Ka'alawai Beach

Ka'alawai Beach, Oahu

Ka'alawai Beach is located at the foothills of Diamond Head on Oahu's south shore.The beach fronts the upscale neighborhood of Ka'alawai. It is a narrow, white-sand beach with a shallow reef offshore, which makes for poor swimming conditions. There are only a few scattered pockets of sand on the nearshore ocean bottom. Freshwater bubbles up between the rocks of the reef. That's probably why the beach is called “Ka'alawai,” which means “the watery rock” in the Hawaiian language. The beach is mainly used by surfers, who paddle out to the surf spot called Brown's, which is located just behind the reef.

A famous museum lies at the eastern end of the beach – Shangri La (also known as Doris Duke Foundation). This mansion is the former home of Doris Duke, who was the daughter and only child of James Duke, the founder of the American Tobacco Company. After her father's death, she became one of the wealthiest women in the world. The mansion is now an art museum, featuring Islamic art. Another landmark at the eastern end of Ka'alawai Beach is Black Point, a lava rock peninsula.

Ka'alawai Beach Overview

  • Narrow white-sand beach located at the base of Diamond Head
  • Two popular landmarks near the beach are Shangri La, an Islamic art museum, and Black Point, a lava rock peninsula
  • Poor swimming conditions due to a shallow coral reef
  • Beach is mainly used by surfers who paddle out from here to a surf spot offshore

Vacation Rentals near Ka'alawai Beach

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Reviews and Comments:
Ka'alawai AKA Cromwells is a perfect place to go to the beach. There are 2 sides the beach side is for beginners and the wall side for intermediate/or advanced swimmers
Nathaniel Takao, Sat Aug 17, 2019
Ka'alawai is a very special more private natural beach. It's actually sometimes called secrets because few tourists and even locals know about it.
I disagree with the comments that it is a poor beach for swimming. I find it to be an excellent beach for swimming.
There is an outside reef that helps protects the shore area under most conditions.
Although there are some shallow spots, the outside reef helps keep the water calmer and is a plus for swimming. There is also a channel near the cove where the beach is accessed that leads past the surf spots for the more adventurous swimmer seeking deeper water.
Tri Doc, Tue Oct 24, 2017