8 must see parks in Honolulu

Published by: BouncePosted

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii, situated on the south shore of the island of Oahu. This tropical paradise is known for many things, including great weather, extensive white sandy beaches, amazing scenery, and diverse cultures, traditions, and food.

One of the most popular areas of Honolulu and a frequent shopping and dining spot is the Waikiki neighborhood, from where you can catch a glimpse of the iconic Diamond Head volcano crater in the distance. Honolulu is also home to many national historic landmarks, one of them being Pearl Harbor, a US naval base near Honolulu that was attacked by Japanese forces in 1941. A popular tourist destination, Honolulu gets very busy during the high season, especially with those looking to relax on Waikiki Beach.

Luckily, the city boasts plenty of parks and natural reserves where you can completely escape the crowds and connect with nature. And when you spot the perfect beach park to spend the day dipping your toes in the sand, book luggage storage with Bounce to stow your stuff. No matter what nature experiences you’re looking for, the green spaces in this marvelous city will deliver. If you have shopping bags or other heavy items that limit your adventures or slow you down, use our reliable Honolulu luggage storage service to enjoy the outstanding scenery of Honolulu's parks.

Ala Moana Beach Park

On the south side of Honolulu, you'll find one of the city's favorite parks. Ala Moana Beach Park has a little something for everyone, which makes it a popular destination for locals and tourists. Plus, it's adjacent to the man-made peninsula of Magic Island and the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor. There's plenty of open green space to enjoy picnics, tennis courts, and facilities like public bathrooms and freshwater showers. 

While relaxing on the beaches at Ala Moana, you can watch surfers riding the calm waves and the bigger breakers further out. When you get hungry, there are a couple of places to grab a bite to eat, including some Hawaiian barbecue. If you have something special to plan, you can book the McCoy Pavilion, which hosts concerts and other events. 

For those who need more activity, the park offers beach volleyball, sunset yoga, snorkeling, and scuba diving, or you can enjoy a nice walk. The park has lifeguards, making the beaches safer for swimming. Open daily throughout the year, the beach park is a popular spot. Though there's a parking lot, it's sometimes a challenge to find an empty spot. Getting there by public transit is easy, and you don't have to worry about parking.

Ka’ena Point

Ka'ena Point State Regional Park is one of the most remote parks on Oahu. Located on the west tip of the island, the only way through the park is to hike or with a special permit for a car. This park gets you back to nature; there are no public facilities, so if you plan on hitting the hiking trails here, bring plenty of water and snacks.

Ka'ena Point is known mainly for its hiking trails, wildlife reserves, and dangerous waters. Surfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and some swimming are available, but it's recommended for those with more experience. There are lifeguards and comfort stations in the Keawa'ula section only. You also need to heed the park's strict rules, like keeping your distance from the protected wildlife both on land and in the water.

Ka'ena Point holds a special place in Hawaiian culture, as it's believed that souls would jump from this world into the spirit one, and it's easy to see why. With such dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean, Wai'anae and Mokulē'ia, it's no wonder the residents of Hawaii find this a sacred place.

Bellows Field Beach Park

If you want to make the most of Honolulu parks and beaches, go to Waimanalo, just ten miles from the city center, and set camp or spread a blanket on Bellows Field Beach Park. An oceanfront park, a campsite, and a beach with breathtaking scenery and mountain views, Bellows Field Beach Park is one of the best parks in Honolulu for an adventure with the family. 

When the ocean is calm, you can snorkel and discover the colorful fish in the turquoise waters,  but the second you see waves building up, it’s time to get your Boogie board and find the perfect wave to ride to shore. 

With plenty of lodging units, such as cabins and condos, and over 50 campsites, Bellows Field Beach Park is also the perfect site for oceanside camping. It has everything you can expect from a campground, including restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and benches. Multiple food trucks are also at the entrance if you want to grab a bite to eat. 

Note: Due to the park’s location at Bellows Air Force Station, Bellows Field Beach Park is open to civilian personnel only on weekends and holidays. Military personnel can access the site any day. 

Fort DeRussy Beach Park

Located along the Waikiki strip, behind the US Military Museum of Hawaii, Fort DeRussy Beach Park is a 71-acre oceanfront park worth the trip. Dedicate an entire day to activities at this park, which can range from swimming and surfing the turquoise waters to barbequing on the manicured lawns and grassy area surrounded by tall palm trees. At dawn, find a good spot for a picturesque sunset experience. 

Children can take advantage of the playground and the calm and shallow waters when they need to cool down. In the meantime, adults can work their muscles at the workout stations in the park. You’ll also find sports facilities like volleyball courts, pickleball, and racquetball courts. A few cafes and places to eat dot the landscape, but due to the lack of shaded areas, many people bring umbrellas and chairs. When the sun sets, you can take a relaxing stroll following the winding paved sidewalks through the park. 

Kapiolani Regional Park

If you're looking for a park that has it all, you'll love Kapiolani Park. This is the perfect place for kids and adults. The park was named after Queen Kapiolani and is the largest public park in the Hawaiian Islands. It's located on the south side of Honolulu, right next to Waikiki Beach. Inside Kapiolani Park, you'll find both the Waikiki Aquarium and the Honolulu Zoo. And if that's not enough to keep you entertained, check out the Waikiki Shell, where they put on concerts, plays, and other fun events.

Even though Kapiolani Park is within the city limits, there's so much open grassy area, trees, and walking trails that you'll forget you are in a major US city. With over three hundred acres to explore, even on a very busy day, you'll be able to find space to relax. There are several parking lots, but if you don't want to go through the hassle of finding your car at the end of the day, take public transit; it's easy and convenient.

Your kids will love it here, too, as there is a section of the zoo just for kids, a playground, and a separate petting zoo. When you get hungry, head to the beach and relax in one of the many beach cafes surrounded by beautiful ocean views.

Diamond Head State Monument

Possibly one of the most popular parks in Honolulu and the whole of Hawaii, the Diamond Head State Monument is a 475 acre park in a dormant volcano crater, with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Oahu coastline below.

If your health and stamina allow, you can take the hiking trails to the park. The park stands at 762 feet above sea level, and although the way to the summit is short (one hour from Waikiki, less if you’re fit) and rated as easy-to-moderate, the route up the crater is steep. Guided tours are also available if you want to feel safer. 

The hike is doable with kids, preferably over 6 years of age. Children will have fun passing through the tunnel on the way up, especially the bunkers at the top. If your children are younger than that, but you still wish to take the route, prepare yourself to carry them most of the way. 

Before you embark on this scenic adventure, use the toilets at the base of the hike and pack your backpack with snacks, lunch, drinks, sunscreen, and everything you normally bring on a hike with children. The park is a popular state monument, so you must make reservations online ahead of time.

Waimea Valley

Waimea Valley is a huge parkland on the north shore, just an hour's ride from Honolulu. Here, you can explore the botanical gardens and cool down at the 45-foot tall waterfall, one of the best waterfalls in Oahu for safe swimming. A place where one can truly connect with nature, Waimea Valley is ideal for families looking for fun things to do with children or outdoor enthusiasts who want to make the most out of Honolulu. 

Prepare to spend half a day at this natural wonder. If you want to see everything the park has to offer, it’s best to get a guided tour, which is free. The tours include activities at the botanical gardens and historical monuments, such as stone terraces from the time of the Hawaiian monarchy. Part of the tour includes a stop at the waterfalls, which are safe to swim and enjoy (lifeguards are present at the site). 

At the cultural sites of Waimea Valley, you’ll see local artisans displaying traditional crafts and playing traditional games. You can purchase souvenirs, gifts, and snacks. If you happen to be here on a Thursday, you’ll get to explore the Farmer's market. Popular among locals and tourists, Waimea Valley is one of the best parks in Honolulu for a fun day trip with the entire family.

Kualoa Regional Park

Located at the northern end of Kane'ohe Bay, near Mokoli'i Island, you'll find one of the most popular parks in Honolulu, which you've probably seen in many movies. At 4,000 acres, Kualoa Regional Park is one of the largest Honolulu parks and one of the best parks in Oahu for swimming, fishing, and kayaking. Once a sacred town, Kualoa Parks is listed on the National Register of Historic Places today and attracts plenty of visitors looking to spend a relaxing day on the beach or the campsite.

Apart from the peaceful beaches and amazing views, Kualoa Park features vast manicured lawns surrounded by tall shade trees ideal for ball games and picnics. The spacious park, surrounded by beautiful views of the Pacific and the Ko'olau Mountains in the background, has been the set of many movies. You can even book a tour to explore the sets of famous movies and TV locations, including Jurrasic Park, Jurassic World, 50 First Dates, and many more. Packing a picnic basket is unnecessary if you don't want to carry one, as there are many places to sit down and enjoy lunch.

Hiking, snorkeling and exploring nature at the best parks in Honolulu

Honolulu is a dream destination for many, and many are lucky to call the Hawaiian capital home. Though it's known to be one of the most relaxing cities in the US, during high season, the island of Oahu, especially Honolulu, can get quite busy. For those who want to escape the Waikiki crowds, the parks in Honolulu offer the perfect escape from the buzz of traffic.

If you want to add more adventures to your Honolulu itinerary, look into the variety of day trips available. But if you want to spend a relaxing day with a book in your hand, you can do so at one of the many white sand beaches and azure waters of this tropical haven.

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