Do you want to go to family-friendly beaches that the “locals” on Oahu frequent?
Well, read on.
Whether you’re planning your first family vacation to the islands or just looking for a nice beach for your “staycation,” let us help you find the perfect beach for your whole family. We’ve compiled a list of our top five best local beaches on Oahu for families with children along information to making your beach visit a memorable one.
Top 5 Local Beaches on Oahu
We think you’ll find Oahu to be a beachy paradise that’s both safe and adventurous. With an island packed with so many people, it can be hard to find a beach that is both safe and welcoming to families with small children.
Here is our list for some of the best local beaches on Oahu for the keiki.
Magic Island (at Ala Moana Beach Park)
Located at the far end of Ala Moana Beach park (towards Waikiki), Magic Island is where locals living in the city go to celebrate birthdays, reunions, and to relax under the large trees that provide much needed shade on a sunny day.
It’s a place for solace, relaxation and alone time, though you also find many people walking and exercising. There’s an ample amount of benches and tables near the lagoon, but bring your own beach mat, blanket or chairs for comfort. Bring your snorkel gear as fish can be easily found near the shoreline.
There is a large parking lot, a lifeguard tower, showers and restrooms nearby. If you’re there for sunset, Magic Island is great to enjoy the Friday night firework display from the Hilton Hawaiian Village which begins at 7:45pm.
Local Tip: There are no grocery stores or restaurants nearby (nearest would be in Ala Moana Center) so pack a cooler, light lunch and everything you would need for the day, including lots of water.
Ko Olina (Kapolei)
Located on the west side of Oahu in the city of Kapolei, the Ko Olina, comprised of 4 lagoons, has fabulous beaches for young children. Parents don’t need to worry about big waves, and the gentle waters are a great place for young snorkelers. 3 of the lagoons are mainly for the resorts nearby (Four Seasons, Aulani, and the Marriott) though you can easily walk on the footpath from lagoon to lagoon to visit each hotel and perhaps have lunch.
Lagoon 4 (at the far end, after the resorts), is the largest lagoon and has the largest parking lot. It is also the best lagoon for snorkeling. If you see a turtle in the water, be respectful keep your distance (Hawaii’s green sea turtles are protected under the Endangered Species Act and therefore it is illegal to touch, harass or harm a turtle. Here’s more on how we work to protect Hawaii’s turtle, and what you can do, too).
Because of its location, the Ko Olina’s lagoons are home to some of the most stunning sunsets on Oahu. Locals come here with their young children since most beaches on the west side of the island tend to have large shore breaks and no public showers or bathrooms.
Local Tip: We like to park at Lagoon 4, spend the afternoon at the beach (3:00 pm onwards), shower, watch the sunset then walk over to the Marriott for dinner. The parking lot is small and tends to get full on the weekends by 9:00 am.
Bellows Field Beach Park (Waimanalo)
Bellows Field Beach Park is located on the east side of Oahu and is one of three beaches on the Waimanalo Bay. The turquoise water is tranquil, unsoiled and absolutely beautiful. The shallow water and consistent shore breaks are a good spot for beginning body boarders, surfers, and swimmers.
It is a great beach to sunbathe, picnic and relax under the nearby shady trees. There are restrooms, showers and picnic areas. You can also rent paddle boards, kayaks and snorkeling gear if you forget your own and a mini-mart is within walking distance. The parking lot and the street along side of the beach provide ample parking.
Local Tip: Only open to the public on weekends and holidays. Military training takes place on weekdays.
White Plains Beach (Kapolei)
White Plains Beach is located in the old Barbers Point Naval Air Station in Kalaeloa. It’s an out of the way beach but once you find it, you’ll see that it’s great and very popular amongst local families living on the West side of the island.
The sand is nice, soft and clean and you’ll often find monk seals sunbathing on the sand and many surfers, bodyboarders and sun bathers enjoying the breeze and typically calm waters. The beach is not recommended for toddlers but children who love to play on the shore breaks. Bring an umbrella as there is no shade near the water, just way off in the back by the pavilions.
Local Tip: Make sure to get here early to get a spot in the by the pavilions.
Poka’i Bay Beach Park
Poka’i Bay Beach is a family-oriented beach park on the Wai’anae coast where the water is clean and calm. The sheltered bay is good for stand-up paddle boarding or to launch kayak. It’s best to go during the week if you want the beach to yourself; it gets crowded with local families and parties on weekends.
Take a walk out to the heiau, which is an ancient Hawaiian archaeological site. The view from there, looking to the water is especially stunning. BUT, don’t forget to turn around – the Waianae Mountains in the back have the power to take your breath away (then again, most of Hawaii does that to you).
Local Tip: Pack a cooler with your lunch and drinks – there aren’t any places right around to buy food. The closest restaurants & stores – L&L, Jack in the Box, 7-11 – are about a block or more away.
Did your favorite spot not make our list? Let us know in the comments below – what are your favorite family-friendly beaches on Oahu?
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