Kualoa Regional Park


49-479 Kamehameha Hwy
Kaneohe , HI 96744


Every day 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM


Regardless of which direction you approach Kualoa Regional Park; the first thing that’ll grab your attention is the striking appearance of Mokolii Island just offshore. Its distinctive mini-volcano shape is also sometimes referred to as the "Chinaman’s Hat" and may be the most photographic feature on the Windward Coast. Despite its appearance, Mokolii Island is not a volcano but rather the last remnant of an ancient lava flow that formed a ridge connecting high into the Koolau mountain range towering above you.

As you enter the park, you’ll be struck by the openness which seems in such contrast to the close tropical jungle settings that you’ve been traveling through. The large grass fields that stretch from the beach to the shrub and forest border are a local favorite for all sorts of recreation and athletic events. It’s one of those places that kite flyers can really take advantage of the wind and not worry so much about snagging a palm tree.

The 150 acre park is the largest beach park on the Windward Coast and is undoubtedly the most scenic and varied. The thin strip of beach, though not extensive, is pleasantly fringed by scattered palm trees and provided with ample picnic facilities. The warm shallow water, a protective offshore reef, and seasonal life guard make this an enjoyable family and swimmer location (see Kualoa Beach article also on this website). Once reserved exclusively for the "Kings" of Hawaii; it is now part of the historic Ko Olaupoko Ahupua region and is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Beyond the beach, another world both ancient and modern awaits you.

Curving around the point of the peninsula, you’ll enter the northern most end of Kaneohe Bay. The beach here is somewhat protected from the nearly constant breezes and provides the ideal launch site for outrigger canoes that were both paddled and sailed from this very spot. Today, continuing this tradition but with modern influences is the large and unexpectedly surreal looking canoe shelter set back under the trees. This large white domed structure, with a floor paved of brick, houses beautiful canoes of traditional design and varied sizes and styles. If you’re lucky enough to be here when a group is launching they are often pleased to tell you something about their craft but don’t keep them too long from their activity.

An especially enjoyable nature trail provides you with an ethereal walk through a forest of roots and ground-ward striving branches of fantastical shapes and sizes. You’ll also find different species of bird life and vegetation. Along the way peek-a-boo views of the serrated Koolau mountain range may look eerily familiar; they were seen in the movie Jurassic Park. The trail is named Koholalele "The Leaping Whale." This name honors the whale bones that were traditionally collected from this beach and were so desirable for the making of special tools and artifacts.

Under the shade of the high canopy of the trees in this part of Kualoa you’ll find one of the finest camping sites on Oahu. Well served by restrooms, showers, and other amenities, the security of a night time locked gate and a forest buffer from the highway make it even more desirable. Located somewhat in the center of this forest camp, and situated below one of the rare breaks in the forest canopy, is a small Heiau. Built of smooth lava boulders nearly chest high and studded with sacred stones, you’ll find flowers and other offerings. Slender poles with flagging mark its perimeter though it is nearly hidden by a ring of vegetation. Remember that though this is an ancient structure, these are sacred locations that are in use even today. Look, enjoy, but respect their religious significance and don’t casually leave objects or offerings.

Whether you want a pleasant day at the beach, a fun paddle, a walk in the past, or a weekend campout; Kualoa Regional Park will almost certainly give you an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
Written By: Bud Hardwick
On: 5/8/2009


Kamehameha Highway #83 on the Windward Coast (Northeast Oahu). Drive north of Kaneohe about 9 miles; or south from Laie about 12 miles. The easily seen entrance to the Park is on the waterside near where the highway has a large graceful ninety degree curve.


Bathrooms | BBQ Grills | Fishing | Fresh Water | Lifeguard | Parking | Picnic Area | Picnic Tables | Sandy Beach | Shady Areas | Snorkeling | Swimming Areas | Walking Trails


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