When U.S. President Barack Obama shared that Sandy’s was his favorite Oahu beach early in his presidency, it went from a popular locals’ beach to just plain popular. This public stretch of white sand just north of the extinct Koko Head Crater is no languid oasis, however; it’s one of Oahu’s best—and most intense—spots for bodyboarding and bodysurfing. A fierce shore break best suited for experienced surfers sometimes wells into powerful barrels that can pummel riders trying to catch a wave.
The spot is often coupled with a visit to the neighboring Halona Blowhole, a lookout point where waves regularly blow spray up through eroded crevices in the lava rock. And when the wind kicks up, it’s not uncommon to see families flying kites on the spacious lawn fronting the sand.
Located on Oahu’s rugged southern-facing shoreline, Sandy Beach Park sits about halfway between the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and Makapuu Lookout. The beach is accessible via TheBus routes 22 and 23 between Waikiki and Sea Life Park in Waimanalo, with a physically address of 8800 Kalanianaole Highway. The park has ample parking, freshwater showers, restroom blocks, picnic tables and lifeguards, whose warnings should be heeded when the surf is pounding. Also note that areas of shady refuge are sparse, so a hat and sunblock are recommended accessories.