If there is any one beach that is a favorite of local residents of the Aloha State, it could very well be the Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu. This popular 100 acre public beach park is located on the Ewa (west) side of Waikiki and directly in front of the massive shopping center of the same name, the Ala Moana Shopping Center. It’s been a place where generations of residents have brought their families to enjoy picnics, have social events, bask in the sun on a wide white sand beach and to swim. For many others, it’s also a convenient place to surf, jog or play tennis.
Before the 1920s, this area was a neglected wetland area, which was used in part to deposit trash. Around that time, a boat channel dredged by the Hawaiian Dredging Company to connect the Ala Wai Boat Harbor to the Kewalo Basin Harbor. Today this channel provides swimmers with an excellent venue for people to do some long distance swimming.
Hawaiian Dredging Company eventually filled in the wetland area by depositing waste materials from the dredging projects it was involved in and created a parkland area. In the 1950s, sand was deposited to create a half mile stretch of white sand beach. The combination of this wide white sand beach and the sandy, rock-free bottom of the former boat channel, particularly on the east side of the beach, makes this place a favorite place among local residents and visitors alike.
In the 1960s, a man-made peninsula was created on the east end of the park as part of a hotel development plan. The hotel was never; built but what remained became a beautiful extension of the park with a beautiful lagoon at the end of the peninsula. This area also used to provide much needed additional parking for park users.
Parking at Ala Moana Beach Park is free; but because of its popularity, it’s somewhat limited on weekends and holiday. There are shower facilities as well as a number of concessionaires that sell food. Because of its relative closeness to Waikiki and its hotels, it offers a great alternative for tourists looking for a nice and convenient place to spend on the beach, swim and to soak up the warm Hawaiian sun.