Oahu Parks

p>Oahu Parks are some of the most beautiful and user friendly in all of the world and definitely in Hawaii. They offer the perfect blend of urban oasis and island life blended into one. You will find people doing everything from surfing and running to sunbathing and hanging out with families.

p>Old time locals and fisherman regularly hang out in their spots and friendly faces pass one another while giving a friendly aloha or shaka.

I don't attempt to cover every single park on the island but here are some of my favorites and more well-known ones.

South Shore Parks

Ala Moana Park & Magic Island

ala moana beach park

Located at the western edge of Waikiki Ala Moana park and the peninsula jutting out from it known as Magic Island is a popular park with locals.

There are several surf breaks here and on weekends residents set up tents and bbq's and hang out. Beach volleyball, bootcamp workout groups, swimmers, tennis players, joggers and canoe paddlers also make their base camps here.

Many sports events such as road races will also take place from here and in December the Honolulu Marathon launches from here.

The Floating Lantern ceremony also holds vigil here and on the 4th of July and New Year's eve the city sends up fireworks as well. It's central location and approximate 2.7 mile circumference make it ideal.

ala moana beach park sunbather

 


 

Queen Kapiolani Park

Located on the eastern edge of Waikiki sandwiched betweend Diamond Head and this tourist district this park is also popular with locals and tourists alike. On weekends locals can be seen engaging in soccer matches and tennis games and jogging and swimming.

queens beach

There are also art festivals, a band shell that hosts concerts and various ethnic groups that host cultural events here.

The popular event Sunset on the Beach also takes place here where outdoor movie screenings take place on the sand.

This is also the ending point for many parades as Kalakaua avenue in Waikiki naturally ends in the park. With abundant parking and scenery including a water fountain this is also where the enclave of the "gold coast" exists.

queen kapiolani park

The gold coast is a strip of oceanfront condos, a couple of boutique hotels and the Outrigger canoe club. It's location makes it expensive and kind of exclusive.

The Honolulu Zoo is also located here and the distance around the park is about 2.4 miles if jogging around the widest perimeter. Parking is metered and costs $1/hour payable to metered boxes. Cash is not necessary.


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Diamond Head State Monument Park

diamond head oahu top

This park contains Hawaii's most recognizable landmark, Diamond Head crater. Most people make the 0.8 vertical hike to the top to take in spectacular views.

Classic postcard shots of Waikiki and the coastline can be taken from here. Formerly known as Le'ahi to Hawaiians Diamond Head's park covers over 475 acres.

It is open 6:00am to 6:00pm and costs $1 per person to hike or $5 per car. Read my article about it for more information.


 

Wa'ahila Ridge State Recreation Area

waahila state park

Located at the top of St. Louis Heights which is a neighborhood located in the hills above Honolulu.

At the top of the hill or rather mountain is a fabulous park with hiking trails that wind along the ridge to other mountains. The views are fabulous and many people hike, run or walk their dogs up here.

It is also very cool and there are lots of pine trees and red, red dirt.

It's a way to feel like you've left the city without really leaving it at all. Manoa and Palolo valleys are located below. It opens at 7:00am and closes at 7:45pm in the summer, 6:45pm in the winter.


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East Side Parks

Kailua Beach Park

kailua beach oahu

Located about 35 minutes from Honolulu on Oahu's east side this beach is known for its white powdery sand, calm turquoise waters and views of the Mokulua Islands.

It is about a mile and a half long and President Obama and other celebrities have chosen this area for their vacations. I think it is one of the best Oahu parks.

Without the congestion of hotels or high rises this community has beach front houses and villas for rent so vacationers easily mix in with local residents. The winds over here also make this area extremely popular for windsurfing and kayaking. It is open from 5:00am-10:00pm.


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North Shore Parks

Waimea Beach Park

waimea bay beach park

Located on the north shore of Oahu Waimea Beach park is home to Waimea Bay, home of the big wave surf contest known as "The Eddie" in honor of legendary surfer Eddie Aikau.

When wave face heights are at least 40 ft during late December/early January then the contest is held.

During the summer months the bay is calm and tranquil and locals and tourists alike enjoy swimming, fishing and jumping off of the big rock on the left side of the beach.


 

Haleiwa Alii Beach Park

haleiwa beach park oahu

Haleiwa Alii Beach park is located in Haleiwa town adjacent to the Haleiwa Boat Harbor. This is well-known local spot for locals who enjoy bbq's and surfing at the beach.

Many north shore kids learn to surf here and when the waves are big some of Hawaii's best shred here regularly.

It is also one of the host locations in the Triple Crown of Surfing and other surf contests. It's a great place to get a taste of local spirit and aloha and is very family oriented.

 


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