Ko Olina Beach and Lagoons
Located on the warm dry leeward side of the island of Oahu, four sheltered Ko Olina Lagoons form a picture-perfect vacation paradise. Historically an oceanside retreat of choice of Hawaiian royalty, this well-designed 642-acre resort area is now home to several large hotels including the Disney Aulani and upscale vacation condominiums. Picturesque and charming, the lagoons provide calm sheltered ocean access. Easily accessible from Honolulu via H-3, Ko Olina is a great place to get away from the rainy days of the other side of the island, as it always enjoys dry balmy weather.
AT A GLANCE:
HIGHLIGHTS: Great weather and ocean conditions, an all-inclusive resort village built on 642 acres and hosting several destination resorts, a first-rate golf course and a marina, as well as public access to sheltered lagoons along the coastline.
ACTIVITIES: Swimming, walking, beach lounging, also numerous commercial ocean sports and activities available through Ko Olina Activities desks.
WARNINGS!: Each lagoon has a placard located near the center along the biking path, showing the hazard signs for that specific lagoon.
AMENITIES: Parking, restrooms, showers, resorts, restaurants, golf course and a paved walking path along the shore leading to boat marina.
Originally an oceanside resort for Hawaiian royalty and famed for its fine weather, the area had some natural protected lagoons that served as an inspiration for the redevelopment in the 1990s, when the four present lagoons were created. A 1.5 mile flagstone pathway popular with walkers and joggers links all the resorts and parking areas to the ocean front and the lagoons. Each lagoon differs in design and they all have different Hawaiian names: Kohala (whale) to the north, and then Honu (turtle), Nai'a (dolphin), and Ulua (jack-fish) stretching down the coast to the southern tip or grand lawn that spreads out like a grassy park along the marina's edge.
Shade umbrellas made of wood and palm fronds dot the landscape for the benefit of the beach-goers, with a choice of fine sand or a grassy area to spread your towel on. Showers are conveniently located at each lagoon, and a multitude of other amenities is at hand. Each of the four lagoons has a small public beach access parking area. It is a popular destination and can be busy on weekend; you may have to wait for a spot to open up. If parking looks packed, proceed to the marina and pay $10 for an all-day parking spot by the southernmost lagoon #4 and an adjacent grassy park.
Avoid commuter traffic and travel to the lagoons just after the morning rush hour, leaving before the afternoon rush hour. Bring your own picnic or visit one of several Ko Olina restaurants and snack shops. Each lagoon has a map of the area which highlights facilities and amenities in the area.
Three Ko Olina Activities desks located at the marina, at the Lagoon #2 and inside the Beach Villas complex offer ocean voyaging activities such as snorkeling, dolphin & whale watching, fishing, scuba diving, sailing, sunset cruises, stand-up paddleboard and kayak rentals. Check this link for details:
Here is a video taken at the Honu Lagoon:
Closest town: Makakilo/Kapolei and Ewa
17 miles from Honolulu
From Honolulu, take H1 West to Ko Olina Exit. Follow the road across the historic railroad and through the gate onto the resort property. Look for parking lot access on your right, starting with Lagoon #1.