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11 Unique Beaches near Pearl Harbor, HI

From the family-friendly allure of Ala Moana Beach Park to the buzzing Waikiki Beach, there is something for every type of beachgoer in Pearl Harbor.
Waikiki Beach

Pearl Harbor’s neighboring beaches cater to diverse preferences, offering surfers, snorkelers, and sunbathers a perfect retreat. 

From the family-friendly allure of Ala Moana Beach Park, buzzing Waikiki Beach, Nānākuli Beach with its campsites, or the gorgeous views from the iconic Diamond Head, there is something for every type of beachgoer here.

And the best thing, all of these spots are just within 20 miles drive from Pearl Harbor.

Check out what the area has to offer!

1. Pu’uloa Beach

Ewa Beach in Hawaii
Source: flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 16 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, playgrounds

Nestled within Ewa Beach, Pu’uloa Beach Park offers a quiet coastal haven away from the bustle of tourist-filled beaches. 

Frequented by locals, this serene escape proffers an authentic Hawaiian experience. 

Only 30 minutes from the airport, the tranquil ambiance is occasionally punctuated by the fascinating sight of airplanes touching down. 

Complete with picnic tables, this beach invites visitors to enjoy al fresco meals amid breathtaking scenery. 

The park is equipped with restrooms and showers, ensuring a comfortable day out. 

A welcoming playground also stands ready to entertain younger visitors. 

If you yearn for a day on a beach frequented by locals and seek a sense of genuine Hawaiian community spirit, Pu’uloa Beach Park is your ideal destination.

2. Nimitz Beach

  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 18 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, fishing
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, picnic pavilions, playgrounds

Just across the street from Kalaeloa Airport, sits the idyllic Nimitz Beach – a peaceful refuge largely favored by locals. 

Similarly to Pu’uloa Beach, this hidden gem offers a calm retreat from the crowded tourist beaches. It has yet to appear in guidebooks.

With seven picnic pavilions dotting its landscape, Nimitz Beach encourages familial bonding and friendly gatherings under its sheltered roofs. 

However, visitors should note the rocky reef terrain which makes the area less ideal for water sports. 

Despite this, the beach’s beauty is undiminished. 

Frequented by local residents and offering plenty of space for recreational activities, it’s a serene corner for those seeking an authentic Hawaiian experience. 

If tranquillity coupled with local charm is what you seek, Nimitz Beach is your next ideal stop.

3. Ko Olina

One of the lagoons at Ko Olina on Oahu, Hawaii
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 18 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers

Nestled amidst luxury resorts and a mere half hour from Pearl Harbor, Ko Olina presents an inviting sanctuary for those seeking a snorkeling or swimming adventure. 

The resort-dotted landscape houses a public beach with palm trees and an expansive green lawn.

The serene lagoon, complete with smooth, white sands and gentle, clear blue waters, forms an ideal family-friendly spot. 

The surrounding resorts supply ample dining options after a day in the sun. 

However, be aware, beachgoers cannot bring grills or beach umbrellas. Early arrival is advised to secure a shaded spot. 

Ko Olina’s tranquil environment, combined with its reputation as a premier swimming and snorkeling location, makes it a prime destination for those wanting a taste of Hawaiian luxury.

4. Electric Beach

Summer seascape from Electric Beach on the west coast of Oahu Island, Hawaii
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 18 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling, diving
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables

Immersed in O’ahu’s striking splendor, Electric Beach delivers a unique oceanic experience. 

With a power plant discharging warm water attracting a rich variety of marine life, it’s acclaimed as a superior destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. 

The thriving, temperate waters lure a menagerie of species from turtles and seals to dolphins and schools of tropical fish, framed by an exquisite coral backdrop. 

Yet, beneath this inviting aquatic paradise, a potent current runs havoc. 

Thus, while it’s a coveted site for seasoned divers and snorkelers, its strong waters may prove challenging for beginners. 

Electric Beach’s captivating blend of warm, vibrant waters and a dynamic marine ecosystem distinguishes it as an exceptional destination in Hawaii’s rich tapestry of beaches.

5. Nānākuli Beach

Landscape in Nanakuli Beach- Oahu, Hawaii
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 21 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling, diving
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, lifeguards, campsites

A hidden gem on Oahu’s west coast, Nānākuli Beach distinguishes itself as one of the finest spots for swimming, thanks to its soft sand and vigilant lifeguards, a rare feature in this region. 

Despite its stunning allure, the beach remains surprisingly untouched by masses, ensuring a serene, unspoiled experience for visitors. 

A prominent highlight of this seaside haven is its camping facilities, offering an exceptional and unusual opportunity for tourists to immerse themselves in the breathtaking beauty of Hawaii overnight. 

As a west-facing beach, Nānākuli is particularly charming during sunsets.

With its expansive and broad layout, Nānākuli Beach delivers an abundance of space to revel in, making it an unrivaled coastal retreat.

6. Ala Moana Beach Park

Teenage girl walking at empty Ala Moana Beach at sunset
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 9 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling, diving, paddleboarding, volleyball
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, lifeguards, volleyball nets, sports courts, concessions, free parking

Ala Moana Beach Park, a favored locale among Honolulu residents, is undergoing a massive renovation that is set to bring fresh vibrancy to the popular beach by 2025. 

With new sand volleyball courts, a bike path, renovated bathrooms, and a new playground in the works, this urban beach is ready to offer more to its visitors. 

Adored for its balance of natural beauty and recreational facilities, Ala Moana hosts diverse activities including paddleboard yoga, surfing, and Memorial Day Lantern Floating Ceremony. 

The park is also equipped with essentials such as lifeguards, showers, picnic tables, food concessions, and tennis courts. 

A shining example of a well-rounded beach park, Ala Moana continues to be a melting pot of Hawaiian culture, recreational fun, and natural beauty.

7. Kahanamoku Beach

Duke Paoa Kahanamoku statue in Honolulu - Waikiki, Kahanamoku Beach
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 10 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling, diving, paddleboarding
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, concessions

Kahanamoku Beach, located at the western end of the famous Waikiki strip, is a haven for paddlers and swimmers alike. 

Named after Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, the “Father of Modern Surfing,” the beach boasts the widest stretch in Waikiki and was named the #2 beach in America in 2023. 

Its calm, protected waters make it ideal for swimming, while the adjacent man-made Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon offers a tranquil place for picnicking and relaxation. 

Hilton Pier, located at the center, hosts exciting Atlantis Submarine tours. 

The beach also features an array of amenities including showers, kid-friendly facilities, and parking options, alongside nearby dining and equipment rentals. 

Kahanamoku Beach, thus, not only represents Hawaiian history but continues to uphold its legacy as an activity-packed beachfront.

8. Waikiki Beach

people on Waikiki beach during daytime
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 12 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling, diving, paddleboarding, surfing
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, concessions, lifeguards, rentals, volleyball nets

A tropical paradise nestled in Honolulu, Waikiki Beach entices with a sparkling blend of turquoise water and soft sand. 

Formerly the playground of Hawaiian royalty, the beach still resonates with the sporty spirit of the royals with its longboard surfing tradition. 

Convenient beach showers, public bathrooms, lifeguard stations, and restaurants make for a comfortable seaside retreat. 

Uniquely, barbeque grills at Fort DuRussy, San Souci, and Kapiolani Park provide an opportunity for beachside cooking. 

The beach, once home to the first large hotel in 1901 – Moana Surfrider, now flaunts a line-up of high-end resorts. 

Furthermore, the neighborhood bursts with world-class shopping, dining, entertainment, and activities, securing Waikiki Beach as a vibrant and globally renowned gathering spot.

9. Kaimana Beach

Kaimana Beach and Hotel Aerial View
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 13 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling, diving, paddleboarding, surfing
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, lifeguards

With its scenic location nestled between the War Memorial Natatorium and the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, Kaimana Beach serves as a much-loved retreat for locals and visitors alike. 

Just a stone’s throw from the heart of bustling Waikiki, Kaimana Beach offers a tranquil haven with its broad sandy stretch and calm waters. 

Protected by a wide reef, the beach provides a safe swimming area, appealing to families and leisure swimmers. 

Meanwhile, adventurous surfers can use the beach as an access point to reach the popular surf spot, Old Man’s. 

Despite being within walking distance of Waikiki Beach, Kaimana Beach maintains its unique charm, making it a sought-after destination for those desiring the beach experience sans the crowd.

10. Diamond Head Beach

Beach at Diamond Head Beach Park on Oahu, Hawaii
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 15 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling, diving, surfing, hiking
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, trails, free parking, lighthouse, overlook

Tucked away from the buzz of the city, Diamond Head Beach Park presents a tranquil retreat for beach lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and the surfing community. 

A gem located at the base of the iconic Diamond Head, it offers engaging activities from beachcombing to surfing, with calm periods revealing opportune snorkeling conditions. 

An added quirk, its unofficial status as a nude beach, adds a dash of intrigue to the place. 

With dog-friendly areas, grassy space for sunbathing, picnic spots, and ample parking, the beach guarantees a well-rounded experience. 

Adding to the natural allure, a trail along the coastline leads to a majestic overlook, providing unparalleled views of the beach, the cliffs, and the historic Diamond Head Lighthouse. 

However, sun-seekers beware; shade is sparse, so sunscreen is a must.

11. Kāhala Beach

Kāhala Beach in Oahu Hawaii
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Pearl Harbor: 14 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, picnics, snorkeling, diving, surfing
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, free parking

Located next to the prestigious Kahala Hotel & Resort, Waiʻalae Beach Park in Oahu offers a serene and picturesque space, as well as the access to the famous Kāhala Beach.

The beach presents an unusual sight, as Waiʻalae Stream beautifully merges with the ocean, creating a wide channel through the reef. 

The beach, split into two by the stream and connected by a white stone bridge, has a vast grassy area, picnic tables, restrooms, and outdoor showers, ideal for day outings. 

Despite the sandy beach being interspersed with corals and not ideal for swimming due to the shallow reef, it’s a popular spot for wedding photoshoots, picnics, surfing, and windsurfing. 

Parking, while limited, is usually plentiful during the week. 

Be sure to explore the man-made island at the east end for a unique beach experience.

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