Kawela Bay is a hidden cove on Oahu’s North Shore, which is likely to be a lot less crowded on any given day than most other beaches in the area. It’s a large bay blanketed in fine white sand and backed by a thick forest of palms, banyan trees, and other dense foliage often explored by those on horse back. Two points jut far out into the ocean on either side, causing the bay to often be mellow and perfect for swimming and paddle boarding. Without very much reef in the bay to attract fish, it’s not the most ideal place for snorkeling.
Although it’s open to the public, Kawela is one of the lesser frequented beaches in the area. A road side trail through the forest opens off of Kamehameha Highway across from a Kahuku Farms fruit stand. It’s important to be very careful here when arriving or departing, as the highway is very busy and people drive very fast on it. You’ll have to park on the grassy shoulder of the road and make your way down the dirt trail through the trees.
The huge old banyan trees just before the beach are a sight themselves, and deserve at least a few minutes of exploration and as a subject for photos. Banyans grow very high, and drop numerous long roots from branch to the ground making hiding places and things to climb for children.
The trail is short and you can’t miss the beach. Although it’s long, it’s rather narrow as the forest grows close to the ocean. Depending on the tide you may have to place your belongings right at the top of the sand.
Kawela is worth a few hours, so bring water and a lunch. The sand is fine and soft and it’s usually a great place for floats for children and stand-up paddle board for the family.
Heading east on Kamehameha Highway, look for the trail across from the fruit stand marked with a sign and a fence just before Turtle Bay Resort.