As a second generation beach connoisseur, I’m always ready for the beach with a bikini, sarong, flip flops (slippers), sunscreen, mischievous hat, and libation of choice. Some of my favorites over the past thirty-something years of beaching are Negril in Jamaica, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and Varadero in Cuba. Additionally, I do have to give a shout out to my former home of South Florida. It is hard to beat the long and wide beaches of Miami and Fort Lauderdale with the bathtub warm Caribbean waters. However, in order to continue my explorations of other tropical beaches, specifically away from the Caribbean and into the Pacific, I recently moved to Hawaii.
Although I chose Kauai as my base, it would be a sin not to explore the other Hawaiian islands, no? So I went on my maiden voyage to Honolulu in search of the best beach on Oahu. Naturally, like most, I gravitated to Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach. Although I thought the sunset overlooking Waikiki from Diamond Head was spectacular, the beach alone was not my favorite. You may call me a beach snob because of my negative review of Waikiki, but I prefer a beach connoisseur with certain pre-requisites for a good to great beach. With that said, I’m of the type that enjoys less hotels and condo development along a walkable sand beach with a protected area or bay to do water-sports, and without the crowds. I knew that it would be hard to find perfection with my specifications, but I did find the best beach on Oahu. For me, it is none other than Kailua Beach.
About thirty-minutes outside of the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, you will find Kailua Town and Kailua Beach, both very laid back and welcoming. The half-mile beach is easily accessible with parking at the beach park as well as tables, showers, and restrooms for a comfortable all-day stay. In a protective bay with gentle breezes, it is an ideal beach for sunbathing, a romantic walk with your lover, playing in the sand with kids, running with your dog, as well as adventure water sports: kayaking, body boarding, windsurfing, and hobbie cat sailing. With the Mokulua Islands or commonly called the “Moks” just offshore, there are opportunities for kayak adventures, whether single or tandem and with or without guide right from rental outfitters at the beach. Kailua Beach is a local choice away from the crowds at Waikiki Beach. Plus, it is much more peaceful that some of the North Shore’s famous surfing beaches, Pipeline and Sunset Beach.
On my visit, I picnicked under the shade of an Australian Pine. I walked off my lunch with a beach stroll along the soft, white sand with an occasional dip to cool off and just slow down to enjoy the true island time pace of Kailua. With such a short first visit to Oahu, I only scratched the surface of its beauty. I will be back to take a deeper dive. Specifically, on my next adventure to Oahu, I would like to revisit Kailua Beach and take a kayak adventure out to the “Moks.”
Have you traveled to Oahu? What is your verdict on the best beach on Oahu? Do you agree with me about Kailua Beach? I always love to hear from other adventureros/as about your travels.
Oahu is a long haul for Americans (5-6 hours flight from the West Coast), but so worth it. If you are coming from abroad, make sure to get your travel visa from Esta in advance. Get ready for the aloha spirit and some of the most spectacular beauty the States has to offer.
For more information on all things Hawaii, check out Visiting Hawaii, a Definitive Guide.
Here’s to more good times and good stories. Aloha!