Electric Beach | Kahe Point Beach Park


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Situated on Oahu’s leeward shore is arguably one of the best and least known snorkeling and dive spots on the island.  In our opinion, the aquatic life here rivals anything that you can find at other popular spots like Hanuama Bay or Shark’s Cove.  Electric Beach is just north of the Ko Olina resort area and is right across Farrington Highway from the Hawaiian Electric Company Power Plant.  It’s this unique location that makes Electric Beach such a great spot to explore.  The power plant releases clean cooling water through two giant pipes several yards offshore which is many degrees warmer than the surrounding ocean.  The warm water attracts scores of sea life.  The coral covered pipes have become an artificial reef, home to sea turtles, spinner dolphin, eels, and a multitude of tropical fish so dense you will feel like you are swimming in an aquarium.  It truly is a remarkable experience to swim among them.  To the north and south of the pipes are abundant coral flats that are easily explored some with nice overhangs and swim throughs.  Sounds like an ideal spot to spend some time with the family right?  Now for the downside...it is not a place that we would recommend for children for a variety of reasons.  Even in calm wave conditions (1-2 feet), the entry and exit can be rough because of the funneling effect created by the shore and the power plant’s concrete wall on the north side of the beach.  The current can be quite strong and the breaking waves can cause havoc with you as you attempt to put on your gear.  Throw in a few rocks, and low visibility caused by the turbulent waves on the beach’s sandy bottom, and it can be quite hazardous to even experienced swimmers.  Once past this though, the conditions are much better.  The water becomes almost placid and the visibility is tremendous--at times possibly the best on the island.  The bottom gently slopes away and you will find yourself in about 30 feet of water along the power plant pipes.  Swimming here is at your own risk, another reason its not ideal for children, there are no lifeguards at the beach and if you find yourself in trouble, there is no help.  The swim from the beach to the mouth of the pipes is a few hundred yards, so it is a bit of a swim and can be tiring for children and adults if they are not regular swimmers.  The condition of the park area is marginal at best.  The park sits up on a small bluff overlooking the water.  The cliffs at the shoreline are great for viewing but can be hazardous for little ones.  There is a covered pavilion and a few picnic tables scattered throughout the park.  The grassy area is actually strewn with debris and rocks and during our visit, the restroom facilities were boarded up, forcing us to use the one port-a-john that was available.  There are outdoor showers available to wash off the sand and salt water.  The actual beach which is accessed via a short foot path to the north of the parking lot is small and offers only a few spots of shade along the south side.  It would probably be quite crowded if the beach were closer to Waikiki because of the great snorkeling and diving, but being on the leeward coast it is rarely full during the week.  Weekends and holidays can be busy but most of the time you can still find a spot to park the car and a small spot of sand to claim as your own on the beach.  Several local dive companies use this location for dive certification so you may find it imbued with novice divers at times.  If you go snorkeling or diving be sure to leave a “beach watch” behind to watch any valuables that you may leave on shore.  This area has been known to have its share of petty theft.  To be fair, while we were there, we had no issues and, in fact, noticed police cruisers frequenting the park during our stay.  There are no stores or food trucks near the beach to grab food and drinks, so we recommend packing a cooler with, at a minimum, some drinking water.  Also, bring some sun screen and a hat so you do not get sunburned between swims, and of course your snorkel or dive gear.  It’s location relative to Ko Olina makes it a nice early morning excursion for folks staying or living there.  For people staying or living in Waikiki or the windward side of Oahu it is a bit of a drive, but could be easily combined with another leeward coast excursion, like the Ko Olina Lagoons, Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii, Paradise Cove Lu’au, Pokai Bay or Ka’ena Point. While the snorkeling and diving at Electric Beach are phenomenal, we just can not recommend it to families with young children.  Teenagers who have experience snorkeling and are strong swimmers will most likely be fine, although we recommend that all swimmers swim with an adult partner for safety, but the rough conditions near the shore are not for children.  While the beach is small but nice, neither the park nor the facilities are conducive for problem free exploration.  Other locations provide a much nicer family adventure when compared as a whole.  Therefore, we recommend that this be an adult only adventure if you want to check it out.