Ehukai Beach is located on the north shore of the island of Oahu. At 1.2 acres, it is not the largest of beaches, but it one of the most popular with surfers from around the world. In the winter season, large, barreling waves hit the shallow reef at this site, turning it into the famous Banzai Pipeline.
How to reach Ehukai Beach
Ehukai Beach Park is on Ke Nui Road just off the Kamehameha Highway. It sits across from a small elementary School near the town of Pupukea. Most people travel to the beach by car. A small parking lot with restrooms can be found near the beach itself. Additional parking is available at the school when it is not in session. During crowded times, such as surfing competitions, parking may be found in Pupukea, about a mile and a half to the south.
There are several tours that will also bring travelers to the beach. Some of these are circle island tours that take you to the most popular spots around the island. There are also photography tours that will lead you to some of the best views in Oahu.
Where to stay near Ehukai Beach
The north coast of Oahu is the less-traveled area of the island, though there are still options for local accommodations.
Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging
Kalani Hawaii Private Lodging is the closest resort to Ehukai Beach. Lodging is by reservation only. It is an exclusive mix of small houses and guest rooms in a larger house. The houses provide travelers with kitchens and dining rooms for a family stay.
Ke Iki Beach Bungalows
The Ke Iki Beach Bungalows resort provides spacious seaside accommodations. These small houses include full kitchens and bathrooms, becoming a true home away from home for a family of four.
Turtle Bay Resort
A few miles to the north of Ehukai Beach is the Turtle Bay Resort. One of the larger resorts on the north side of the island, Turtle Bay gives guests the options of single rooms, suites, cottages and ocean villas. The resort also offers a full spa and golf course.
If you are only looking for a day trip to Ehukai Beach, it is only about 30 miles from the many hotels in Honolulu. The city has hotels at a variety of price points as well as many other attractions for tourists.
Things to do around Ehukai Beach
Ehukai means sea spray, and most of the things to do around it involve the sea. The beach itself has beautiful views of the ocean throughout the year. However, it is during the winter months that the strong waves turn it into one of the most popular surf spots in the world. The beach’s famous surf is for advanced surfers only. It is home to the annual Triple Crown of Surfing and Billabong Pipeline Master competitions.
The Ehukai Pillbox Hike
If you walk to the parking lot of the nearby elementary school, you will find the trailhead for the Ehukai Pillbox Hike. The hike begins on a gentle incline through shady trees. However, it quickly becomes more challenging as it leads you uphill. After about half an hour, you will reach a relic from World War II. The pillbox located here was once an observation area for scanning enemy movements. Today, it is known as the Ehukai Peace Pillbox and gives beautiful, unobstructed views of the ocean, including spectacular views of the evening sunset over the Pacific.
Swimming and Snorkeling
Due to the nearby reef, Ehukai Beach is not known for swimming. However, there are several options within walking distance in either direction. Just to the north, Sunset Beach is a sandy beach perfect for a family swimming outing. To the south, the Pupukea Beach Park provides several diving and snorkeling options. Reportedly the best snorkeling area on the island, Shark’s Cove gives swimmers views of sea turtles and countless tropical fish in the summer months. However, in the winter season, the strong currents make such activities treacherous along the northern beaches.
As you move from the beach to the interior of Oahu, you enter verdant tropical forestland. One of the best ways to experience this area is by horseback. There are several horseback riding companies that provide a variety of local tours by horseback, from tours along the beach to trails in the backcountry.