Sunset Beach Oahu – a perfect beach to enjoy on the North Shore

Sunset Beach, Oahu is located on the North Shore. This is a beautiful and serene beach is calm and beautiful in the winter time and dramatically turns into a different animal during the winter time. You’ll see huge waves churn up the waters offshore on Sunset Beach to create an exciting venue for advanced and pro surfers who flock to the area.

In the summer time it’s a completely different scene with calm ocean that makes it a perfect spot to swim and snorkel off the beach area.

But the most notable experience here belongs to its name for the gorgeous sunsets you’ll experience here comparted to other parts of the island. Sunset Beach, Oahu is a fun beach to explore in the North Shore and worth a visit if you are in the area.

Sunset Beach Oahu - a perfect beach to enjoy on the North Shore

A visit to Sunset Beach

Located right next to the famous Banzai Pipeline on the north shore area off Ehukai Beach, Sunset beach comprises of over 2 miles of sandy beach area with the main feeder road practically fronting the beach area of Sunset Beach State Park.

The nice wide sandy beach covers ample area for you to spread out and find a comfortable spot to enjoy a beach day.

Huge winter time swells

Huge winter time swells

The wintertime brings up swells to the area creating waves that range in size from 15 to 30 feet and bringing out advance and pro surfers to challenge themselves in these big waves. For the rest of us observers, the beach area is a popular spot to watch the surfing action and bringing along some binoculars will get you even more up close to the surfers plying the big waves coming through the area.

Swimming or boogie boarding in the immediate waters is not a welcomed opportunity for visitors that do not know the surf, rip tides and conditions compared to locales that always know how to react and be safe despite the ever-changing surfing conditions.

A major surfing competition

A major surfing competition

In the winter time the area becomes a popular spot to watch the big waves and also to check out the major surfing competition here called the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing held here at Sunset beach and occurs between November 24th to December 6th. This is the 2nd segment of the competition held in the North Shore with this part happening at Sunset Beach.

To find out what the surfing times are during this period, everyone pays attention to the surf report and heads out to the beach area if things are a definite go and the competition continues.

The other two surfing competitions that make up the Vans Triple Crown includes the Banzai Pipeline next door at Ehukai Beach and first competition at the Haleiwa Alii Beach Park.

Summer time calm

Summer time calm

In a stark contrast to the winter season and swells that happen in the area, the summer season is relatively calm and quiet. Making it a great opportunity to actually enjoy the beach area and go swimming or even snorkeling furth out into the reef areas.

When the surf flattens, the surfers head out to other areas and are replaced by families looking for space to spread out and enjoy the calm waters, swimming, snorkeling and outdoor fun. You can beach comb for a long distance, bring water toys and checkout the colorful tropical fish and corals underneath the waters at Sunset Beach.

Beach Facilities at Sunset Beach

Beach Facilities at Sunset Beach, Oahu

The facilities at Sunset Beach are adequate to handle a variety of visitors along the two mile stretch of beach area.

Facilities here includes:

Restroom and showering areas

Free parking lot across from beach area

Lifeguard stations patrolling the beach area

Shady trees along the beach

Picnic bench tables

How to get to Sunset Beach

How to get to Sunset Beach

From Haleiwa area, head east towards Waimea Bay on the Kamehameha highway 83.  Sunset Beach is located 7.5 miles or approximately 18 minutes from town. Follow road to Sunset Beach State Park and parking lot

From downtown Honolulu area, Take Highway 1 heading north west and then the H 2 Highway North up to Haleiwa and take Kamehameha Highway 99 and you can also bypass Haleiwa town

Hwy 99 eventually turns into Hwy 83 along the coastline in the North Shore, keep driving until you hit a sign that shows Sunset Beach State Park and turn into the Parking Lot.

Things to see in the area around Sunset Beach, Oahu

If you are exploring the North Shore and area around Sunset beach, check out all these other attractions near by

Banzai Pipeline

Banzai Pipeline

The next beach area is called Ehukai Beach Park and home to the Banzai Pipeline which is the last segment of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Just like Sunset Beach, the surf is calm along with the waters during the summer time and then the swells come in during the winter creating the Banzai pipeline effect offshore into these perfect funnels that are world famous.

Check out our post on visiting the Banzai Pipeline here for more information and images.

Waimea Bay
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Waimea Bay

A short drive from Sunset Beach is one of the most popular beach parks on the North Shore at Waimea Bay with full amenities and a gorgeous beach park to enjoy. There’s also a striking large scale rock outcrop that locals gravitate to and climb and jumping into the deeper waters below.

Waimea Bay is spectacular and a fun hang out spot to actually spend a beach day in the area.

Check out our post here to visiting Waimea Bay here for more information and images

Waimea Valley and waterfalls

Waimea Valley and waterfalls

Across from Waimea Bay is the botanical gardens and waterfalls of Waimea Valley. A family friendly botanical garden to enjoy and explore, one of the major draws here is visiting the waterfalls and having a swim in the large pond area which is also supervised. You can catch a curated tour of the gardens and a replicated ancient Hawaiian village or DIY on your own and do your own discovery of the area.

Check out our post to visiting Waimea Valley and falls here for more inspiration and images

Check out this North Shore tour experience that includes a visit to Waimea Valley and other attractions in the area here for more details on this guided tour.

Toa Loa Luau

Toa Loa Luau

Located in the grounds of Waimea Bay, this is probably one of the more authentic Hawaiian luau that you will encounter on the island run by this organization. Also, the luau experience includes a lot of cultural activities and immersion, delicious traditional Hawaiian food and a wonderful Hawaiian dance and music hula tribute that the entire family will enjoy. Entry to the gardens and waterfall is free with the purchase of a luau experience at Toa Loa Luau

Check out the details to visiting this luau experience here for more information.

Ted’s Bakery

Ted’s Bakery is famous in the North Shore area for it’s baked goods and the yummy shave ice they make on the premises. Check out their popular cream pies like their Haupia cream and their chocolate cream pie which is totally out of this world good.

When you need a sweet break, stop by Ted’s Bakery for a delicious visit to this local bakery.

Beach safety and tips to visiting Sunset Beach

Beach safety and tips to visiting Sunset Beach, Oahu

Check out these basic safety tips and suggestions to spending a beach day here at Sunset Beach

Car safety measures – always make sure to empty the seat areas of the car of your personal possessions to prevent break in

Best time to visit the beach park is early morning when the parking lot is easier for parking

Sunsets here are spectacular so this is the place to end your day in the North Shore area

Winter time fun, the swells and waves are spectacular, but don’t attempt to get into the water unless you are a very strong swimmer and have fins. It’s fine to watch or just beach comb and enjoy the views during winter.

Conclusion on Sunset Beach Oahu

For swimming and snorkeling fun, you’ll love exploring all fun activities and attractions of Sunset Beach. Winter time is different with watching the waves and advanced surfers ply through the amazing swells in the area.

I hope this gives you some great ideas of things to do and see around the town and outlying areas to visit.

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