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The best beach on O'ahu

red, orange, and yellow sunrise sky illuminating the ocean water in lanikai beach Hawaii with the dark island mountain silhouette

It is almost impossible to determine which beach is the best on O’ahu as there are so many amazing and pristine Hawaiian beaches to choose from. From the southern iconic Waikiki Beaches to the North Shore and everywhere in between truly is a great beach to visit. My favorite, and arguably the best beach on the island is Lanikai. Let me show you why. Be sure to Check out my O’ahu Travel Guide for everything you will need to know before your trip.

aerial view of a beautiful house and pool with palm trees on a sandy beach with beautiful Hawaiian blue ocean water

Lanikai is arguably the best place to watch the sunrise. Located on the Eastern side of the Island (the Windward side) and about 45 minutes away from Honolulu is the small town of Lanikai. This beach is a stark contrast to the tourist and crowded haven of the famous Waikiki Beaches.

two moke silhouette islands in the ocean as the sunrise illuminates the sky in lanikai Oahu

The view is hard to beat here with the beautiful two islands, or Mokes, that sit just a short distance from the white sand beaches. Many people will rent kayaks and paddle out to these beautiful areas to explore and adventure for the day.

The water on these beaches is the best on the island. The clear water and bluish hues make this the ultimate picturesque location. The blues of the water can truly be enjoyed if you hike up the ridgeline just behind the beach. The Lanikai Pillbox hike is perfect as it is a short hike with beautiful views. The views from the Pillbox make for a perfect sunrise location as well.

You aren’t going to find many amenities as the beaches are right up against the quiet neighborhood beachfront homes. Be sure to pack food and drinks for the day and Leave No Trace when you leave.

The Sunrise Shack is a great spot to grab a breakfast smoothie or acai bow. Head in to the main street of the town where you will find more restaurants and markets if you’re looking to grab some lunch. If you’re like me, then you will be picking up some fresh Poke Bowls for every meal.

The only negative about this location is that parking is limited so be sure to get there early. Get there for Sunrise to truly make the most of your day at this great location.

PRO TIP: Hawaii Time Zone is in your favor. You most likely will wake up early so do your sunrise adventures early on in your trip!

aerial view of a turtle swimming in clear blue Hawaii ocean waters

aerial view of a woman in red swim suit laying in the sand along the Hawaiian ocean water

palm tree and mountain silhouette along the beach with beautiful sunrise red orange and yellow sky

man in bathing suit standing in blue water along a Hawaiian beach with rock and palm trees


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