The Ko'Olina Resort area located on Oahu's west-facing coast boasts a total of four almost identical looking, side-by-side man-made lagoons. If you're an ocean purist and like your beaches created by the hand of nature, you're out of luck at these beaches. The flip side is that these Ko'Olina Beach Lagoons are purposely designed to have all the accouterments that could be desired for an upscale hotel guest. With this regard, these lagoons are great in the sense that they are filled and continuously cleaned by natural ocean currents and serve all the purposes that one would want in a large swimming pool such as are found in most resorts but there is a freshness and wholesomeness about not having to be concerned with chlorine and other chemicals.
Each of these lagoons is protected from the open ocean by rock and stone barriers. Openings were made in these walls to allow for the natural flow both in and out of ocean waters but the result is that these lagoon areas are almost completely flat and generally provide a very safe environment in which to swim. For families with small children, these are fantastic because of their calmness. The sand on the shoreline extends into the water making for an easy water entry. As odd as it might sound, these lagoons also serve as a good place to snorkel, at least to see fish. Aside for some rocks on the bottoms of the lagoons they are almost devoid of any type of coral formations but fish do seem to enter through the holes in the walls on a regular basis and seemingly come in for the grand lagoon tour before heading back out again for their homes in the open ocean. Quite a few different types of fish have been observed in the lagoons and it is certainly wonderful to not have to fight the currents and wind swells you might find in a less protected location. That said, you do need to be careful of the currents that are caused close to the wall openings as the water surges in and out. The lifeguards here usually place a float barrier around these entrance and exit areas in an attempt to keep you away from the currents.
Although the Ko Olina Beach Lagoons are all fairly similar in appearance there are some differences and snorkeling is said to be usually better in lagoons #3 and #4. The other difference between them has to do with parking. The parking areas at each lagoon which are provided by the hotels for the non-paying, non resort staying "John Q Public" are relatively small. The largest area of parking is provided in lagoon #4 but the other three lagoons have only space for twenty cars and when they are filled you will be turned away by the hotel attendants in charge of parking. This can prove very frustrating if you have spent some time driving to spend a day at the beach here and the best advice for those coming to enjoy the lagoons is to come very early in the morning when the likelihood of having open parking is the greatest.
All and all, for those who like the antiseptic conditions of a completely man-made beach environment, the list of amenities to be found at the Ko Olina Beach Lagoons leaves other beach locations in the pale by comparison. The sand is clean and groomed. It abuts to a lovely grass area if you'd prefer to lay-out on grass rather than sand. The beaches have lifeguards. There are exceptionally clean restrooms, showers and picnic areas. There is wheelchair accessibility. There are food concessions nearby and there are even public phones.
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.
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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