Oahu has some of the best beaches in the state of Hawaii. You'll want to go to the North Shore for world-class surfing during the winter months and fantastic snorkeling during the calm summer. The South Shore is home to the famous Waikiki Beach. The East Shores have huge, long stretches of white sand beaches and the West Shores of Oahu feature rugged, unspoiled coastlines.
My suggestion is that you explore south, north, east, and west in that order then revisit your favorites!
Although Hanauma Bay is technically not free in that only children get in for free, its close enough that we're going to list it as a free thing to do on Oahu. Hanauma Bay on the Island of Oahu is one of the most fantastic snorkeling spots on the island, if not the world.
Arguably the most romantic Oahu beach, Halona Cove Beach, also referred to by many as “The Here to Eternity Beach” or "Cockroach Cove", is a gem that’s right off a main highway, yet nearly invisible if you don’t know exactly where it is. If you’re looking for an adventurous free thing to do on Oahu that’s really different, quick and easy to get to, put this on your list.
If you enjoy visiting waterparks, you will love Makapuu; there's just nothing like it on Oahu or perhaps anywhere in the world. There’s something for everyone. In addition to its world-class surfing, the swimming is fantastic when the water is calm, there are nearly endless tide pools and caves to explore, and when combined with good facilities and a secluded location, you’ve got the perfect formula for a fantastic day at the beach.
Oahu Weather Now
Beach Gear Guide
Here’s what we tend to bring when planning a full day at the beach:
• Collapsable beach chairs
• Collapsable tent
• Large mat to place on sand, enough for 4-6 people to sit and eat.
• Water, food, and coolers. We love tuna sandwiches so we’ll typically mix up a bunch of tuna and mayo, store it in a container, and bring along a loaf of bread.
• Juice drinks (try Hawaiian Sun brand).
• Chips, nuts, trail mixes.
• Candy bars/nut bars.
• Big hats to shade the sun.
• UV rash guard shirts
• Waterproof sunscreen
• Snorkel gear
• Swimming goggles
• Two beach towels per person
• Change of dry clothes
• Plastic grocery bags (to store wet clothes)