The North Shore of Oahu is best known for its world-class waves and soft sandy beaches. Winter swells from the North begin to show up as early as mid-September and can trickle in all the way until the end of April. With the exception of hurricane and typhoon swells, May through August are typically the best months for swimming, diving, and snorkeling. Always talk to the lifeguard and observe the ocean for at least 10 mins before entering the water.
Now we’re counting down the top 5 best beaches on Oahu:
5 | Haleiwa Beach Park
Located at the base of Historic Haleiwa Town and the first stop on the beach list when coming down the 99 or Pineapple Rd. It’s a cozy, tucked away beach that is often calmer in terms of swell height and wind when compared to other beaches in the area. It’s roughly 300 yards wide with a swimming area along the shore that is shallow enough to touch the rocky bottom. Great little inside white water for the kids to surf. On the outside of the reef is a high-performance surf break and this is where the first event of the Triple Crown of Surfing takes place every November. Walk around the west corner of the point and view green sea turtles munching on the limu or seaweed.
Free parking lot, street parking, picnic tables, life guard tower, public restrooms, and showers.
4 | Turtle Bay
Positioned on the right hand or east side of the Turtle Bay Resort Hotel, here you find a swim haven in between two rock points with a white sandy beach in the center and a barrier reef that protects it from swell. It’s one of the most protected swimming areas on the North Shore. If the waves are nearing advisory levels, this is one of the few options for those looking for a quick dip on the North Shore. Recently there has been a gelato and fish taco stand at this beach, or if your looking for some more menu options, try Roy’s.
Free parking lot, restroom, and showers.
3 | Ehukia Beach Park (Pipeline)
This is where you would park to see The Pipeline. You know the waves are good when parked cars are lined up on both sides of the highway. You might as well add to the chaos and check it out, this is not an everyday occurrence. When the waves are small, and during the summer months when the beaches stretch out, it’s a great place to swim and roll around in the sand.
Free parking lot, street parking, picnic tables, life guard tower, public restroom, and showers.
2 | Sunset Beach
Street parking is 5 feet from the soft sand. With the slope of the sand, this elevated parking lot makes for a great panoramic view of the beach and sunset. It’s no wonder it brings tailgaters from all parts of Oahu on the weekend. Fun body surfing in the shore break and a most challenging, consistent, historic surf break happening a few hundred yards off shore. Home of the World Cup of Surfing competition as well as few others. Walk across the bridge to grab a coffee at the Sunrise Shack, or an Acai Bowl at Banzai Bowls at the Texaco. There is a parking lot on the mountain side of the road as well; this is where the shower and restrooms are located. Just make sure your driver has a coffee with their Ted’s plate lunch, it’s known to have a food comatose affect on some.
Free parking lot, street parking, life guard tower, and public restroom.
1 | Waimea Bay
This truly is a special place and is not only one of the best beaches, but also one of the most beautiful places on Oahu. Great place to swim when the swell is small. The bay cliffs protect its waters from most winds. There is a 20-30’ rock jump on the west or left-hand side of the beach. The right hand or the highway side of the beach is the calmest when swell does arrive. Waimea Bay is where big wave riding was first pioneered. When ever the waves get over 20ft on the Hawaiian wave scale or let’s just say telephone pole high, They run “The Eddie,” a big wave surfing competition, in honor of Legendary Waimea Bay Lifeguard and big wave rider Eddie Aikau.
The parking lot fills up quick so go early. Parking also available in the valley at Waimea Valley Park which is a great place to grab lunch, see a waterfall, botanical gardens, and learn about Hawaiian Culture and village that used to reside there.
Free parking lot, street parking, picnic tables, life guard tower, and public restroom.
For a great way for children to have a safe and fun introduction to the ocean, check out Na Kama Kai.