While you may not find a rabbit-in-a-hat or the rubber band man at Magic Island, you will discover something comparable to that level of hocus pocus; say, out-of-this-world sunsets, enchanted lovers and a mystical nation of power walking people. That pretty much sums up Magic Island, which is not so much an “island” but rather a finger of land inside of Ala Moana Beach Park.
Protected on the outskirts by a scattered row of coconut trees, the peninsula provides a panoramic view of Oahu’s southern shore – from Diamond Head, all the way to the Leeward coast. It has become a favorite hangout for families, surfers, picnickers and even pets.
The paved two-lane bike path that loops around Magic Island seems to always be booming with energy. Rollerbladers and runners lead the pack, with bouncing babies in their baby joggers following closely behind. Be sure not to step on the tiny tykes or the grandmas and grandpas taking a leisurely stroll. Some enjoy relaxing in the shade and watching sailboats glide past as they make their way in and out of the Ala Wai Harbor; surfers leap off the rocks before paddling across the channel to a popular surf spot called Bowls. And all the while, a peaceful calm takes over.
Built in 1964, the manmade peninsula was supposed to be part of a new resort complex. However, shortly after it was constructed (on top of 30 acres of shallow reef, eek!), the project fizzed out, and the area became a public park. Although the name Magic Island officially changed to Aina Moana, which means “land from the sea,” in 1972, people continue to call it by its original name today.
Nightlight magicians at work.
My favorite part of the park has to be the little manmade cove. Because it’s surrounded by a curved rock wall, beach goers get a better sense of security from the waves that head straight for Magic Island. When there is a big swell, waves crash onto the rocks, spill over into the lagoon and create h3 currents by the small channels, so be extra careful. Otherwise, its a lazy lagoon waiting to be waded in at the tip of Magic Island to top off your repose.
MAGIC ISLAND • Located inside of Ala Moana Beach Park • 1201 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96814