Are you looking for a guide to Kahana Bay Beach Park? This article from a Hawaii local has everything you need to know!
Kahana Bay Beach Park is one of the most hidden beaches on Oahu, Hawaii. If you visit on a week day, there won’t be more than a handful of people! And there’s so much to do there! Here’s everything you need to know about this amazing beach.
Where Is Kahana Bay Beach Park?
Kahana Bay Beach Park is located on the eastern coastline of Oahu (also known as the Windward Side) – between Waikiki and the North Shore. It’s a great stop if you’re doing a scenic drive on the Windward Side of Oahu.
There are two small designated parking areas for this beach. The northern parking lot tends to be much busier than the southern parking lot.
How Can I Get to Kahana Bay Beach Park?
Because Kahana Bay Beach Park is a bit off the beaten path, the easiest way to get there is by car. While it is possible to get there by bus, there will be quite a few transfers. Aim to get off at the Kalaheo Avenue and Makawao Street stop, as that is only a six-minute walk from Kahana Bay (whereas the alternatives require closer to twenty minutes of walking).
When Is the Best Time to Go to Kahana Bay Beach Park?
Because Kahana Bay Beach Park is connected to Kahana River, there is a lot of runoff from the river on and after rainy days. When there is runoff, the water in both the river and the bay can get quite murky, and the sand can gather an unpleasant layer of red dirt on the top.
To avoid the dirty, murky water, you’ll want to visit when it’s been sunny for a few days, which is most likely to happen during the warmer months of the year. In other words, the best time of year to visit this beach is during the summer, as there are significantly fewer rainy days as when compared to the winter months.
As for the best time of day to visit, any time of day is a great time to visit the picture-perfect beach. However, this beach is one of the best places to catch a stunning Oahu sunrise!
Remember to stay safe out there!
Petty theft is quite common at Kahana Bay, because you can’t see your car from the shore. Don’t leave any valuables in your car. And don’t leave anything that could potentially hold valuables (e.g. bags) visible. Hide them in the truck of your car, in the glove compartment, or under the front seat (think airplane-style).
For more safety tips, check out our list of Hawaii beach dos and don’ts.
What Can I Do at Kahana Bay Beach Park?
There’s lots to do at this hidden Oahu beach. Which activities will you choose to enjoy?
Go for a Snorkel
If it hasn’t been rainy for a while, the waters at Kahana Bay Beach Park will be remarkably clear. Plus, many fish like to hang out in the comforting protection of the bay. That makes it a fantastic area to go snorkeling! So strap on your gear and see what lovely sea creatures you can find!
Enjoy the Isolation
Kahana Bay Beach Park is surrounded on three sides by the towering mountains of the Koolau Mountain Range. The remaining side leads out to the Pacific Ocean. On top of that, during the weekdays, very few people can be found here, due to the fact that this beach has remained a secret (on the whole). So take some time to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the isolation.
Refresh Your Kayaking Skills
Kahana Bay Beach Park and Kahana River are popular places to kayak. The calm waters make it perfect for beginners to test their skills (and their arm muscles) without having to struggle against a strong current.
*Note: You will have to bring your own kayak, have a kayak delivered to you, or take a kayak tour. For more information, here is a post with more information on the best places to kayak on Oahu.
Search for Shells
On a day when the water is clear, there are surprising number of small, colorful shells lining the shores of the beach. (The same can’t be said of murky water days.) But don’t take every pretty shell that catches your eye! Be sure to leave some on the beach for others to find.
Check Out the Ancient Hawaiian Fishpond
In the southern section of Kahana Bay Beach Park, there is Huilua Fishpond, an ancient Hawaiian Fishpond. The Huilua Fishpond was actually in working condition up until the late 1960s, which is quite remarkable considering that it would’ve been quite a few centuries old by that point.
Despite the fact that the pond is not currently in working condition, fish do tend to dart in and out of the pond. Huilua Pond is only one of only six ancient Hawaiian fishponds on the entire island of Oahu.
Try Your Hand Fishing
The ancient Hawaiians knew the fish would head to this bay. The area was actually a prosperous fishing community once upon a time. So why not try your hand at fishing? Odds are, you’ll see some locals casting out their lines as well.
Spend a Night Camping
On the weekends, Kahana Bay Beach Park can be popping! Why? Because now people (on the whole, the locals) can camp with advanced reservations! There are only ten campsites in the park. Fees start at $12 per campsite.
Give Back with a Beach Clean-Up
I know doing a beach clean-up likely wasn’t what you had on your mind for your visit to Kahana Bay. But if you’d like to give back the land and the local community would greatly appreciate it.
Due to the positioning and shape of Kahana Bay Beach Park, a lot of plastic pollution and trash washes into the bay and liters the shore (although this does depend on the part of the bay). Many locals hold clean-ups at this beach, but that doesn’t stop more trash from washing in. If you’d like to take just ten to fifteen minutes of your day to make the area a little better than it was when you arrived, that would be wonderful.
What Else Is There to Do Nearby?
Why not make a day of it? Add a hike to your beach day for an all-around awesome adventure.
Go on a Hike
Kahana Bay Beach Park is in a relatively isolated part of the island of Oahu. Besides visiting the beach itself, the only other activities to do nearby is to go on a hike.
Both the Instagram-famed Crouching Lion hike and the Puu Maelieli Trail are located close by. And they both made it onto my list of the 15 best hikes on Oahu! (Do note that the Crouching Lion hike is illegal.)
*Note: Kahana Bay Beach Park is the beautiful lagoon that you see from the end of the Crouching Lion hike.
Have you ever been to this beach before? Tell me about your experience in the comments!
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