Waimanalo Beach

Thanks to Dr. Beach, Waimanalo Beach is no longer one of Oahu’s best-kept secrets. Last year Stephen Leatherman, a Florida International University professor who compiles the popular list of best public beaches in the U.S., named Waimanalo the best beach of 2015, edging out Barefoot Beach in Florida. (Leatherman uses 50 criteria to make his list, including best sand and water quality, environmental management, and amenities.) Its unassuming location along a single-lane highway running through a rural neighborhood on the windward side is part of this beach’s appeal. It’s also the longest stretch of sandy shoreline on the island, at 5.5 miles, with calm conditions great for swimming and sunbathing. The beach park is huge, too, with athletic fields and plenty of room for picnicking in peace.