Sunday, May 8, 2011

Afternoon at Ala Moana Beach & Magic Island (Part 1)

The beach (above) and park (below) at Ala Moana Regional Park. 

Working at the Department of Parks & Recreation of the City & County of Honolulu during my post college days for two years, I learned one of the jewels in the park system is Ala Moana Regional Park or more simply known as Ala Moana Beach. Because of its visibility and popularity it's a showcase for any visitor on their way to a Waikiki hotel hence the care and budget designated to the park. This weekend I had the opportunity to revisit the park.

Above: the lagoon at the Waikiki end of the park;
Below: Ala Moana Park Drive 

At over 70 acres the park's centerpiece is the wide golden sand beach that stretches over a half-mile. The calm waters, one of the benefits of having an outer reef as protection, makes it popular for families. The north side of the park contains both open grassy areas and shaded spots offered from banyan and palm trees. The park is popular for picnic events and permits are required to stake out one of the official picnic sites for parties ranging in size from 25 to 250 people.

More beach views. Above: Magic Island is seen in the distance with lots of
space for beachgoers on this Saturday afternoon.
Below: Along the beach facing west.

Vehicle access is through one of two entrances that leads visitors to Ala Moana Park Drive which stretches the entire length of the park. All vehicle parking is along this roadway. Because of the popularity of the beach and park on weekends parking often is scarce. Though not recommended some park at the Ala Moana Center or Ward Centre located across the street along Ala Moana Boulevard.

In the center is McCoy pavilion which the city uses and rents for special events. The park also includes tennis courts, concession stands and lots of picnic tables. The two lagoons at each end of the park and canal that connects them actually serves to keep the former swamp lands dry by allowing water to drain into this waterway.

Above: More open space. The Ala Moana Building and Center is seen in the distance.
Below: Beneath one of the shade trees.  

Read the next post for part 2 with a description and views from Magic Island which adjoins Ala Moana Regional Park. By the way Ala Moana in Hawaiian means path to the sea. The park is located between downtown Honolulu and Waikiki and open from 4am-10pm daily.

Park links:
Map of Ala Moana Regional Park
Map of Aina Moana (Magic Island) Park
Department of Parks of Recreation Information Sheet
Park Permit Information


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