Waikiki-Honolulu Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park is located in the large Ala Moana State Recreation Area between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki - next to Ala Wai Harbor and opposite Ala Moana Center – the largest shopping mall in Hawaii.
If you are looking for an alternative to the crowded shores of Waikiki Beach, this is the place. A popular destination for Honolulu residents, Ala Moana is a wide, seemingly endless, half-mile-long white sandy beach protected by a reef with usually calm clear waters. It is actually a man-made beach that was created in the 1950’s to dispose of the excess dredged earth. The turquoise blue, shallow water lures locals and tourists alike, and it is a great place for ocean sports like snorkeling and stand up paddleboarding. The reef is too shallow to snorkel over but people tend to float along the edges to view fish, coral, and the occasional turtle.
At the quieter, far western end of the beach, the water close to shore is only waist-deep and ideal for children to splash and play in. Be aware though that signs warn of a steep and sudden drop-off of more than 20 feet only a few yards out. White buoys mark the spot and the area is well life-guarded, but it looks like currents could sweep close to shore in the deeper part of the water and so care should be taken especially with children.
Beyond the deep channel and between the large reef is a narrow strip of sand that surfers use to access the break on the other side of the reef. It looks as though it is a place to catch some good waves in the head-high surf.
Unobscured by high-rise buildings along its shores, Ala Moana boasts views of Diamond Head and Waikiki to the east and the west, Downtown Honolulu and the mountains of western Oahu. There are not so many shady areas on the beach itself so best to bring shade gear. Plenty of large shady trees in the park provide excellent places to barbeque or have a picnic. Facilities include showers, restrooms, picnic tables, and even a music pavilion.