Oahu beaches often place in the top-10 rankings on a list compiled by "Dr. Beach," also known as professor Stephen P. Leatherman of Florida International University. Based on environmental quality and safety for swimmers, the annual rankings frequently feature at least one of the island's sunny shores. Thanks to the geology of the Ko'olau and Wai'anae mountain ranges, Oahu is home to more than 130 beaches. Waikiki is ideal for sunbathing, people-watching and beginners' surfing and paddling. Beyond Waikiki, many other coastlines on Oahu beckon. Windward Oahu's Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach Park are great for families and picnics. On the west side, Ko 'Olina Resort's tranquil lagoons are ideal for small children. Windward or leeward, mountain to shore, this is an island of great beauty and miles of shoreline. With so many to choose from, here's a look at eight of the best:
The Oahu Beaches
Waikiki—This is probably the most famous beach in all of the Hawaiian Islands.
Ala Moana—Mark this beach down as a great place for families and for stand-up paddleboarding.
Hanauma Bay—If you're looking for one of the best snorkeling spots on the island, this is it.
Kailua—One of the best spots for wind sports and a relaxing run.
Malaekahana State Park—The reward for the drive is the privacy you'll receive on this North Shore treasure.
Waimea Bay—During the winter months, this North Shore beach features conditions that make it the big-surf capital of the island.
Ko Olina Resort—A sandy bottom and inland pools make this a safe swimming and snorkeling spot for families with little children.
White Plains—The gentle surf makes this a good spot to learn how to surf away from the crowds in Waikiki.