Sunset Beach, on Oahu’s North Shore, is home to a number of big wave surfing competitions during the winter including, the Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Pipe Masters and the WSL Championship Tour. During the summer months, the ocean is calm and flat, and offer great snorkeling spots, beach relaxation, and beautiful sunsets.


  • North Shore’s Sunset Beach has some of the best waves for surfing in the world. During the winter, catch a premier surfing competition.
  • Grab your camera to snap amazing photos of monster winter waves, and the daring surfers that ride them.
  • During the summer, the water often becomes calm enough to swim. On some days, it will become almost as still as a lake.
  • Stay for the sunset, and enjoy some of the best views in Hawaii.


Sunset Beach is known as “Paumalu” or “taken in surprise” in Hawaiian. Legends say that a woman would catch octopus at the beach, and after catching too many one day, a shark swam up to bite her on the leg. As time went on, the beach received its new name, and is now one of the island’s best surfing spots. Located on Oahu’s North Shore, Sunset Beach is one of the three surf breaks where the Triple Crown Surfing Competition is held throughout the winter months.

Tips when Visiting Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach
  • Arrive early to secure a parking spot as parking is extremely limited, especially on weekends, school holidays, and during surfing competitions.
  • The conditions become very hazardous during the winter months, and ocean waves can reach upwards for 40 foot or more.
  • Observe all warning signs and do not go into the water before speaking with the lifeguard.
  • Both public restrooms and showers are available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Swimming at Sunset Beach is dependent on the weather and ocean conditions. It is much calmer during the summer, and only experienced surfers should ever enter the water during the winter.

No, there are no vendors located at Sunset Beach, and you will need to bring your own umbrellas and chairs.

No. there are no restaurants or food vendors at Sunset Beach. There are many small local restaurants and food trucks in the North Shore area for you to enjoy. Be sure to bring some food, snacks, and drinks with you!

No, you cannot drink alcohol at any beach on Oahu.

How to Get to Sunset Beach

Although parking is very limited, the easiest way to get to Sunset Beach is by car. Located on Kamehameha Highway, Sunset Beach is approximately an hour away from Waikiki and Ko Olina.

You can also go to Sunset Beach on the Honolulu City Bus from Waikiki by taking the #60 Kaneohe – Haleiwa route to Kamehameha Hwy + Opp Sunset Beach Park. It will take approximately 3 hours by bus.