Waimanalo Beach

The world-famous Waikiki Beach gets all the praise on the island of Oahu, but, if you want to have some seclusion on the softest white sand that the island has to offer, you’ll head to Waimanalo Beach. It’s three miles of uninterrupted beach, sparkling turquoise waters and shade-giving ironwood trees. It’s paradise.

Located on the windward southeast coast of Oahu, this beach is a 45-minute drive from the more popular and more populated Waikiki Beach. All you have to do to escape the hustle and bustle of Honolulu for the seclusion of Waimanalo Beach is take H-1 East until it turns into Route 72. After about 13 miles on Route 72, you’ll come to Waimanalo Bay Recreation Area.

You have two access points to the three-mile beach. The first one you’ll come across when driving from Honolulu is the southern entrance. This entrance to the recreation area can be found across from Nakini Street, and it features showers, restrooms, a picnic pavilion and a lifeguard tower. You’ll find the same amenities at the northern entrance, but you’ll also find an ironwood forest and a campground. To make an adventure of it, you can always choose to camp out at this paradise for a night during your trip to Oahu. It’s an unforgettable way to save money to stretch your stay.

There’s only one downside to this amazing beach -- the wind. You are on the windward side of the island, so you’ll be exposed to the tradewinds that can whip up the waves. The winds can be especially heavy during the afternoons, and the wind is always stronger during the winter months. The breeze can even be chilly during winter, so you may want to pack a light jacket or sweatshirt. If you plan on picnicking at Waimanalo Beach, make sure to find a spot in the ironwood forest to shield your feast from the breeze.

Waimanalo BeachWhen you first burst out onto the beach, you might notice it from TV and the movies. Waimanalo Beach has served as the backdrop for shows like Baywatch Hawaii and Magnum PI, and you might see a few photo sessions taking place. Soon-to-be-wed couples love to use the beauty of the beach for engagement pictures.

Despite the wind, the waves here remain relatively manageable most of the year. They do crash with a bit of power which makes them perfect for boogie boarding or bodyboarding. But you should always check with the lifeguard or scope out the online surf report before heading down to the water for a bodyboarding session. Occasionally, the breaks here can get a little too powerful for a safe swim.

But you don’t need to swim at Waimanalo Beach to make a day of it. With more than three miles of the softest sand in Hawaii, you’re bound to find a little bit of romantic seclusion and the beach is absolutely breathtaking. It’s the perfect way to sink into island-style relaxation to leave the mainland’s frantic way of life behind.

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Waimanalo Beach, Oahu