A quiet morning at Kailua Beach – one of the best times to enjoy Hawaii’s sandy shores.

You don’t have to search for space on the beach if you keep two things in mind:

1. Arrive early or late in the day.

Kailua Beach is one of the busiest on Oahu, along with neighboring Lanikai Beach and cross-island Waikiki Beach. This photo, however, was taken on a weekend, when locals join those on their Hawaii vacation on the sand. A few people strolled along, many walking dogs. The kite surfers were out performing an aerial show; two wind surfers joined them. Where are all the people? They will arrive soon.

This photo is from before 9 a.m. – the best time to visit a beach on the Windward side of Oahu. Sunrises are beautiful, and in the hours following, the beach slowly comes to life. It is busiest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when tour groups stop by and locals set up for lunch or early evening barbecues on the beach.

Even popular Waikiki Beach, next to nearly all the hotels on Oahu, is quieter earlier. Unlike Windward beaches which are on the east side of the island, Waikiki has a lovely sunset. If you wait until later in the afternoon, then you can see the sunset and enjoy much more solitude as people leave to change for dinner.

A side benefit of visiting the beach early or late is that you avoid the hottest part of the day, which is less comfortable and makes you more prone to sunburn.

Kite surfing at Kailua Beach.

2. Avoid weekends and holidays.

Locals love the beach as much as visitors, but most of us are working Monday through Friday. Give us a holiday, though, and the party is on the sand. If you are on a Hawaii vacation, then you probably have weekdays free, so you can plan sunbathing, snorkeling or kayaking for those days.

Not only are beaches more congested, but the traffic on roads to get there is hideous as well. A drive from Honolulu to the North Shore takes half the time on a weekday as it does on a holiday. Keep in mind, Hawaii has special holidays not often celebrated elsewhere, so check in advance to plan your beach days. You’ll have more time to play and less in transit if you check the calendar before you grab the sunscreen and slippers.

There is no bad time to be on a Hawaii beach, but some days and times are better than others.


  1. Agreed Cindy; anytime is a great time for the beach! But I made the mistake of going to the North Shore one holiday weekend. LOL stuck in traffic for hours coming and going.

  2. Awh, bummers @Tara. North Shore traffic is actually getting worse! Even when it’s not a holiday unfortunately. It’s a great place to spend the day but only has one road in and out! Good excuse to stay at the beach as long as possible.

  3. Yeah, my nephew and his wife called while they were already on the way to the North Shore on a holiday – if he’d called be BEFORE I could have told him it was a bad idea. Instead he got a really slow look at the passing countryside 🙂

  4. Beaches are best places for relaxation. You can go to the shore anytime. I stay close to the sea and whenever i am in a mood, i just go to the shores at evening and sit for sometime watching the sun go down and the sound of breeze. It makes your mind free after a day of stressed work.

    If you plan to go a day out at beach with friends or family, i think weekdays can be better in the sense travel to the spot becomes easier with lesser traffic and also less crowd at the beach too.

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