From Kauai to Hawaii Island, the Aloha State is home to more than 750 miles of coastline. Here, you will surely find some of the world’s greatest beaches — from massive beaches that seemingly stretch on for miles to tiny coves with gorgeous landscapes. With so many magnificent stretches of sand, and the accompanying oceanfront restaurants, shave ice shops, and beach towns, it can be hard to decide where to visit for your next beach day. But if you live on Oahu, we’ve done the hard work for you and planned out an incredible beach day that is sure to make your summer unforgettable. Measuring in at just 2 hours of drive time and 60 miles, this one-day road trip can’t be beat. Let the adventure begin.
1. Start your day with snorkeling at Hanauma
Located on Oahu’s southeastern shore, this marine life conservation district was formed from a tuff ring and is perhaps the island’s most popular snorkeling destinations for tourists and locals alike. And according to Dr. Beach, it is the best beach in America.
2. Next up, it’s time for a quick stop at Halona Cove.
Situated between Halona Point and the Halona Blowhole, this small rocky cove is perfectly picturesque and has been featured in films like Pirates of the Caribbean and 50 First Dates. Despite its Hollywood fame, the only way to reach the stunning cove is via a rocky and slightly steep walk. Snap a few photos, check out the lava tube, and head back to your car! We’ve got a busy day planned for you!
3. Soak in the stellar views at the Makapu’u Lookout.
Located between the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail and Makapu’u Beach on Oahu’s southeastern tip, this lookout point is the perfect spot to stop if you’re short on time, but still want to experience the beauty that is Oahu’s windward coast. Not only are the mountains here positively stunning, but the sparkling turquoise water is an absolute dream.
4. Dip your feet in the water with a walk along Waimanalo Beach.
Located on Oahu’s windward coast is this phenomenal beach with three miles of sloping white sand, and the seemingly endless azure sea. Hundreds of ironwood trees provide much-needed relief from the sun, and the beach’s picnic tables and grilles make Waimanalo a destination for weekend barbecues.
5. Explore the little beach town of
Full of cute shops and scrumptious restaurants, Kailua is one of Hawaii’s quintessential beach towns. Kailua Beach is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, and the town is unbelievably charming. Explore, check out a few shops, grab lunch from Kalapawai Cafe & Deli, Uahi Island Grill, or Willow Tree Korean Restaurant, and then head back to your car for the rest of your
6. Hang out at a killer beachfront park.
Ahupua’a O Kahana State Park, formerly known as Kahana Valley State Park, is often overlooked for more accessible spots on the island but is an absolute natural oasis for anyone who wants to get away from it all and have a little adventure. The state park is Hawaii’s only public ahupua’a — an ancient land division — and stretches from the shores of Kahana Bay to the tip of Pu’u Pauao at 2,670 feet in
7. Cool off with a sweet treat from Angel’s Ice Cream.
Found in a small Laie shopping center, Angel's Ice Cream is a nostalgic ice cream shop that not only make you feel as though you've stepped back in time, but might give you a headache trying to decide what to eat: You see, Angel's serves up ice cream, milkshakes, dole whip, acai bowls, and more!
8. Next up, it’s time to check out the shores of Waimea Bay.
The famous Waimea Bay is a popular spot for boogie boarding and cliff jumping in the summer, as well as a haven for surfers of all skill levels during the winter months. The iconic bay even plays host to the famous Quicksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, perhaps the most prestigious event in surfing, that is only held when ocean conditions are perfect. It really doesn’t get better than this.
9. Your day will end in the charming beach town of Haleiwa for dinner and a little bit of exploration.
Voted as the state’s favorite small town by HAWAII Magazine, Haleiwa seems like a world away from bustling Waikiki. This sleepy surfer town on Oahu’s north shore has a laid-back vibe and charming aesthetic, but also luxuries like killer beaches, mouthwatering restaurants, art galleries galore, adorable shops, and stellar vacation rentals.
10. Now, as the sun begins to set, it’s time for dinner at the Haleiwa Beach House.
Located near the picturesque Haleiwa Harbor is this eatery known for its surf 'n' turf, pupu platters, and colorful cocktails, as well as a pretty gorgeous terrace. From standard burgers to classic seafood dishes and everything in between, there's something for everyone at the Haleiwa Beach House. There's truly no better way to end a beach day!
Looking for more great beaches to visit this summer? Check out our ultimate Hawaii beach bucket list