Pokai Bay Beach: Oahu’s West Side

Pokai Bay Beach: Oahu’s West Side

Grace Towle

Grace Towle

Living on Oahu, Grace Towle knows all the best places where locals go.

Located between the small boat harbor in Wai’anae and Kane’ilio Point, Pokai Bay is a popular beach for locals on Oʻahu’s leeward (west) coast and a good day trip for those staying at Ko’olina and looking for a bit of local flavor. A crescent shaped rock jetty prevents high surf from disrupting the tranquil waters, making this 15-acre beach park an extremely sheltered beach ideal for young swimmers, snorkeling and lap swimming. Additionally, beginning surfers will find the gentle surf off of the wide reef in the center of the bay conducive to learning.

Fun Fact: Before being called Pokai Bay, it was called Malaea, which means “calm” or “serene.”

Highlights

A short drive south of the beach can conclude the day with a spiritual visit to the Ancient Hawaiʻian Temple site (Ku’ilioloa Heiau), which serves as a memorial where the ashes of loved ones have been scattered.

Water Sports

Swimming, snorkeling, fishing and surfing. The long crescent white sand beach is also a popular walking destination. Check out the surf-forecast.com for current conditions. Select Hawaiʻi-Oʻahu, then Pokai Bay.

Shade

The 15-acre expanse offers a wonderful grassy area shaded by trees and often used for picnic gatherings.

Food

Poka’i Bay Restaurant offers a variety of items from guava hotcakes to traditional mahi burgers.

Directions and Parking

There is a public parking lot, which fills up early on weekends and additional parking can be found on Waianea Valley Road off of the Farrington Highway.

Safety

Despite its tranquility, the ocean is always to be enjoyed with proper safety protocol which is why you will find lifeguards on duty.

What’s in a Name

Poka’i: Poka’i Bay, named for the Hawaiʻian Chief Poka’i, who is said to have brought the first coconut palm tree to Hawaiʻi.

Malaea  (previous name) means “calm” or “serene.”

Ku’ilioloa Heiau This heiau is named after a dog spirit, Ku’ilioloa, which literally means “the long dog Ku” said to have watched over travelers in this area.

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