top of page

Need to know


Ala Moana


Ala Moana Beach might be the best swimming beach in Oahu (and always less crowded than Waikiki).  It’s an ideal spot to play in the water, paddleboard, picnic, or go for a walk. 


The waters stay calm year round thanks to a protective outer coral reef. There are hardly ever any waves near the beach and the ones outside the coral reef are just big enough to make it a good spot for beginner surf lessons.


Ala Moana is about a ½ mile stretch of beach and it’s pretty wide, so everyone has room to spread out, even when it’s busy. On the weekends, this is where local families go to bbq and hang out. It’s also a favorite spot for sunset SUP or yoga classes. 


There are big grassy areas with picnic benches and plenty of restrooms. Banyan trees throughout the grassy park offer lots of shade. Paved walking paths run  throughout the park and along the water for bikers and joggers. There are also volleyball and tennis courts. 


Magic Island was built just off the east side of the beach (towards Diamond Head). It’s a  man made peninsula with large seawalls that create an extra calm lagoon to splash around in. It’s perfect for kids. 


It’s also right across the street from the Ala Moana Shopping Center, the largest mall in Oahu.



1201 Ala Moana Blvd.

Honolulu, HI 96814


  • Daily  ▭  4am - 10pm




  • Siren’s Bath: It’s at this beach at the furthest west end (away from Diamond Head)

  • The Modern Honolulu — 4 min drive

  • Honolulu Coffee Experience Center — 5 min drive

  • Doraku Izakay and Sushi — 6 min drive

  • Brew & Foam Coffee House — 7 min drive

  • Bevy — 7 min drive

  • Waikiki Beach — 10 min drive​

  • Foster Botanical Garden — 15 min drive

Great swimming and SUP beach with calm waters and a man made lagoon (Magic Island). Just west of Waikiki but way less crowded. Large grassy areas and lots of restrooms.

Ala Moana Beach


Ala Moana Beach Hero.png

Good to know





  • Snacks and Picnic Food



  • Free Parking

  • Several restrooms and outdoor beach showers throughout the park. 

  • Lifeguards

  • Large grassy areas with shady areas thanks to lots of banyan trees. 

  • Paved paths for walking, jogging, and biking

  • Picnic tables

  • BBQ grills

  • Tennis Courts

  • Volleyball Courts

  • Music pavilion with a big stage



  • Sunset SUP Yoga Class. A gentle yoga class on boards that light up the water below in different colors as the sun goes down and the city lights come on. 

  • Magic Island Lagoon. This is the man made peninsula on the Diamond Head side of the beach. A huge seawall creates a calm lagoon with virtually no waves. 

  • Siren’s Bath is one of the most unknown, but most Instagrammable spots in Oahu. All the details, including its location are right here. 

  • Magic Island is a great spot to watch the Friday night fireworks that the Hilton Hawaiian Village sets off. 

noun_hand drawn lightbulb_698186.png


Safety Tips

  • The water close to the shore is about waist-deep but there’s a steep dropoff. Look for white buoys that warn of a sudden and steep drop offs (about 20 feet deep). 

  • Check the beach conditions before you go. 

General Tips

  • The east end of the beach (towards Waikiki and Diamond Head) is the most popular section because it has a sandy ocean bottom. The middle and west end of the beach are rockier, which makes getting into the ocean a little tricker. 

  • On the weekends, either go early or late in the day to guarantee a parking spot. 

  • On holidays, get there really really early (like 4am -6am) to grab a parking spot. This is a really popular beach with locals.

  • If you rent paddle boards or other beach gear (beach chairs, coolers full of ice, umbrellas etc) from Beach Time, they’ll deliver it to the beach for you and pick it up when you’re done. 

  • This is a great place to catch the sunset or go for a sunset walk along the paved paths that weave through the park and along the water. If you’re lucky, you might be able to grab one of the benches on Magic Island (the peninsula on the east side of the beach) that sits at the edge of the water looking out over the ocean. ​

  • The flat, paved path makes a 2.5 mile loop around Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island. It’s suitable for all levels, whether biking, walking, or jogging. 

  • The surf just outside the reef is great for beginner surfers, but FYI that the coral is sharp. So either take a lesson or talk to local surfers to find out where to go in so you don’t get scraped up. 

  • There are Biki bike rentals at Ala Moana Park if you’d rather get to or from there by bike. There are also about 2.5 miles of bike paths that you can enjoy while you’re there. 

  • To reserve a tennis court (which is free to do), call 808-768-3003. The courts have good lighting if you’d rather play when the sun goes down and it’s not as hot. 

Kid 5.png


  • The water at Ala Moana beach is very calm and great for kids of all ages. A natural coral reef stretches along the entire length of the beach, protecting it from waves. 

  • Magic Island, the manmade peninsula on the Diamond Head side of the beach, has a large seawall that creates a lagoon that’s perfect for small kids. It’s almost like a large pond. 

  • There’s a long list of renovations that will be happening through 2025. One item on the list is a new playground. 

  • The water close to the shore is about waist deep, but there’s a sudden dropoff, where it drops to 20 feet a few yards out. Look for white buoys that mark where the dropoff happens. Be extra careful with kids in these areas. 

  • There are lifeguards.



  • The waters stay calm thanks to a natural coral reef that stretches across the entire length of the beach, protecting it from bigger waves. 

  • Ala Moana Beach Park is in the middle of a major renovation that will be ongoing until 2025. The long list of improvements includes restoring the bathrooms, widening and smoothing pathways, adding a bike path, planting new grass and trees, widening 2 bridges that cross over the canal, adding 2 sand volleyball courts, a new playground, and more lighting. 

  • An important part of the renovations is to replenish the sand on the beach, which is much more complicated than you’d think. There’s been controversy over where the imported sand would come from to make sure it matches the current sand. The recommendation is to take sand from the nearby Hilton Hotel. 

  • Magic Island was initially built in 1964 to house a luxury resort complex. It was built atop a shallow reef. This was just the first phase which was supposed to be followed by creating 2 more islands. Due to public outcry, the project stopped and the resort was never built, so it became a public park instead. 

  • This whole area used to be a wetland and much of it was used as a garbage dump. In the 1920s, the Ala Wai Canal was built to channel the runoff water from the mountains to the ocean. Before that, it would just flood the area. 

  • In 1972 Magic Island was converted into a public park. The state officially renamed it Aina Moana, which means “taken from the sea” as a reminder that it was made of dredged coral. But everyone still calls it Magic Island. 

  • This area was part of land that was included in a land transfer to the US government after annexation. Then the federal government deeded it back to the territory of Hawaii and city of Honolulu in 1927 with a condition that the property would be used as a public park. 

  • In 1931, the Parks Board began development, designating the land as Moana Park. The Hawaiian Dredging Company, owned by Walter Dillingham, filled the marsh with their dredgings which were mostly coral reefs. 

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated it as “the people’s park” in 1934.

  • During WW2, the military used the park as a staging area and military battery. They built barracks, an armory, and temporary fortifications. 

  • In 1947, the Parks Board changed the name from Moana Park to Ala Moana Park. Ala Moana means “path to the sea.”

  • The park was added to the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places in 1988. 

  • Ancient Hawaiians grew taro here and kept fish ponds. 

  • Nearly 4M people visit Ala Moana Beach Park each year. 

Last Updated 12 / 26 / 21

This page may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we might earn a commission. Thanks!

bottom of page