Beach parks, mountain parks, and water parks, oh my!

The island of Oahu boasts a wide number of wonderful parks. From numerous beach parks to parks far inland, the amount of great parks offer plenty of options for picnics, volleyball, yoga, beach time, and just about any other fun outdoor activity you can think of. It's really no surprise, considering that Hawaii residents are known for their love to venture out on the weekends and post up for full days outdoors at the parks. 

Out on the North Shore Sunset Beach Park and Waimea Bay Beach Park provide two of the most beautiful beach parks on the island. Nu`uanu Pali is home to a hugely significant historical site that marked a drastic change for Hawaiians, while offering amazing panoramic views from high above. At Fort DeRussy, you'll find a military history of a more modern time as you explore the U.S. Army Museum.

Meanwhile, farther east and just outside of Honolulu is Hanauma Bay, which hands down offering some of the best snorkeling on the island. As a nature preserve, fish flourish on the reef inside of the old volcano crater, protected from fishing and boating.

For a more city feel and people watching, check out Kapiolani and Ala Moana Parks to be near the ocean yet in the town. At Ala Moana you can watch surf and city life, and at Kapiolani you can people watch under a nice tree. Whether you're in search of a short break from the car, or day spent outside, 10 Best has you covered with Oahu's parks.



When the temperatures climb and the kids have had enough sand in their suits, head to this exciting water park. Spread across 25 acres are a wealth of fun-filled activities, including open-air and enclosed water slides (some that drop seven...  Read More



This North Shore beach is a favorite with folks who follow the surfing circuit. During the summer, its two miles of white-sand shores are relatively safe, and you'll find swimmers and snorkelers frolicking among milder waves. Come winter,...  Read More



Set along Oahu's windward (east) coast, this beautiful beach is ideal for swimming and for windsurfing. It affords amazing views of the area and isn't as crowded as some other island beaches. A stream bisects the park and adds another dimension...  Read More



Deceptively beautiful, this scenic cove – home to some of the planet's most unforgiving surf – can mean death to naive swimmers. That is, in winter, anyway, when the waves churn up and some of surfing's best talents take to the sea to prove...  Read More

Nuuanu Pali
Photo courtesy of ChanStudio/iStock


At a lofty point in the Koolau Range (the mountains that divide windward Oahu from the rest of the island) is a lookout that offers outstanding views of the eastern landscape. Legend has it that, in 1795, King Kamehameha I and his men drove...  Read More

Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island


Ala Moana Beach Park sprawls across 100 acres in the midst of Honolulu, while Magic Island comprises about 30 acres of the park. Both areas are immensely popular, and folks frequently take advantage of the beaches, picnic areas, and jogging and...  Read More

Kapi'olani Park


Dedicated in 1877, this beautiful greenspace was Hawaii's first public park, a gift from King Kalakaua to his people. Named for the queen, the park became a city gathering spot early on, and these days, residents still visit the 100+ acres to...  Read More



Created from a collapsed volcano crater, this bay is protected and calm, ideal for snorkeling, as you'll see from the crowds around you. The snorkeling is truly amazing, since the preserve protects the wildlife and creates a favorite place for...  Read More

Fort DeRussy


Formerly a US Army installation, this park was established when threats to Honolulu diminished in the 1950s. Today, the beautifully landscaped greenspace is designated as a recreational area for the military, although it's open to all. Within...  Read More

Diamond Head State Monument
Photo courtesy of IslandLeigh/iStock


Widely recognized as the symbol of Hawaii, this extinct volcano crater was known to ancients as Leahi, which means "brow of the tuna" and referred to its appearance from the west. Its more familiar name came from 19th-century British sailors,...  Read More


Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade