Guide: Oahu West Side Beaches

by Amy Anne

The Oahu west side beaches are less visited by travelers. There are few tourist amenities and definitely a lot more locals found on the beaches. If you are someone who wants to get off the beaten path, some of the best beaches and snorkeling on the island are on the west side! 

Makua Beach

Overview

Oahu is home to tens of millions of visitors every year. But if you are looking for a secluded beach, they still exist. Mākua Beach is one of them! While it’s almost a 2 hour drive from Waikiki, it’s worth the trip. The wide open spaces and sandy beach is everything you imagine when you think of paradise!

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: No
  • Getting in the Water: Easy, very sandy
  • Showers: No
  • Parking: Free dirt parking lot and on highway

Ma'Ili Beach

Overview

This is the perfect beach to stop at after you finish the Pink Pillbox Hike. The beach is very deep and has a lot of space. There are some nice grassy areas behind the beach for picnics, volleyball, and other park activities. Want to spend more than a day at the beach? Reserve a spot for overnight camping at  Māʻili Beach Park and sleep on the beach!

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Medium Coarse
  • Bathrooms: Yes
  • Getting in the Water: Mostly coral with sandy put-ins
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Free parking lot

Kahe Point Beach Park

Overview

This extremely small beach backs up against the power plant’s water outlets. The beach itself is very crowded but has some great amenities. If you are looking to do some snorkeling while on Oahu, Kahe Point is a great launching spot for some amazing underwater sights. The man-made structures from the nearby powerplant form an artificial reef, home to an abundance of tropical and colorful fish!

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: Yes
  • Getting in the Water: Small sandy area, usually very crowded
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Free parking lots and on highway

Ulehawa Beach Park

Overview

Of all the Oahu west side beaches, this beach was my least favorite. The picturesque images of Ulehawa Beach Park can be deceiving. The beach is full of debris and doesn’t have very friendly put-ins for swimming. There are often many fishermen fishing off the nearby canal outlet. The sand is rocky and there are no restrooms or other typical park amenities. If you’re looking for a memorable west side experience, I say seek elsewhere. 😟

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Coarse and Rocky
  • Bathrooms: No
  • Getting in the Water: Mostly Coral
  • Showers: No
  • Parking: Free parking on highway

Depot Beach Park

Overview

This beach is a hidden 💎 on the west side! It’s relatively unknown to visitors. There is wide open spaces and the flat beach area makes it ideal to setup for the day. The sandy put-ins are very kid friendly and this is one of the few beaches on the west side with lifeguards. 

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: Yes
  • Getting in the Water: Very Sandy and easy
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Free parking lot

Nanakuli Beach Park

Overview

Nānākuli Beach is one of the most popular of all Oahu west side beaches. It is the most talked about and shared on social media. It is a nice beach to visit, but because it is popular, it is also very busy and can sometimes have limited parking. The beach is located in front of a large public park with picnic tables, playgrounds, and even a baseball diamond. If you are looking for a nice sandy beach to relax on while on the west side, you can’t go wrong here!

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: Yes
  • Getting in the Water: Very easy, sand along entire beach
  • Showers: Yes
  • Parking: Free parking, but busy on weekends

Hawaii Electric Beach Park

Overview

If you look 100-200 yards off the beach, you will frequently see large charter boats and catamarans. This is a popular spot for paid snorkeling tours. But why pay $300 to snorkel when you can do it for free right from the beach! This is a long beach, but can get crowded during the weekends and summer when the surf is calm. There is a decent sized grassy area behind the beach for barbeques and picnic activities. The one downside to this beach is there are no restrooms. 

Beach Amenities

  • Sand Type: Fine
  • Bathrooms: No
  • Getting in the Water: Easy, sandy with some large coral
  • Showers: No
  • Parking: Free parking lot

Things to Do on the West Side of Oahu

Recommended Food & Drinks on the West Side

Check Out Oahu's Other Amazing Beaches!

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