“On a white sandy beach of Hawai’i”
(Side note: this song is stuck on repeat in my head while I write this post)
Ah Hawai’i, *cue ukulele background music*
The land of rainbows, palm trees lightly swaying in the trade winds, beautiful beaches, breathtaking sunsets, and lush mountains that seem to touch heaven. Sounds too good to be true right? BUT IT IS ALL REAL (see photo proof below). It is easy to see why Hawai’i is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. If your family gets orders here then consider yourselves some of the lucky few that will get to call these islands home for a few years! This post will share a list of our absolute favorite beaches to go to on the island of Oahu.
#1 Bellows Beach (Waimanalo)
Located on (and off) of Bellows Air Force Base on the windward side of Oahu, this beauty of a beach offers a family friendly campsite with a nice canopy of trees for shade, clear blue water with boogie boarding sized waves, soft white sandy bottom, and terrific views of the surrounding mountains! Leave it to the Air Force to have such a beautiful piece of real estate! There is a portion of the Bellows beach that extends off base and is open to the public only on the weekends (due to military training conducted during the week.) You can bet too that the off base portion gets packed with locals and tourists on the weekends, so we always preferred to go onto the base for smaller crowds, PX/subway, and bathroom/shower facilities. There are also lifeguards that stand duty on the base portion of the beach for extra peace of mind with kiddos. If you’re visiting, there are some nice oceanfront cabins available for rent. This beach is perfect for relaxing, enjoying the views, and hanging with friends & family.
(Photo Credit: Right Frame Photography)
#2 Kailua Beach (Lanakai)
Kailua gives off all the Hawaii beach town vibes. The town of Kailua has cute beachy shops and restaurants less than a five minute drive from the beach access parking lot. AND located directly across the street from the main parking lot of this beach is Buzz’s Steakhouse; my favorite restaurant in Hawaii! Seriously if you go everything is delicious and the calamari appetizer is one of the bet things I have ever tasted. Ok sorry, back to beach talk! The water at this beach is calm, little to no waves, clear blue, and has soft white sand! It is perfect for little ones so they can float or play in the shallow water area without getting smacked by waves. Also perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding with a place nearby you can rent these items if needed. Dogs are allowed here, lifeguards stand duty, and there are bathroom/shower facilities available. This beach gets packed on the weekends, so I suggest getting there early because parking is limited! Lastly, this beach is about a ten minute drive from the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe Bay.
#3 Officer’s & Secret Beach
These are two different beaches on the Marine Corps Base, so they can only be used by those with a military ID. I talked briefly about Officer’s beach in my last post on Hawai’i Base housing. We loved this beautiful beach and frequented it often because it was just a minute walk from our house! Officer’s Beach (despite the name) has no rank restrictions and is enjoyed by everyone! This beach is within walking distance from most of the neighborhoods on base, and has the beautiful Clipper Golf Course backing up onto one side of it. This beach is especially great for families in the summertime, but starting in the fall and into the winter months it becomes a surfer’s beach with really large waves and currents from the stronger than average trade winds at that time in the year. When there isn’t a high tide in, there is a small portion of a cove area with literally no waves and this is where the little ones and parents would like to gather. Only try surfing here if you know what you’re doing, there are lots of rocks & coral in the water, so be sure to do a survey of the shoreline before picking your spot to surf. This beach offers a beautiful view of the mountains!
Secret Beach is exactly it’s name, secret! I only found out about this little beach from friends that lived there before me and knew where it was. There is no set address for it to put into your GPS, but I can tell you it’s across the flight line near the Force Recon Company Headquarters. If you decide you want to go here ask around on base and someone should be able to give you directions! This beach has rougher sand and a coral reef to snorkle, BUT the water is so calm making it easy to float, snorkel, and paddle board. This beach also has a front row view to coconut island (island of Gilligan’s famous marooned crew) and on a clear day you can see China Man’s hat!
#4 Waikiki Beach
Located in the city of Honolulu, this is the Hawaii postcard beach that offers the best tourist experience along with some pretty awesome views of the iconic diamond head. A day on this beach will feel like a scene out of Elvis’s “Blue Hawaii.” There is a large sandbar off of Waikiki beach that breaks the waves and provides calm water for beach goers to take a dip and relax without being pummeled by waves. The sand under water is coral based, so it is unpleasant to walk on and can be rocky & rough. All along the beach are hotels and restaurants, so if you get hungry or thirsty while on the beach then you can just walk up a few feet from your chair and grab whatever you need! The Hale Koa is a military resort located at Fort Derussy in Waikiki & has a priceless portion of beach front. Even if you aren’t staying the night in Waikiki, you can still park in the Hale Koa hotel garage across the street at a discounted price and have access to the PX, restaurants, pools, and the beach side barefoot bar and grill! All with just showing your Military ID!
#5 North Shore Beach
Located at the top of the island is the iconic North Shore. This is the beach to go to if you want to see the big waves and world class surfers! This beach is very pretty and depending which area you go to it may not be too crowded either. However, if you go in the winter time the waves can be so massive that the beach can be closed to the public. There is a cute town called Haleiwa on the North Shore that has lots of beachy shops & restaurants. After a long, hot day at the beach be sure to grab a shave ice at the world famous Matsumotos!
This list concludes our top favorite beaches in Hawaii! However there are sooo many beaches on the island, all of which are beautiful cause I mean come on it’s Hawaii. If you are getting stationed out here, just going for vacation, or even just day dreaming about visiting then I hope you found this post helpful 🙂