The west side of Oahu is a beautiful stretch of island paradise. Beaches, caves, hikes are spread throughout the west coast. After living on the island for two years I compiled a list of the Best West Oahu Beaches. I’ve also added in a few links to tours or activities that are available at each beach or our on the ocean on the west side of Oahu.
Best Tours on the west coast of Oahu
- Eco-Friendly Dolphin Snorkel Half-Day Cruise (Best Seller): Watch Spinner Dolphins, swim with Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles and tour the west coast of Oahu by Catamaran.
- Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin Whale Watching: Relaxing Dolphin and Humpback Whale watching cruise alongside the west coast of Oahu.
- Doors-Off Helicopter Tour of Oahu: My number one recommendation is to do a heli-flight (doors off) and be blown away when you see Oahu from the air.
Best beaches on the west side of Oahu
Here we go, let’s round up the best of the west!
Makaha Beach is a great spot for surfing when the swell is up and many tournaments are held there during the year. Often giant SUPs will be out catching waves here with more than 10 people on board. If you want a chill vibe with small crowds, Makaha Beach is one of the best beaches on the west side of Oahu. There’s often quite a strong undercurrent and shore break, which can be fun for body surfing and bodyboarding but also dangerous if you aren’t a strong swimmer.
Keep an eye out for turtles at this beautiful beach on the west coast of Oahu.
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The most western of all the west Oahu beaches is Keawaula Beach or Yokohama Beach. Another prime spot for bodyboarding and surfing this beach is paradise. The huge mountain backdrop makes the shore even more epic and cements it as the most atmospheric beach on the west side of Oahu.
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This 40-acre beach park is located next to the Farrington Highway. Maili is one of the best west oahu beaches to enjoy a picnic in the park before a refreshing swim.
This beach is a bit of an adventurers playground. The rocky coastline is great for fishing, exploring and even a bit of cliff-jumping. The beach itself is a typical Oahu beach with beautiful sand and a small shore-break to play in.
Kahe Beach (Electric Beach)
Electric Beach or “Electrics” is a 40 minute drive from Waikiki. The official name of this location is Kahe Point Beach Park but locals know this spot by its nickname first. It is called Electric Beach because there is a power plant beside this narrow enclave. The warm water from the power plant attracts an abundance of sea-life, making it one of the best places to snorkel on Oahu. It doesn’t have postcard palms or a mile-long stretch of sand, but you don’t come here for landscapes. The real action is under the water.
The beach is next to the Hawaiian Electric Plant, which outflows clean warm water through two large cooling pipes. The pipes run out into the ocean and at the opening the water temperature is several degrees warmer than normal, which attracts a variety of sea life.
View my full blog post about Snorkeling at Electric Beach
BEST TOUR FOR SNORKELING WITH TURTLES AND DOLPHINS ON THE WEST COAST OF OAHU
Tour: Eco-Friendly Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise (Best Seller)
If watching wild spinner dolphins and snorkeling with tropical fish and sea turtles are what you are looking for, Leeward Coast Dolphin and Snorkel Half-Day Cruise is just what you need. You’ll get a fully inclusive tour that offers transport to and from hotels, meals on-board your boat, two complimentary alcoholic beverages, and free use of snorkel gear. The captain and the crew are personable, knowledgeable, and professional so you will definitely enjoy their journey. The excursion starts at 9:00 A.M. and you will return to Waikiki around 1:00 P.M. If you are lucky, giant humpback whales will be there to greet you. If ever you don’t encounter dolphins, you will still receive a snorkeling activity at no cost or a cruise with cocktail and sunset.
Click Here to check the rates and availability of this tour on the booking website.
Pokay Bay is the most protected of the west Oahu beaches because of it’s breakwater. Even when other leeward beaches get big swells Pokai Bay remains calm all year round. A great beach for SUP or Kayaking.
Ewa means ‘crooked’ or ‘ill fitting’ in Hawaiian. The myth goes that gods Kane and Kanaloa threw a stone determining the boundaries. However the stone was lost and later found at Pili o Kahe.
When the surf is calm this is a great little sandy beach for swimming and relaxing but during the winter the current can get quite strong.
Also commonly known as ‘Turtle Beach’, named after the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. The white sand contrasts beautiful against the azure, warm water. In the winter this beach has a strong shore-break and can become quite dangerous. This is one of the most beautiful beaches on the west coast of Oahu.
Ko olina Beach Resort
Although Ko olina is a resort, the beaches must remain public. This means you can enjoy the resort life without having to pay. It isn’t great if you are looking for seclusion but it is picturesque and has all of the amenities you might expect from a classy resort. Despite the build-up of infrastructure around these lagoons, they are still up there with the top beaches on the west side of Oahu.
Makua Beach is almost the last west Oahu beach if not for Yokohama Beach. At Makua Beach you might bump into some Hawaiian Sea Turtles, dolphins, schools of fish. This beach is also a great spot for bodyboarding or playing in the waves. Although, you should be careful because the waves can get monstrous at certain times of the year. For camping and full-day adventures this is my top pick for a beach on the west coast of Oahu.
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!
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.
- 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 12: The best and easiest way to capture your underwater and snorkeling adventures.
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