Waikiki Beach – is the most well-known beach of Hawaii. You get sun, sand, surf, and a view of Diamond Head. It can get pretty crowded since the area is dotted with resorts, shops, and bars. But even if crowds are not for you, it’s still definitely worth a visit. If you head to Duke Kahanamoku’s statue, there’s a live webcam there so you can have all your friends check out your surfing skills. Fun fact – Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love got married on this beach.
Sand/surf: The sand is a bit courser than other Hawaiian beaches. Waves are calm so it’s great for swimming. If there are thunderstorms, don’t worry too much – it usually clears up in an hour or so.
Ko’Olina Lagoon – this is actually a golf course/resort with a man-made lagoon. For parking, head to Ulua, Lagoon 4.
Sand/surf: Since it’s man-made, they probably imported the sand from somewhere else (not sure where), so it is rougher than most. Because the water is by a rocky area, the waves don’t really come in, so it’s a great place for non-swimmers.
Ewa Beach – since this beach was about 10 minutes away from my sister’s home, we decided to check it out. It’s a neighborhood beach (similar to how we would have neighborhood parks), so you won’t find any tourists here. It’s also about an hour outside of town. You won’t really find peace and quiet though, as it is located next to a firing range.
Sand/Surf: lots of debris in the sand. Look out for all of the tiny holes – you’ll see little crabs popping out from them from time to time. The water is rocky in some areas and waves are rough, so it’s not too great for swimming.
Lanikai Beach – this might be one of the nicest (if not, THE nicest) beaches I’ve ever been to. It’s located on the east side of the island, about 30 minutes from Waikiki. For this reason, its not usually teeming with tourists like Waikiki is. It feels more secluded. Check out ‘A Day at Lanikai’ for some tips and things to do in the area.
Sand/Surf: the sand is super clean and soft. It’s also a lot finer than other beaches so you will probably accidentally bring a ton home with you. Waves are calm, so it’s great for swimming or just chilling in the water if you can’t swim well (like me). There are also little pockets of coral if you want to snorkel. All the while, you’ll enjoy the view of the Mokulua Islands