Which Oahu Beach is Famous For: Annual Surfing Competition

Which Oahu Beach is Famous For Its Annual Surfing Competition

Ah, the North Shore of Oahu—a place where turquoise waves kiss golden sands and palm trees sway as if dancing to the ocean’s lullabies. But wait, this paradise isn’t just for beach bums and sun worshipers; it’s a haven for adventurers, too!

From the epic surf breaks at the Banzai Pipeline to the awe-inspiring views from the Ehukai Pillbox Hike, there’s a smorgasbord of experiences waiting to be discovered.

So, are you curious to know which Oahu Beach is famous for its annual surfing competition? Or where to catch a mesmerizing sunset? Buckle up, because we’re diving deep into Sunset Beach and its surrounding wonders.

Sunset Beach Oahu

Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu stands out as more than just another beach; it’s a genuine paradise catering to both surf enthusiasts and those seeking a serene shoreline experience.

With its expansive two-mile stretch, Sunset Beach provides ample room for everyone, whether you’re eager to ride impressive waves or simply wish to unwind while basking in the warm Hawaiian sun.

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A golden-hued sandy shore flanked by lush greenery makes the location a visual delight, while the electric blue water invites you for a refreshing dip.

Interestingly, Sunset Beach changes its mood with the seasons. In the winter, it’s a hotspot for surfing, often hosting competitions that attract surfing aficionados from around the globe. And, guess what?

It’s famously known for its annual surfing competition, making it a major attraction for sports enthusiasts. In contrast, summer brings in gentler waves suitable for swimming and snorkeling, making it an ideal family destination.


The bending palm tree at Sunset Beach has turned into an emblem of the Oahu experience. It’s not just a tree; it’s a living landmark. But why is this palm tree so special?

Well, it’s because of its unique, almost poetic stance—bent over the water as if bowing to the majesty of the sea. Many believe it’s nature’s own art installation, adding a whimsical touch to the beach’s scenic backdrop.

This iconic palm tree isn’t just a picturesque sight; it’s an Instagram magnet. Countless photos under this tree flood social media platforms daily, with each shot expertly capturing the tree’s unique bend that perfectly frames the setting sun, the expansive ocean, or the surfers riding giant waves in the background.

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If you’re lucky, you might even catch a rainbow arching across the sky, turning your photo into a once-in-a-lifetime shot. No wonder, visitors and photographers alike often wait for their turn to capture the perfect snapshot with this iconic tree.

Visiting Sunset Beach

Best Time to Visit: If you are into surfing or simply enjoy watching it, winter is the time to go. The waves can get as high as 30 feet, offering a thrilling experience.

However, if you prefer a quieter, more laid-back beach experience, summer would be the best time to visit. The sea calms down, and the atmosphere turns more serene, perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and paddleboarding.

Activities: Apart from surfing and swimming, the beach offers various activities. From beach volleyball to sandcastle building, there’s something for everyone.

Want to venture into the water but not a fan of surfing? Try snorkeling and explore the vibrant marine life. Or maybe you’re someone who prefers to keep their feet on solid ground?

Local Tips: Always check the weather and surf reports before heading out, especially if you’re planning to swim or surf. Also, make sure to arrive early during the peak season to grab the best spot, whether you want to be closer to the waves or under the shade of the bending palm tree.

When you visit Sunset Beach, you’re not just stepping onto a beach; you’re stepping into an experience that’s been curated by both nature and the people who love and respect it.

Sunset Beach in The Summer

Sunset Beach in The Summer

Ah, summer at Sunset Beach—it’s like a tropical dream come true. The winter’s colossal waves have simmered down to gentle, inviting ripples, and the atmosphere is altogether more laid-back. Don’t underestimate these calmer waters; they’re perfect for a myriad of activities that are family-friendly and just as enjoyable. For more captivating destinations, consider glimpsing Illinois’ notables.

What to Expect: The summer water temperature ranges between 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, making it ideal for swimming, snorkeling, and even a casual float on an inflatable. The beach becomes less crowded than in the surfing season, giving you plenty of room to spread your towel and build a sandcastle kingdom without any territorial disputes!

Summer Activities: If you’re not a surfer, summer is your time to shine. You can rent paddleboards and kayaks at nearby shops and get an entirely different view of the ocean. For a more adrenaline-pumping activity, you can also try jet skiing. Off the water, beach volleyball and frisbee games spontaneously start up, and you’re always welcome to join in.

Catch a Grand Sunset

Is it even Sunset Beach if you don’t stay to catch a sunset? The sunsets here are unlike any other—vibrant shades of orange, pink, and purple fill the sky, reflecting upon the shimmering ocean to create a mesmerizing spectacle. If you’re seeking more insights into the enchanting sunsets of this coastal paradise, you can explore “Los Angeles Insights” on the Tales of Travelers website.

Ideal Timing: Around 6 to 7 pm during the summer months is usually the perfect time to capture this natural art display. Make sure to arrive a bit early to claim a good spot, especially near the bending palm tree for that iconic shot.

Tips for Photographers: Don’t just rely on your smartphone; if you can, bring a decent camera with a tripod for stability. A wide-angle lens can capture the sprawling horizon, while a zoom lens can help you snap detailed shots of the sun dipping below the sea. And don’t forget to play with the exposure settings to get that postcard-perfect picture.

Sunset Beach Oahu Tips

Safety First: Always, always check the surf report before you decide to jump into the waves. During the summer, the waters may be calm, but rip currents can still pose a risk.

Environmental Care: Leave only footprints! Make sure to clean up after yourself to keep this paradise pristine for everyone.

Be Respectful: The beach is a local treasure. Respect other visitors and the native wildlife. Feeding animals or leaving trash behind is a big no-no.

Timing: Weekends can get packed. If possible, aim for a weekday visit for a more peaceful experience.

When it comes to Sunset Beach in Oahu, the beauty isn’t just in its golden sands or turquoise waters. It’s in the way the community takes care of it, the way the sun kisses the ocean goodnight, and how every little detail, from the facilities to the seasonal shifts, comes together to create a magical experience. This isn’t just a destination; it’s an invitation to be part of something extraordinary.

Directions By Car From Waikiki

Directions By Car From Waikiki

Take the H-1 Hwy West Your journey begins on the H-1 Highway heading west. This is your chance to get a taste of Honolulu from the driver’s seat. The urban scenery gradually gives way to more open landscapes, hinting at the natural beauty that awaits you.

Why This Route: The H-1 is the major artery that will take you out of the city and into the different regions of Oahu. It’s well-maintained and offers a comfortable drive.

While on your journey, approximately 10-15 minutes in, you’ll approach an important transition onto the H-2 Hwy North. Keep a vigilant lookout for signs that direct you toward Wahiawa and North Shore. This interchange is prominently marked, much like when you’re trying to discover the best of Delaware’s offerings. Always ensure you’re on the correct route for a smooth drive.

What to Expect: As you continue north on the H-2, you’ll start to see the landscape shift. High rises give way to fields, and the horizon opens up. The Oahu you see here is far removed from the bustling streets of Waikiki.

Follow the H-2 Hwy to the Kamehameha Hwy (Hwy 99) Eventually, the H-2 Highway ends and merges into Kamehameha Highway, also known as Highway 99. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you begin to see signs for historic towns like Haleiwa.

The Scenery: This is where your drive becomes especially scenic. You’ll pass pineapple fields, local food trucks, and perhaps even a rainbow or two if you’re lucky. The Kamehameha Highway takes you through parts of Oahu that many tourists never see, offering a more authentic experience.

Final Steps: Continue on Kamehameha Highway, and you’ll eventually reach the North Shore. You’ll know you’re getting close when the road starts running parallel to the ocean. Look out for signs that indicate you’re nearing Sunset Beach State Park. When you see it, make a left into the parking lot, and voila, you’ve arrived!

Driving to Sunset Beach from Waikiki isn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B; it’s a journey that offers glimpses into the diverse landscapes and lifestyles that make Oahu such a unique destination.

Continuing on Hwy 99 into Haleiwa Town or Bypassing

Option 1: Through Haleiwa Town If you decide to go through Haleiwa Town, you’re in for a treat. This charming, historic town is a microcosm of North Shore culture. Known for its surfing shops, art galleries, and casual dining spots, Haleiwa is a great place to stretch your legs, maybe grab a shaved ice or a bowl of poke.

Why Choose This Route: Consider this option if you want to make a day of your trip. Haleiwa offers various unique shopping opportunities and eateries that you won’t find anywhere else on the island.

Option 2: Bypassing Haleiwa Town Should you decide that the beach is calling your name too loudly to delay any further, you can bypass Haleiwa Town. Keep driving on Hwy 99, and it will eventually merge onto Hwy 83.

Why Choose This Route: This is the faster, more direct route to Sunset Beach. You’ll still get to enjoy the incredible scenery and the essence of the North Shore, but with fewer stops along the way.

Merging onto Hwy 83 and Reaching Sunset Beach

The Merge: Whether you choose to stop at Haleiwa or not, continue driving until Hwy 99 merges into Hwy 83. This stretch of road is a scenic bonanza, running closely parallel to the coastline and offering some of the most stunning ocean views.

Nearing Your Destination: Keep your eyes peeled for the signs that indicate you’re close to Sunset Beach State Park. This is the exciting part! The anticipation builds as the road hugs the coastline, giving you teasing glimpses of the beach that awaits you.

The Arrival: As you continue on Hwy 83, your heart may skip a beat when you finally see the Sunset Beach State Park sign on your left-hand side. That’s your cue to turn. Swing your car into the parking lot, and take a deep breath; you’ve made it. The beauty of Sunset Beach stretches out in front of you, and all that’s left to do is to enjoy it.

So there you have it—your detailed guide to navigating your way to Sunset Beach, Oahu. Whether you’re driving through the quaint Haleiwa Town or taking the direct route via Hwy 83, each road leads you to the same beautiful destination.

Turn into the Parking Lot and You Are There

Turn into the Parking Lot and You Are There

Here you are, at the climax of your journey. After navigating highways, maybe passing through or bypassing Haleiwa, and taking in the breathtaking coastal views on Hwy 83, you arrive. As you make that final left turn into the parking lot of Sunset Beach State Park, a wave of excitement washes over you. This is it—the moment you’ve been waiting for!

Parking Tips: The parking lot can get crowded, especially during weekends and surf competitions. Arriving early not only allows you to score a great parking spot but also gives you the best pick for a prime beach location.

You’ve Made It: Roll down your windows, feel that salty ocean breeze, hear the faint sounds of waves crashing and children laughing. Unbuckle, step out of the car, and let the warm sand greet your feet—you’ve made it to Sunset Beach, and it’s time to savor every moment!

Directions by Oahu Bus from Waikiki

Public transit is a viable option for those who prefer not to drive. The Oahu Bus system is efficient and can take you from the busy streets of Waikiki to the serenity of Sunset Beach.

The Route: TheBus Route 55 is your best bet. You’ll have to catch this bus from Ala Moana Center, easily accessible via bus from various points in Waikiki.

Time and Fare: The journey will take about 1.5 to 2 hours and will cost you around $2.75 for a one-way trip. Make sure to have exact change!

Where to Get Off: You’ll know you’re close when you see the ocean paralleling your route. Request a stop when you see signs for Sunset Beach State Park.

Convenience: The bus has racks for surfboards and space for beach gear, making it convenient even for those planning to tote along their ocean essentials.

Final Steps: Once you get off the bus, you’re just a short walk away from paradise. Follow the crowd or the sound of the ocean, and soon enough, you’ll find yourself standing on the golden sands of Sunset Beach.

When you’re headed to a place as glorious as Sunset Beach, the journey itself becomes part of the adventure. Whether you arrive by car, soaking in the views along the way, or opt for a bus ride, allowing someone else to handle the twists and turns, the end result is the same: you, standing on a beautiful beach, the ocean’s waves inviting you in for a swim. The only question now is, what are you waiting for?

Aerial Map to Sunset Beach Oahu

In an age of satellite imagery and sophisticated mapping technology, aerial maps offer an unparalleled overview of a destination. Not only do these high-altitude photos provide geographical insights, but they also give you a fresh perspective on landmarks and natural formations. You can find these maps online or specialized travel apps that provide aerial views.

Why Use an Aerial Map?: An aerial map can help you to visualize the layout of Sunset Beach and its surroundings in a way that traditional maps can’t. You can get a sense of the scale of the beach, nearby facilities, and even gauge the density of the crowd based on the time of capture.

How to Use: Just enter “Sunset Beach Oahu” into the search bar of any mapping service that offers aerial views. Zoom in and out to get a broader or more detailed picture. You may discover intriguing nearby spots that aren’t visible from the road.

Ted’s Bakery

Located just a short drive from Sunset Beach, Ted’s Bakery is an institution on the North Shore. It’s not just a place to grab a bite; it’s an experience that feels as much a part of Hawaii as the sand and surf.

What’s On Offer: Known for its pies—especially the chocolate haupia cream pie—Ted’s Bakery offers an array of delectable sweets. But don’t let the name fool you; it’s not just about baked goods. You can also find hearty meals here like plate lunches, sandwiches, and even seafood.

Why It’s Special: You know a place is good when locals stand in the same line as tourists. Ted’s Bakery has that homey feel, with family photos on the wall and a variety of local foods that represent the melting pot of Hawaiian culture.

Visit Timing: Ted’s Bakery opens early and closes by 8:00 pm. If you’re planning a day at Sunset Beach, consider swinging by Ted’s for a breakfast pastry or ending your day there with a slice of pie as the sun sets.

Banzai Pipeline

Banzai Pipeline

Ah, the Banzai Pipeline—a name that resounds with legends in the surfing community. This is not just any beach; it’s an arena for some of the world’s most thrilling and challenging surfing experiences. The Banzai Pipeline is located at Ehukai Beach Park, just a few minutes’ drive from Sunset Beach.

Why It’s Famous: The Banzai Pipeline is infamous for its powerful, barreling waves, creating a tube-like formation that surfers can ride inside of. It’s the site of annual surfing competitions and is often featured in films and documentaries.

For Spectators: Even if you’re not keen on surfing, watching the daring surfers tackle these massive waves is an experience unto itself.

Safety First: Unless you’re a highly experienced surfer, the Pipeline is better appreciated from the shore. The strong currents and reef underneath make it a dangerous spot for amateurs.

Seasonal Variation: The best time to see the waves at their most majestic is between November and February, although the surf can be challenging throughout the year.

Ehukai Pillbox Hike

While the beaches get most of the limelight, Oahu’s hiking trails offer their own unique charm. One such gem is the Ehukai Pillbox Hike, situated near the Banzai Pipeline.

About the Hike: This moderately difficult trail takes you uphill through a series of switchbacks and steps, culminating in panoramic vistas from WWII-era “pillboxes” or military bunkers.

Duration and Difficulty: The hike is about 2 miles round-trip and takes around 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your pace and how long you wish to enjoy the views.

What You’ll See: Once at the top, you’re greeted with sweeping views of the North Shore, including the famous Banzai Pipeline. It’s a great spot for photography or simply soaking in the beauty of nature.


From the breathtaking sunsets at Sunset Beach to the adrenaline-pumping waves of the Banzai Pipeline, and not forgetting the peaceful heights of the Ehukai Pillbox Hike, the North Shore of Oahu is not just a destination; it’s an experience that pulls at the heartstrings of every kind of traveler.

Whether you’re here for the surf, the views, or simply the laid-back island vibes, one thing is clear: the North Shore is a palette of experiences too colorful and varied to be ignored. Ready to make your Hawaiian dream vacation come true? What are you waiting for?

I am Adam Philips, and I am the seasoned explorer at the helm of TalesOfTravelers.com. My journey has taken me through the sprawling cities and untamed landscapes of the USA, where I've marveled at the melting pot of cultures and the grandeur of natural parks. I've also wandered through Europe's history-soaked streets, indulging in its rich culinary legacies and its art-infused atmosphere. These travels have not only broadened my horizons but have become a part of who I am, fueling my desire to share these stories. I bring to you not just tales from distant lands, but a blueprint for adventure, one that will guide you to create your epic narrative.

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