Sunset Beach

by Justin

Sunset Beach is located on the north shore of O‘ahu and is nearly an hour away from Waikiki. This beach is famous for its epic surf and its long sandy beaches. During the fall and winter months, the surf picks up and the beach is covered with photographers and on-lookers. During the summer and spring months, the beach is popular with tourists and locals alike who lounge about on the beach and enjoy the much calmer waters. As a photographer, you will find this beach very photogenic regardless of the month. A few photography opportunities are discussed next.

Sunset Beach is one of the most popular spots on the north shore to take wedding photographs and other portraits during the sunset. The long sandy beaches and blue ocean make for an excellent backdrop for your subject and the sunset provide the additional flare and drama to the sky to complete the photograph. If you do not have a human subject, then you need to get creative to find a subject to really draw the viewer's eye to your photograph. I would invite you to take a walk either north or south from the main beach area (I recommend south) to find new subjects. Some ideas include footsteps in the sand, the ebb and flow of the ocean waves, palm trees and beautiful beach houses. For these types of photographs, it is recommended to use a wide angle lens to capture your foreground subject and the background all in focus. This will ensure that you have the depth in your photographs that will keep your viewer's attention.

Long Sandy Beach and Surfers

Surfers often stay out in the ocean during the sunset, which provides your ocean shots the additional subjects for your photograph. However, the surf breaks are quite a ways out from the shore, so you will require your best telephoto lens. As always it is recommended to also bring your tripod, to ensure sharp images.

Best Time to Shoot

The best time to shoot is at sunset and just after sunset. It is recommended that you get to the spot an hour before the sunset to scope out your composition and to take a walk along the beach. This beach is very crowded during the day, but most people leave before sunset.

Local Tips

Parking in the parking lot is readily available during the best time to shoot, sunset. During the day, this area is very crowded during the week and especially on the weekends. Parking may be difficult to find during the day.

How do I get there?

Parking Address: 59-144 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

From the airport:

  • Head west on the H1 for 8 miles
  • Look for the H2 exit on the right. Follow the H2 for 8 miles.
  • Take exit 8 for Wahiawa.
  • Continue through Wahiawa town and merge onto HI-99/Kamehameha Hwy.
  • Follow Kamehameha Hwy for 8.5 miles and you will reach a round about type area.
  • Follow the signs for Haleiwa which will lead you onto HI-83.
  • HI-83 will take you past Haleiwa, then along the coast passing Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach Park
  • After Sunset Beach Park you will see a large open beach area with parking on the left, this is Sunset Beach. Park here.