learn to swim.
Though you wouldn’t want to swim in Waimea Bay’s turbulent waters throughout the winter season, when powerful rip currents and 30-foot waves are common, in the summer you’ll find these waters still, calm and perfect for snorkelling, swimming and diving.
Kawela or Turtle Bay, located on the north-eastern tip of Oahu, claims some of the island’s best snorkelling. Here, you’re most likely to spot the endangered Hawaiian green sea turtle.
If you’re ready to get off the beaten path, try this white sand beach ranked No.1 in the world by Conde Nast. This secluded white sand beach offers perfect, safe swimming waters and the nearby Koolau Mountains offer some afternoon protection from the sun. Trade winds here make the waters off Lanikai Beach perfect for windsurfing and sailing, and two tiny offshore islands — the Mokuluas — make a perfect day excursion for sea-kayakers.
The last beach on the Leeward Coast, Yokohama Bay is a great place to watch both people and dolphins. A hiking trail from here leads up to Kaena Point, a lava shoreline with stunning views of the southward island of Waianae.
Ko Olina Resort and Marina
The Ko Olina Resort and Marina is another great swimming spot for families with children. You’ll find man-made lagoons where the kiddies can splash about safely, as well as restrooms, showers and parking facilities.
Malaekahana Beach is one of Oahu’s best kept secrets. You can get a taste of what island life was like in the old days, before Oahu was a tourist haven. Enjoy the solitude of this wooded beach, which offers good swimming and snorkelling when the waters are calm.
Kahana Bay Beach Park
This forested, crescent beach, with its jungle backdrop, salt-and-pepper sand and rugged cliffs, will get anyone into the tropical spirit. Even kids can enjoy swimming in the exceptionally safe waters off of Kahana Bay Beach Park. Have a bite to eat at one of the beach’s picnic areas, indulge in a spot of overnight camping or hike through the Hawaiian jungle on one of its many trails. Fishing and kayaking are also available here.
If you’re looking for a white sand beach you can have all to yourself, at least on a weekday, try Pokai Bay. Swim, snorkel and sunbathe in relative privacy here. Bring the kids; the reef-protected waters are safe and calm, and it makes for excellent snorkelling.
The Hawaiian Island of Oahu offers some of the world’s top beaches. Calm waters make for terrific swimming and snorkelling, and prevailing trade winds allow for windsurfing and sailing opportunities. When you’ve had your fill of the beach, enjoy the forest on some of Oahu’s hiking trails, many of which are accessible from its beaches.
About the Author: Contributing blogger Raj Nash has lived in Hawaii for over 10 years.