China Walls on Oahu, Hawaii is one of the best sunset spots on Oahu and a great hangout for during the day. It has two sides to it. On calm days, you can chill here, jump in for a swim, and tan on the rocks. On days with big swell, the waves crash into the rocks, and the swell can flood the entire area making it very dangerous. However, China Walls is also one of the most epic and dangerous surf spots in Hawaii as surfers glide past huge rock walls during each ride.
China Walls on Oahu, Hawaii
A beautiful, wavy rock formation is a ledge of activity on the edge of the ocean in Portlock, Oahu. During the summer months, the surf can pick up at China Walls, and when it does a crowd flocks to the area to watch brave surfers push their limits in some of the most dangerous waves I have seen.
THE FOUR MOST POPULAR OAHU TOURS
- Doors-Off Oahu Helicopter Flight Tour: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off)and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
- North Shore Shark Cage Tour: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks!
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins on this exact tour.
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: The number 1 MOST POPULAR snorkel tour on Oahu. GUARANTEED Turtles!
Swimming & Chilling at China Walls
On a flat day, hoards of college and school kids head to China Walls to jump off the rock wall and then clamber out with relative ease. However, on a big day, you can find yourself in trouble either out in the waves or at your risk of being swept off of the rocky ledge as you are climbing out.
It’s a great place to bring a cooler and some food and chill out during the day. There’s not much shade so be prepared for that but there’s usually plenty of room to set up a towel and take in the scenery.
Just around the corner from China Walls is the infamous Koko Head Hike. It’s made many tourists cry and wish they never came to Oahu!
Surf at China Walls
The waves may not be quite as big as Pipeline or the huge swells at Waimea but China Walls is frighteningly dangerous for another reason. Surfers are catching waves only yards from the dangerous rock wall; as soon as a surfer catches a wave they need to cut left quickly to avoid pulverizing themselves into the jagged edges of the rock piles.
For these reasons, it’s quite clearly a spot for locals or very experienced surfers only. However, it’s great to watch from a perch up high at China Walls and it gets quite busy when there are surfers out with many coming to spectate. Here’s my video from a big day of swell at China Walls.
Dangers of China Walls
There is no rope and this is for comfortable swimmers only. The ocean can be unforgiving and I’ve seen some people really struggle to get out here. Timing it wrong means getting smashed into the rocks if a wave comes crashing through, which is very bad.
Sunset at China Walls
Bring a towel down, some snacks, and possibly some drinks and you can hang out here all afternoon until sunset where you will get beautiful reflections in the rock pools. The sun sets out in front and will eventually disappear behind Diamond Head Crater. I’ve seen a few great sunsets here and when they pop off, the colors reflect beautifully in the little pools of water left from any swells overnight or during the day.
It can get super busy here during peak season or even school holidays. It seems hidden but is a well-known hang-out spot. The vibe is good and usually, there are no problems even if a few beverages are being enjoyed
How to get to China Walls on Oahu, Hawaii
China Walls is about a 25-minute drive from Waikiki and is just before the turn-off to the famous Koko Head Crater. I’ve added the pin location on the map below so you have easy access to the exact spot.
I hope you enjoyed this short guide to China Walls on Oahu. Stay safe and have fun!
WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort (Overall Favorite): In the heart of Waikiki, this high-end resort is right on the beach with a private lagoon.
- Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach.
- Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD.
- Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location.
- Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like you are living in a theme park.
MORE OAHU BLOG POSTS
I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!
- What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK
- A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU
- Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII
- The best Waterfalls: AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
- Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU
- Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU
- The best Waterfall Hikes: TOP WATERFALL HIKES ON OAHU
- Best Tours: 20 BEST TOURS ON OAHU
- The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON OAHU
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What are my favorite pieces of gear for the beach?
There are three pieces of gear that I simply never forget when I go on a beach adventure. These are three items that I using right now and this list gets updated every year! Here are my beach essentials.
- PackTowl Quick-Dry Towel: A quick-dry towel is a must for travelers. It hardly takes up any room and dries in seconds.
- Osprey Ultralight Dry Sack: The beach can be a great place to ruin your precious gear so having this ultralight dry sack for cameras, phones and valuables mean you have a safe place to store everything.
- GoPro Hero 10: The best and easiest way to capture your underwater and snorkeling adventures.