All four of the beaches in Hale‘iwa are beach parks, which means parking (sometimes gated), facilities like restrooms, and usually grassy public areas with picnic tables and the like. Swimming is decent at most, but you’ll find only one good spot for snorkeling and another that lends itself more to kayaking and stand-up paddlers. Here are directions, amenities, and more about each park.

Ali‘i Beach Park

Just to the west of the Hale‘iwa Small Boat Harbor is Ali‘i Beach Park, where the small beach is framed by rocks. It’s a great place for the kids to jump around in the small shorebreak. Ali‘i Beach Park also has a community center, restrooms, and a large, shaded grassy park with palm trees, picnic tables, and shrubs along the vegetation line that offer shade. If there are waves breaking along the outer reef, there is a strong and dangerous rip current that sweeps across the beach. From Kamehameha Highway, turn onto Haleiwa Road, and the beach park is past the entrance to the boat harbor. There is ample parking.

Hale‘iwa Beach Park

On the other side of the harbor entrance and the ‘Anahulu River, across the famous Rainbow Bridge, is Hale‘iwa Beach Park. The water is a bit murky and the sand somewhat silty from the rivermouth, but the calm waters are a favorite for kayakers and stand-up paddlers. You can paddle in the ocean or forge up the ‘Anahulu River. Park on the side of the road or in the designated parking area. To the north of the parking lot is a big grassy area and restrooms. The beach park is beside Kamehameha Highway. The parking lot and restrooms are closed 10pm-6am daily.

Pua‘ena Point Beach Park

Pua‘ena Point Beach Park has lots of shade and is a great place to explore in and out of the water. From Kamehameha Highway, turn onto Kahalewai Place and drive to the parking lot at the end. From there walk through the ironwood trees to the small cove. Snorkel the inner waters with their a mix of sand and reef bottom, or walk up the beach to the rocky outcropping of Pua‘ena Point.

Mokule‘ia Beach Park is a quiet, uncrowded beach across from the Dillingham Airfield.

Mokule‘ia Beach Park is a quiet, uncrowded beach across from the Dillingham Airfield. Photo © Jennifer Boyer, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Mokule‘ia Beach Park

Situated on the western flank of the North Shore, Mokule‘ia Beach Park is a quiet, uncrowded beach across from the Dillingham Airfield. The sand is narrow, but stretches out in both directions with interesting nooks and crannies along the coast. There are shrubs along the beach and some trees for shade to the east. Mokule‘ia Beach Park is great for a long walk on the beach or relaxing in the sun. It’s in the path of the trade winds, so it can get blustery. If you plan on swimming or snorkeling, the conditions are best with light winds. There are showers and portable toilets at the beach park along Farrington Highway, close to the end of the road. The parking lot is closed 7pm-7am daily.

Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.