For some of the best views of Oahu’s southern shores, go to Kewalo Basin Park. I like to post up at the end of the jetty and pretend I’m sitting in the middle of the ocean. But it’s usually pretty busy with surfers leaping into the water or fishermen reeling in a big one, so, of course, it’s not nearly as isolated as the ocean we see beyond the horizon.

Diamond Head, also known as Leahi in Hawaiian, glistens in the distance.

Aside from that, the jetty is a place where you’re guaranteed to get that money shot of Diamond Head. The one you’ve only seen in postcards and magazines; the shot that you’ve been anxious to capture ever since seeing it in all its glory. This is the place to be, especially during the golden hour at sunset.

The jetty is used as a launch pad for surfers and one of the best spots to see Diamond Head.

At about this time, it’s also nice to watch the slew of boats and vessels returning from the sea. The five-acre park sits at the edge of the harbor channel; across the way, you’ll see Kakaako Waterfront Park.

Although near the ocean, I wouldn’t recommend swimming here. There’s no lifeguard on duty and no sand; large boulders form a slippery seawall, below which is reef. You’re best bet for swimming and snorkeling would be next door at Ala Moana Beach Park. Many people take this walk on a daily basis. Starting at the jetty, the pathway leads parallel to the ocean and directly to the beach park. If you’re really up for an adventure, you can make your way across the beach park to Magic Island and then circle back to Kewalos.

A family tries for the luckiest catch in the Kewalo area.

It’s somewhat of an inside joke for surfers that the Kewalos surf spot is swimming with sharks. That’s probably because the break sits next to a very wide and very deep channel. Since there’s no way of really confirming that (sharks can be anywhere), your best bet is to wear your least flavorful beach attire.

KEWALO BASIN PARK • 1125 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814 • Amenities: picnic table, restrooms, showers • Activities: picnic, barbecue, surf • Free parking; near bus route


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