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Sandy Beach

Everything You’d Want to Know about Sandy Beach in Oahu

Find out why the locals in Oahu want to keep Sandy Beach to themselves.

  • When you’re looking at a list of places you must visit when you’re enjoying some vacation time in Waikiki, you most like will have Sandy Beach as one of the locations listed. While it’s easy enough for your eyes to quickly pass over the rather dull name, you certainly won’t get bored if you do include a visit to Sandy Beach in your itinerary.
  • Here are some of the facts you should know about Sandy Beach:
    • Many people in the area consider Sandy Beach as one of their favorite places. It’s a beloved location that’s not just for tourists. Teens during the summer would ride the bus to here in the morning, and spend the whole day just bodysurfing the powerful waves. After all that, at the end of the day they would just get back on the bus right back to town. 
    • Exactly how did Sandy Beach get its name? This is a mystery that often debated, since the state does like using typically Hawaiian names for its beaches and other landmarks. Some say that this place was named for a fisherman named Sandy, who many years ago fished along the area. 
    • Some even think that this was named for the fine beach sand, which can get everywhere if you’re not careful! That’s especially true if you try swimming in the water. You’ll leave this beach with sand in your hair and in your bathing suit, and probably in your ears and nose too. It won’t matter if you shower off at the beach before you leave. The sand seems to have a mind of its own, and some of the sand particles are determined to leave with you. 
    • When you swim the waters, you really should leave items on the beach instead of having them in your pockets. The pounding shore breaks are impressively powerful. Anything you have on you can easily be shaken off. So, if you don’t want to lose your smartphone, sunglasses, or keys, just leave them off. The only safe items you won’t lose is your wristwatch. Pat your pockets for any valuables before you enter the water. 
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  • The shore breaks are powerful enough to be both fun and dangerous. It’s best that you first find a lifeguard so you can get some info regarding the current conditions. Get tips on the best ocean entry points. When the waves are large, playing in the shore breaks may be somewhat more dangerous than fun. These waves are powerful enough to raise you and then drop you back down hard. The sand won’t be cuddly and soft, and when they’re packed densely it’s like dropping on concrete. Don’t forget about the rocks as well. 
  • Getting to Sandy Beach Park will take you about 45 minutes if you take a bus from Waikiki. If you have a car, it takes only about half an hour. 
  • If you’re driving from Waikiki, here’s how you get to Sandy Beach:
    • Start by going down south via H-1 Kalanianaoli Highway
    • This H-1 will at some point become Highway 72, due to some naming conventions. But it’s still the same Kalanianaoli Highway you’ll be driving on along the coast. 
    • Take your time looking around, as you’ll go past homes and then past Hawaii Kai. 
    • Follow the coastal freeway up and around the Koko Crater ridge. 
    • At this point, be on the lookout for a lava rock cliff single lane road to follow. This road winds around the area for a few miles, and eventually you’ll go around a bend go down to the beachside. 
    • The beach park will be on your right, so make the turn to enter. The parking stalls will be along the beach on both sides. 
  • If you don’t have a car, it’s not a problem. 
    • Just get to Kuhio Ave in Waikiki. 
    • Take the #22 or #23 Oahu Bus, goes towards Diamond Head.
    • On weekdays, these buses run hourly. On weekends, they’ll come by every half an hour. 
    • The trip takes only about 45 minutes, but sometimes it can require an hour when traffic is heavier than usual. 
  • You can expect certain amenities to be present in Sandy Park. 
    • Parking is free in the lot if you brought your own car. 
    • There are restrooms, along with beach showers.
    • There are several picnic tables around, though you have to be among the first people to arrive to enjoy the use of one. 
    • There’s a nice grassy area there too, conveniently under trees that offer some shade. 
    • The beach also has a lifeguard on duty.
  • Sandy Beach Tips
    • Bodysurfing the waves is great, but be sure you can manage the waves. 
    • It’s important that you bring the right gear with you if you’re determined to swim or bodysurf the waters. You particularly need swim fins with foot leases, which are different from diving fins. These swim fins can provide a lot of power when you swim, so you’re able to get in and out of the waters more easily. You can get these swim fins at the local surf shops, (but you can’t usually find the diving fins there). You may have to pay $25 to $50. 
    • The truth is that shady areas in Sandy Beach aren’t all that ubiquitous. Not only that, but it will seem that the sun will be a lot harsher here, especially when it’s bearing right on you. So use high-UPF sunscreen, and apply it frequently. When you’re done with the water, apply that sunscreen again. 
    • Sandy Beach Park isn’t exactly teeming with plenty of dining options. The truth is that it’s a bit out of the way, which is actually one of the reasons why so many locals like it. It’s really in a rather isolated area. On the weekends, sometimes you might stumble on a food wagon. But that’s not exactly a common occurrence. So bring snacks and drinks with you if you want to make sure you can snack on something when you’re taking a break. If you’re driving to Sandy Beach, your last chance of buying snacks are the stores and restaurants at the Koko Marina Shopping Center in Hawaii Kai. 
  • The great thing about Oahu (and Waikiki in particular) is that lots of fantastic tourist spots are right next to each other. Here are some other sights you can visit along the way, or to maybe come back to the next day:
    • Hanauma Bay. This area is noted for its fantastic snorkeling. It’s also a marine sanctuary, so there are plenty of rules you need to follow. This is also a gorgeous beach that has earned lots of plaudits from many beach experts. 
    • Halona Blowhole. This is the natural formation that sprays ocean water up to 30 feet in the air. It’s true that it’s possible to see this from Sandy Beach. But the effect is much more impressive when you’re standing up close. 
    • Halona Beach Cove. It’s just below the Halona Blowhole on your right side if you’re driving to Sandy Beach. The last turnout before you reach Sandy Beach will take you here. This is the beach that was the setting for the famous “beach kiss” in the film From Here to Eternity. 
    • Sea Life Park. A ticket reservation can get you a full-day’s pass along with transportation to this theme park. You can then spend up to half an hour in a huge tank to interact with the marine animals, accompanied by trained experts. Now you can swim underwater with sea lions and even sharks!
    • Makapuu’u Beach Park. This is located just across the street from Sea Life Park. To reach this, you need to go past Sandy Beach and drive up towards the Makapuu’u Point. From this spot, you’ll get a magnificent view of the gorgeous Windward coastline. This is one picture you’ll want to take and post on social media to make your friends envious. 
    • Makapuu’u Lighthouse Trail. Some say the view from up here is even more magical than from Makapuu’u Beach Park. You’ll get a view of the Windward side, Koko Head, and the beach below you. You’ll need to hike upwards for about half an hour, but for many hikers that’s actually part of the fun.  
  • If you’re including Sandy Beach as one of your must-visit places, you may end up spending quite a bit of money. You can stretch your budget by booking an Oahu Private Tour. You can then enjoy 10% off when you reserve today. 
  • This tour takes you to many of the spots here that will give you the best views and photographs. Practice your photography skills, but don’t forget to just relax and enjoy the views. 

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