Hidden Beach
The Turtle Bay turtle icon

Explore Oahu Like a Local

We asked, and you answered. Here are the places on Oahu that are most recommended by kamaʻāina.

Planning a trip to Oahu as a tourist can be predictable. Diamond Head Monument, Iolani Palace, and the Pearl Harbor National Memorial are all on the must-visit list. But how do locals explore their own island? We went straight to the source and asked kamaʻāina where they go when they want to have a good time at home.

The Locals' Favorite Beaches

Living in Hawaii, on an island chain surrounded by ocean, it’s almost impossible not to develop a natural love and affection for the plentiful stretch of beaches available. Different beaches meet different needs and have their own unique vibe. Here are a few of the favored beaches among local residents:

  • Electric Beach: This is the place to go if you’re a snorkeling enthusiast. Intermediate and advanced snorkelers will find an abundance of wildlife below the surface here. Be warned though, only experienced and confident snorkelers should try diving here. Those who would rather stay on shore will still have a fabulous time here, soaking up the sun and taking walks on the sand.
  • Mermaid Caves: Not far from Electric Beach are the whimsically named Mermaid Caves. These half-submerged caves are accessible via puka’s (the Hawaiian word for “holes”) in the rocky coastline. You have the option of viewing them from up above, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, exploring the caves by climbing down. It’s only possible to explore the caves during calm conditions and low tide. Remember: always respect the ocean.
  • Makaha Beach: Noted for its exciting waves, perfect for experienced surfers. Scuba diving is also popular here when the waters are calmer. And, it’s a great place for sunbathing and watching the ocean, too. If you do plan on going into the water, be sure to monitor surf and wind reports.
  • Yokohama Beach: Located where the West side of the island ends and meets the North Shore, this is the last beach accessible by car before the road ends.Nevertheless, this  quiet, pristine beach is worth seeking out. If you do make it to Yokohama Bay, there’s a good chance you’ll have the shore to yourself. However, keep in mind that no matter where you are on the Westside, be careful of the beach breaks and currents–they can be much stronger than they look.

Oahu Eats

Kamaʻāina can have strong opinions about where to eat on Oahu. We polled our kamaʻāina followers about their favorite local restaurants that resort guests would also love to check out. The most popular option was Sunrise Shack–a stand that’s a must-visit for coffee, smoothies, and delicious acai bowls. You’ll feel connected to the land thanks to their healthful creations.

Ry’s Poke Shack is family-owned and loved by the locals. They’re famous for their poke nachos, but their customizable menu allows guests to cater to their own tastes or experiment with something new. We recommend trying to get there when it opens to avoid lines.

Locals love to join us on Turtle Bay Resort property at the Beach House by Roy Yamaguchi. Located steps away from our lobby, beachfront at Kuilima Cove, this spot offers delicious bites along with stunning views and laid back vibes. The Beach House manages to be both casual and upscale, making it a great option for special occasions or for turning any ordinary day into a special one. Be sure to try out the signature Misoyaki Deepwater Black Cod and end your meal with the Molten Chocolate Cake.

And if you still have some time on the island after visiting all these local suggestions, try these other responses from the kamaʻāina poll:

  • Manoa Chocolate
  • North Shore Taco Truck
  • KJ’s Local Grindz
  • Bizia Surf
  • Steak Rave in Kailua

Let us know if you visit any of these local favorites and tell us what you think. It’s hard to go wrong when taking advice on where to go from kamaʻāina!