The Coastline Beaches of the West Side of Oahu


Yokohama Bay is the large stretch of beautiful white sand that extends up to the Kaena Point area of western Oahu. Yokohama Bay is truly amazingly beautiful. In a sense however, this beach, and the other beautiful beaches found on Oahu's west coastline such as Makua Beach and Makaha Beach are a tale of "beauty and the beast". In this brief narrative we are going to lump all the beaches on this coastline into one because in certain respects what could be said of one could be said for all. They all have positive aspects that are very similar but it is the negative side of the equation that plays an identical role in each.

The Incredible Sands of Yokohama Beach

The Incredible Sands of Yokohama Beach

First off, let's talk about the "beauty" of these beaches.

White beautiful sand as far as the eye can see. You're first reaction will be "wow". Not only are there enormous expanses of beautiful golden brown sand poised against the deepest of ocean blues and on most occasions a sun drenched paradise sky with light blue hues competing against the deeper blues of the ocean. Add to this the backdrop of the Waianae Mountain Range with its stark ridges and dramatic assents and you have a picture postcard beach. The fact that there will usually be no-one on the beach except yourself, a few dolphins cruising the shoreline and possibly a few others adds further to the special nature of this place. You get the sense that you could lay-out here on the beach and relax into the beautiful south seas desert island mirage that you've been dreaming about for months as you stared out the window in your office daydreaming about your Hawaii vacation.

The View of Yokohama Beach toward Keana Point

The View of Yokohama Beach toward Keana Point

In the summer months you'll appreciate the fairly calm oceans. You will want to speak to a lifeguard about the conditions on the day you arrive to make certain it is wise to enter as the ocean, winds and currents can change quickly. Just two weeks before our last visit on a September day there was a rescue, under fairly calm but windy conditions of a kayaker who was blown out to sea fortunately to be rescued hours later. In the winter times you likely will not want to enter the water at these beaches at all. The breaks are on the shoreline and they can be pounders. They can also be quite large up to 20' at times. These waves can have their way with you before you even have a clue but a good call might be to watch some of the expert surfers that migrate to these locations when the big waves come a calling.

A City of Homeless

A City of Homeless

Now let's turn to the "beastly" side of these beaches. There are definitely some negatives. There is one road in and one road out to the beaches of the west side. For whatever the reasons, this area of coastline (probably because it is the driest place on the island) has drawn to its coastlines the island's most unfortunate residents and the island's homeless. As you motor along the coast you will drive through and past a series of large areas of cardboard and crate shanties right along the water. There are a few areas that are so dense with homeless in these temporary shelters that you will feel that you are traveling through a full city of impoverished souls. This in itself is hard to get used to but people living so desperately have been known to participate in certain illegal activities that in some instances might affect you. It is known for instance that the levels of drug abuse in this area are high. It is also known that the number of break-ins of vehicles parked along this coastline is very high (a check with the statistics offered by the Honolulu Police Department showed this area as often the highest in stolen or broken-into vehicles). One lifeguard pointed out some trees not far from his tower that he said were just large enough to hide from view the cars parked on the other side and was a location that was consistently preyed upon by thieves. At a beach further up the road a similar story was related to us by another lifeguard. The unfortunate truth is that this is an area where your car could get broken into and despite the beauty of the beaches in the area you are putting yourself at risk.

It is certainly your choice as to whether you decide to visit these beaches on Oahu's western coastline but we simply want you to be aware of the facts that will allow you to make a good choice. This is the only place we know of anywhere in Hawaii that will require you to make this type of difficult decision.

Ocean Caution

Please be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be potentially dangerous including this location. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering the water and of course, never turn your back on the ocean when you are on the shoreline. It should also be noted that all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water.

Ocean Caution




Oahu Beaches

Ala Moana Beach Park is located equidistant between Honolulu and Waikiki and consists of a large park and two beaches, Ala Moana Beach and Magic Island.

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Bellows Beach is one of the best beaches to be found along Oahu's south eastern shores. It is not particularly wide but it is very long and the quality of sand, although somewhat rougher, is comparable in color and cleanliness to beaches like Lani Kai.

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There is no question that Hanauma Bay is an excellent place to snorkel. Unfortunately it, unlike any other snorkeling spot in the State of Hawaii, costs money for an admission charge and costs money for a parking fee.

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Hukilau Beach in Laie on the north-eastern coastline of Oahu is a beach that in an odd way provides a tribute to the multicultural nature of the island of Oahu.

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One of the few beaches that has the look and feel of old Oahu is Kahana Beach on Oahu's windward coastline. The fact that this beach is located in a section of the island that is normally simply a gateway for island visitors to pass by on their way to visit what are presumably more spectacular attractions is the saving grace of Kahana Beach Park.

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Without question, the most popular beach on the windward side of Oahu is Kailua Beach, and with good reason. This large expanse of white sand beach is simply "drop-dead" gorgeous and is the perfect location for water sports and beach activities.

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The Ko'Olina Resort area located on Oahu's west-facing coast boasts a total of four almost identical looking, side-by-side man-made lagoons. If you're an ocean purist and like your beaches created by the hand of nature, you're out of luck at these beaches.

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Kualoa Beach Park is both a beach and a park with perhaps a heavier emphasis on being a park. The beach itself is extremely narrow having eroded over the years but the grass portion of the park is extremely wide.

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Lanikai is a delightful and secluded "bedroom community" isolated from the windward town of Kailua by a ridge that allows access to the coastal homes only through one entry point.

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Makapu'u Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches to be found on Oahu. It is located at the very eastern tip of the island at the base of tremendous sea cliffs providing a spectacular back drop.

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You know it's a big wave when the sand you're sitting on at the beach shakes like an earthquake when the waves pound the shoreline. Welcome to the "Bonzai Pipeline" at famous Ehukai Beach on Oahu's North Shore.

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Forgive me for this but the following descriptions regarding Sandy Beach on the south shore of Oahu may to seem a bit more like a "rant" than a description of a beach.

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Sans Souci Beach is a small but beautiful beach with a big history. This lovely white sand beach is in Kapiolani Park just about a fifteen-minute walk from Waikiki.

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Shark's Cove on the North Shore of Oahu is not really a beach, but rather a snorkel and diving spot; and what a snorkel spot it is! This small cove is ringed in rocks and coral providing very little in the way of sand to lay out on, but if you are looking for a great place to snorkel, Shark's Cove is, at many times of the year, an excellent option.

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The most famous coastline for big wave surfing in the world is the 7 mile stretch of beaches and intermittent rocky shore known as the "North Shore" of Oahu.

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Waikiki Beach is certainly the most famous beach in all of Hawaii and is a probable contender for the most well known beach in the world. This of course, was the beach where it all started regarding tourism in Hawaii.

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Waimea Bay on Oahu's famed North Shore is home, in the winter time, to a wave that is so large that no one had successfully surfed it until the late 1950's.

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Related Information

A listing of all Oahu Beaches can be found on these pages. Check for the Oahu Beach that will be perfect for you!

It's a good thing you're going to the beach on Oahu! Not only does Oahu have some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, have some of the best snorkeling to be seen in the state, have some of the best surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddling locations in the state and some of the largest waves for you to watch in the state, but Oahu beaches have more lifeguard locations and more lifeguards all toll than any other island in the State of Hawaii.

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