Guide: Waikiki Beaches and South Shore Oahu

by Amy Anne
Ultimate Guide to Oahu South Shore Beaches

Waikiki beaches and the surrounding south shore Oahu centered around Waikiki and Honolulu. This is mainly a tourist zone full of hotels and restaurants, but is also home to large public beach parks enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. There are also some other amazing beaches further south outside of the Waikiki/Honolulu area. The beaches on this side of the island are generally calmer all year round.

Honolulu Beaches - Waikiki Beach

Overview

Waikiki Beach is probably the most popular and crowded of all Honolulu beaches. It is within walking distance to many of the Waikiki hotels. Here you’re surrounded by surf rental shops, restaurants, and other tourist attractions. The water is clear and the surf maybe a little too rough for younger children.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Medium Coarse
  • Bathrooms: Public Restrooms
  • Getting in the Water: Easy, no coral
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Paid Lots and Metered Street Parking

Waikiki Beaches - Queen's Beach

Overview

Queen’s Beach is located directly across from the Honolulu Zoo. It is a relatively small beach and often has volleyball courts and other organized activities taking up much of the beachfront space. When visiting Queen’s Beach, I recommend moving further south down the beach, away from the pier and the volleyball courts.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: Public Restrooms in Park
  • Getting in the Water: Very Easy
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Street Parking and Paid Parking Lots

View of Magic Island from Ala Moana Beach

Overview

Ala Moana Beach Park is a popular beach for families and swimmers. The beach was originally a boat channel that was dredged in the 1920s.  As a result, there is a deep channel between the beach and coral reef that makes the beach extremely calm and ideal for floating and swimming. It is further away from the other Waikiki beaches but could still be reached if you don’t mind a long walk.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Medium Coarse
  • Bathrooms: Public Restrooms in Park
  • Getting in the Water: Magic Island side is sandy, the rest has coral
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Free street parking

Waikiki - Kuhio Beach

Overview

Kuhio Beach is a great area for families. The beach is protected with a man-made wall that allows fresh seawater to flow into the beach area, but without the waves. This beach is essentially a saltwater pool! Located on the main Waikiki strip of Kalakaua Blvd, this beach has access to many of the Waikiki restaurants and shopping within walking distance.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: No
  • Getting in the Water: Very Easy
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Street, Paid Parking Lots

Waikiki Beaches - Kaimana Beach

Overview

Kaimana Beach is another very popular beach for those in the Waikiki area. The surf is generally very calm and the clear waters make it great for families. Kaimana Beach sits right across the street from the large Kapiolani Regional Park, where you can find ample parking and open spaces for activities.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: No
  • Getting in the Water: Very Easy
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Metered Street Parking

Fort DeRyussy Beach

Overview

Fort Deryussy Beach is a lesser known beach. It’s tucked behind several large hotels and too far for most to walk from Waikiki. However, if you can find your way down to Fort Deryussy Beach you won’t be disappointed. It is much less crowded than other Waikiki beaches and has plenty of open space for laying out. There are some restaurants and amenities nearby, but not as many as the Waikiki beaches.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: Yes
  • Getting in the Water: Very Easy
  • Showers: Public Restrooms in Park
  • Parking: Paid

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon

Overview

Adjacent to Fort Deryussy Beach, the Duka Kahanamoku Lagoon is a popular destination for viewing more than swimming. The lagoon is full of fish and includes a man-made waterfall in the center island.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: No
  • Getting in the Water: Very Easy
  • Showers: No
  • Parking: Free Parking Lot

Sandy Beach

Overview

Sandy Beach is a popular beach on the far south side of the island. It’s fun to sit and watch the surfers and boogie boarders enjoying the rough surf at this beach. Sandy Beach is also popular for collecting seashells.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: Public Restrooms in Park
  • Getting in the Water: Moderate, rough surf
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Free parking lot

Halona Beach Cove - Cockroach Cove

Overview

The Halona Beach Cove is a famous beach used in the filming of many movies and television shows including LOST and films in the Jurassic Park series. The cove has one small beach area with a single entrance. The surf is fairly rough and recommended for strong swimmers only. This beach is more for fun photos. There is limited space and isn’t a recommended location for a long beach day. In order to access the cove, you would park at the Halona Blow Hole parking lot and walk down to the cove from the short trail off the highway. 

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: No
  • Getting in the Water: Moderate, sandy with rough surf
  • Showers: No
  • Parking: Free parking at Halona Blow Hole lot (can be cited for leaving lot)

Hunakai Beach - Kahala

Overview

This is a great beach if you’re bringing your dog. There are usually many other dogs off leash and not much room for exploring. The snorkeling is pretty good, but the current can get strong, usually towards the shore, making it difficult to swim out. If it’s windy, I recommend a different beach. The sand gets blown down the beach and can ruin your day. During high tide, the beach is nearly gone, so I highly recommend you check the tide charts and go during low tide.  

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: No
  • Getting in the Water: Easy, mostly sandy
  • Showers: No
  • Parking: Free street parking in the neighborhood

Magic Island Lagoon

Overview

Magic Island is a public park at the far south end of the Ala Moana Regional Park. At the tip of magic island is a lagoon created by a man-made sea wall. While it may not seem like it, in my opinion this is one of the best snorkeling spots for beginners. The water is extremely calm but there is an enormous amount of sea life that swims in from the inlets in the sea wall.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Medium Coarse
  • Bathrooms: Public restrooms in park
  • Getting in the Water: Very Easy, mostly sandy
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Free parking in lot

Sand Island Beach Park - Hawaii Beaches

Overview

Sand Island Beach Park is located outside of the main Honolulu area near the major shipping ports. The park is very large and provides access to picnic tables, grassy areas, campgrounds, fishing, and more. Most of the beach area is blocked by manmade surf breaks, but there are some sandy put ins towards the end. On the upside, the surf breaks create a fun wading pool for small children to enjoy! The beach and view are nice, but because it’s located outside an industrial zone, there are more planes and large shipping vessels passing nearby.

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Medium Coarse
  • Bathrooms: Public restrooms in park
  • Getting in the Water: Mostly blocked access with some sandy put ins
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Free parking lots

Things to Do on South Shore Oahu

Recommended Food & Drinks Near Waikiki Beaches

Here are a few of my favorite places to eat and drink when in the Waikiki and Honolulu area:

Check Out Oahu's Other Amazing Beaches!

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2 comments

Guide: Oahu East Side Beaches – Always Amy Anne March 27, 2021 - 2:28 am

[…] Oahu South Shore Beaches (Honolulu/Waikiki) […]

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Guide: Oahu North Shore Beaches – Always Amy Anne March 27, 2021 - 2:29 am

[…] Oahu South Shore Beaches (Honolulu/Waikiki) […]

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