Honolulu’s Hidden Beaches: The 16 Least Crowded Beaches Near Honolulu

If you take a vacation in Honolulu, you might think Waikiki Beach and the Turtle Bay Resort are all an Oahu vacation has to offer on the island, right?

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What are the least crowded beaches near Honolulu?

The best and least crowded beaches near Honolulu are:

  • Ala Moana Beach Park
  • Lanikai Beach
  • Waimea Bay
  • Waimanalo Beach Park
  • Kailua Beach
  • Makapu’u Beach
  • Kualoa Regional Park
  • Hanauma Bay
  • Sandy Beach
  • Pupukea Beach

These secluded Hawaiian beaches are hidden gems that many tourists don’t know about. Try one of these next time you’re in Hawaii – you won’t be disappointed.

Least Crowded Beach in Honolulu

Ala Moana Beach Park

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Ala Moana Beach is one of the closest to downtown Honolulu. It’s a very popular beach, but since it’s next to the most famous beach on the island, Waikiki Beach, you might get lucky and have a quieter day.

Ala Moana is perfect for families who want to skip the crowds while still enjoying the gorgeous Oahu beaches

There are plenty of restaurants and metered street parking available, and the water is calmer than some of the rougher north shore beaches.

This beach is also very close to the Ala Moana Shopping Center, so when you’re done at the beaches you can shop to your heart’s content.

Lanikai Beach

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Lanikai Beach Park is located right next to Kailua Beach. It’s only half a mile long, so you won’t be able to get a very long beach walk in, but it’s still a favorite Oahu beach with tourists and locals.

Lanikai Beach joins our list of the best beaches on Oahu for its turquoise blue waters, proximity to walking trails and kayaking, and beautiful palm trees that make the shoreline look like a picture.

Lanikai Beach isn’t the best for surfing because of the relatively calm water, but you can still hit the beaches with your family and take advantage of other water sports like wind surfing or bodyboarding.

Waimea Bay

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Waimea Bay is on the opposite end of the island from Waikiki Beach, and this Oahu beach on the north shore is best known for one thing: surfing.

Waimea Bay is becoming more popular, but you can find parking if you get there early enough. The big waves make for great scenery, and you can cheer on the surfers trying to prove themselves.

Waimea Valley also has a waterfall you can swim in, as well as a botanical garden you can explore once you’re done in the water.

Waimanalo Beach Park

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Waimanalo Beach is called the “secret beach of Oahu” by the locals. It’s a quiet beach that doesn’t draw the same crowds as Waikiki Beach or others on the north shore.

Waimanalo Bay is situated on the windward coast facing the sunrise. There are three miles of sugary sand, and the relatively calm waters are perfect for swimming or bodyboarding.

The water on one side is flanked by ironwood trees behind you, creating a unique atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else. It’s also less populated than other beaches on Oahu, which fits the idea of a true island getaway perfectly.

Kailua Beach

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Kailua Beach is right next to Lanikai Beach, and mostly lives in its neighbor’s shadow as far as popularity is concerned. But this doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best beaches on Oahu.

It has the same lifeguard stations and basic amenities as Lanikai, and also has picnic tables if you want to grab a bite to eat from one of the local food trucks.

The wind can pick up here, but that just means there’s plenty of options for beach activities and sports to fill your Oahu beach day.

Makapu’u Beach

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Makapu’u Beach is a secluded beach under the watchful eyes of the Makapu’u Lighthouse, a popular tourist destination. It’s also close to the Sea Life Park, if you want to pack a lot into your beach day.

Catch a break from the bustle of Waikiki Beach, and enjoy the refreshing blue waters by swimming, bodysurfing, or just relaxing on your beach chairs.

Kualoa Regional Park

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If you want a beach that’s perfect for kids, Kualoa definitely fits the bill.

While it’s close to the world-famous Macadamia Nut factory, this secluded beach is an attraction in its own right. You can practically walk out to Mokoli’i Island, or hop in a kayak for a leisurely paddle.

The calm waters make this a great beach for anyone who just wants to go for a swim and isn’t looking for a grand, exciting adventure.

Hanauma Bay

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Hanauma Bay is a Hawaii state park on the south side of the island, and is one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever see.

The cove protecting Hanauma Bay creates some of the calmest waters you can find at the beaches on Oahu. This makes it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or paddle boarding

The only thing about visiting Hanauma Bay is that tickets are required. Admission is managed and controlled to avoid destroying this Hawaii treasure, but a little bit of planning to get to this beautiful beach is well worth the effort.

Sandy Beach

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Sandy Beach is worth the drive from the tourist center around Waikiki Beach. You’ll find some of the best waves – and the most experienced surfers – at this haven on the Hawaiian islands.

Sandy Beach might not be the best if you want a relaxing day in the sand, but this is one beach you have to try if you want to catch the best waves.

It’s located at the base of a crater, which naturally creates some higher waves. There’s plenty of public parking, and you can easily spend the day getting lost in the surf.

Pupukea Beach

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If surfing and big waves aren’t your things, venture out to Pupukea Beach on the north shore. This is one of the best beaches on Oahu for snorkeling because of the rock formations and coves that keep the water calm for most of the year.

It’s just north of the more popular Waimea Bay, but no less worthy of being called your next favorite beach. Grab a snorkel and get ready for a soothing swim in these crystal-clear waters.


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Waialua is one of the more secluded beaches on the north shore. This long, winding beach can be one of the rare empty beaches on the island if you time your visit right.

There aren’t any hotels here; just a few vacation rentals are nestled close to the coastline. You’re only a few minutes’ drive from shopping and restaurants in Haleiwa, but you’d never know it once you set foot in the sand.

If you want the most idyllic setting for your Hawaii vacation, Waialua might be the beach of your dreams.

Halona Beach Cove

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Halona Beach Cove is home to a couple of secluded beaches on the island. It’s just north of Hanauma Bay, and worth the extra drive if you want to pack in as many Hawaii beaches as you can during your stay.

For example, Eternity Beach is the site of the famous beach scene in From Here to Eternity. If you’re not a cinephile, though, you will still enjoy the diverse marine life that call this beach home.

This beach does require a hike from the public parking areas, but getting away from the crowds should be all the reason you need to check Halona out.

Papaoneone Beach

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Limited public parking turns most people away from Papaoneone (also called Baby Maka’a), but this hidden gem in Hawaii has literally everything you could want in a beach?

Want to catch some waves? Try surfing or bodysurfing when the water is more active. Looking for a laid-back beach day? This beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Or leave the beaches themselves for some hiking and breathtaking views.

Diamond Head Beach

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Diamond Head Beach isn’t too far from the major resorts and tourist centers, but its natural beauty and lookout points make it worth the trip. Diamond Head is also home to Kuhio Beach and Queen Surf Beach.

Although it is relatively close to the more popular beaches, these Oahu beaches are still removed enough from civilization that you can really breathe and enjoy yourself.

Kaiona Beach

Kaiona Beach often gets overlooked on most lists of the best beaches on the island. But it has the same crystal clear blue water, palm trees, and glittering sunlight you’d expect elsewhere on Hawaii.

Kaiona is tucked away on the eastern shore. The waters are mostly calm, so snorkeling is a perfect way to spend the day. Alternatively, you could also pull up a chair and just take in the sensational views till sundown.

Kawela Bay

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Kawela Beach rounds out our review of Oahu beaches you should visit next time you’re in Hawaii.

It’s also got a landmark that has made it into movies and television: an enormous banyan tree, which makes for a perfect photo op. It’s also on the north shore, which means ideal surfing conditions in the winter.

Additionally, it’s known by another name: Turtle Bay. Sea turtles can frequently be seen here, and you can even swim with the sea turtles if you’re snorkeling on the right day!

Key Takeaways

  • You can skip Waikiki Beach and find some of the best beaches on Oahu all over.
  • Think about how you’d like to spend your day, and choose the right beach for you.
  • Try visiting these beaches outside of peak season to avoid the crowds.
  • Hawaii has plenty of secluded beaches that are worth a little exploring and planning.