Subscribe!Get all the best of On Walkabout by subscribing.

Places on Oahu: Ala Moana Beach Park

Basic Information

  • Name: Ala Moana Beach Park
  • Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Founded: 1934
  • Hours: 4:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • More Information: Historic Hawaii Foundation

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Narrative

The Ala Moana Beach Park is a popular destination for both locals and tourists due to its convenient location near downtown Honolulu across the street from the Ala Moana Shopping Center:

I am generally able to find parking within the park itself, but when I can’t it is very easy to park at the Ala Moana Shopping Center and just walk across the street.  One of the best aspects of this park is its large green space with its many monkey pod trees.  These monkey pod trees make the park very popular for picnics due to the abundant shade they provide:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

I have had friends invite my family to meet up with them at the park for a picnic more times then I can remember.  Whenever I come to this beautiful park I can’t help, but think about how this used to be a garbage dump.  Oahu businessman Walter Dillingham bought 50 acres of swampland that composed the Ala Moana area back in 1912.  His company used the swampland as a site to dump dredged earth at which allowed construction of various sites such as the nearby boat harbor:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

In the 1930’s a park on the swampland that had been filled in began to be constructed as a New Deal project.  The 76 acre park opened in 1934 and was known as Moana Park.  Moana is the Hawaiian word for “ocean”.  In 1947 the name for the park was changed to Ala Moana Park.  In the 1960’s a peninsula was built extending from the park into the ocean.  The peninsula was named Magic Island and was supposed to become a resort area.  The construction of a resort never happened and instead the peninsula had a nice crescent beach constructed on it.

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Whenever I visit Ala Moana Beach Park I like to walk out to the end of the peninsula and take in the views.  Since this park is in Hawaii it of course has all the scary warning signs:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

I don’t think I have been to any other place in the world that has as many scary warning signs as Hawaii:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

The end of the peninsula is a nice place to watch people surf on Waikiki’s famed waves if you are not scared off by all the warning signs:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Magic Island also has nice views of the always stunning Diamond Head Crater:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

There are also good views of the various high rises that compose Waikiki:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Here is a close up look at one of the most popular resorts in Hawaii, the Hilton Hawaiian Village:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Here is a picture of the Trump Intercontinental that has become a popular place for people to hold protests:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Here is a nice panorama view of Waikiki from Magic Island:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

At the very end of Ala Moana Beach Park is the crescent shaped sandy beach of Magic Island:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Here is a view of the beach with Diamond Head in the background:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Here is a panorama view of Magic Island beach:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

On the west side of Ala Moana Beach Park are views of the various new high-rise apartments that have been constructed in recent year near downtown Honolulu:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Besides hanging out with friends and family at Ala Moana Beach Park I also came here for the start of the 2016 Honolulu Marathon.  The marathon had over 25,000 runners which meant the park was a madhouse of activity before the race:

Probably the most exciting thing my family and I have done at the Ala Moana Beach Park was to attend the arrival celebration of the famous Polynesian voyaging canoe the Hokulea.

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

The Hokulea had returned from a three year around-the-world voyage.  The voyagers on the canoe used traditional Polynesian navigational techniques in order to sail around the world.  The Hokulea has long been a source of pride for the people of Hawaii and I wanted my kids to experience this as well.  After much searching we were able to find parking at the Ala Moana Shopping Center and walked over to the beach park.  When we got to the Ala Moana Beach Park we found ourselves in the middle of a madhouse of people who also came to welcome the Hokulea home:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

I have never been to an event before that had as much news media coverage as this one did.  Every where I looked I could see a tent with local news media figures in it broadcasting interviews:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

At the Ala Moana Beach Park we found that many other Polynesian voyaging canoes had come to Oahu to celebrate the Hokulea’s arrival:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

However, after taking a close look at the canoes I could see that not all of them were relying solely on traditional Polynesian voyaging techniques.  Some of them were equipped with electronics which I have no problem with.  Modern technology makes boating much safer than just relying on traditional Polynesian navigational techniques:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

The star of the show, the Hokulea was the last ship tied up along the pier and was surrounded with people on the shoreline trying to take a picture of the famous canoe:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

After working my way through the crowd I was able to get this nice picture of the Hokulea:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Here is another picture of the Hokulea backdropped by the high-rise buildings that dominate the shoreline of Honolulu:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Here is one last picture I took of the Hokulea before my kids and I decided to escape the crowds and head home:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

A final thing that the Ala Moana Beach Park is a great place for is watching sunsets:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Because of how the park sticks out like a peninsula it gives a good view of the sun dipping below the horizon to the west:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Here is a view of downtown Honolulu from Ala Moana Beach Park during the sunset:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Watching the sunset at Ala Moana Beach Park is a great way to cap off any day on Oahu:

Picture from Ala Moana Beach Park

Conclusion

The Ala Moana Beach Park is one of the most popular beaches on Oahu for good reason due to its downtown Honolulu location, large green space and expansive beach.  The park is a great spot for families and friends to meet and have barbecues before jumping into the water.  Really the only downside to the park is the homeless people that can frequent the park.  The vast majority of them are harmless, but people with substance abuse problems you can never be too careful around and why I tell my kids to keep with eyesight of me while at the park.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *