Beaches on Oahu offer more than sunbathing and people watching on powder white sand in the embrace of warm Hawaiian sun rays. With more than 125 beaches on Oahu from which to choose, from the powerful, pounding winter waves of the North Shore to the gentle shore break of Waikiki, there is a beach on Oahu that fits every taste from a sunbathing visitor to the more athletic windsurfer. With water temperatures ranging from 75°F to 80°F year round, it's easy to understand why locals and visitors alike are regularly drawn to the clear azure waters of Oahu.
South Shore Beaches
The South Shore coastline is known for its many family beaches. Outings such as snorkeling, tide pooling and swimming are great recreational activities for local families picnicking along the beach.
- Ala Moana Beach is the most popular among locals. Weekends, holidays and summer months find the 76-acre park bustling with tennis players, joggers, rollerbladers, large groups of picnickers, kite flyers, fishermen, sunbathers, swimmers and surfers.
- Waikiki Beach stretches one half mile wide by two miles long along the shoreline of Waikiki. Often referenced as one beach, it is actually a collection of contiguous beaches, each with its own characteristics, and generally popular for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling and beginner level surfing. One of the most popular areas is Kuhio Beach, which includes a low retaining wall constructed to keep sand from eroding.
West Shore Beaches
The West Shore (leeward side) has many spectacular beaches. This coast is known for offshore fishing spots. Winter months see the large waves, which reach heights of more than 15 feet.
- As seen in Elvis Presley's movie, Blue Hawaii, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve's white sandy beach stretches 2000 feet and is lined with coconut trees. The crescent-shaped bay protects swimmers and snorkelers so that even beginners can enjoy the vibrant sea life.
- Sandy Beach is one of the premier bodysurfing spots on Oahu. It is 1,200-feet-long, with a bottom that drops abruptly eight- to 10-feet immediately offshore. This quick change in depth creates very steep and hard-breaking waves. On days with extremely big waves, most common during summer months, the sand erodes to form a steep shore, causing a strong and forceful backwash.
- When big west or north swells are running, waves at Makaha Beach provide some of the most spectacular and dangerous surfing found nowhere else in the world. Winter months find a lot of shoreline erosion due to the heavy surf. But with summer, the sand returns, creating a beautiful, wide beach and ocean conditions great for swimming and snorkeling.
- Nanakuli Beach is divided into two sections, Piliokahe and Kalanianaole, with a small Hawaiian homestead separating the two sections. The Piliokahe section is situated on a sea cliff above a small cove. During the summer, a small pocket beach in the cove provides a good swimming area. The deeper water is popular for divers and snorkelers. The Kalanianaole section is the most popular section. The beach is 500 feet long and 125 feet wide. The water is calm during the summer, making this a popular diving spot for novices.
- Also known as Keawaula Beach and Puau Beach, Yokohama Bay is a great place for picnicking, hiking and shore fishing. The surf is calm during the summer, and is a popular spot for snorkeling, diving, swimming and shell collecting. But when the surf is up, the beach is the place to be to view the excitement of the surf.
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