Hukilau Beach in Laie on the north-eastern coastline of Oahu is a beach that in an odd way provides a tribute to the multicultural nature of the island of Oahu. Hukilau Beach, which years ago was called Laie Beach, is located right next to the popular tourist attraction, the Polynesian Cultural Center. The entire Laie area of the island is primarily populated by the Mormon community which settled here in the early part of the nineteen hundreds and the primary features of this area today include the Mormon Temple, the Hawaii campus of Brigham Young University and of course the Polynesian Cultural Center.
The central beach in Laie is of course Hukilau Beach and though mostly an un-crowded beach location, its primary occupants on any given day will come from the surrounding Laie population, many of whom will be students attending the campus of Brigham Young. So strong in fact is the church community's influence on this beach that the Hukilau Beach Park is actually closed and gates are locked on Sundays.
The name change from Laie Beach to Hukilau Beach also came indirectly from the influence of the church community here. In the 1940's the Mormons in the area created a community event to raise money for some church property that had been destroyed by fire. They created a giant public "Hukilau" event which was designed as a fundraiser. A Hukilau is a Hawaiian fishing technique in which large nets are thrown into the sea by a number of participants and fish are driven into the nets and hauled in. This fundraising activity on Laie Beach became very popular from the 1940's through the 1970's and the often told story is that the famous American entertainer of the time, Jack Owens, wrote the song that is well known throughout the world today, "Going to a Hukilau", as a result of his experiences at this Hukilau event.
Hukilau Beach, which approximates about a half mile in length is not the most beautiful that Oahu has to offer as its sand is mixed with branches and ocean debris but it is a fun spot for body boarding and swimming primarily in the summer months when the ocean is calmest. The southern end of the beach is partially protected by reef and hence is the best spot for swimming. Goat Island can be seen to the north and can be visited by a short swim when the conditions are favorable. The winters often provide dangerous conditions at Hukilau Beach with large surf and powerful currents.
Please be advised that all beaches and ocean locations in Hawaii can be potentially dangerous including this location. Be completely aware of the ocean conditions prior to entering the water and of course, never turn your back on the ocean when you are on the shoreline. It should also be noted that all shorelines and beaches in Hawaii, including this one, can be frequented by sharks, jellyfish and other sea creatures which can provide potential harm to people entering the water. There is no lifeguard at this location.
One of the few beaches that has the look and feel of old Oahu is Kahana Beach on Oahu's windward coastline. The fact that this beach is located in a section of the island that is normally simply a gateway for island visitors to pass by on their way to visit what are presumably more spectacular attractions is the saving grace of Kahana Beach Park.
Shark's Cove on the North Shore of Oahu is not really a beach, but rather a snorkel and diving spot; and what a snorkel spot it is! This small cove is ringed in rocks and coral providing very little in the way of sand to lay out on, but if you are looking for a great place to snorkel, Shark's Cove is, at many times of the year, an excellent option.
A listing of all Oahu Beaches can be found on these pages. Check for the Oahu Beach that will be perfect for you!
It's a good thing you're going to the beach on Oahu! Not only does Oahu have some of the most beautiful beaches in the state, have some of the best snorkeling to be seen in the state, have some of the best surfing, kayaking and stand-up paddling locations in the state and some of the largest waves for you to watch in the state, but Oahu beaches have more lifeguard locations and more lifeguards all toll than any other island in the State of Hawaii.
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