If you are planning a family day out, we have found these to be the 17 best beaches in Oahu:
- Kuilima Cove
- Ko’olina Beach
- Magic Island Lagoon
- Pupukea Beach Park
- Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve
- Sherwood Beach Park
- Baby Makapu’u
- Lanikai Beach
- Waikiki Beach
- Waimea Bay
- Ala Moana Beach Park
- Paradise Cove
- Bellows Field Beach Park
- Waimanalo Bay Beach Park
- Kailua Beach
- Kualoa Regional Park
- Yokohama Beach
In the rest of the article, we’re going to look into why these 17 are the best beaches in Oahu for families and what you can do there with your little ones.
If you want a pretty chilled day out, the beaches on Kuilima Cove are ideal. The combination of its large size and its not being as well known as some of the others means that the kids will be able to spread out and run around to their heart’s content. There is also tons of wildlife to see, which is great for animal-lovers in your family.
Ko’olina Beach consists of four lagoons cradled by soft, white sand. Because of the way they are created, the Kohola, Honu, Nai’a and Ulua lagoons are quite shallow and the water is calm, sheltered from the waves. Small children and those that aren’t very confident in their swimming abilities can take advantage of this to get in the water without worry.
Magic Island Lagoon
Another man-made lagoon on the list is on the delightfully named Magic Island. Residents or visitors to Honolulu can get their families over in no time to enjoy some of the most placid water around and an incredible view to boot.
Pupukea Beach Park
There are actually two big locations that you can visit at the Pupukea Beach Park, and you can even do them on the same day to keep things interesting. Three Tables on one side and Shark’s Cove on the other are both great spots for snorkeling. Be careful in the winter, though, as waves can get a good bit rougher than in the summer.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
If the name doesn’t give it away, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is perfect for kids with an interest in nature. Budding naturalists in your family will be able to explore the area and its incredible diversity of wildlife. Remember not to touch the corals, as they are protected here.
Sherwood Beach Park
Sherwood Beach Park has the distinction of housing the longest beach on Oahu, so it is perhaps ironic that it is so overlooked. The good news for you is that if you don’t like crowds on your beach days, this is the perfect destination.
The waves at Sherwood Beach Park can be a bit rougher than some of the other offerings on the list, so it’s not recommended for small children to go in alone, but it does make the location great for body surfing and boogie boarding.
The collection of tide pools at Baby Makapu’u make it a great spot for toddlers to have a leisurely splash around in the water. If you’ve got older kids in the family, beyond the edge of the shore, the waves are great for body boarders who are after a bit of a thrill.
Lanikai Beach is not strictly set up to be an intentional beach destination, so you’re likely to find few tourists there, and amenities are greatly limited, even parking. The flipside to this is that the atmosphere on the beach is much less frantic, and the scenery it offers is absolutely without comparison.
One of the prime beaches in Honolulu, Waikiki Beach is arguably the main beach destination for tourists on Oahu. The many hotels that sit alongside it signal this as much as the beautiful view and abundance of amenities. While Waikiki Beach has everything you need, you’re going to be far from the only family present at this popular destination, so take that into consideration before you visit.
The beach at Waimea Bay holds a distinct reputation as being great for surfers for its wild waves in the winter but relatively calm in the summer. Nonetheless, even in the summer, the water isn’t especially sheltered, so if going in the water is going to be an aim, it is best for families with older children.
Ala Moana Beach Park
Another Honolulu location, Ala Moana Beach is like a more relaxed version of the nearby Waikiki Beach. The surrounding reef ensures the water stays calm and shallow, so little ones will have an easier time splashing around in it.
A beach that truly lives up to its name, the reef keeps the waters at Paradise Cove placid and shallow, making them ideal for anyone from smaller children to unconfident swimmers to families just looking for a relaxing day. You can even spot visiting sea turtles swimming through the water from time to time.
Bellow Fields Beach Park
A unique location that will leave an impression for a long time, Bellows Beach meets fluffy white sands with gorgeous blue water. The waves can be a bit rough, so the water is recommended only for stronger swimmers. Don’t visit on weekdays either because the beach is used by the military between Monday and Friday.
Waimanalo Bay Beach Park
Slow-paced and relaxed are two words to describe Waimanalo Beach. Rarely used, this one is perfect for a quiet family day on the shore to get away from all the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Kailua Beach fits much of the same niche as the nearby Lanikai Beach, though the former is better known and more visited. The benefit of this is that parking and other amenities are more easily accessible.
Kualoa Regional Park
If your family can’t decide between a beach day and a picnic day, you can split the difference and go to Kualoa Regional Park. There’s not that much sand, but the green lawn stretches far and wide, reaching almost up to the waterline.
The waters at Yokohama Beach can be a bit tumultuous, which is perfect if you have surfers in the family but less so if it’s mostly small children. The real magic here is with the visiting dolphins, a sight the kids are unlikely to ever forget.