Sunset Beach Park

Sunset Beach Park - Famed Surfing Beach That's Fun for Everyone
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Oahu's Sunset Beach Park is one of the world's most famous surfing beaches thanks to its massive winter swells. But huge waves aren't all this beach has to offer. Go here for gorgeous summer snorkeling and swimming conditions and make sure to stay for the stunning sunset.  

- The Local Expert Team

Located on a northeast Oahu stretch of shoreline, Sunset Beach Park is one of the island’s most popular parks. You will find different types of activities popular during different times of the year, but no matter when you go, you’re likely to see plenty of others enjoying the sand, surf, and, of course, sunsets at Sunset Beach Park.

Sunset Beach Park is conveniently located on Kamehameha Highway and so any tour of the island by way of that road will eventually get you to the park. More specifically, this park is located on the edge of Haleiwa Town near Waimea Bay. It is incredibly hard to miss this beach as the sand from the beach comes right up to the highway and you will see a ton of parking for the park just off the street. There is also additional dedicated parking for Sunset Beach Park on the opposite side of the highway. Near this dedicated parking lot, you will also find public restrooms and showers. 

If you love following professional surfing, then you probably have seen the waves at Sunset Beach Park many times. And even if you don’t follow surfing events, then chances are you’ve seen a postcard boasting images of surfers gliding through curls just off of this beach. In other words, Sunset Beach Park is a verifiable surfer’s paradise, at least (especially) during the winter. In the winter, the swells at Sunset Beach Park can get as high as 30 feet! The gorgeous water and fantastic wave conditions here are why it is an annual site location for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. This beach is also one of the reasons why so many cite Oahu as the surfing capital of the world. If you enjoy surfing yourself or if you love watching experienced surfers ride down and through gnarly waves, then Sunset Beach Park is a must-visit during the winter.

For those not looking to crash beneath massive waves, visit Sunset Beach Park in the summer. The different weather and current patterns in the summer make this beach significantly calmer and more swim-friendly. Lifeguards are posted here and the clear and calm water conditions make the beach popular among snorkelers and swimmers. Snorkelers will find interesting jagged pinnacle reefs that serve as a colorful home to a diverse array of bright and lively Hawaiian marine life. During low tide, the ocean leaves behind tide pools often teeming with shells, fish, and bits of ocean flora. 

While summer is great for swimmers and winter ideal for surfers at Sunset Beach Park, all days of the year are fantastic for sunsets at Sunset Beach Park. This is a cut of beach that most certainly lives up to its name. The soft, golden-hued sand stretches far and wide, offering plenty of places for visitors to set out their own chairs and towels in anticipation of the setting sun. 

Naturally, a place this beautiful isn’t without some dangers. Check with the lifeguard before entering the water at any time to learn more about the current water conditions. You will want to be especially wary of what is called the Sunset Rip, a notorious rip current that, when active, can quickly sweep unsuspecting swimmers, surfers, and snorkels out to sea. Visitors during the late summer months (July through early September) should also be wary of stinging limu. This is a type of seaweed that is most prominent during the warmer weather and can turn a fun experience into a frustrating one real fast. 

How To Get There:
Sunset Beach Park can be plugged into your GPS: here. Right off of the Kam Hwy, there is Sunset Beach Parking across from the beach park — right next to the public restrooms.

Insider Tips:
-There are a ton of fantastic restaurants and little dining shops in the area surrounding Sunset Beach Park. We particularly recommend going early and grabbing breakfast at Ted Bakery, a local cafe renowned for serving up savory and filling dishes at great prices.  
-There aren’t many trees here or anything else to provide shade on Sunset Beach Park. So you might want to bring an umbrella or other shading device if you are planning an all-day beach excursion.