3 Beaches Better than Waikīkī
Thanks for stopping by. If you’re here then it must mean you’re in search of some killer beaches. If you know even a little about our beaches here in Hawaiʻi, chances are you’ve heard about the fabled Waikīkī beach, one of the most renowned beaches in the world. But, in all honesty, it has to be one of my least favorite. Why you ask? There are just simply too many tourists and tall jaunting skyscrapers sprinkled across the manmade shoreline. Over the years, I’ve realized the island has so much more to offer.
Below is a list I put together of my top three favorite beaches on Oʻahu. I’ll be sharing some photos as well as maps regarding how to reach these places from town!
Known for its calm surf and white sand, Lanikai beach is located on the eastern side of the island. In my opinion, Lanikai is one of the most beautiful beaches during a sunrise or sunset. It’s also home to Nā Mokulua, a pair of picturesque islands that rest just off the coast. The last time I went, my friends and I rented a kayak and paddled out to the islands. If you hike clockwise around the island to the left, you’ll find an excellent jumping spot called “Heaven's Corner.” Aside from that, the overall calm vibes make Lanikai a great place for paddle boarding and chill picnics.
Voted “America's Best Beach” back in 2015, Waimānalo Bay can be found on the eastern side of the island. Unlike the typical Hawaiian beach overrun with palm trees, pine trees densely populate the shoreline, providing generous amounts of shade. Waimānalo Bay also happens to be one of the longest beaches on the islands, meaning there’s tons of space for all beach goers! The extra room makes it the prime playing field for frisbee and volleyball.
Now this one is a long drive, but it’s more than worth it. Located on the western tip sits the untouched Yokohama Bay with the vast green Waiʻanae mountains to your back. Compared to a beach like Waikīkī, visitors are a lot scarcer, resulting in an overall cleaner beach and more abundant wildlife. The raw beauty of Oʻahu!
Note: If you keep heading even more west, there is a little hike called Kaʻena Point, a sanctuary for an array of birds like albatross, as well as the occasional monk seal!
Before You Go
You may have noticed that I didn’t include any beaches along the North shore. That’s because those beaches are notorious for giant waves, so it's important to check the size of waves online first. Many accidents happen each year due to underestimating the ocean. Here’s a video of a child nearly being swept away by the powerful waves. Don’t let it be you!
If even one of these beaches was unfamiliar to you, I would highly recommend taking the chance to visit them.
But you didn’t hear it from me ;) This list was top secret.
Eunsun Lee, a Seoul native, graduated with a BA in English Literature and Linguistics and a BA in Economics from Seoul National University.