The North Shore of Oahu is home to some of the best surf in the world in the winter months and endless golden sand beaches during the summer. While on the North Shore you can expect to find an abundance of green sea turtles, chill-vibes and endless palm trees. It’s one of my favorite regions in the world due to the laid-back vibes. These are the best North Shore Oahu beaches.
You might also be interested in checking out my most popular Oahu article for more ideas: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU, THE ULTIMATE BUCKETLIST
If you want to explore more of Oahu’s best beaches don’t miss out on my other list: THE BEST BEACHES ON THE WEST SIDE OF OAHU
1. Ehukai Beach Park
On a day with big swell Ehukai Beach can be best observed from the Peace Hike. The view of the waves from the hike is what Hawaii is all about. The meeting of majestic mountain and the powerful ocean.
2. Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay has it all going on. Huge waves in the winter, which reach bigger than 40ft. In the summer the jump rock is a popular hangout. Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and fish swim around the rock formations below the surface and there are even a few underwater tunnels to explore. Waimea Bay is definitely one of the best North Shore Oahu beaches and is unmissable during your time on the island.
Read my full blog post: WHY WAIMEA BAY IS MY FAVORITE BEACH ON OAHU
3. Pipeline Beach
The most famous surf beach in the world serves up some monster barrels in the winter. The highlight of the year is the Billabong Pipe Masters, which brings the best surfers from around the world to compete in the World Surf League Event. It is the last event of the year and often decides the world champ for the year!
4. Keiki Beach
Keikis is not a beach you go to for a refreshing dip. A powerful shore-break pounds into the sand. Photographers and bodyboarders who have somehow acquired super-human levels of courage test themselves in amongst the huge sets. This is one of Clark Little’s playgrounds.
5. Sunset Beach
As you can guess by the name this isn’t a bad spot to end the day. However, most of the beaches on Oahu have a great sunset. This is another beach that gets a huge swell in the winter!
6. Turtle Bay
Turtle Bay Resort is a fancy accommodation on the North Shore for those not looking to mix it in Waikiki. They have a little bay, which I assume is man-made, where the water is protected. I have never seen a turtle in the bay so I cannot confirm if the name is accurate or not.
7. Laniakea Beach
Also known as turtle beach this little stretch of sand is incredibly popular for one big reason. Each year huge Hawaiian Sea Turtles come and rest on the shore. Tourists pack the beach while volunteers try and keep the crowds from going too close. The turtles are also out in the water and you can snorkel with them but remember to stay more than two meters clear of the turtles.
8. Haleiwa Beach
Haleiwa historic town has a great relaxed, surf vibe to it. Tons of galleries, coffee shops and other stores line the main street. The beach itself has a few surf comps throughout the year and is a hotspot for turtles. Haleiwa Beach is one of the beat North Shore Oahu beaches to try a Standup Paddle Board lesson.
9. Pupukea Beach
Pupukea Beach Park is where you can find Shark’s Cove. This is one of the premier snorkeling spots and a great, safe little spot for kids and families. The tide pools provide a fantastic area for snorkeling without having to worry about the elements of the ocean. Turtles, fish and lava tunnels will make this one of your favorite snorkeling spots on Oahu.
10. Velzyland Beach
Velzyland has both right and left surf breaks and is a popular surf spot. Velzyland is public but seems private as it is not directly off the main road.
MY FOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES ON OAHU
Looking for some idea for activities on your rest day from hiking? These are my favorite activities on the island… especially the doors-off helicopter flight.
- Oahu scenic helicopter flight: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off). You will be absolutely blown away when you see Oahu from the sky! Click to book your tour: Doors-Off Helicopter Flight Tour
- North Shore Shark Cage Adventure: The biggest adrenaline rush you can have in Hawaii is beneath the surface with sharks! Click to book your tour: North Shore Shark Cage Experience
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise: One of the best experiences I had on Oahu was swimming with the beautiful spinner dolphins. A once in a lifetime experience. Click to book your tour: Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Tour
- Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran: One of my favorite memories of Hawaii is floating in the water with a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle. On this tour that is exactly what you will do! Click to book your tour: Turtle Canyon Snorkel Cruise by Catamaran
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. Luxury rooms overlooking the beach, a private lagoon and a free fireworks and dance performance show. Hilton is easily the most recognizable hotel on the Island. Kids can kayak, swim and snorkel with no worries.
Sheraton Waikiki (Luxury): A luxury resort with the most amazing infinity pool on the island, which overlooks the beach. The bar and nightclub at the Sheraton is a great place to relax after a long day of island adventures.
Ewa Hotel Waikiki: (Value): Hotels in Waikiki can be expensive. Deciding where to stay on Oahu can be difficult if you don’t have much cash. Luckily, there is an accommodation option on the edge of Waikiki that is excellent value. Ewa Hotel is just one block back from the beach and is just over $150 USD. If you are like me, I never swim in the hotel pool anyway.
Waikiki Beachside Hostel (Budget Choice): A budget alternative, which is still in an amazing location. Walking distance to Waikiki beach and a central location to base yourself for a week of adventures. You can grab a dorm room for under $35 a night within walking distance to Waikiki surf beach.
Disney Aulani Resort (Family Choice): This is a resort your kids will never forget. It honestly feels like a theme park at times with just how many pools and activities are available. If you can afford it, this is the #1 place to stay for families on Oahu. A huge lazy river/tire tube lagoon is probably the highlight of the resort although the water slides and private beach aren’t too far behind.
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!
My Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST
What to pack for Hawaii: THE HAWAII PACKING LIST: WHAT TO PACK AND WHY
A helpful guide to choosing accommodation: WHERE TO STAY ON OAHU: WHICH REGION IS BEST FOR YOU?
Most epic hike on Oahu: THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018
The best Waterfalls: 11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Ultimate Cliff Jumping Guide: 11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII
Guide to Swimming with Sea Turtles: WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII
The Best Hikes on Oahu: 10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII
Oahu Open Door Helicopter Review and Photos: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII