Want to have a whole island to yourself? La’ie has the place for you. Not many people make the journey to Goat Island, but those who do frequently cite it as a vacation highlight. So what is Goat Island? It’s a small wildlife preserve located a few hundred yards off the coast of Hukilau Beach bay and Malaekahana State Park. It’s a place of profound beauty and solitude that offers incredible views that you just can’t get from the shore.
How do you get there? That’s the interesting part. You walk there. Or wade, to be more accurate. If you go at low tide, you can make your way through chest deep water until you reach the island. Conditions vary, and the surf can be choppy, so don’t try this one if you’re not a strong swimmer in good shape. You’ll be walking across uneven rocks and corral, so reef shoes are a must, too.
Of course, even if you don’t decide to make the journey to Goat Island, the beaches at Hukilau and Malaekahana State Park still offer a wide variety of fun activities and beautiful sights. After all, they are beaches in La’ie—you can’t go wrong.
You’ve heard the song! You’ve seen the dance! Now visit the beach! Hukilau Beach Park is where it all began. It used to be a place where visitors would frequently join locals to pull in fishing nets, before feasting together at the famous Hukilau celebrations. Today, you won’t find a lot of nets in the water, or as many Hukilau events taking place, but you will find swimmers, kayakers, and body surfers, along with lots of happy families enjoying the quiet, relaxing charms of this legendary beach.
If you want to know how this beach got its name, just turn away from the surf and look behind you. You’ll see the beautiful La’ie Temple, which faces the ocean and features a terraced series of pools and gardens that make their way down the hill and to the beach.
Now let’s turn around and get back to the beach. Temple Beach is a great place for families to enjoy La’ie. The view is gorgeous, the waves are good, and the beach is easily accessed by parking in the lot across the street, where there are also public showers for beachgoers.
For people staying at the La’ie Marriott, this is often the beach where they get their feet wet in La’ie for the first time. All they have to do is take a few steps from the lobby across the street and there they are, enjoying a narrow beach with mild surf and few distractions. Most times, the only other people you might see here are a few local sunbathers, including BYU-Hawaii students, who go to school a block away.
Pounders break, located along the southern stretch of La’ie Beach Park, can rarely be accused of false advertising. One look at the pounding surf that typically breaks just a few yards off the beach, and you’ll see why the name is apt. This is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, where you can enjoy some intense sessions of bodysurfing and bodyboarding. But make sure you’re up to it—Pounders is for strong swimmers only. Good thing the rest of the surf at La’ie Beach Park is a more mild affair, where beachgoers of all ages can enjoy themselves.
When you step onto secluded Kokololio beach, it’s like finding your own little private oasis. You have a serene white sand beach, lots of shady trees, and soft grassy areas that practically scream “ideal picnic spot,” but it’s a chill kind of scream, you know? It’s a place you’ll want to stay awhile, so it’s perfect that this spot offers beachfront camping. (Make sure you get a permit first, available from the City & Country of Honolulu.)
If you want to experience La’ie’s flair for the dramatic, take some time to visit La’ie Point. It’s along the shore, but there’s no sandy beach here. Instead you’re treated to a clifftop view of the epic rock outcroppings just off shore, along with the towering sprays of surf that happen when relentless ocean meets resolute stone. It’s an awesome place to truly feel the power of the ocean that’s shaped La’ie in so many ways.
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