Erin Kunkel
Kailua beaches tend to be tourist-free and, on weekdays, even empty.

Take your feast to one of these popular beaches

Lynn Cook,  – October 4, 2006 | Updated February 4, 2019


In the islands, Thanksgiving picnics at a beach park are popular alternatives to restaurant dining or trying to serve too large a crowd in a small house. The following three parks, all on Oahu, have picnic areas (some with barbecue grills), restrooms, showers, parking ― and the ocean, of course, for a premeal swim. Pick a park a day ahead, then plan to be there early on Thanksgiving Day (that’s when locals stake out their spots). You can pick up the piping-hot turkey-to-go. Visit or for park details.

Ala Moana Regional Park. Shaded picnic facilities and grassy areas are perfect for family outings. A half-mile sandy beach fringes this 119-acre park just west of Waikiki. It’s a local favorite for swimming, surfing, and bodyboarding (check surf and current conditions in advance and avoid swimming in boat channels at either end of the park). 1201 Ala Moana Blvd. (directly across from Ala Moana Shopping Center).

Kailua Beach Park. The finest, whitest sand combines with perfect surf for bodyboarding, and with trade winds that propel windsurfers across the waves like neon butterflies. For the picnic items that didn’t make it into your car’s trunk, convenience stores of Kailua town are 5 minutes away. Arrive very early to find the best parking spots. 526 Kawailoa Rd. on windward Oahu.

Kapiolani Regional Park. Covering 155 acres at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, the grassy expanse is flecked with palms and shower trees and scattered with picnic tables. Bordered on one side by Queen’s Surf Beach and the Waikiki Aquarium, and on another by the Honolulu Zoo, the park is a favorite with local families for weekend picnics. The Royal Hawaiian Band often plays on Sundays at the bandstand. On Kalakaua Avenue, a short walk from hotel row.


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