Enjoy the sun, sea and sand at one of Hawaii’s best swimming and surfing spots, a popular nature escape within easy reach of downtown Honolulu.
Escape the city and enjoy a break, or activities, in the 100 acres (40 hectares) of Ala Moana Beach Park. Dip into the Pacific Ocean to cool off or sit beneath the shade of a tree with a picnic.
If you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach, then the sands at Ala Moana are perfect for you. Almost always quieter than Waikiki, the half-mile (800-meter) long beach is also one of the safest places to swim on the island. The offshore reef creates calm waters in almost all weather conditions. The most popular area for families is at the eastern end of the beach, with the soft, sandy bottom offering a safe place for children to splash around.
Active people will be in good company here, as this is where Hawaii residents come to get fit in the outdoors. Balance on the waters during a stand-up paddle boarding session, enjoy a game of tennis, or get a sweat up with a serious workout or jog. There’s no charge to use the exercise equipment in the park. Go in-line skating or swim laps in the deepwater channel along the beach. Offshore, you can surf some of the best waves on Oahu’s south coast, while on calmer days you can scuba dive or snorkel, and explore the coral reefs.
If you prefer to relax, then settle down in the park for a few hours. Vast grassy areas, large banyan trees for shade, and ponds with freshwater turtles make this oasis-like spot a perfect place to enjoy a picnic.
At the eastern end of the park is the Magic Island area, where cultural events and performances often take place. Every year in May, the Lantern Floating festival mesmerizes the crowds, and on July 4 spectacular fireworks mark Independence Day.
While there are a large number of parking spots, they do tend to fill up quickly at weekends and during the high season. Get there early or take the bus to Ala Moana Beach Park. A regular service runs from downtown Honolulu to Ala Moana.