This Calm, Clear Watered And Lesser-Known Hawaiian Beach Is Beyond Perfect For Families

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There are a lot of beautiful beaches in the world, but not all of them suit every vacation need. For instance, some may be packed with tourists; if you love people-watching, that's great. If you like peace and quiet, not so much. One thing beachgoers often search for is a great shoreline to visit with the entire family. Not every beach is kid-friendly, and many lovely places have a dangerous undertow, strong currents, or too many sharp rocks. 

If you happen to be vacationing in Hawai'i, however, we have a great spot for you with just about everything you'll need for a fun-filled family beach day. This pretty place is on the east side of Oahu and has calm waters, soft sand, a fun structure connected to history, and a view of Rabbit Island (also called Manana Island), as seen in the picture above. It also has a great view of the Ko'olau Mountains behind the park. This perfect place is Kaiona Beach Park.

All about Kaiona Beach Park

Kaiona Beach Park has a grassy area right behind it, which is ideal for activities like volleyball and picnics. The beach itself has soft sand, and the water is incredibly clear and usually calm. Kaiona means "attractive sea." That makes it perfect for snorkeling. The minor waves mean it's a good spot to teach your kids to look around underwater. This area is well-known for green sea turtles (more on this in a bit), so they're in for a treat. There are even two tide pools for them to explore.

In addition to the plentiful green sea turtles, you may see parrotfish, surgeonfish, seahorses, butterfly fish, unicorn fish, and Humuhumunukunukuapua'a (also called reef triggerfish, but there is no way we weren't putting in the fun spelling). There are also plenty of shady spots in the grassy area for when you need a break. There aren't any cafés or snack places on the beach, but you can bring a picnic lunch or drive a mile to Waimānalo, which has plenty of restaurants and stores for such things. You can go kayaking and canoeing, and if you decide to ride bikes, there are racks for you to use. 

Pahounu Pond and what to know before you go

There is a unique spot on Kaiona Beach that makes it even more family-friendly. Pahonu Pond is an area in the water surrounded by rocks that was once used as a fish pond and later by a chief as a turtle enclosure. (Honu means turtle in Hawai'ian.) According to old Hawai'ian law, only royalty and chiefs could eat turtle meat, and this turtle-loving chief made himself his own grocery store of sorts. The rocks keep the water even calmer, so it's a great place to take your kids. 

Parking is free at Kaiona Beach, but if it's full (it's popular with locals on weekends), you can park on the street. Be cautious, however, as Kalanianaole Parkway gets busy, and crossing it can be a little dangerous. Another thing to know is that there are no lifeguards on this beach, so you'll have to be extra vigilant. Finally, bring reef-safe sunscreen to protect the amazing creatures you and the family will marvel at. Hawai'ian has banned the sale of sunscreen with oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are harmful to reefs. We like the Banana Boat Mineral Enriched Sunscreen spray or Hawaiian-made Kōkua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen.