Best Beaches in Honolulu


best beaches in honolulu

Honolulu, the vibrant capital of Hawaii, is a paradise for beach lovers. Nestled on the island of Oahu, Honolulu offers an array of stunning beaches, each with its unique charm and appeal. Whether you are seeking relaxation, adventure, or a family-friendly atmosphere, Honolulu has a beach for every type of traveler. Here’s a guide to some of the best beaches in Honolulu that you shouldn’t miss.

Waikiki Beach

Location: Southern shore of Honolulu


Iconic surfing destination

Stunning views of Diamond Head

Abundance of beachfront hotels, restaurants, and shops

Waikiki Beach is arguably the most famous beach in Honolulu. Known for its gentle waves, it’s a haven for beginner surfers and those looking to enjoy a leisurely swim. The beach is lined with high-end resorts and offers spectacular views of Diamond Head, an extinct volcanic crater. Whether you’re looking to sunbathe, surf, or people-watch, Waikiki Beach has something for everyone.

Ala Moana Beach Park

Location: West of Waikiki


Calm waters ideal for swimming

Picnic areas and barbecues

Jogging paths and tennis courts

Ala Moana Beach Park is a local favorite, offering a more relaxed atmosphere compared to Waikiki. The calm, shallow waters make it perfect for swimming and paddleboarding. The park also features large grassy areas, perfect for picnics, barbecues, and family gatherings. For those looking to stay active, there are jogging paths, tennis courts, and plenty of space for beach volleyball.

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

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Location: Southeast of Honolulu


Excellent snorkeling spot

Diverse marine life

Educational programs about marine conservation

Hanauma Bay is a pristine marine embayment formed within a volcanic cone. It’s renowned for its rich marine life, making it one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii. The bay is a protected nature preserve, and visitors are required to watch an educational video about marine conservation before entering. This ensures that the delicate coral reefs and the diverse fish population are preserved for future generations.

Magic Island

Location: Adjacent to Ala Moana Beach Park


Man-made peninsula with calm lagoon

Ideal for swimming and picnics

Stunning sunset views

Magic Island is a man-made peninsula next to Ala Moana Beach Park. It features a lagoon that is perfect for swimming and wading, especially for families with young children. The area is also popular for picnics and offers stunning views of the sunset. On weekends, you’ll often find locals enjoying the park, making it a great spot to experience the community vibe of Honolulu.

Kuhio Beach Park

Location: Waikiki


Breakwater for calm swimming conditions

Surfboard and canoe rentals

Regular cultural events and hula performances

Kuhio Beach Park, located in Waikiki, is named after Prince Kuhio and is a popular spot for both tourists and locals. The beach features a breakwater that creates a protected swimming area, ideal for families and those looking for calm waters. You can rent surfboards and canoes here, and the beach often hosts cultural events and free hula performances in the evenings.

Sandy Beach

Location: East of Honolulu


Excellent for bodyboarding and surfing

Strong waves and currents

Scenic views of the coastline

Sandy Beach is famous for its powerful shore breaks, making it a popular spot for bodyboarding and experienced surfers. The waves and currents here are strong, so it’s not recommended for inexperienced swimmers. However, the stunning scenery and the thrill of watching skilled surfers tackle the waves make it a must-visit.

Lanikai Beach

Location: Kailua, northeast of Honolulu


Soft white sand and clear turquoise waters

Perfect for swimming and kayaking

Picturesque views of the Mokulua Islands

Though not in Honolulu proper, Lanikai Beach is worth the short drive to the neighboring town of Kailua.

Known for its soft, powdery sand and crystal-clear waters, Lanikai is perfect for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The beach offers breathtaking views of the Mokulua Islands, making it a favorite spot for photographers and those seeking a tranquil beach experience.

Honolulu’s beaches are as diverse as they are beautiful, offering something for every type of beachgoer. From the bustling shores of Waikiki to the serene sands of Lanikai, each beach has its unique charm. Whether you’re looking to surf, snorkel, sunbathe, or simply soak in the natural beauty, Honolulu’s beaches provide the perfect setting for an unforgettable Hawaiian adventure. So, pack your sunscreen, grab your beach towel, and get ready to explore the best beaches in Honolulu.

Kaimana Beach

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Location: Diamond Head end of Waikiki Beach


Quieter alternative to Waikiki Beach

Historic Natatorium War Memorial

Clear waters for swimming and snorkeling

Kaimana Beach, also known as Sans Souci Beach, offers a more peaceful atmosphere compared to the bustling Waikiki Beach. Located near the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, it provides clear waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling. The beach is also home to the historic Natatorium War Memorial, adding a touch of history to your beach day.

Makapu’u Beach

Location: East of Honolulu


Excellent bodyboarding and surfing conditions

Spectacular coastal views

Proximity to Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

Makapu’u Beach is known for its powerful waves and stunning coastal views. It’s a popular spot for bodyboarding and surfing, with challenging conditions suited for experienced water sports enthusiasts.

Nearby, the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail offers a scenic hike with breathtaking views of the coastline and the chance to spot whales during the winter months.

Kahanamoku Beach

Location: Western end of Waikiki Beach


Calm waters and spacious sandy areas

Ideal for families and beginners

Nearby Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon

Named after the famous Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku, this beach offers calm waters and plenty of space, making it ideal for families and beginners. The nearby Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon provides an additional safe and shallow area for swimming and paddleboarding. The beach’s convenient location near hotels and amenities adds to its appeal.

Queen’s Surf Beach

Location: Waikiki


Popular LGBTQ+ friendly beach

Great snorkeling and swimming

Evening outdoor movies

Queen’s Surf Beach, located in Waikiki, is known for its welcoming atmosphere, especially within the LGBTQ+ community. The beach offers excellent snorkeling and swimming opportunities. In the evenings, the beach often hosts outdoor movie screenings, providing a unique and enjoyable way to end your beach day.

Diamond Head Beach Park

Location: South of Diamond Head Crater


Secluded and less crowded

Excellent for surfing and windsurfing

Scenic views of Diamond Head

For those seeking a more secluded beach experience, Diamond Head Beach Park is a hidden gem. Located south of the iconic Diamond Head Crater, this beach is less crowded and offers excellent conditions for surfing and windsurfing. The beach’s rocky shoreline and tide pools add to its rugged beauty, and the views of Diamond Head are simply spectacular.

Tips for Visiting Honolulu Beaches

Respect the Environment: Always clean up after yourself and avoid disturbing marine life. Honolulu’s beaches are beautiful natural resources that need to be preserved.

Sun Protection: The Hawaiian sun can be intense. Use reef-safe sunscreen, wear a hat, and stay hydrated to protect yourself from sunburn and dehydration.

Safety First: Pay attention to warning signs and lifeguard instructions. Some beaches have strong currents and powerful waves, so it’s essential to stay within designated swimming areas.

Timing: Early mornings or weekdays are usually less crowded, offering a more peaceful beach experience.

Honolulu’s beaches are a testament to Hawaii’s natural beauty, offering diverse experiences that cater to all types of visitors. Whether you prefer the lively ambiance of Waikiki, the tranquil waters of Lanikai, or the adventurous waves of Sandy Beach, Honolulu has a perfect spot for you. Exploring these beaches is not just about soaking up the sun; it’s about embracing the Aloha spirit and connecting with the stunning landscapes that make Hawaii a true paradise. So, plan your visit, explore these beautiful shores, and create unforgettable memories on the best beaches in Honolulu.