Only 10 minutes drive from the busiest snorkel spot on Oahu, (Hanauma Bay), sits one of the islands quietest.
But it’s also quietly one of its best!
The snorkeling at Kaiona Beach Park is some of the best in Oahu. The water is calm and clear, you’re almost guaranteed to see Green Sea Turtles, and best of all – The beach is often completely empty!
If that sounds good to you then keep reading to learn more about snorkeling Kaiona Beach Park, and why you should add this quiet spot to your snorkel itinerary.
In Hawaiin ‘Kaiona’ means “attractive sea”, and this very aptly named beach truly lives up to its Hawaiin meaning.
This quiet, secluded beach on the Southeastern tip of Oahu is one that is often overlooked.
Unlike the famous Hanauma Bay and Sharks Cove which grab all of the tourist attention for the best snorkeling in Oahu, Kaiona Beach Park boasts amazing snorkeling but is also wonderfully quiet and secluded.
In fact this little beach has some of the best snorkeling on the island, and with dramatic views of the Ko’olau mountains, and rabbit island in the distance, provides some of the most visually stunning backdrops.
For those who love snorkeling but not the hustle and bustle that can often be Hanauma Bay, then this is the spot for you.
Kaiona Beach Park is popular among local families, and you can see why.
Its seclusion combined with the amazingly clear, calm waters make this an excellent spot for beginners and children to enjoy snorkeling without the worry of bumping into someone.
There also happens to be a great diversity in marine life here, with green sea turtles being a very regular sighting.
Kaiona Beach Park is located on the Southeast tip of Oahu just south of Waimanalo Beach, and is also only 10 minutes drive from the world renowned Hanauma Bay.
Despite its relative seclusion, Kaiona Beach is not difficult to find. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Waikiki heading down Highway 72, and situated just after Shriners Beach Club.
The calm and clear waters here make snorkeling kaiona beach ideal for any age and ability, and perhaps even one of the best locations on the island for novice snorkelers.
The tide is often very calm, the beach is very quiet, and the water is often very very clear indeed making it the perfect combination for beginners to enjoy.
Snorkeling Kaiona Beach Park
Snorkeling Kaiona Beach Park is very straightforward. The entry into the water is a very gradual one which consists of soft sand, and the reef begins not too far from the shore.
To the right of the beach you’ll see Pahonu Pond which translates to “turtle fence”. The legend is that the chief of the district enjoyed turtle meat, and so built the fence in order to have a supply of live turtles.
These days this area, thoroughly protected from the ocean, makes a great area for children to explore and enjoy
Snorkelers who come to Kaiona Beach will really appreciate the calmness of the area in comparison to nearby Hanauma Bay.
But just because it’s peaceful and serene here, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still plenty to see.
Kaiona Beach Park is also known as ‘Honu Heaven’. You’re almost guaranteed to see green sea turtles here, and may even see them surfacing from the beach!.
Marine Life At Kaiona Beach Park
A trip to Kaiona Beach Park is a trip to see Green Sea Turtles! But there’s still plenty of other marine life when snorkeling Kaiona Beach:
- Green Sea Turtles
Restaurants and Facilities
Kaiona Beach has enough amenities to allow you to spend an uninterrupted day of relaxing and snorkeling here (heaven!).
There is a free parking lot right next to the beach although it is quite small so it can fill up quite quickly, especially on the weekend.
Picnic tables and plenty of shaded areas are just in front of the beach, and there are also restrooms and showers here too.
If you don’t fancy having to venture too far to buy drinks and snacks then you will need to bring your refreshments with you in a cooler, but there are restaurants not too far away.
Just 1 mile down the road at Waimanalo Beach you will find restaurants and a convenience store.
- Free parking (spots fill up quick).
- Plenty of picnic tables and shaded areas
- Restrooms and showers available
- No lifeguard at Kaiona Beach
- Restaurants & Convenience store located 1 mile further down the road at Waimanalo
Tips For Snorkeling Kaiona Beach Park
- There are lots of turtles to be seen here! Be respectful by keeping your distance and not disturbing them.
- Magnums PI’s house aka the ‘Robins nest’ was located here – Just walk to the farthest fishpond and you’ll be stood right in front of where it used to be (it was demolished in 2018).
- Waimanalo town is only one mile away and is worth a visit whilst you’re in the vicinity.
- Hanauma Bay & Waimanalo Beach are within close reach of Kaiona Beach. You could quite easily do these locations within the same day if you wanted to.
- Make sure you bring only reef safe sunscreen in order to best protect/conserve Hawaii’s marine life
Interested in the other amazing snorkel locations Oahu has to offer? Check out my Oahu Snorkel Guide which has all of the best beaches for snorkeling on Oahu, with detailed guides for each.