Family Friendly Beaches on Oahu | Kaiona Beach Park, Waimanalo

A Change of Plans

We were supposed to be on an airplane, flying over the Pacific, engrossed in a movie with ample snacks stowed in the seat pocket. Instead, our carefully packed luggage sat by the door at home while we wandered the length of Kaiona Beach Park slightly dazed and lost.

First, there were the wildfires in Australia whose effects were felt in New Zealand and I thought, “I hope things improve by March”. And then the rain came. Torrential affairs that wiped out trails and huts throughout New Zealand’s south island leaving us scrambling to make alternate plans. “I hope things improve by March”, I said. But as the date of our trip came closer, so did the coronavirus. We nervously followed the news trying to figure out what to do and the night before our trip, New Zealand instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all arrivals. We wouldn’t be going to New Zealand after all.

Unsure what to do, we went for a drive with no particular destination in mind. As we drove through Waimanalo, traffic began to slow. A keiki football tournament coupled with weekend traffic was causing a massive traffic jam. We pulled over to escape and found ourselves at Kaiona Beach Park

school of fish in waimanalo with palm trees and mountains behind

One of the Best Family Friendly Beaches on Oahu

It’s been years since we last visited this stretch of beach and I had forgotten just how lovely it is. This is a locals beach with large crowds gathering each weekend to celebrate but relatively few visitors during the week.

The views from this stretch of palm-lined beach are unparalleled. In the distance, Olomana shows off its toothy peaks while turquoise waters stretch to the horizon punctuated by offshore islands.

The gently sloping shoreline and small waves make Kaiona a family-friendly beach. If you have babies and toddlers head just south of the park entrance where you will find Pahonu Pond. This ancient Hawaiian stone enclosure was an active fish pond until a chief transformed it into a turtle pond. In Old Hawaii, turtle meat was considered a delicacy, and only the aliʻi (Hawaiian chiefs and royalty) were allowed to eat it. The enclosure was used as a turtle holding area so they would have easy access to their favorite food.

Today, the pond makes a convenient holding area for different creatures – babies and toddlers. They can easily explore the shallow, sandy-bottomed pool without getting too far away.

On a low wind day, it’s a perfect spot to kayak and snorkel so we returned to do just that.

heading out to paddle in hawaii
kayaking in waimanalo on a beautiful clear day in hawaii
best Family Friendly Beaches in oahu
waimanalo mountain view from the ocean with sunflare
girl kayaks in clear calm water in waimanlao with olomana peaks in the distance
kids taking a break from snorkeling at kaiona beach in waimanalo
brown booby flying overhead in hawaii
mountain view from the water at kaiona beach oahu
taking a paddling break at kaiona beach one of the best Family Friendly Beaches in oahu
family of three paddles in waimanalo with the mountains behind

Looking for More Family Friendly Beaches on Oahu?

Check out nearby Lanikai Beach for more family fun. There are several beautiful, family-friendly activities in this corner of the island. If you want a land option, you can hike up to the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail or Visit nearby Sea Life Park.

If you want more ideas sign up for the Little Bird Post below for monthly updates on family fun around the island.

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