The 5 Best Family Beaches on Oahu

by Vago Damitio

The island of Oahu is filled with fantastic beaches for surf, barbecues, body boarding, sunbathing and enjoying all the Pacific Ocean has to offer. Here are five of the best family beach parks on the island.

Waimea Bay Beach Park

Waimea Bay is the home of big wave surfing. During the winter, when waves are the size of buildings, this is a no-go zone for those with small kids—waves have been known to drag people off the beach never to be seen again! But during the mellow spring, summer and autumn months, this beach is a wonderful place to barbecue, surf, swim and relax. Be sure to pack your cooler and bring everything you need. The closest store is a few miles away, in Haleiwa.


Waikiki Beach Park

Waikiki Beach offers so much that people tend to discount it. Yes, it’s where everyone goes, yes it can be crowded, and yes it’s right in the middle of the city. However, with the zoo right across the street, great picnic facilities, Queen Kapiolani Park next to the zoo, and the restaurants and attractions of Waikiki within a five-minute walk, there is no better place for families. Plus, the waves are great, the water is warm, the locals on the beach are friendly, and you can almost always find a beach volleyball game. Plenty of lifeguards, and safe for everyone.


Sandy Beach Park

Sandy Beach Park is the South Shore jewel of Oahu. However, one thing to be careful of is the shorebreak, since the shoreline is steep here and waves can catch you by surprise. Ask the lifeguards about conditions before going in the water or letting your kids bodysurf. Beautiful views of the backside of Diamond Head and Koko Crater, amazing stretches of sand, and plenty of action in the water make this a perfect park.


Kailua Beach Park

Kailua Beach Park is perfect for families. This windward park is in the mellow beach town of Kailua and offers shady picnic facilities, scenic views of the Mokulua Islands, plenty of parking and a safe beach that has water perfect for snorkelling, swimming and kite surfing. As a bonus, there are more than enough trees to string up a hammock and have a relaxing seaside nap.


Punalu’u Beach Park

Punalu’u Beach Park is just between the Windward Coast and North Shore of Oahu. This is a nice beach with a sandy shoreline, and if you want to experience what Hawaii was like 50 years ago, this is the place to go. Punalu’u has camping facilities, picnic facilities and gentle waves that are fun to swim in and can sometimes support a longboard.


If you’re taking your family to Oahu, these are my top five recommendations for a great day at the beach.