Kaena Point State Park

by Grant
Kaena Point Beach Park

Blue water… white sand… postcard perfect

Kaena Point State Park is a post card perfect mile-long stretch of white sand beach.  Kaena Point is the western tip of the island of Oahu and the beach is sandwiched between the blue Pacific Ocean and the rugged Waianae Mountains.

What sets this place apart from the other snorkeling beaches I’ve listed is it’s isolation from the tourist crowds.  You’ll be hard pressed in Oahu to find so much white sand with so few people.  There’s lots of empty ‘beach towel real estate’ everywhere.  Take a good look at the beach pictures on this page.  They were taken mid-summer and on the weekend.  How’s that for low crowds!  It’s such a beautiful beach, these pictures don’t really do it justice.

But you didn’t come here to only sit in the sand!  What about the fish?  Kaena Point does not have as many fish as some of the other sites I’ve listed, but the clear blue water does have it’s share of marine life.  Then again, most good snorkeling beaches don’t have lots of room to stretch out on the sand like this one does.

If you’re looking for a good beach to lounge

The ocean floor at Kaena Point is made up of white sand and flat coral.  The shallow underwater slope gets gently deeper as you head out.  The farther away from shore you swim the clearer the water will be because there will be less wave action to stir up the sand.  The snorkeling depth is about 8 to 15 feet deep.

Kids will only be able to swim at this beach on calm days.  Check the weather forecast for the day you will be going.  When there is a west swell, the waves on shore could get large and strong.  You may want to choose an alternate site if this is the case.  The nice thing about Kaena is that you can still enjoy the Sun, the sand, and the view, regardless.

By the way, since you’re going to be here on the Leeward coast, there’s a fantastic snorkeling tour called the Dolphin and Whale Snorkel Sail that I highly recommend. Their knowledge of this area and customer service make them my go to guys for snorkel tours on the west side of Oahu.

Marine life at Kaena Point Beach Park

Here’s some of the marine life I have seen snorkeling at Kaena Point State Park: Butterfly fish, parrot fish, damsel fish, surgeon fish, moorish idol, tang, wrasse, squirrel fish, big eyes, perch, trigger fish, the former Hawaii State Fish Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, goat fish, snapper, jacks, needle fish, turtles, crustaceans and invertebrates.

Beach facilities

The park area begins just before the end of the paved section of Farrington Highway.  There is a small parking lot here but most people just park their cars along the sand.  Because there is relatively few people and the road is so long, you won’t have a problem finding parking.  There are restrooms and showers located next to the parking lot.  There are lifeguards on duty but no stores nearby to buy food and drinks.

How do I get to Kaena Point State Park?

Driving time to Kaena Point State Park from Honolulu Airport is approximately 1 hour.

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