Flat Island

Popo-i'a Island Bird Sanctuary

O'ahu, Hawai'i

Start Exploring
Flat Island


  • Kailua Bay, home to Popoia Island, known as Flat Island for short.- Flat Island
  • Flat Island is just a quarter mile from the shore.- Flat Island
  • A common sight at the Kailua boat ramp ... tourists, kayakers and beachgoers all enjoying island life.- Flat Island
  • Paddling out to Flat Island.- Flat Island
  • The beach on the west side of the island closest to shore.- Flat Island
  • It's an okay sized beach, but it can get real crowded real quick.- Flat Island
  • One of the many little coves on Flat Island.- Flat Island
  • Tourists walking around the edges of the island. There is no going into the interior due to the protected seabirds.- Flat Island
  • A small day at Flat Island.- Flat Island
  • Watching some surfers on a small day with the Mokolua Islands in the background.- Flat Island
  • One of the small sandy coves dotting the island.- Flat Island
  • A six-person outrigger canoe. This same canoe caught waves along the surfers.- Flat Island
  • One of the best parts about Kailua is all the islets not far from the shore that people are allowed to recreate on.- Flat Island
  • A small surf day at Flat Island.- Flat Island
  • Small day but a fun day.- Flat Island
  • Kailua Bay.- Flat Island
  • - Flat Island
Overview + Weather
Unique. Usually some has some small waves. Great views.
Can get crowded. Smaller waves normally.
O'ahu, HI
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Rocky shore
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

Sitting just a short bit off Kailua Beach, Flat Island is a frequent destination for locals and tourists looking to get off the beach and into the ocean. Dozens of people a day (at the least) take their kayak or longboard to the breaks just off the right edge. Officially called Popoia Bird Sanctuary, it's nicknamed Flat Island for obvious reasons. The pancake-flat outcropping has a sandy beach to park your craft and some small sandy coves around the islands shores. You are not allowed into the interior of the island for the protection of the seabirds, but the tide pools, fishing, snorkeling and watching the surfers keeps you plenty busy on the outskirts of Popoia.

The shallow reefs on the right side of the island tend to have at least some small waves, and the paddle is only a quarter mile each way. Eastern swells are less common than northern and southern ones on O'ahu, so bigger days are less frequent here in the protected bay. Launch your kayak or longboard from the beach just left of the boat ramp and not from the ramp itself. It's pretty much a straight shot with few high coral heads to worry about. In Kailua Bay you don't always have the best visibility, but it is common to see honu and smaller reef fish swimming around. The beach on Flat Island is not very big and can get crowded; it's more of a spot to visit and set up camp for the day. This is a much easier and safer journey than the Mokulua Islands, but is obviously a lot less dynamic. It's a good starting point for people wanting to try some interesting ocean adventures without pushing the envelope too hard.

There are kayak rentals near Kalapawai Market outside of the beach park. Boat ramp parking is limited, so the beach park has a larger lot if needed. They all get crowded, so early and/or on weekdays is the prime time. Check the weather, bring some water, and keep a limit on your sun exposure through lotion, hats and long sleeve water shirts.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(7 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(91 within a 30 mile radius)

Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
2 Members
Who's Done It
1 Members
Submission by
Pro Contributor
296 Adventures Explored
284 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info