This Adventure-Packed Park Has A Beach Known To Be One Of The Best In All Of Hawaii

In the depths of winter's cold, snowy grip, many of us dream of lounging on a beach. Warm sun baking the icy wind out of your bones, soft sand between your toes, and turquoise water lapping around you... it's enough to make you book a plane ticket right now. You don't have to travel to the South of France, the Greek Isles, or the equator for such things. We in America have our own Hawai'ian beaches full of sunshine and crystal blue waters. 

Though it's hard to find a beach that is less than delightful in Hawai'i, each one has a unique charm and beauty. If you happen to be planning a vacation to O'ahu, however, we have a great one for you. Kailua Beach Park sits on the windward (eastern) side of the island, a mere 35 minutes from central Honolulu, and there are a ton of activities. The water is calm enough for beginners, there are plenty of water sports and rentals nearby, and it's only a five-minute drive from Kailua's downtown. This is important, as that means you're very close to shave ice (the Hawai'ian snow cone) at any given time. Hey, we have priorities! Here's what you need to know about Kailua Beach Park and what you can do while you visit. 

On land at Kailua Beach Park

Getting to Kailua Beach Park is simple. You can drive there or take TheBus route 22 or 57 and transfer to route 70 or 74. The stop is Kailua Beach Park, so that makes it easy. Plus, you can walk or bike if you're staying nearby at Kailua or Lanikai. There are three parking lots that are free, and some street parking as well. There are bathrooms, beach showers, picnic tables, BBQ pits, lifeguards, volleyball courts, as well as plenty of shade trees. That's all before you even get in the water.

The beach is 2.5 miles long, so a stroll is a must-do. Plus, you can walk to Lanikai Beach to the south and Kalama Beach to the north. Plus, if you get there early in the morning, the sunrise is glorious. If you happen to be there in the winter, you might even catch a glimpse of a humpback whale swimming by offshore. 

If you like cycling, there is a path along the beach for you. Don't worry about the logistics of flying to Hawai'i with your own bicycle. There are places to rent bikes, snorkel gear, kayaks, and anything else you'll need nearby. In fact, there is a place in a shopping center right across the street called Kailua Beach Adventures that rents all of these and offers guided tours. 

In the sea at Kailua Beach park

Kailua Beach Park isn't the best for snorkeling as the bottom is largely sandy, but you can certainly give it a shot. However, you may see a sea turtle or two as well as dolphins. Swimming is a joy here, as the water tends to be calm despite the lovely breeze, making it good for beginners. In fact, a lot of this area is less than 20 feet deep. 

A big draw here is stand-up paddleboarding, as the conditions are great due to the offshore reef creating a lagoon. Kite surfing, kayaking, body boarding...  you can do all of it here. If kayaking is what you love, you're in luck. There are some fun islands to visit. The Mokulua Islands are about two miles offshore. They're sometimes referred to as The Mokes, though they're properly called Na Mokulua. There is Moku Nui, the "big island," and Moku Iki, the "little island." You can only land on Moku Nui, but it's still worth the trip just to see them. They serve as bird sanctuaries for creatures like red-footed boobies and wedge-tailed shearwaters.

In addition, there is the much closer Popoi'a Island, which is just .25 miles offshore. Known as the "Flat Island," Popoi'a Island is just 4 acres and is another bird sanctuary for wedge-tailed shearwaters, though it was once a fishing shrine for ancient Hawaiians. Just keep your kayak or paddleboard at the edge so you don't bother the birds. You can cruise by or walk around the edge to avoid the nesting birds.