Top Three Beaches on Oahu

Categorized as Oahu Vacation Information

I was visiting Hawaii, staying on Oahu and I decided I would explore all of the beaches of Oahu. I nabbed a great Oahu Vacation Rental and I began my journey. Along the way I compiled a list of what I feel are Oahu’s Top Three Beaches.

The first beach I really like is Maakaha Beach Park, which is great for swimming during the summer months when the water is very gentle. When the surf is small this is also a great place for bodyboarding, providing very long rides. Makaha Beach has full facilities as well as a lifeguard, and I like that it is usually uncrowded on weekdays. Large winter waves can create dangerous conditions including rip currents, so always make sure and check with a lifeguard about water conditions and also the dreaded rip currents.

Makaha Beach is a renowned surfing spot from ancient days, and still today the locals demonstrate their amazing talents on the big waves. Makaha Beach is also the site of the annual Buffalo’s Longboard Contest, a classic surfing contest run by the legendary Buffalo Kaulana.

The Makaha area is also the site of an ancient Hawiian heiau (sacred place of worship) called Kaneaki. This heiau was originally dedicated to Lono, the god of agriculture and fertility, and later became a luakini heiau where human sacrifices were performed.

Another beach I really like is Ala Moana Beach Park. The beach at Ala Moana is very wide with lots of sand and shallow water well protected from the open sea. This makes Ala Moana a very popular beach for people who like to swim but don’t like very rough water. The calm water and the large grass lawn near to the beach also make this a popular place for families with children. However, the seafloor does drop off into deeper water in some places, so it is good that there is a lifeguard at this beach. There are also large picnic areas as well as restrooms and showers.

Another good thing about Ala Moana is that the Ala Moana Shopping Center is just across the street. As calm as this beach seems, however, strong currents may be created by winds and tidal changes. I was even told that children have drowned at this beach due to panic caused when caught in these currents, so parents are advised to monitor their children at all times and not assume that the lifeguards will serve as babysitters. Inexperienced swimmers should stay away from the reef area beyond the channel where there are jagged rocks and sharp coral as well as waves and currents.

Ala Moana actually has an interesting history. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dedicated Moana Park in 1934, and it was renamed Ala Moana in 1947. Eventually sand was brought to the beachfront area, and the two-story Ala Moana shopping center was built on the adjacent 50 acres of land. The Ala Moana shopping center opened in 1959, the same year the Hawaiian Islands were admitted as the 50th state.

Another beach I just love is Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. Did you know that more than one million visitors come to crescent-shaped Hanauma Bay each year to snorkel and see the large schools of colorful tropical fish. This is one of Oahu’s best snorkeling areas with great coral reefs. There is also a nice sandy beach.

Hanauma Bay was formed by two sunken volcanic craters, and the bay is now partially protected from the open sea. Conditions at Hanauma are generally safe near the shore, but there is also a potentially dangerous current near the mouth of the bay. This current is known as the Molokai Express.

Always avoid touching the reef at Hanauma because coral is very delicate, and it takes a long time to grow. An amazing array of colorful tropical fish can be seen while snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, and both sides of Hanauma Bay are lined with lava rock ledges. One drawback is that even though the water at Hanauma Bay is usually very clear, it often gets cloudier as more people arrive and begin snorkeling in the bay, so your best bet is to come early.

Some hazards should be considered at this beach. For example, do not walk on rocky ledges where waves are breaking as this is extremely dangerous. The lava rock is sharp and slippery, and also breaks easily. Sudden large waves can wash people away without warning.

Hanauma Bay has been called one of the Hawaiian Islands’ most dangerous beaches, but part of the reason for that is because Hanauma is one of the most popular beaches.

Next time you are visiting Oahu and staying at a wonderful Oahu Vacation Rental make sure and check out some of these wonderful beaches.