Best Oahu Family Beach | A Bit of Paradise in Koolina

mom and daughter float at the best oahu family beach

Looking for the Best Oahu Family Beach?

Okay, I hear you. You want to know where to find the best beach in Oahu. Cut out all the nonsense and direct you straight to paradise. I like your style. But what would the “best family beach” even look like?

I’ll share some details of my top pick and you decide if it matches your vision of the perfect family beach. Okay, here it goes –

  • A small cove protected from big waves
  • Shallow, easy entry with a sandy-bottom
  • Palm trees swaying overhead with views of the leeward coast in the distance
  • Tide pools for tiny adventures to explore
  • Easy (although not super diverse) snorkeling (great for beginners!)
  • Easy access – a short walk from the parking lot
  • A little bit of shade if you’re early
  • Frequent visits by sea turtles!

And where is the magnificent beach, you ask? It’s Paradise Cove Beach in Koolina along the leeward coast of Oahu. It’s basically the only oasis of nature in a man-made resort town. There is limited parking (a mere 12 spaces) and no bathroom, but it’s still worth it.

A Hidden Treasure

I first learned of this beach a decade ago during a child’s birthday party at adjacent Lanikuhonua. I wandered away from the bubbles and balloons for a bit of quiet and noticed a pristine strip of beach tucked on the other side of the hedges. We returned the very next weekend and fell in love.

Despite our love of this little beach, we don’t go there often as a family. You have to get up early (not a morning person), wait in line for parking (no patience for that), or park at Aulani Resort and pay the hefty $39 parking fee. That one hurts.

A Great Beach for Family Photos

More often, I visit Paradise Cove to photograph other families having fun. It’s become my second office and a beautiful one at that. It’s easy and safe for small kids. There’s a diverse background and a little something for all personality types, but mostly I love the water. It’s my favorite spot to jump in the warm turquoise water and photograph families at play.

Need More Oahu Family Beaches?

If you have young children, babies, or non-swimmers you can find a roundup of all my favorite Oahu family beaches here. For more tips and inspiration on island family fun, sign up for the Little Bird Post below!


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