Sandy Beach is an out-of-the-way, yet popular local spot for bodyboarding and surfing on the southeast tip of Oahu, Hawaii. Find out everything you need to know about this stunning beach.
This strip of sand goes by many names. Officially, it’s Sandy Beach Park. Colloquially, it’s simply Sandy’s. And if you know about the potential dangers of the beach that unexperienced bodyboarders, surfers, and swimmers get themselves into, it’s “broke neck beach.”
I feel like I need to make it clear: the water at Sandy’s is for the locals and the pros ONLY. Many people who get hurt on the shores of Sandy Beach are people who underestimate the waves, the reef, the rocks, and the current, because they are unfamiliar with the conditions. That said, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time at Sandy Beach.
Why Is It Called Sandy Beach?
There are a couple of different rumors concerning the origins of the name of Sandy Beach – or Sandy’s. Some say that it was named after an old fisherman named Sandy, who you could usually find in the area. Others say it was just named after the sand, and the fact that it manages to get everywhere.
Where Is Sandy Beach?
Sandy Beach is located in the town of Hawaii Kai, Oahu. There is a large free designated parking area for Sandy Beach.
When Is the Best Time to Visit?
The best time to go to Sandy’s depends entirely on the swell and what you want to do there. If you want to surf or bodyboard, make sure the swell is decent before you head out. If you want to collect shells, make sure there is essentially no swell before you head out.
To check the swell, Surfline is how all the locals find out. If you forget to check the swell before you leave, there are beach warning flags put up to warn you. If the ocean is exceptionally violent, the flag will be red. Do not attempt to go in the water when the flag is red. If it’s orange, it is still pretty violent, I would not advise going in the water when the flag is orange either. On occasion you may see a yellow flag, which means that there is some medium-level current happening, and if you are a relatively good swimmer, bodyboarder, or surfer, you should be okay. And, if there is no flag, well, you’re in luck! It’s a rare calm day at Sandy’s so enjoy the water while you can.
In case all of these warnings are making you nervous, know that Sandy Beach is one of the few beaches on Oahu that has lifeguards, so there will always be a professional keeping an eye out for you.
What Can I Do at Sandy’s?
Sandy Beach is probably the most popular bodyboarding beach on the island of Oahu. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a beach with waves that aren’t too small but aren’t too big either. Sandy’s seems to hit the sweet spot more consistently than anywhere else.
Just because the waves at Sandy’s are bodyboard-able, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t surf-able as well. Once again, keep in mind that Sandy Beach is better left to the locals and the pros. If you don’t fall into either of those categories, just plant your butt in the sand and watch the pros do their thing.
Lay in the Sun
For a good majority of the year, the sun is shining on Sandy Beach. So lay out a towel and enjoy soaking up that natural Vitamin D.
Look for Shells
On the rare days when Sandy Beach isn’t suitable for surfing or bodyboarding because of the lack of waves, it is a fantastic place to gather up some shells. Head over to the area near the rocks on the left end of the beach to have the best luck.
Have a Picnic
Despite the fact that there aren’t many places to purchase food in the nearby vicinity, having a picnic at Sandy Beach is more popular than expected. Some people will just lay out a mat or a towel on the grass, sand, or even the rocks and enjoy the food that they’ve brought.
If you’re coming from the South or East (which includes Waikiki), the last place to get some food to eat is at Koko Marina Center. The Greek Marina, Kona Brewing Co., and Paina Café have fantastic takeout options. If you’re looking for a sweet treat to top off the meal, grab some malasadas from the Leonard’s Bakery truck or mochi ice cream from Bubbies. Or if you’re looking for a place to buy groceries, there is a Safeway in Hawaii Kai Shopping Center and a Costco in Hawaii Kai Towne Center.
If you’re coming from the North or East (which includes Kailua), the last place to get great food is Kailua. Stop by Kono’s or Kalapawai Market on your way over. Or if you’re looking for a place to buy groceries, there are a couple of Safeway locations, a Foodland (a local grocery store), and even a Whole Foods!
Are There Any Hotels Near Sandy Beach?
Unfortunately, there are absolutely no hotels in the entire town of Hawaii Kai. The closest hotels are actually located in the tourist hub of Waikiki. If you do feel like you must stay as close to Sandy Beach as possible (say, if you’re an avid bodyboarder), your option is Airbnb.
Due to the isolation of Sandy Beach, even the Airbnbs are rather far. The closest Airbnb rental is a five-minute drive and a 35-minute walk away. That said, within about a five- to seven-minute drive (or a 35- to 45- minute walk), there are slightly over a dozen Airbnbs.
Airbnb rental rates range from $29 per night to $1,352 per night, depending on the property.
Looking for some other awesome Oahu beaches? Here are 10 of my favorites!
Have you ever been to Sandy’s? Tell me about your experience in the comments! (I promise I’ll respond!)
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Disclosure: I may use referral links in this post, and I might make a commission on my recommendations at no extra cost to you.