While the 2+ miles of scenic shoreline and secluded beaches of Ko Olina can be heaven on Earth, one of O‘ahu’s best kept secrets is just up the coast and well worth a visit, especially for those looking for an epic snorkel. Take the highway north and keep your eyes peeled because as you drive past you might not think this small beach park situated on the rocky coast across from a large power plant is worth stopping at. But you would be mistaken! Read more about Kahe Beach below
A Tale of Two Beaches
Better known to locals as “Electric Beach” or “Tracks” due to the neighboring power plant and the old railroad tracks that pass the Kahe Beach Park, the beach here has two main water entrances below a grassy plateau overlooking the surf. The first is the official Kahe Beach, while the second, a little farther north and even with the power plant, is “Tracks.” The grassy area is interwoven with kiawe brush and does offer bathroom and shower facilities. The highlight here is not the view, however, or the beach itself; it is the power plant. Yes, you read that right. “Electric Beach” is a snorkeler’s dream because of what the power plant attracts.
Best Beaches In Hawaii
Brave the shore entry (if conditions are okay for snorkeling, entry is not a problem; if they are not, then you shouldn’t try it anyway). As you stick your head under the surface you will be lost in a world of colorful reef fish, brilliant coral heads, and on occasion the serenading tones of humpback whales (they can be seen breeching offshore in winter). Make your way out to the mouth of the twin outflow pipes from the power plant, 200 meters offshore (in about 30’ of water), keeping a lookout for resting pods of spinner dolphins. Once you reach your destination, the colorful reef fish will have you laughing-out-loud-underwater (LOLU!) as they play in the strong outflow currents, basking in the warm water as they are tossed to and fro only to come right back for more! The water here is about 20-30’ deep and strikingly clear thanks to the pipes, and there are thousands of fish everywhere you look. Follow them, if you can, darting through pristine coral heads as they wait for their turn on the warm water rollercoaster.
NOTE: Don’t swim in front of the pipes yourself unless you want to get thrown like a ragdoll! Stick to the surface right above or to the sides.
Due to the rocky shore entrance and the offshore swim, this is not a site for beginners (unless you are on a guided tour, many of which come here by boat). Usually calm in summer, the waves can be higher in winter and snorkeling here should be avoided anytime conditions are rough. Grab your gear, sign up for a snorkel charter, or book a scuba trip here (it is a great place to get certified), and be sure to tell us all the fish antics you witness!