Glutted with an overconsumption of news, local, national, and international, I recently surrendered and retreated to the beach to read a book. It was the perfect salve for a chafed disposition. And it has prompted me to offer some tips about Oahu beach reading.
I’ll note first that I greased up properly with reef-safe sunscreen and had plenty of drinking water. I still got cooked. Not a tortuous and clinical sunburn, I suppose, but hours after sunset I still felt like a warm Spam musubi as I sat in the breeze on the lanai here at the HAT Blog Home Office. Book-loving visitors should take special care to keep from getting torched by the sun. Being captivated by a gripping page-turner makes it easy to forget to reapply the sunscreen.
Oahu beach reading is easy
Almost any Oahu beach is ideal for reading. Plop a beach chair in the sand, have plenty of water, and wander around whatever world is alive within the pages. Easy enough. But for serious bibliophiles, calm and quiet are vital to the pursuit. Some may be able to drown out the crowd at popular beaches along the shores of Waikiki. Not me. I’m too easily distracted. Oahu beach reading, for me, should be done at places free from general clamor.
I chose Ala Moana Beach Park for my escape from reality (a re-read of one of my favorite authors). It’s a five-minute drive from home (my wife walks it in twenty), and it’s mostly quiet. When the sun gets a bit much, you can dunk yourself in the calm water or repair to a park bench under the trees for shade. I hardly noticed the surfers and sunbathers, the wedding couples and their attendant handlers and photographers. Perfect.
Hanauma Bay is also an ideal place for a day of Oahu beach reading. Once crawling with up to 3000-6000 visitors per day, the daily visitor count at the glorious location has been capped at a mere 720. There is a $25 fee for nonresidents over the age of 12. The limit has resulted in a remarkable recovery of the bay’s natural vibrance and it has made for a much quieter experience. Make the reservation, spend the day. And bring a book.
Away from the crowd
Over on Oahu’s West Side, White Plains Beach and, a fair piece farther from Honolulu, Makaha Beach are popular but not overcrowded. For most Oahu residents and certainly a vast majority of Oahu visitors it’s whole day of a trip to those spots. If you’re going to make the trip, plan to stay a while. And bring a book.
It’s the same for Oahu’s North Shore beaches. During the summer months, the sea is mostly calm at places like Haleiwa’s Ali’i Beach Park, Ehukai Beach, and Sunset Beach. Unless you’re staying at a spendy (and legal) vacation rental out that way or at the spendy (and legal) Turtle Bay Resort, getting there is a whole day’s affair for visitors staying in Waikiki. Make the most of it with some quiet time. And a book. Of course, beach and ocean conditions are more potentially hazardous during “big wave season” between September and March.
Oahu’s Windward Side is also home to many beautiful and quiet beaches which are perfect for booklovers. Kailua Beach, Waimanalo Beach, and Makapu’u Beach are all local favorites for their relative quiet and (mostly) calm waters. We’ll recommend, advise, and implore visiting Oahu beach reading enthusiasts to seek out beaches with Honolulu City & County Ocean Safety lifeguard stations. There are many beyond the bustle of busy Waikiki. All beaches mentioned here are staffed by the best Ocean Safety personnel in the world.
For visiting avid readers, it should be a priority to make room in your “time budget” for at least a day of gorging on your favorite literary pursuits. Indeed, thousands of people do that every day in the sands at Waikiki. Many read books about Hawaii. We hear this a lot: “I just want to sit on the beach and read a book.”
It’s easy. Just stock up on reef-safe sunscreen and ample drinking water, and while away your vacation time lost in pages and found in paradise.