Looking for a calm, low-stress beach where you can bring the kids for a day of swimming, wading, and relaxing? Ko Olina might be your best bet. These manicured lagoons lack the wildness of Oahu’s open beaches–and for some, that’s a good thing. This string of four manmade lagoons offers beautiful smooth sand, calm, shallow waters, and plenty of space to soak up the sun in peace.
Ko Olina Lagoons are located on the island’s southwestern coast, about a forty-minute drive from Waikiki depending on traffic. Each lagoon offers a public parking lot, but these spots can fill up quickly, especially during peak season. Waves in this area are most intense during the summer months, but the lagoons are well protected from the waves and currents.
There are no lifeguards at the Ko Olina lagoons, but there are restrooms, outdoor showers, and public parking lots. The restrooms here tend to be better tended than those at public beach parks on other parts of the island. Outdoor showers offer a convenient spot to rinse the sand off before heading back to your hotel or condo for the night.
Because the lagoons are nestled in the pristine, manicured Ko Olina resort/golf area, you’ll find nearby restaurants, coffee shops, and other stops for refreshments within just a few minutes of each of the lagoon beaches.
Most beaches on Oahu allow tents, windbreaks, and umbrellas to be set up anywhere–but not Ko Olina. Ko Olina is privately owned and keeps a tight reign on recreation options to keep the atmosphere calm and relaxing for all beachgoers.
Ko Olina also prohibits the following:
- Ball Playing
- Metal Detecting
- Loud Music
- Bicycles, Skates, or Skateboards on the Sidewalks
Expect security guards to patrol the lagoons and surrounding areas regularly, shutting down people who won’t comply with those rules. So if you’re aiming for a beach where you can blast your favorite music and play football with your friends, you’ll want to head somewhere else.
Ko Olina is great for sunbathing, wading, and light snorkeling. Though there isn’t an abundance of sea life in the lagoons, you can spot some colorful fish if you venture along the lagoons’ edges with a mask. Just be prepared for the shade-free heat and come equipped with sunscreen, hats, and plenty of water!
How To Get There:
There is plenty of free parking for each lagoon, but Ko Olina Lagoon 4 has the most space if you’re struggling to find a spot. There’s also some parking by Roy’s Restaurant as well as some other paid options like at Four Seasons or the Ko Olina Center. To get to Ko Olina Lagoon 4: click here. To get to Ko Olina Lagoon 3: click here. To get to Ko Olina Lagoon 1: click here.
-For an even more secluded “secret beach,” arrive early and head to Paradise Cove, another lagoon just before the four official Ko Olina Lagoons. Paradise Cove is a small, hidden beach with just a handful of parking spots (although you can find it on Google Maps), so unless you arrive early, you’re unlikely to find a spot.
-In the market for a luau while you’re on Oahu? The Paradise Cove Luau is just minutes from the Ko Olina Lagoons and comes highly recommended for families with kids.