Ala Moana Beach Park

Ala Moana Beach Park, Oahu

Ala Moana Beach Park (see more photos, view panorama), located between Waikiki and downtown Honolulu, is a favorite beach among local residents. Often times less crowded than Waikiki Beach, Ala Moana is a great place to swim, picnic, stroll on the beach or to relax.The beach is over half a mile long and the water is calm because it's protected by a shallow outer coral reef.

There are hardly ever any waves, which makes Ala Moana Beach a favorite spot for long-distance swimmers, stand-up paddleboarders, novice swimmers and families with children. Recently installed buoys in the water mark the area for stand-up paddleboarders (it's the area closest to the offshore reef). The area closer to the beach is for swimmers.

Back in the 1920s, Ala Moana Beach Park didn't exist. It was a wetland that the city used as a garbage dump. A boat channel, which was to connect the Ala Wai Boat Harbor with Kewalo Basin was dredged through the coral reef.

The beach itself is also man-made. It was created by the owner of the Dillingham Dredging Company, who was looking for a place to deposit his dredged earth. In the 1950s, the company dumped sand at the park, which created the beach. The dredged channel is 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m) deep. Today, boats no longer pass through it.

The nearshore ocean bottom at Ala Moana Beach drops quickly, so novice swimmers should be cautious. To avoid stepping on the sharp corals, most people prefer the east end of the beach (the one that's closer to Diamond Head) where the ocean bottom is sandy and has no reef or rocks. The middle section and west end of the beach has rocks on the nearshore ocean bottom, which makes entering the ocean more tricky.

The 100-acre park has large grassy areas, banyan and palm trees, restrooms, showers, concession stands, a music pavilion, tennis courts and plenty of picnic tables. Ala Moana Beach Park is a good place to go jogging, picnicking, playing games, sunbathing, fishing, swimming, surfing, stand-up paddleboarding and relaxing. Some of the south shore's best surf spots are located just offshore, such as Big Rights, Big Lefts, Concessions, Bomboras and Courts. Lifeguards are stationed on the beach daily.

Ala Moana Beach Park Overview

  • Long and wide sandy beach
  • Ideal for long-distance swimming and families with children
  • Great surf spots offshore at the edge of the reef
  • Plenty of picnic areas
  • Great for outdoor activities, such as walking, jogging, playing tennis and other games
  • Favorite beach among stand-up paddleboarders

1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu HI 96814
Directions: Ala Moana Beach Park is located across from the Ala Moana Shopping Center. There is a large parking lot, but it fills up quickly during weekends. From Waikiki, it's about a 20-30 minute walk. Alternatively, take bus number 8, 19, 20, 42 or E to get to the beach park.

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Reviews and Comments:
I love this beach. For a city beach, it is really nice. Especially if you come with kids or want to do some long-distance swimming without having to bother about currents, waves or sharks. What's also great is that on the Diamond Head side of the beach, there is no reef when you enter the water. Just soft sand on the bottom.
Olivia, Mar 11, 2010