Cromwell Beach and its Colorful Cove

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Cromwell Beach was once a locals-only hangout, a secret place tucked away not far from Waikiki. Today, it has become a popular stomping ground for tourists and locals alike. And though it’s no longer a hidden gem, it’s still one of our favorite places to visit on Oahu. 

Cromwell’s Cove

Kaalawai Beach, often called Cromwell Beach, doesn’t seem like much. It’s a narrow stretch of sand with a shallow reef, hidden at the edge of a ritzy neighborhood.

But it’s the nearby cove that allures people to this area. 

If you follow the rock wall and walk around the point at Cromwell’s, you’ll find a protected cove with a sandy bottom – a calm yet crowded space where the young (and young at heart) jump into the water below. 

Accessing The Cove

It’s not uncommon to see locals walking waist-high in the shallow-water swim area as they guide a buoyant cooler alongside them. They’re most likely headed for the cove, which requires going around a small point and climbing over a few rocks.

I wouldn’t recommend that young children or older people trek to the cove. Although it takes less than five minutes to get there, it involves some physical strength and dexterity.

A Beach Day at Cromwell’s

Beach-goers usually visit Cromwell’s Cove to jump off the rock wall, which can be as high as six feet, depending on the tide. 

You might be surprised by how many people can actually squeeze onto the rock-walled area surrounding the cove. The weekends or holidays might be the most crowded time to go. That’s when you’ll see pop-up tents, people barbecuing (yes, they manage to bring everything, including food and even radios, through the water), and, of course, people jumping off the wall.

There’s no ladder to climb back up the wall, so you have to exit at the other end of the cove, where there are steps to climb up the wall.

Jumping off the wall is not a safe activity, as people have been seriously injured. So be mindful of your abilities and the water depth if you do decide to jump off.

But back at Kaalawai Beach, children and older folks can enjoy the sandy beach and clear, blue waters of the reef. At low tide, they might be able to explore some of the surrounding tide pools, while at high tide, they can snorkel around the patches of reef scattered along the shore.

Cromwell's Beach

Directions to Cromwell Beach

You’ll find Cromwell’s Cove and Beach just east of Diamond Head. As you drive east on Diamond Head Road, turn right onto Kulamanu Street. There’s street parking at Cromwell  Beach, and it’s near the bus route. 

The cove is located by the Shangri La Museum in Honolulu. In fact, the cove was named after the husband of Shangri La’s creator. His name was James Cromwell. 

As with anywhere you visit, please show respect to residents and the museum when going to Cromwell’s.

Discover more fun hangouts when you plan your vacation with Hawaii Aloha Travel.