13 of the Best Beaches in Oahu for Swimming

Oahu is famous for its waterfalls, unspoiled coastlines, and naturally beautiful rainforests.

But, if you’re like most people, your first impression of the island is most likely of the beaches.

After all, they are where most visitors first get a chance to really relax and take it all in.

The island’s clear waters and hot sunshine mean that swimmers have plenty of options.

If you haven’t done it yet, now is the time to pack up your swimsuit and hit the beach.

From the most popular to the lesser-known ones, these are the best beaches in Oahu that are safe for swimming.

1. Lanikai Beach

Lanikai Beach is widely considered one of the best beaches in Oahu for swimming, thanks to its calm waters and offshore reef that keeps currents at bay.

This makes it a great spot for snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, and even sunbathing, as the water is generally quite shallow.

Sunset and sunrise watching are also popular activities at Lanikai Beach, as the views from the shore are truly stunning.

If you’re looking to explore some nearby attractions, this beach is also a popular departure point for kayakers who want to make their way over to the Mokulua Islands.

Just be sure to arrive early, as parking can sometimes be tricky to find!

Whether you’re looking to spend a day swimming, sunbathing, or just taking in the incredible views, Lanikai Beach will tick all the boxes.

Snorkeling Hanauma bay Oahu Hawaii
Hanauma Bay Beach

2. Hanauma Bay

With crystal-clear waters that are perfect for snorkeling and diving, Hanauma Bay is a must-visit destination on your trip to Oahu.

This natural bay is home to hundreds of tropical fish and other marine life, making it a perfect spot for both beginner and experienced snorkelers.

And with its gentle waves and sandy shores, Hanauma Bay is also a great place to relax and soak up the Hawaiian sun.

So whether you’re looking for an adventure or a place to simply unwind, be sure to add Hanauma Bay to your Oahu itinerary.

3. Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is undoubtedly one of the best beaches on Oahu for swimming.

Not only is it beautiful to look at, but the water is clear and calm and makes a perfect place to swim in during the summertime.

Many people love going there because they know that they’ll be able to enjoy themselves without ever having to worry about strong currents or getting caught up in undertows.

And when winter rolls around, you’ll see many surfers taking advantage of the great conditions for surfing.

Overall, if you’re looking for a fantastic beach on Oahu that offers some of the best conditions for swimming no matter what time of year it is, Sunset Beach should definitely be your first choice!

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4. Malaekahana Beach

Malaekahana Beach, located on Oahu’s northwestern shore, is one-mile-long of white sandy bliss with excellent water conditions, which makes it a great place to relax and enjoy the cool waters.

This beach offers several activities, including volleyball, sunbathing, and hiking.

Whether you are a beginner or a more advanced swimmer, Malaekahana Beach is suitable for everyone.

If you are looking for a great beach that’s usually not crowded, make sure to check this one out.

5. Makapu’u Beach

Makapu’u Beach (also known as Waimanalo) is a beautiful, picturesque beach located along Makapu’u Point on the Windward side of Oahu.

This white sand beach draws crowds of locals and visitors alike who come to enjoy its crystal clear waters and perfect waves for bodysurfing and boogie boarding.

With lifeguards on duty, Makapu’u Beach is a great place for swimming, but it’s important to stay aware of strong undercurrents that can pull you out into the ocean if you aren’t careful.

Whether you want to catch some waves or just lounge in the sun, pack your bags and head down to Makapu’u Beach – you won’t regret it!

Waikiki Beach
waikiki beach

6. Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Oahu, and with good reason.

Although usually crowded with people, the water is crystal clear and calm, making for great swimming conditions.

The beach is also situated right next to the city, so you can easily grab a bite to eat in between swims.

And if you’re looking for more than just swimming, there are plenty of other activities available, like canoeing, paddleboarding, and snorkeling.

7. Makaha Beach Park

Makaha Beach Park is one of the best beaches in Oahu for swimming thanks to its crystal-clear waters and gentle waves.

Situated at the western end of Oahu, not far from the town of Waianae, it’s a safe and fun beach, even for families with young children.

Makaha Beach also boasts fantastic snorkeling opportunities due to the rich marine life offshore, as well as a number of other water-based activities such as surfing and bodyboarding.

The northern part of the beach is popular with surfers because of the strong waves and currents.

However, these same conditions can be dangerous for swimmers.

For a safer experience, head to the middle part of the beach where you’ll find calmer waters.

Just be sure to take note that there is no lifeguard on duty in this area.

With a little safety in mind, you’re sure to have a great time at Makaha Beach.

8. Ala Moana Beach Park

When it comes to finding the best beaches in Oahu, Ala Moana Beach Park should definitely be at the top of your list.

The clear water and protected shoreline make it ideal for swimming and snorkeling, and you’ll find plenty of fish to swim with.

If you’re looking for a picnic spot, there are plenty of tables where you can enjoy a meal or a snack.

Kailua Beach
kailua beach

9. Kailua Beach

The waters at Kailua Beach are crystal clear and the sand is powder-like, making it a perfect place to spend a day with family with little ones.

The beach park includes plenty of amenities like picnic tables and food stands to grab a snack.

With few tourists in sight, you’ll have your own slice of paradise here – perfect for a picnic or a game of frisbee.

The best part?

The beach is only a mile from Lanikai Beach, so you can easily spend a day bouncing between the two beaches.

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10. Waimea Bay

Summer is the time of year when people flock to Waimea Bay; this beautiful beach is known for its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking panoramas.

Whether you’re a local looking to have a picnic or a tourist looking for a dip, this idyllic slice of paradise is the perfect place to be.

During the summer months, when the water is still and calm, even young children can splash and play in safety.

But beware: the winter season brings in monstrous waves, so it’s definitely not the place for a leisurely swim.

However, if you’re an experienced surfer, you’ll be in for a treat as the waves provide plenty of opportunity to show off your skills.

Just be aware that the roads can get crowded and parking may be a little hard to find.

11. Pokai Bay Beach Park

If you’re looking for a place to take a dip and escape the crowds, Pokai Beach is the perfect spot.

The tranquil shoreline is surrounded by a reef, so you can enjoy the calm water without worrying about strong currents.

Plus, the sandy bottom and shallow depth make it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

So whether you’re exploring the underwater world or just want to relax on the beach, Pokai Beach is a great spot to lay your towel, laze in the sun and splash around.

12. Bellows Field Beach Park

The waters are protected by an offshore reef at Bellows Field Beach Park, and the area is usually calm – perfect for anyone looking to swim a little bit or who simply wants an ocean experience without all the chop.

Bellows Field Beach Park is also a great spot to learn how to bodysurf or bodyboard.; the waves are small and consistent which is a bonus for beginners.

Just make sure to keep an eye out for jellyfish; they like to appear near the shores and the stings can be pretty painful.

Of course, the popularity of the park means that it can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays.

But if you’re willing to brave the crowds, you’ll find that this beach is a great place to learn how to ride the waves.

If you’re looking for an active day on the sand, Bellows Field Beach Park is definitely worth a visit!

Nanakuli Beach Park
Nanakuli Beach Park sunset

13. Nanakuli Beach Park

If you’re looking for a great place to take a dip in Oahu, you’ll definitely want to check out Nanakuli Beach Park.

Nestled between two limestone cliffs, this beach stretches for over 500 feet and is a prime location for swimming and diving.

Craving some more adventurous activities? This beach offers excellent surfing conditions during the winter months and is ideal for bodyboarding or fishing year-round.