3 Uncrowded Beaches To Visit in Oahu

It took us less than three years to make our way back to Hawaii—Oahu this time. By far the most visited Hawaiian island, Oahu is the most developed, home to some of the most accessible Hawaiian beaches, and, from what we experienced, incredibly vegan friendly. (Check out my Instagram Guide on Where to Eat Vegan in Oahu!)

Now since this Hawaii trip was a lot shorter than our last one, (only 3 full days versus our last trip to Kaui and Maui for ten days), we figured accessible was the way to go. And since the crowded beach scene is not really our thing, we spent our first day scoping out the least crowded beaches of Oahu.

Wonderous waves hitting the shore of Waimea Beach.

Turtle Bay

We started off our first morning early, driving one hour from our hotel in Honolulu to the north shore. We made it to an empty Turtle Bay Beach—a beautiful beach on Turtle Bay Resort—at 8 am. Beach chairs can be reserved at $60 a piece for four hours, but if that’s a little too steep for you like it was for us, bring your own seating and umbrella. We enjoyed having the beach to ourselves for a couple of hours for a morning swim.

Turtle Bay Beach, Oahu, HI.

Waimea Beach

After a morning swim in the calm waters of Turtle Bay, we headed south to Waimea Beach, located across from the Waimea Valley and Falls. (For those looking for a hike, Waimea Valley and Falls is beautiful but does have a $20 per person entry fee and the parking lot fills up quickly). We watched the monstrous waves crash onto the shore and even witnessed a lifeguard rescue a swimmer caught up in the waves. (Highly recommend heeding any and all signage as they do not exaggerate.)

Waimea Beach, Oahu, HI.

Polo Beach

Last on our list for the day was Polo Beach, easily our favorite. After the calm waters of Turtle Bay and the not-so-swimmable waves of Waimea, Polo Beach was the happy medium. We swam for nearly an hour before we realized that it was not just any beach—it was a clothing optional beach. (I learned later that Jake knew all along that it was a clothing optional beach and I love that.)

Polo Beach, Oahu, HI.

After thoroughly enjoying the Oahu beaches, we spent day two exploring the mountainous region of North Oahu (known best as the film location for Jurassic Park). From Kualoa Regional Park we kayaked to and hiked the tiny island of Mokoli’i, enjoying the gorgeous views from a variety of vantage points. Taking a moment to drink in the sight of the lush green mountains and the sound of the waves was probably the most memorable part of this entire trip.

Kayaking to the island of Mokoli’i.
View of the mainland of Oahu from the island of Mokoli’i.
A tiny beach on the north side of Mokoli’i.

On our last day, we adventured to the south side of the island for an early morning hike to Monoa Falls. Pro tip: the parking lot was full by 9 am so be sure to get there early to beat the crowds. Another pro tip: plan on more than just three days in Oahu because it is definitely not enough time.

The Hawaiian island of Oahu from above.

Until next time,

Leah Pinkus

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