Enjoying the waves at Sandy Beach Park.

© Shutterstock / Phillip B. Espinasse

Sandy Beach Park

Top choice in Oʻahu

Here the ocean usually heaves and thrashes like a furious beast. This is one of Oʻahu’s most challenging beaches, with a punishing shore break, a powerful backwash and strong rip currents. Expert bodysurfers and bodyboarders spend hours trying to mount the often pounding waves. Just watching these daredevils being tossed around and occasionally nailing it is a huge attraction. The beach itself is lovely; just know that the water isn't for the inexperienced – dozens of people are injured every year.

There are some narrow areas for advanced swimmers watched over by lifeguards. The best sand is at the west end; the east end has lava rocks and very interesting tide pools. On weekdays you can usually find parking; there are drink vendors.

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