When you’re on vacation, it’s very possible that the toughest, most stressful decision you need to make each day is figuring out which beach to explore. We know it sounds silly, but it’s true! So to help eliminate some of your “vacation stress”, we’ve come up with our recommended list of best beaches on Windward Oahu. Each beach is just a short drive away from Kualoa, so you can spend the morning enjoying one of our Half-Day Experience or Adventure tour packages, then head out to one of these beautiful beaches for an afternoon in the sun!
We’ll start our Best Beaches review at Kahana Bay, just North of Kualoa and round out our list with Lanikai Beach in Kailua.
Kahana Bay Beach Park
Distance from Kualoa: 5.5 miles, ~10 minutes
Surrounded by the lush green Ko’olau Mountains, Kahana Bay is an ideal secluded getaway along Oʻahu’s eastern shoreline. Often times gone unnoticed by tourists driving by, this beach is the perfect spot to sunbathe and explore! You can check out the natural fishpond from the Kahana Stream, take a quick up hike up the surrounding hills or just enjoy the peaceful picnic grounds – either way, you’ll surely enjoy Kahana Bay.
Distance from Kualoa: 0.5 miles, ~ 5 minutes
Secret Island is a hidden treasure at Kualoa Ranch. Not only is Secret Island a completely secluded beach, it also comes with a variety of amenities when you reserve a beach day through Kualoa. Secret Island beach goers will enjoy three hours of unlimited access to all of the best beach activities including canoeing, snorkeling, stand up paddling, beach volleyball, and other island-style activities. Schedule your beach day at Secret Island.
Distance from Kualoa: 7.5 miles, ~ 15 minutes
Rent a kayak or sailboat to explore the unique Kaneʻohe Sandbar in the middle of the bay. Once landed on the Sandbar, you can experience the feeling of the ocean all around you while staying dry or take a refreshing dip into the crisp blue and green waters. The view of Oʻahu’s Windward Side is absolutely breathtaking from the Kaneʻohe Bay Sandbar- so bring a camera! The bay’s unique coral reefs are one of the most studied in the world, so you’ll also want to be sure to bring your snorkel gear.
Kailua Beach, Kailua
Distance from Kualoa: 15 miles, ~25 minutes
Kailua Beach not only offers miles of white sandy beach, but it’s also home to family-friendly picnic grounds! The picturesque beach is great for families looking to enjoy lunch at the beach followed by a short kayak trip out to Flat Island or a snorkel adventure along the shoreline. Plus, you can also enjoy a shave ice from Island Snow just up the road – it’s a favorite stop for President Obama and his family!
Lanikai Beach, Kailua
Distance from Kualoa: 18 miles, ~30 minutes
In Hawaiian, the word Lanikai means “heavenly sea.” With its soft white sand and clear waters, this beach certainly deserves its name. The calm ocean at Lanikai Beach is best described as a tropical swimming pool, safe for all ages and perfect for learning to snorkel or kayak. Lanikai also offers gorgeous views of the famous Mokulua islands about one mile offshore. Those with a bit of an adventurous side, can even opt to join a kayak tour out to the islands!