O‘ahu has a coastline fringed with golden beaches.
In 2018, coastal scientist Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (better known as Dr. Beach) ranked Kapalua Bay on Maui as the best beach in the nation. This year’s honor goes to O‘ahu’s Kailua Beach Park, with Duke Kahanmoku Beach coming in at #5. Here are our other
1. KAILUA BEACH PARK
Its #1 ranking among the nation’s top beaches is well deserved. It has the largest white-sand parcel found on O‘ahu and is ideal for walking at low tide. Take in the cool sea breeze as kayakers, kite surfers, paddle boarders and swimmers revel in the clear water. The beach park is popular among families.
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2. HANAUMA BAY STATE PARK
Not a “beach park” per se, but a Nature Preserve, this underwater ecosystem gives snorkelers a chance to mingle with hundreds of colorful finned friends, including butterfly fish, puffer fish and eels.
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3. DUKE KAHANAMOKU BEACH
Ranked #5 in the nation by Dr. Beach, this crescent-shaped beach is named after legendary Olympian and “the Father of Modern Surfing,” Duke Kahanamoku. Protected by a seawall, the waters are perfect for swimming and stand-up board paddling. It is located on the west end of Waikīkī Beach.
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Located in Lā‘ie, this State Recreation Area boasts a wooded beach park that’s fronted by a stretch of golden granules. There are 37 developed camp sites, which require advance permits.
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5. ALA MOANA REGIONAL PARK
Nicknamed “the People’s Park,” this beach is a favorite among local residents. The area offers a large wave-free lagoon, ideal for keiki (kids), swimming and stand-up paddling. Magic Island is at the Diamond Head end of the beach, offering 76 acres of shady spots for picnics, parking and walking trails. Outside the protective reef, surfers delight with the many breaks.
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6. KO OLINA BEACH PARK
On the southwest corner of O‘ahu, these family-friendly lagoons are sculpted into the coast like four circular pools. Privately developed, but open to the public, these smooth-sand beaches with their pristine waters are a safe delight for children. Pleasant walkways connect the lagoons with surrounding luxury resorts, which offer many places to eat and explore.
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7. NORTH SHORE BEACH PARKS
Stretching across what is known as the “Seven Mile Miracle,” the North Shore encompasses world famous surfing spots, including Hale‘iwa Beach Park, Waimea Bay (pictured below), Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. During the winter months (November through February) professional surfers from around the world arrive to compete in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
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