The 6 Most Overrated Beaches on Oʻahu (and Their Best Alternatives)

We aren’t picky, we’re just…discerning.

1. Overrated: Lanikai​

The Alternative: Kalama Beach Park


This is Lanikai, but the sand and views at Kalama Beach Park are nearly identical.
Photos: Ambika Castle


Lanikai is beautiful, but the guidebook crowds are a little hard to bear sometimes. Head down the road to Kalama Beach Park for a little more breathing room. Better yet, use one of the beach access paths just a little east of the Kalama Beach Park parking lot–if you’re lucky, you might find a spot all to yourself.


2. Overrated: Kaimana Beach

The Alternative: Diamond Head Beach Park


Isn’t the view on the right much better than the one on the left?


Kaimana Beach is a local favorite, but everyday it feels more and more like the Waikīkī zoo. Pack your bags and head up the hill to Diamond Head Beach Park. Don’t mind the short hike up and down. It’s more spacious and the showers are way better. You might even spot a monk seal bathing on the shore.


3. Overrated: Waimānalo Beach Park

The Alternative: Sherwoods Beach 


If you just head 100 yards east from Waimānalo Beach Park, you’ll reach a far less crowded strech of sand.


The takeaway from this list might just be to avoid beaches with lifeguards. While Waimānalo Beach Park has all the family amenities, it also comes with the family crowds. The water is just as clear at Sherwoods, the beach right next door. Its parking lot is in between 7-Eleven and Bellows Field Beach Park, by the ironwood forest.


4. Overrated: Ala Moana Beach Park

The Alternative: Sand Island


It’s a rare morning that you’ll see this few people at Ala Moana Beach Park.


If you’re tired of trying to find a place to pitch your tent at Ala Moana Beach Park, take the party over to Sand Island instead. It’s just down the road, and is virtually empty most of the time. You can even catch some waves if you’re looking for surf.


5. Overrated: Waimea Bay Beach Park

The Alternative: Chun’s Reef Beach


Chun’s has so much to offer, right around this bend.


You may balk at us calling Waimea overrated, but wouldn’t you rather spend your time at beautiful Chun’s? It’s expansive, has way fewer tourists and has even more turtles playing in the water than Laniākea.


6. Overrated: Waikīkī

The alternative: White Plains Beach


Enjoy a relaxing day at White Plains (pictured on the right), away from pretty much…everything.


Yes, we all know Waikīkī is overrated, and that White Plains isn’t exactly down the road from it, but hear us out. If you’ve tried learning to surf in Waikīkī but have been discouraged by tourists on longboards careening into you, give White Plains a try. This beach in ‘Ewa is a trek for townies, but offers gentle waves, a pleasant crowd, and tons of space to both surf and lay out. The only downside is that rentals are for military only, so bring your own board.


Disagree completely or have another to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!