North Shore of Oahu Beach Guide

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Oahu's North Shore is the veritable epicentre of the world surf scene. Home to spots such as Banzai Pipeline and Wiamea Bay, this is a place of pilgrimage for surfers around the globe. But the North Shore isn't only for surfers; in fact during the summer months there usually aren't any waves, just beautiful tropical beaches lapped by the clear blue Pacific.

Within easy day trip distance of anywhere on Oahu the North Shore is a must for beach lovers. There's plenty of variety here too, with some of the best snorkeling on the island, great family beaches and even a secluded nude beach. Read on for our pick of the best beaches on the North Shore of Oahu.

  • Waimea Bay // Hawaii

    Waimea Bay
    ©Anthony Quintano

    Beautiful Waimea Beach is set at the heart of the North Shore and catches all  the rolling swells that attract big wave riders and pro surfers from around the world. Divided by the outflow of the Waimea River which is ideal for tubing, the golden sands are punctuated by rocks at the south end of this pretty cove, including the huge Waimea Rock which is popular for scrambling up and jumping off.

    A part of the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District, the bay includes an eroded coral reef with… read more »

  • Three Tables // Hawaii

    Three Tables
    ©Alison and Fil

    Set on Oahu's North Shore, this pretty little beach is surrounded by some of the best known surf spots on the planet. In fact the famously huge waves of Waimea Bay break only around 100 yards away from Three Tables. But that's not why people come here.

    Three Tables beach is perhaps best known as a snorkeling spot and for good reason. The name of the beach comes from three sections of flat coral reef that protrude from the water at low tide. Not only do these "table tops"… read more »

  • Ehukai Beach Park (Pipeline) // Hawaii

    Ehukai Beach Park (Pipeline)
    ©Aussie Aussalt

    No visit to the North Shore would be complete without checking out Ehukai beach, or Banzai Pipeline as it is known to surfers around the world. Set at the heart of the "7 mile miracle" this is possibly the most famous surf spot on the planet and a veritable Mecca for surfers. However, Pipeline is a wave for the experts only; incredibly powerful and breaking over a shallow coral reef this is also one of the most dangerous surf spots in the world.

    While the name Ehukai comes from the… read more »

  • Sunset Beach // Hawaii

    Sunset Beach

    Stunning sunsets and top surfing are some of the highlights that make Sunset Beach in northwest Oahu so popular. It's easy to reach from the Kamehameha Highway which skirts along the edge of the sandy beach providing tempting views.

    In winter, it's a top place to catch big-wave surfers riding the swell, while in summer the flat waters take on a completely different alter ego. It is popular with families during the summer with free parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables and a lifeguard. At this time, you'll find Sunset Beach… read more »

  • Laniakea Beach // Hawaii

    Laniakea Beach
    ©Daniel Ramirez

    Laniakea Beach, Oahu is commonly known as Turtle Beach, and when you visit it and see the sand scattered with rocks and turtles you'll understand why!

    The long narrow beach is popular so you need to arrive early to secure a coveted parking place. You then have to walk across the busy highway to reach this natural beauty spot.

    The golden sandy beach is lapped with white-foam surfing waves as the beach is part of the "Seven Mile Miracle", an area of North Shore boasting the most concentrated collection of… read more »

  • Polo Beach // Hawaii

    Polo Beach

    Located near the western corner of Oahu's North Shore, not far from Haleiwa, is this lovely little pristine stretch of sand. Despite not being that far from anywhere Polo beach has a wonderfully secluded feel to it with its backdrop of ironwood trees. Often as not the beach here will be empty but don't be surprised to see horses being ridden on the beach - after all it is named for the Polo Club next door.

    The water here is an enticing turquoise color and Polo beach is generally more… read more »

  • Mokuleia Beach Park // Hawaii

    Mokuleia Beach Park
    ©Daniel Ramirez

    Mokule'ia is a lovely stretch of white sand located towards the western end of Oahu's North Shore. Being a fair way down the coast from Haleiwa means the beach here is generally pretty quiet. Set about halfway between the town and Ka'ena Point (Oahu's most westerly point) this is your last chance of  beach with any amenities.

    There always something to do at Mokule'ia whatever the conditions. In the summer months, when the sea is generally calm, it is a great place to snorkel. There is a large area of flat… read more »

  • Shark's Cove // Hawaii

    Shark's Cove

    Set on Oahu's North Shore, home to some of the most legendary surf spots on the planet, is this popular little beach. Unlike neighbouring beaches, Shark's Cove is not about the surf - this is one for the snorkelers. In fact it was rated as one of the best shore dives in the world by Scuba Diving Magazine back in 2005.

    Sharks Cove is part of Pupukea Beach Park. It has small patch of sand backed by the obligatory swaying palm trees, but it is what is out front that… read more »