13 Best Oahu Beaches: Ultimate 2024 Guide

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Vacationing on Oahu and trying to identify the best Oahu beaches? With 125+ beaches in Oahu, finding the perfect beach is a matter of personal taste.

But no matter how demanding you are, we have an Oahu beach that is best suited for you!

Want to laze and sunbathe on a finely powdered, white, sandy beach and soak in nature? Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach and Waimanalo Beach, three of the best Oahu beaches, the most beautiful ones, are what you want!

Thinking about sailing, parasailing, windsurfing and kite surfing? Head to Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach on the windward side of Oahu where you can enjoy these activities at their best, with nature-provided trade winds giving you the perfect lift!

Kitesurfing on Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach, two of the best Oahu beaches on the windward (east) side
Kitesurfing on Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach, two of the best Oahu beaches on the windward (east) side

Came to Hawaii to admire its fabulous marine life? Head to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve to snorkel or to Laniakea Beach to gawk at endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Couple on a romantic honeymoon? Splurge on a cozy dinner at a Waikiki beachfront restaurant like La Mer or enjoy spectacular sunset colors with your loved one on North Shore’s famous Sunset Beach.

Don’t want to do much of anything? Just sit back and watch in awe at the graceful professional surfers on the Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach) or the crazy antics of experienced bodysurfers on Sandy Beach!

Whether you are vacationing as a family with small kids, thrill seekers, nature enthusiasts or a honeymooning couple, you will find your perfect beach from the list of best Oahu beaches in this post!

Planning your trip to Oahu? Check out our 2024 guide to the most popular tours and excursions in Oahu!

Surfing the Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach), one of the best Oahu beaches on the North Shore
Surfing the Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach), one of the best Oahu beaches on the North Shore

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Best Oahu Beaches

1. Lanikai Beach

A beach on Oahu that regularly makes the list of the top 50 beaches in the world? None other than Lanikai Beach, a stunningly beautiful beach on the east side or the windward side of Oahu!

Lanikai Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches, stunningly beautiful with powdery white sand and clear blue waters
Lanikai Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches, stunningly beautiful with powdery white sand and clear blue waters

Lanikai Beach, whose Hawaiian name is Ka’hao for the “heavenly sea,” is a few miles southeast of Kailua, in the upscale residential area of Lanikai, and roughly an hour from Honolulu and Waikiki.

Lanikai Beach is a beach where you can admire raw, untouched nature’s beauty: white, finely powdered sand against crystal clear, turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean.

With such natural beauty, Lanikai Beach is a favorite location for photo shoots, and you might spot famous models or movie stars on nice sunny days posing for their photographer!

If you can make it to Lanikai Beach for sunrise or sunset, you are in for a spectacular colorful treat, make sure you bring your camera!

Spectacular sunrise at Lanikai Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches on the east side
Spectacular sunrise at Lanikai Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches on the east side

Off the shore are two iconic islets, Mokulua Islands or “Mokes” as they are affectionately called, protected sea bird sanctuaries, home to the wedge-tailed shearwaters nesting grounds, with restricted access to areas below the high water mark.

Kayaking or standup paddle boarding to the Mokes or off the coast of Lanikai Beach are very popular.

>> Check pricing and availability on this 5-star rated, popular Kailua Twin Islands Guided Kayak Tour, Oahu to the Mokes now!

Being on the windward side of Oahu, you can take full advantage of the windy days with sailing, parasailing, windsurfing and kite surfing!

Though Lanikai Beach is extremely beautiful, vacationing families with kids may prefer to visit the adjacent Kailua Beach park which has much better amenities and parking!

Location: East Side (windward side) of Oahu
Lifeguard: No
Beach Amenities: None
Food Nearby: Head to Kailua for food options
Parking: Best option is the Kailua Beach Park parking lot
Directions: Lanikai Beach, Kailua, HI 96734

Planning your Oahu itinerary? Read our guide to the best Oahu tours and excursions, from shark cage diving to snorkeling with turtles and kayaking to the Mokes!

2. Hanauma Bay

Time to snorkel Hawaii’s coral reefs and marvel at its rich amazing marine life? What better place for this than the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve?

Hanauma Bay is a beautiful, semi-circular bay, a sunken ancient volcanic crater, with extensive coral reefs, located on Oahu’s southeastern coast, the windward side of Oahu, just 9 miles east of Waikiki and Honolulu.

On a clear day, if you hike the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail, part of the Nature Preserve, you will get fabulous views of the entire bay, and the water is so clear that the outline of underwater coral reef structure is visible.

Hanauma Bay, one of the best Oahu beaches for snorkeling, on the windward side
Hanauma Bay, one of the best Oahu beaches for snorkeling, on the windward side

Best of all, Hanauma Bay is a protected marine sanctuary, and with the post-Covid restrictions, the underwater sea life has flourished into hundreds of species of tropical fish, coral and other animals.

When we vacationed in Oahu as a family with small kids, snorkeling at Hanauma Bay was the highlight of that vacation!

For my budding snorkelers, the shallow, sheltered waters, excellent underwater visibility and stunning marine life combined to make an unforgettable experience.

School of convict tangs in the coral reefs
School of convict tangs in the coral reefs

To control the crowds and for better conservation efforts, Hanauma Bay has implemented a mandatory reservation system (to watch an educational video before entering), an admission fee ($25 / adult) and reduced operating hours (06:45 am to 4:00 pm, last entry 1:30 pm, Wed-Sun).

If parking and getting to Hanauma Bay is a hassle, consider this convenient hop-on hop-off trolley tour or the popular Hanauma Bay Snorkeling tour!

>> Check pricing and availability of this highly popular, well-rated Hanauma Bay Snorkeling tour!

Location: Southeast shore of Oahu (windward side)
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Visitor center, education center, gift shop, showers, restrooms, lockers, picnic areas
Food Nearby: Snack bar at the upper parking lot level
Parking: $3 / vehicle, very limited, first-come, first-served
Directions: 7455 Kalanianaole Hwy, Honolulu, Hawaii 96825

3. Waikiki Beach

Visiting Oahu for the first time? One of the most popular, must-visit destinations in Hawaii is Waikiki Beach, lined with ritzy resorts and where the father of modern surfing, Duke Kahanamoku, popularized the sport!

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, one of the best Oahu beaches, with lots of things to do
Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, one of the best Oahu beaches, with lots of things to do

Not a single beach, but a bunch of contiguous beaches, Waikiki Beach starts with the Duku Kahanamoku Beach in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort and extends all the way down to the Queen’s Beach and Sans Souci Beach on the eastern end.

The Duke Kahanamoku Beach was the #2 rated beach on Dr. Beach’s 2023 list, partly for its wide sandy beach, secluded location further away from the other Waikiki beach crowds, protected coral reefs and the beautiful Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon.

You can take a picture-perfect photo of the iconic Diamond Head Crater, one of Hawaii’s most recognized landmarks, from Waikiki Beach.

The Royal Hawaiian Beach, in front of the majestic pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel, is probably the most crowded part of the beach, and this is where you can rent catamarans, canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling gear and surf boards.

The adjacent Kuhio Beach with man-made ocean walls forming the sheltered Kuhio Ponds is a great spot for beginners and families with kids to try out their water activity skills!

Kuhio Ponds, behind man-made walls, one of the best Oahu beaches for families with kids
Kuhio Ponds, behind man-made walls, one of the best Oahu beaches for families with kids

If you’re looking for a beach with fun activities, you are in the perfect spot. You have an amazing variety of tours including these popular, 5-star rated ones:

Location: Southwest shore of Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, shaded areas
Food Nearby: Many fancy restaurants nearby! La Mer, Orchids, House Without a Key, Azure, Beachhouse at the Moana, Roy’s Waikiki Beach!
Parking: Prefer bus or rideshare. Street parking and garages along the beach.
Directions: Waikiki Beach, Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815

4. Ehukai Beach (Banzai Pipeline)

Who hasn’t heard of the Banzai Pipeline? World-famous for its majestic, 30-foot towering waves in winter, Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach) is a paradise for professional and experienced surfers.

The winter waves make Ehukai Beach one of the top beaches on the north shore of Oahu!

Watching the action on the world-famous Banzai Pipeline is one of the best things to do on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
Watching the action on the world-famous Banzai Pipeline is one of the best things to do on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Many international competitions including the Triple Crown of Surfing and the Billabong Pipeline Masters are held here, and you have an opportunity to watch these experienced surfers tackle the massive waves with grace and agility!

While dangerous for inexperienced surfers during winter, the summer months are very different! The waters on Ehukai Beach are calmer and the waves much more gentle, and you get some of the best swimming and snorkeling conditions.

Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach) one of the best Oahu beaches on the North Shore for swimming and snorkeling in summer!
Banzai Pipeline (Ehukai Beach) one of the best Oahu beaches on the North Shore for swimming and snorkeling in summer!

Location: North Shore of Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, shade
Food Nearby: Head to Pupukea Beach Park
Parking: Limited, hard to find
Directions: Ehukai Beach Park, 59-337 Ke Nui Road, Haleiwa, HI 96712

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

5. Ko Olina Beach & Lagoons

Vacationing with kids, especially smaller kids? You will love Ko Olina Lagoons, the best Oahu mini-beaches for families with kids.

The Ko Olina Lagoons are four man-made lagoons with sandy beaches fronting premier resorts like the Four Seasons Resort and Disney’s Aulani Resort.

Ko Olina Lagoons, man-made lagoons in luxurious rest area
Ko Olina Lagoons, man-made lagoons in luxurious rest area

The lagoons and beaches are accessible to the public, and you can even rent equipment for kayaking, standup paddle boarding and snorkeling from the resorts or grab a bite to eat at their luxurious beachfront restaurants.

Ko Olina Lagoons have restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic tables and lifeguards.

The lagoons offer clear, calm ocean waters for swimming and snorkeling, and are some of the best places for snorkeling in West Oahu, ideal for smaller kids and beginning snorkelers and swimmers.

A school of Yellow tang in the coral reefs near Ko Olina Lagoons on the west coast of Oahu, Hawaii
A school of Yellow tang in the coral reefs near Ko Olina Lagoons on the west coast of Oahu, Hawaii

Worried about the depth for your kids? While the depth varies with the tide, and can reach greater than 10 feet in some areas of the lagoons, you can rent flotation devices like life jackets from the resorts.

Check out some of the popular sunset and snorkeling tours from the nearby Ko Olina Marina:

Location: West Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, shaded areas, walking path
Food Nearby: Many fancy restaurants nearby! Mina’s Fish House, Monkeypod Kitchen and Roy’s Ko Olina are very popular.
Parking: About 100 parking spots near the Ulua Lagoon
Directions: Ko Olina Beach Park, 92-100 Waipahe Pl, Kapolei, HI 96707

6. Sunset Beach

Want to impress your loved one? How about a romantic sunset with her or him on the beach?

Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu, is very aptly named: one of the best places to watch the sunset on Oahu.

Home to some spectacular, colorful sunsets, where else would you take your date for a romantic evening stroll?

Fiery sunrise over Sunset Beach on Oahu's North Shore
Fiery sunrise over Sunset Beach on Oahu’s North Shore

Unlike the Banzai Pipeline a few miles south, the waves on Sunset Beach, are easier for surfing, but you need be careful of the currents here and surfing in winter is only for those with experience.

In summer, the conditions are much calmer, and you can spend a lot of time swimming, surfing and snorkeling here.

Location: North Shore of Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables
Food Nearby: Several restaurants (Banzai Bowls, Panda’s Thai, Sunrise Shack)
Parking: Public parking at the beach park or across the street
Directions: Sunset Beach Park, 59 Kamehameha Hwy Haleiwa, HI 96712

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

7. Kailua Beach

Couldn’t find parking for Lanikai Beach? Don’t worry, Kailua Beach is just a few minutes walk from Lanikai Beach along the shore, and has a lot of parking!

But if you are a family with kids, you may be better off staying on Kailua Beach, an equally stunning beach, but with far better facilities like lifeguards, restrooms, showers and picnic tables!

Beautiful Kailua Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches on the windward side
Beautiful Kailua Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches on the windward side

Located on the windward (east) side of Oahu, you can exploit the natural windy nature of Kailua Beach for some fun sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing.

Other popular activities on Kailua Beach include swimming and sunbathing.

As with Lanikai Beach, one of the more popular activities is to kayak or standup paddleboard to the Mokes, the two islets off the shore!

Here are some highly popular, 5-star rated tours from Kailua:

Location: East Oahu (windward side of Oahu)
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables
Food Nearby: Many options at Kailua & Wanaao & Oneawa intersection
Parking: Kailua Beach Park parking lot
Directions: Kailua Beach Park, 526 Kawailoa Rd, Kailua, HI 96734

8. Ala Moana Beach

Staying in Honolulu and Waikiki Beach getting too crowded for you? Ala Moana Beach and Magic Island Lagoon, a few miles northwest of Waikiki Beach may be a better option.

With a beautiful, 100-acre urban green park, a large, protected lagoon and a nice sandy beach, Ala Moana Beach is ideal for families with smaller kids and beginning swimmers and snorkelers.

Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island Lagoons, one of the best Oahu beaches in Honolulu
Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island Lagoons, one of the best Oahu beaches in Honolulu

Not only that, many of the same activities offered in Waikiki are also available at Ala Moana Beach like surfing, standup paddle boarding and cruise tours, but the experience is much better with lesser crowds.

Here are some popular beach activities and cruises from Ala Moana Beach:

Ala Moana Beach Park is one of the best places on Oahu to watch sunsets, so stay back late evening and admire the spectacular colors of the ocean sunset!

And if you can stay back on Friday evenings, then you are in for a treat! Ala Moana Beach Park is one of the best vantage points to watch the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort’s weekly fireworks show at 7:45 pm!

Finally, if you are in Honolulu on Memorial Day, you can participate in one of Honolulu’s most unique event: the Shinnyo Lantern Floating Festival at Ala Moana Park, a ceremony of personal remembrance, reflection and gratitude!

The Floating Lantern Festival at Ala Moana Beach Park
The Floating Lantern Festival at Ala Moana Beach Park

If you’re not in Honolulu, you can still participate virtually with live streaming!

Location: Southwest Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, shaded areas, walking path
Food Nearby: Many options in walking distance across Ala Moana Blvd
Parking: Ala Moana Beach Park parking lot (450 stalls)
Directions: Ala Moana Beach Park, 1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814

Watching the Hilton Hawaiian Resort Friday fireworks from the Ala Moana Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches
Watching the Hilton Hawaiian Resort Friday fireworks from the Ala Moana Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches

9. Waimea Bay Beach

Need some adventure to spice up your vacation? How about jumping off a cliff into the Pacific Ocean waters?

As with many of the other North Shore Oahu beaches like the Banzai Pipeline and the Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay Beach is a mecca for pro surfers in winter, with waves reaching monstrous 30-40 feet highs!

Beautiful Waimea Bay, close to Waimea Valley, Oahu, Hawaii
Beautiful Waimea Bay, close to Waimea Valley, Oahu, Hawaii

Popular since the early 1950s, Waimea Bay Beach is generally recognized as the birthplace of big wave surfing, with many of the original surfers like Eddie Aikau frequenting the beach.

In summer, with the waves far gentler, family activities with kids are very popular, including swimming, snorkeling and surfing.

A star attraction is a rock formation from the beach into the ocean, with many locals and tourists climbing and jumping off the cliffs.

Jumping off a rocky cliff into the Waimea Bay
Jumping off a rocky cliff into the Waimea Bay

Obviously, there are many risks associated with this dangerous activity, both with climbing slippery rocks and jumping into the questionable depths, so I don’t recommend this! Try at your own risk!

If jumping off the cliff doesn’t cut it for you, what about swimming with large sharks in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean?

Here are some popular, highly-rated shark tours from Haleiwa Harbor a few miles from Waimea Bay:

Head to Pupukea to cool off with some North Shore Shave Ice or grab a bite to eat at the Sunrise Shack or popular food trucks like Pupukea Grill and Aji Limo Truck.

Location: North Shore of Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, grass area & shade
Food Nearby: Closest is Bambino’s, more options at Pupukea Rd & Kamehameha Hwy
Parking: Waimea Bay Beach Park parking lot
Directions: Waimea Bay Beach Park, 61-031 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

10. Sandy Beach

While the North Shore of Oahu is famous for its surfing in winter, on the other side of the island, Sandy Beach, on the southeast shore of Oahu, is equally famous for a unique water sport, bodysurfing!

In bodysurfing, surfers shape their body in the form of a board to catch and ride the waves. They don’t use a board, and at most, a good pair of fins.

Bodysurfers spin, somersault, cavort with the huge waves, and their tricks and antics are amazing to watch.

World famous bodysurfing Sandy Beach on the windward side of Oahu
World famous bodysurfing Sandy Beach on the windward side of Oahu

If you haven’t watched experienced bodysurfers ever before, head out to Sandy Beach!

While Sandy Beach is very popular with the teenage crowd, be wary of the vicious shore break!

In case you think this is easy, be warned: as with any sport, bodysurfing takes a lot of skill and experience, else you will end up with broken bones when the waves slam you to the shore.

Location: Southeast Oahu, windward side of Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables
Food Nearby: Thai Valley Cuisine
Parking: Street parking
Directions: Sandy Beach Park, 8801 Kalanianaole Hwy. Honolulu, HI 96825

>> Book an exciting, 5-star rated, highly popular, Oahu tour now!

11. Laniakea Beach (Turtle Beach)

Didn’t see any Hawaiian green sea turtles while snorkeling? Laniakea Beach, on the North Shore of Oahu, just a few miles north of the town of Haleiwa, is a popular option to see these animals from the shore or the beach.

The Hawaiian green sea turtle is endangered and protected, so please give them a wide berth, and respect their space!

We stopped at Laniakea Beach on our way to Haleiwa, and were amazed at how many turtles were on the beach! The kids had great fun taking photos.

Endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles (honus) basking in the sun on Laniakea Beach, North Shore, Oahu
Endangered Hawaiian green sea turtles (honus) basking in the sun on Laniakea Beach, North Shore, Oahu

As with the other North Shore Oahu beaches, the water can be very rough in winter, and even otherwise, the shoreline was quite rocky.

If you want to swim, snorkel or surf in summer, the other North Shore Oahu beaches are a safer bet.

Location: North Shore of Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, shaded areas, walking path
Food Nearby: Musubistro (fast food), Haleiwa or Pupukea are your best bets
Parking: Street parking
Directions: Laniakea Beach, 61-676 Kamehameha Hwy. Haleiwa, HI 96712

12. Keawaula Beach & Yokohama Bay

Want a beach that is more secluded and relatively private? Keawaula Beach on Yokohama Bay is one of the most secluded beaches on Oahu, far away from Waikiki and Honolulu.

Keawaula Beach, Yokohama Bay is one of the most secluded Oahu beaches, in the remote westernmost part of the island
Keawaula Beach, Yokohama Bay is one of the most secluded Oahu beaches, in the remote westernmost part of the island

Why the isolation? The Farrington Highway ends near the beach, and doesn’t connect to the North Shore of Oahu. Most tourists heading to the North Shore don’t take this route.

Yokohama Bay is one of the best snorkeling locations on West Oahu, but more suited for the intermediate and advanced swimmers due to its deeper waters and strong currents.

While you can swim or surf here, note that the surf is high, and there are strong currents throughout the year. The ocean floor drops steeply close to the beach, and waves break very close to the shore.

You can hike the Kaena Point Trail, a very popular hike along the westernmost point of Oahu.

Sunsets here are incredible, but be aware that the gates to park close around 5-6 pm.

Sunset view from Kaena Point, Oahu
Sunset view from Kaena Point, Oahu

Location: West Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, Kaena Point Trail
Food Nearby: None
Parking: Keawaula Beach Park parking lot
Directions: Keawaula Beach Park, 92-100 Waipahe Pl, Kapolei, HI 96707

13. Waimanalo Bay Beach

As with the other windward side Oahu beaches, Waimanalo Bay Beach is yet another stunningly beautiful beach with powdery white sand and clear blue waters.

Waimanalo Bay Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches on the east side
Waimanalo Bay Beach, one of the best Oahu beaches on the east side

Beach shows like Baywatch Hawaii were filmed here, so you can imagine how pretty the beach is! No wonder Waimanalo Bay Beach was rated #1 by Dr. Beach in 2015!

Unlike Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach, Waimanalo Bay Beach is relatively less crowded. You usually find only locals here on the weekends.

Common popular activities here are bodysurfing, swimming and boogie boarding!

With many ironwood trees along the shore, Waimanalo Bay Beach is an excellent place for a quiet stroll along the 3-mile long beach.

Ironwood trees lining up Waimanalo Bay beach
Ironwood trees lining up Waimanalo Bay beach

Location: East side (windward side) of Oahu
Lifeguard: Yes
Beach Amenities: Restrooms, showers, grass and shaded areas
Food Nearby: McDonalds
Parking: Waimanalo Bay Beach Park parking lot (Hunananiho parking)
Directions: Waimanalo Bay Beach Park, Waimanalo, HI 96795

Map of the Best Oahu Beaches

The below map shows the locations of the best Oahu beaches.

Ocean Safety Tips

Hawaii’s beaches are beautiful, but ocean activities can be dangerous. Ocean conditions are dynamic and can change without warning.

Here are some tips to enjoy the ocean and beaches safely:

  • ALWAYS heed posted warning signs.
  • Check conditions just before you arrive at your chosen beach, and watch conditions at the beach for a bit before you decide to enter the water.
  • Swim at a lifeguarded beach and ask the lifeguard for advice before you enter the water.
  • Never turn your back on the ocean, whether you are standing at the shore or on a cliff above. If you see wet rocks or sand, it means the water has been here recently.
  • Know your limitations, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer. If in doubt, do not go out.
  • If you choose to enter the water, go with a partner or in a group.
  • Know that alcohol can impair judgment and motor skills in the water.
  • Keep children close and always keep your eyes on what they are doing in the water.
  • Watch for sharp coral or rocks or sea urchins.
  • Check advisories regarding water quality at various beaches here.

Snorkeling and Water Activities Gear Checklist

Though you can rent snorkeling gear or use the ones that come with tours, we invested in our own gear, mainly due to Covid-19 (why take the risk?).

Best Oahu Tours

Have you booked these popular Oahu tours and excursions yet?

Love snorkeling? This Turtle Canyon snorkeling excursion from Waikiki lets you frolic with colorful fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles. Hands down the MOST BOOKED Oahu snorkeling tour: turtle sightings are guaranteed!

The most popular luau in Oahu, Paradise Cove Luau has a 4.5 rating on Viator with over 3.5K reviews. The tour includes pick-up from your Waikiki hotel, pre-dinner games, arts, and crafts, a delicious meal, and an award-winning show.

Based in Waikiki but want to see more of the island? This full-day Oahu Circle Island Tour includes Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Haleiwa, the Dole Plantation, and more!

Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor! This popular Pearl Harbor tour includes boat tickets and round-trip transport from Waikiki.

A super popular Oahu North Shore excursion, this Oahu shark cage dive allows you to observe wild sharks in the open ocean from the safety of a cage! It’s a THRILLING Oahu adventure for your bucket list.

We have a detailed guide to the top Oahu tours and excursions if you are in the midst of planning your itinerary for the island.

Renting a Car in Oahu

If you want to explore more of the island of Oahu on your vacation, you should get a rental car.

Oahu’s popular attractions are spread over the island: the windward coast, the North Shore, and Ko Olina are great places to explore beyond Waikiki (or the greater Honolulu area).

While Oahu does have public transport options that are better than the other islands, a car offers a lot more flexibility and time savings.

We always use Discover Cars to book Oahu car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Oahu car rentals now!

Honolulu Airport-Hotel Shuttle

If you are not planning to get a rental car at Honolulu Airport, consider booking shuttle transport in advance!

This shared shuttle can be canceled up to 24 hours from the date of service. It serves hotels in Waikiki and Honolulu and then back again to the airport the day you leave. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Oahu now!

Staying in Ko Olina? Consider this round-trip airport transfer instead!

Where to Stay in Oahu

Honolulu (Waikiki in particular) offers a large number of hotels and resorts, along with shopping and dining options. Most visitors to Oahu choose to base in Honolulu at least for a part of their stay.

While many of the large chains have a presence if you are looking to use your memberships, Honolulu also has several unique boutiques to consider.

Our faves include Halekulani for a splurge stay, the Lotus Honolulu for views of Diamond Head, and The Laylow for its awesome location.

Want more room to spread out or looking to stay elsewhere on Oahu? You will find VRBO listings all over the island!

On previous trips to Oahu, we have stayed in VRBO rentals in Waikiki as well as on the North Shore and the east coast and we’ve found the choice and quality great.

>> Look for an Oahu vacation rental on VRBO now!

Stunning sunset colors at Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Stunning sunset colors at Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

More Oahu Travel Inspiration

Planning a trip to Oahu? Check out our other in-depth Oahu travel guides for help finalizing your Oahu itinerary!

Start by discovering the best things to do in Oahu. We also have a detailed guide to Oahu’s North Shore, a round-up of things to do on the east side of Oahu, and the best things to do in Ko Olina, on the west coast of the island.

If you ar planning a short first visit to the island, we have the perfect day-by-day 3 days in Oahu itinerary for you!

Of course you’ll want to learn about all the exciting things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital, and Waikiki, the touristic core of Oahu. We also have an article on the best places to eat in Waikiki!

Check out our guide to the best beaches in Oahu, and a round-up of the best beaches on the north shore of Oahu. Also read about must-visit Oahu waterfalls and botanical gardens in Oahu you have to visit.

Oahu is home to so many must-visit landmarks! Check out our in-depth article on how to visit Pearl Harbor, and our guides on the beautiful Waimea Valley in Oahu and the spectacular Byodo-In Temple.

Want to enjoy the thrill of observing sharks in the wild? Check out our article on shark cage diving on Oahu’s North Shore! Enjoy birding? Check out our guide to the birds of Oahu!

Discover the top places to go snorkeling in west Oahu, where you will find a long coastline with lovely beaches, and tips for snorkeling Kaneohe Sandbar on the island’s east coast as well as the super popular Hanauma Bay.

And if you love marine life, also check out our complete guide to (respectfully!) see and swim with dolphins in Oahu, and the best spots to snorkel with turtles in Oahu.

For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, we have a round-up of the best Oahu hikes, and if you are looking to exclude the harder Oahu trails, a guide to the best easy Oahu hikes.

Find out how to do the iconic (and VERY popular) Diamond Head Hike near Waikiki for exceptional views. We also have a guide to the very popular Manoa Falls Trail in Honolulu.

More advanced hikers will want to read up on the Koko Head Hike, a long set of stairs leading to expansive views.

Learn where to go for the best sunsets in Oahu, whether you want to hike or enjoy watching a colorful Hawaiian sunset without working up a sweat.

We also have a guide to the best sunrise hikes in Oahu, one of which is the spectacular Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail in the southeastern part of the island. The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is another wonderful sunrise hike on Oahu!

If you are a garden enthusiast, check out our detailed guide to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, our article on the unique Koko Crater Botanical Garden, and our guide to Foster Botanical Garden!

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Discover the most beautiful, must-visit beaches in Oahu, Hawaii, from Lanikai Beach to Waikiki Beach!

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