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.
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 NORTH SHORE OF OAHU
Best beaches on the west side of Oahu
Makaha Beach is a great spot for surfing when the swell is up and many tournaments are during the year. Often giant SUP’s 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
My favorite experience on Oahu: AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII
The Ultimate Guide to Oahu: 80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST