You can’t drive a full loop around west Oahu. Kaena Point stands in the way, offering beautiful hiking but no road access between the western and northern shores. But you can drive to Yokohama Beach, a stunning and secluded spot that marks the end of the road in west Oahu.
Visiting Yokohama Beach
Yokohama Beach, or Keawaʻula Beach, is located on the west side of Oahu, the last beach you get to before reaching Kaena Point.
And it’s truly off-the-beaten-path. Compared to Waikiki, where beach-goers sit mat-to-mat, Yokohama is never crowded. It’s also not really accessible to visitors who don’t have a rental car because the city bus does not go past Makaha Beach.
For those who have a rental car, driving Oahu’s west side through Waianae is a fun adventure, one that leads you to a secluded stretch of shoreline that’s scenic and remote.
From Waikiki, you’ll travel on H-1 North until it turns into Farrington Highway. From there, just keep driving until the road ends at Yokohama Beach. It will take 1.5-2+ hours, depending on traffic.
Stories of Keawaʻula
Yokohama’s original name was Keawaʻula, which translates to “red harbor.” Cuttlefish or squid once washed up to shore here, lending the water a bright red tinge.
It received its Japanese nomer in the early 1900s, when a train switchman named Yokohama lived and worked nearby.
Surfing at Yokohama Beach
The train doesn’t run across Oahu anymore, and squid don’t fill the waters at Yokohama Beach, but surfers do. Well, during the winter months, anyway.
High surf makes conditions dangerous for the inexperienced, and like Sandy Beach, the shorebreak can be deadly. Ask lifeguards to point you in the direction of a safer beach.
Or, you can choose to hang out on shore and enjoy the show. I prefer to do that, especially at this beach. Yokohama is known as a shallow-water surf spot with lots of coral heads. As an experienced surfer, I still say no thank you to that! So, be like me, and play it safe when you’re out there.
The sunsets are so worth the limited ocean time you get at Yokohama Beach. The views of the western sky, the quiet surroundings, and the bright blue water give this time of day a unique beauty here.
The sun sets around 6 in the winter and around 7:30 in the summer, so you can make it back to Waianae for dinner.
Yokohama Beach also serves as the trailhead for Kaena Point Trail, a 4.8-mile out-and-back
hike that takes you to Oahu’s westernmost point. It’s a pretty easy hike, but it is out in the sun and heat, so plan for that.
If you are trying to get to Kaena Point as easily as possible, it may be better to access it from its North Shore trailhead, which is a more leisurely walk.
Read more about hiking Kaena Point Trail here.
Yokohama Beach: A Secluded Gem
If you want to experience a truly secluded beach, Yokohama will be one of the best places to go on Oahu. This westside treasure may not have the best swimming, but you’ll love walking along the shoreline, especially at sunset.