Hawaii is full of beautiful beaches and singular experiences. Unfortunately, many visitors don’t get to experience them due to the simple fact that they don’t know about those activities. A day at Oahu’s Kaneohe Sandbar is among those activities.
Located in the heart of Kaneohe Bay, the sandbar attracts a flotilla of watercrafts daily. On holiday weekends, it becomes an armada, with hundreds of people crowding the shallow waters and dry sand (depending on the tide). They toss footballs, Frisbees, they barbeque and picnic. Or they just lay out enjoying the sun.
Most of the people at the sandbar are residents, with a small number of savvy visitors making their way out there with kayak tour groups. There is also a fairly large contingent of personnel from nearby Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH), who putter out to the sandbar on “party barges” made available to them through the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation office.
There are a few important things to consider before signing on for a voyage to the sandbar.
- First, as there are zero support services at the sandbar, you must bring everything you need.
- Ample fresh water is imperative, as is a copious amount of sunscreen, because there is no natural or constructed shelter from the sun. And when the sun is out, it is extremely intense. Unless you are aboard a cabin cruiser, there is no avoiding it. Many are the tales of critical sunburns acquired through carelessness or cluelessness.
- Next, there are no restrooms at the sandbar.
- Nuff said?
- Bring a camera!
- The views of Windward Oahu from the sandbar are absolutely spectacular, stunningly beautiful. A cheap, store-bought camera will do just fine, but even low-end digital cameras can capture the vivid, myriad greens and blues to be taken in at the sandbar. From the tip of MCBH in the east end of the bay to Kualoa at the north end, the photographic opportunities are practically endless.
- Things can get rowdy.
- The vast majority of people at the sandbar on any given day are polite, friendly, and otherwise well behaved. New friends are made often, as being in such an idyllic location tends to bring out the best in people. But an incident a couple of years ago led the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which monitors the area, to ban alcohol from the sandbar over three-day weekends.
- Keep your eye out for sea turtles and manta rays.
- Kaneohe Bay is a vibrant estuary teeming with marine life. It’s not unusual to see dozens of green sea turtles or a group of manta rays turning loops during a day at the sandbar. Another reason to have a camera handy. Just remember to keep a respectful distance from these gentle creatures. They’re protected by law.