The beauty of the Ko Olina Lagoons goes much further than their tranquil feel and gorgeous water. The versatility of the area also makes this a worthwhile Hawaiian “beach” to visit. Why the quotation marks? Well, the Ko Olina Lagoons have plenty of beach front. With four separate lagoons placed next to each other there isn’t much chance of you not finding your prime sitting spot on sandy shores with gorgeous water less than (on average) 40 feet away. (Yeah, I guess-timated!). However, the lagoons are man-made beach front property and that’s the only reasons why I used quotations.
You can do just about anything while you’re at the Ko Olina Lagoons such as snorkel, swim, float, splash, lay in the sun, buy a Mai Tai and see monk seals. I saw my first sea turtle when snorkeling at lagoon number 2 not too long ago.
The Ko Olina beach park is fronted by properties to include the Disney Aulani Resort & Spa and the JW Marriott Ihilani Ko’Olina Resort & Spa, two of the nicest resorts on Oahu, in my opinion. This is the same area where the NFL players and staff stay during Pro-Bowl week. I took the opportunity to walk through the Disney resort grounds on one of my first visits to the lagoons and it’s really nice, with all the amenities that you and your family could ever need. The mini waterpark is the best for young kids who you don’t want to worry about in the lagoons. You need to be a guest of Disney to use it, though.
The area of Ko Olina has only seen major development in the last 10 or 15 years but the location and its popularity has businesses and travelers swarming to the area. Rumor has it that in 10 or 20 more years that the area will be the “new” Waikiki and much nicer. (There’s no homeless around the Ko’Olina area so they’re already that going over Waikiki.)
Your best place to park if you’re going to the beach park is all the way down by Lagoon number 4. It’s at the end of the lagoons as you enter the park area. It is only $10 for all day beach parking. While you don’t have to get there super early for parking, I would recommend arriving between 930 and 1030 in the morning to ensure the lot isn’t full yet. Along the lagoons and outside of the properties there are plenty of vendors for food, drinks and renting snorkel and floating gear.
Bonuses for Ko Olina Lagoons:
- At the end of the lagoons there is a “hidden lagoon” where monk seals often sun bathe. Be careful, though, it is not part of the property and you’re on your own.
- Snorkeling isn’t as good as in some places but you can see plenty of fish and the occasional sea turtle at the lagoons.
- The Paradise Cove luau business is right next door.
- Shopping is close by.
The Ko’Olina Lagoons might not get all the recollection it deserves. I chalk them up there as some of Oahu’s best beaches. They are calm, tranquil and have everything you could need at, or close by.