Pets allowed
Guided tours
Backcountry camping
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Kaka'ako Waterfront Park is a unique find in the heart of Honolulu, situated right next to the Kewalo Basin marina. Also known locally as Point Panic, this waterfront park has staircase access to a popular surfing area on the western side of the marina. Here, left and right surf breaks were hotly contested between groups of local board surfers and body surfers, to the point where boiling tensions caused the Department of Land and Natural Resources to ban boards, giving body surfers priority. A fine can be issued by DLNR personnel if the rules are ignored by surfers, kayakers, paddleboarders, or boaters. The area is well named, as the rock jetty that runs along the coast can be a formidable rival if boarders bail too late. Snorkelers and divers can also be seen exploring the reef that is right offshore. There is no beach at Kaka'ako, and if you  are planning to enter the water, be aware of boat traffic coming in and out of the harbor, as well as strong currents and surge.

The park itself is practically hidden in downtown Honolulu next to the bustling and industrial seaport. It's hard to imagine that it is situated on an old landfill site that was decommissioned in the 1960s and converted to a park in the early 1990s. The park is also adjacent to the Kewalo Marine Laboratory, which is affiliated with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and conducts tropical marine research, although the grounds are closed to the public. There are public restrooms in the middle of the park in addition to some picnic shelters, an outdoor amphitheater, and plenty of open space. A memorial commemorates the tragic sinking of the Japanese fishery training vessel, Ehime Maru, when a U.S. Navy submarine collided with it off the coast of Oahu in 2001, killing 9 people. 

The park has free parking, is located just minutes from downtown, and is rarely busy. Consequently, many transient encampments have been set up in the park, and homeless community members now reside here.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Quiet waterfront park. Picnic areas.


Large homeless/transient encampments.


ADA accessible
Flushing toilets
Covered picnic areas



Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.