Walking along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki it’s pretty easy to forget that you are just feet from the finest shoreline in the world. Amid a maze of luxury boutique shopping, lavish hotels, tiki-torch restaurants, open air markets and street artists, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the opulent throng of sunburnt tourists and surfboard toting locals. However, just past Hawaii’s oldest and arguably most luxurious hotel, the Moana Surfrider, Kalakaua Avenue opens to the ocean at Kuhio Beach Park and you are reminded why Hawaii is considered paradise. This is one of the most popular beaches in Waikiki, due to the excellent conditions for swimming, sunbathing and ocean activities such as body boarding and surfing; and its central location and ease of access for those staying in non-oceanfront hotels and for local residents. It is a hub for all things Hawaiian, a medley of people, food, music, celebration, surfing and sun! This golden bit of heaven stretches eastward to the Kapahulu Groin which separates it from nearby Queens Surf Beach. A long concrete wall offshore creates a breakwater and divides a portion of the beach into two rectangular pools that provide ideal swimming conditions for the family! The pool to the east is open to the ocean making it slightly more impacted by surf conditions but both provide terrific places for keiki to play and swim. The beach is very shallow (no more that four feet) and has a nice sandy bottom. This is perfect for small children who are just getting their swimming legs. Here you and your family can float on rafts or inner tubes (bring your own or buy one from a vender or store nearby) and take in the surfing and bigger waves around you while enjoying the pool-like atmosphere the sea wall creates. If you have a budding Jacques Cousteau on your hands, the sea wall offers a variety of creatures to be observed. Everything from crabs scaling the wall to smaller colorful reef fish seek protection here making this is an ideal place to teach a budding snorkeler how to use that new snorkel gear! The fish are very well trained and will seek you out in hopes of food. Another feature our son particularly liked was getting to hear the waves hiss against the sea wall and the synchronized spray that followed. The shoreline along the entire beach is nice, a little rocky in some places, but shady at the back by the palm trees. This beach can get very crowded toward the late morning and early afternoon regardless of the day of the week. It is heavily used by tourists and locals, you will do well to find a small patch of sand to claim as your own by lunch time. Likewise, parking becomes an issue too. We like to park at the public lot next to the Honolulu Zoo and stroll the short distance to the beach. There is an outdoor shower for rinsing near the Groin (the large concrete pier used to hide a storm drain) and more on the west end by the hotels. Public Restroom facilities are next to the Honolulu Police Station by the Moana Surfrider. Restaurants are abundant in the area so its not necessary to bring food and drink, but we still recommend it. The Groin is worth exploring to get a nice view of Diamond Head and the Waikiki waterfront. Also from this vantage point you can watch the body boarders and surfers catch waves at nearby breaks. This beach is also a popular location to take a surf lesson from Waikiki’s famous Beach Boys. There are numerous surf schools located on Kuhio Beach and most offer outrigger canoe rides, catamaran rides, and stand up paddle board lessons in addition to surfing. The surf here is ideal for beginners making the water quite crowded most days. This is also the location for most of the south shores surf contests which you may be lucky enough to see if you time your visit right! In addition to the wonderful beach, there are many sites and activities nearby including the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium, Diamond Head, and for the Moms, shopping! The beach park is also the location of Waikiki’s famous Duke Kahanamoku statue draped with leis once a year in honor of his birthday. Prince Kuhio also, appropriately, has a statue here and the Stones of Kapaemahu are found in the park. Our favorite statue, Makua and Kila, is located here as well. Happily, we find Kuhio Beach to be a terrific family beach, well protected by walls and very calm, soft and sandy. The water is very shallow and can be conveniently explored by small children including lots of aquatic life near the break wall. It is perfect for learning to snorkel or swim. The beach offers shade and is watched over by lifeguards. Thanks to its street-side location and paved sidewalks, it is easily accessed with any stroller. Because of the collision of tourists and locals, beach goers and shoppers, businessmen and joggers, this is a really fun place to people watch and soak in some sun with the family!