Heart of Hawaii

The Gathering Place

Oahu is also known as the Heart of Hawaii, with a variety of sights, activities, and tastes to meet everyone’s vacation goals. This article will focus on the beaches of Oahu.

Hawaii is known for its great beaches and surfing. It’s important to pay attention to the beach warnings and swim where lifeguards are on duty. The currents can change quickly, and the winter months can have especially large and powerful waves that have caused professional surfers to need to be rescued from them. Summer months provide calmer waves for learning to surf as well as snorkeling.


“Visit HIOCEANSAFETY.COM which constantly monitors the surf, wind, and reports from public safety officials that directly affect the conditions for safety of Hawaiian beaches.“ Hawaii Tourism Board

Let’s look at some of the beaches to help you decide which is right for you.

Waikiki is undoubtedly one of the most famous beaches in Hawaii. Waikiki is a very business area with over four million visitors each year. Located on the Sou

th Shore, Waikiki is an ideal location to learn how to surf or canoe. If you are looking for a quieter area of Waikiki, try Queen Surf Beach close to the Le’ahi Head side (Diamond Head).

A few family friendly beaches, that are great for children include Kaimana Beach park, Ala Moana Regional Park with calm waters and tables for picnics, and the manmade Magic Island Lagoon.

North Shore beaches are popular with surfers especially during the winter months with waves can be   25 feet tall in some areas. Sunset Beach and Banazi Pipeline are two venues for Triple Crown Surfing and offer some of the biggest waves and most dangerous areas to surf during winter months.

For calmer waters perfect for snorkeling and swimming try Waimea Bay Beach Park in the summer months. It is a full facility beach, making it a popular lo

cation. Chun’s Ree is great for beach goers of all ages and even features a freshwater pond, perfect for children. If you are looking to swim with sea turtles, Turtle Bay is the location for snorkeling and hopefully seeing the Hawaiian green sea turtle.

Makapu’u Beach Park on the winward (eastern) side is a popular spot with bodyboarders. Take a break from the surf and visit the nearby Makapu’u Lighthouse.

On the leeward, or western, coast are stretches of white sand and turquoise water. Yokohama Beach is a great place to watch for dolphins and has an ideal hiking tra

il nearby for Instaworthy ocean views.

Leave it better than you found it. I grew up learning this principle from Girl Scouts, to always leave your campsite or anywhere you visit better than you found it. In other words, if you see trash that isn’t yours, pick it up and throw it away. When visiting Hawaii beaches here are a few tips to make your visit align with the aloha spirit of protecting and respecting the environment.

  1. Bring refillable water bottles. Many tourists will stop at stores and by a large package of plastic water bottles ready to go, but an even better option would to purchase a couple of large gallons of water and bring collapsible reusable water bottles with you. Why collapsible? The take up less space and are lighter to carry around when they are empty.
  2. Reef Safe Sunscreen to protect your skin, but also the coral and wildlife in our oceans. There are a few with the Hawaii Reef Compliant seal on them to help you know they are safe options for entering the water. Some beaches around the world will only allow you to enter with reef safe sunscreen. Check out Sun Bum or Coola sunscreen for your next beach vacation.
  3. Rash guard clothing is another sun and surf protection option. Some beaches around the world do not allow sunscreen at all and this is your only option for protecting yourself while at the beach. It can also be a nice break from apply sunscreen multiple times throughout the day
  4. if you are out hiking, sightseeing, and snorkeling.
  5. Volunteer for a Beach Cleanup Day. You can do your own beach clean up at any beach your spend the day at and fill out this form to report the debris amount and type so it can be monitored. You can also participate in a large scale clean up depending on your time on the islands. Find upcoming dates for large scale clean up. There are so many other voluntourism opportunities available as well. If you have more of an interest in plant life or wildlife, there are opportunities for you. Voluntourism not only helps you give back to the places you visit, it also helps you connect and learn more about those places and people.

If you are ready to book your next Hawaiian vacation, I’m ready to assist you. Please reach out to emeraldjourneystravel@gmail.com to get started planning.

*Links are to affiliate sites. I may earn a small amount if you purchase from these links. Thank you for your support.