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Hawaii Beaches: Westside Vs. Eastside

Yes, a beach is a beach, and all beaches are the epitome of relaxation and paradise. But there are better beaches than others, even in Hawaii. Here's a close comparison of the pros and cons with the Westside (Leeward) beaches and the Eastside beaches on Oahu, Hawaii.

On Oahu, there is an invisible divide between the West and East side of the island. This is primarily due to the sharp weather distinctions that are seen between the two sides – the West (or Leeward side, as we call it) tends to be a lot drier and warmer than the East side (which includes the Windward side, as we call that), which tends to be wetter, rainier, or just less drier. This change in climate can be seen at the beaches, as we will see in a bit.

WESTSIDE

Ko’olina

The best resort on the West! Ko’olina’s beaches are more like enclosed lagoons – so no waves, but they’re great for family gatherings where you just want to relax on the pristine beaches and keep your kids in eyesight. This is probably my favorite beach on the west side, although the lack of surf is a slight minus.

Haleiwa

The North Shore Marketplace in the historic town of Haleiwa, is a great tourist attraction. Although it’s not a beach, technically, it’s got the whole vibe of a local beach infused into everything there. This includes surf shops, coconut and acai bowl stands, and side-street vendors selling conch shells! The fun is endless.

Waimea

Waimea Beach is definitely the most popular North Shore beach, along with Pipeline Beach, which is further up north. This beach, which is more of a bay, has the clearest blue waters I have ever seen! And there’s a large rock that’s also fun for everyone to try to jump off of and see who chickens out, haha. In the swell season, the waves can get pretty choppy, though. But for sunset watching, this beach is HANDS DOWN the most beautiful and accommodating for viewers.

EASTSIDE

Portlock

This “secret spot” on the south shore of Oahu (we count south and east together) is picture perfect! There’s a small bench that’s been nailed into the tree branches above the high tide, and it’s lovely to sit on it and watch the sunset with that special someone. There’s no sand, but the coastline is simply gorgeous.

Spitting Caves

Similar to Portlock, there is not much sand here, but the rock formations that manifest themselves around the water are breathtaking. You can take a nice stroll around the rocks, which suspend you about 60 feet up from the water. It’s great for adventure and exploring. Plus, the area is surrounded by extremely nice houses…a bonus!

Makapu’u

I suppose I’ve been to this beach the most out of all of Oahu’s beaches – and there are good reasons for that! Primarily, my love lived in this area so we’d take the chance to just drive by and relax for a bit in the luxurious sand. But other than that, there’s the sheer beauty of the beach. It’s different from the Westside beaches, in that, the sand’s consistency is a bit finer, and the sun is not as blaring hot.

Kawaikui Beach Park

This small beach park is unassuming, but really fun to play frisbee, have a picnic, or take a Lomo-walk. There’s ample parking (a problem in some beaches, like Waimea), and lots of benches.

Kaka’ako Beach Park

Kaka’ako is a bit different from the rest of the beaches, which is why I chose to include this in my beach survey. Kaka’ako in itself a pretty industrial area, with car dealer ships, auto mechanics, wholesale suppliers, and malls. But the beach park is a little gem in itself! The park is always nicely manicured and trimmed, with miles of walkway and sidewalk to follow around. The beach is more rocky than sandy, and I’ve personally never went into the water here, but the skyline is totally unique. You can see Honolulu, which is right next to Kaka’ako, and also you can see towards the Westside, which is a beautiful span of view.

All in all, it’s difficult to narrow down my favorite beaches, because each one has its strengths and weaknesses. The Westside has its unique attributes and so does the East. Also, if you’re wondering, I’ve purposely left out some choices, like Waikiki Beach, which obviously is popular enough to not really need an overview of.

I hope this list has been somewhat helpful, albeit brief. I wanted to just point out a short list of what Hawaii’s beaches have to offer anyone who is lucky to visit! :) Lomo on!

written by dearjme

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