Welcome to the ultimate guide to the best things to do in Ko Olina!
My boyfriend and I recently had the pleasure of visiting Ko Olina, and we were blown away by all the fantastic activities and experiences it had to offer.
Ko Olina is the perfect destination if you’re planning a vacation and want a premium, resort-like experience. Whether you’re looking to relax and be pampered or to enjoy exciting activities like swimming in beautiful lagoons, attending exotic Luaus, or golfing on scenic courses, there’s something for everyone in Ko Olina.
During our trip, we had the chance to go on yacht cruises, spot rare marine animals, and relax in the resort’s private villas with our friends. It was the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure, and we had a blast.
To help you plan your trip to Ko Olina, I’ve ranked my top experiences based on accessibility, price, family-friendliness, and more.
Trust me, by the end of this article, you’ll be booking your trip to this amazing island.
So let’s dive in and explore the best things to do in Ko Olina!
See Ko Olina’s Resort Lagoons – Best Fun Thing to do in Ko Olina
Since Ko Olina is a resort community, the major hotels built four artificial lagoons for safe waters surrounded by white-sand beaches. These are perfect for families with younger children who can go snorkeling and swim in the protected waters.
Three of the four lagoons are owned by the Marriott, the Four Seasons, and the Disney Aulani, so they’re usually crowded with their guests. So instead, you’ll want to visit the fourth lagoon, which is open to the public and much more spacious than the other three.
On our previous visits, we often went to the fourth lagoon and enjoyed swimming in its protected waters. However, this time we stayed at the Four Seasons and tried the other three, which are excellent for a range of water activities on their shores.
Lagoon 2 has rentals and lessons for stand-up paddle boarding, lagoon 3 has the largest waters for swimming, and lagoon 1 is perfect for a late-night swim, as it’s well-lit. We had a lot of fun with our small group in these lagoons and recommend everyone to visit them.
No matter which season you come in, a few hours of relaxing on these lagoons is one of the best things to do in Ko Olina. Here’s why you’ll love them too:
- You can park your cars in the lot at lagoon four since it’s big and close to Ko Olina Beach and Marina.
- Come early to witness a gorgeous sunrise, followed by a local band playing a Ukulele concert on the shores.
- Since these lagoons are human-made, there isn’t a lot of reef or marine life, but you’ll see some turtles and fish while snorkeling.
- If you want to beat the crowds, head to lagoon four and get a secluded beach to yourself.
Enjoy Private Cruise Trips
A trip to Ko Olina is incomplete without taking a cruise on Oahu’s waters. These cruise trips are on the pricey side, but you get to experience breathtaking views of the coast, snorkel alongside rare marine animals (I’m talking humpback whales!), eat a delicious meal on the deck, and enjoy a dolphin show.
The Oahu Catamaran and Mana Cruise have excellent crews who find the best spots for their guests to snorkel and guarantee a fantastic time.
Oahu Catamaran Cruise
This is a perfect cruise to take with friends since the crew is friendly and keeps you entertained. The stay includes sailing to marine-life hotspots and snorkeling there, followed by a sunset watch and a delicious dinner.
Our cruise was headed by Captain Mason, who kept us entertained with his sense of humor. His team helped us into the water and stayed with us to point out reef fishes, sea turtles, and monk seals.
Since our trip was in November, we saw juvenile humpback whales breaching the water and an adorable show by spinner dolphins! You can also expect to see spotted dolphins and turtles swimming alongside the cruise ship.
The Mana Cruise was on a charter yacht which was pretty spacious and included a hosted bar and menu, an immaculate deck, and limited passengers on board. This was our favorite cruise since we had it primarily to ourselves.
This is a snorkeling cruise that families should take since the crew is experienced with children and stays by them in the water at all times. Even though snorkeling conditions weren’t good on our trip, the team was able to attract plenty of fish, a few turtles, and a huge pod of dolphins.
We loved this cruise for its reclusive feel and the great people on board that gave us a fantastic time.
You’ll love these cruises since they’re one of the most fun things to do in Ko Olina. Some things to know before you book one:
- Both cost around $200 per person for a 3-4 hour cruise.
- The sunset highlights these cruises since the captain sails to the best spots for taking in the views.
- The cruise includes snorkeling gear, drinks, medication, and first-aid kits.
- The photographer on board the Catamaran takes great pictures for reasonable prices.
Try Golfing and Tennis in the Resorts
Ko Olina Golf Club
Golf enthusiasts need to visit this club, voted one of the ‘Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S’ by Golf Digest. But, even if you aren’t a pro, this course is great for novices on its 18-hole course, with a golf clinic and gorgeous surroundings.
Plus, the course is open to the public during the day.
The staff here is very nice and guides you throughout. In addition, the golf course provides range balls and rental sets, which are in great shape.
We enjoyed golfing here with our group, which included a few regular golfers. The rest of us appreciated the course, which was in terrific shape, with green fairways, well-manicured tee boxes, and paved cart paths.
Tennis at Four Seasons
The Four Seasons has a spacious rooftop tennis facility that’s open to non-resort guests. You can book a lesson with a pro instructor, attend a clinic, or reserve a court for a friendly match.
We were a competitive bunch and had matches every other evening in the well-maintained courts. The staff is helpful, and you can cool down in their shower area afterward.
Casual sports are a lot of fun in Ko Olina, and we highly recommend trying either of these on your next visit.
- The Ko Olina Golf Resort has unique water features on its course that you can’t find in any other resorts in the area.
- Golfing costs above $100 per round at the resort.
Visit the Beaches in Ko Olina
Ko Olina has great family-friendly beaches that are easily accessible. In addition, they’re close to the resorts, so you can walk to them or take the town shuttle service.
Paradise Cove Beach is a snorkeling hotspot with calm waters.
Ko Olina Beach Park’s safe waters are a favorite among families with young children.
Paradise Cove Public Beach – Best Thing to do in Ko Olina Beach
Paradise Cove is a natural reef-sheltered lagoon that houses plenty of marine life. Compared to the resort lagoons in Ko Olina, it’s much better for snorkeling and lacks big crowds.
You can see plenty of turtles and fish in the water and swim right next to them while snorkeling. As the water is relatively calm, it’s also safe to bring children here.
We came here early on a weekday and had the beach to ourselves. But, as the day passes, more people come here, and the limited parking spaces get filled quickly.
Pro Tip: Take a path from the right of the Marriott’s lagoon, which leads to Ko Olina’s secluded Secret Beach. Here you can relax on the powder-soft sand and take in scenic views.
Ko Olina Beach Park
This spacious beach park is next to Lagoon 4, with large grassy areas and shady trees. Plus, there’s plenty of parking in the spacious lot.
The water is crystal clear and protected, so many families come to Ko Olina Beach. Despite this, the beach doesn’t get crowded, and you can always find a quiet spot on the sand.
We recommend bringing snacks, a big beach towel, and sitting on the grass to enjoy an amazing sunset.
Spending a day at the beaches is one of the most fun things to do in Ko Olina. Here’s why you’ll love them:
- Ko Olina Beach Park has occasional visits from sea turtles and monk seals on its shores, but don’t get too close to them.
- Paradise Cove has a luau held every evening that’s a lot of fun.
- There are plenty of shaded spots in Paradise Cove where turtles lounge, so you can take great photos of them.
Attend a Luau
There are Luaus held every day at Ko Olina, a great way to see traditional dances and shows, and enjoy a hearty meal. The most famous are the Paradise Cove Luau on Paradise Cove Beach and the Ka Wa’a Luau hosted by the Disney Resort.
The Paradise Cove Luau includes many activities for children and adults that the performers initiate. Afterward, there are fantastic dances and performances for families.
The location boasts views of the island’s west side and the Disney resort’s towers.
In addition, delicious local food and drinks are served at your table, followed by a breathtaking sunset. We enjoyed this Luau and recommend it to anyone looking for a night of fun and dance.
Disney hosts the Ka Wa’a Luau, but that doesn’t mean the cartoon characters will be a part of the show. Instead, it’s a great Luau to participate in activities like learning the Ukulele, getting a tattoo, and making a lei.
This Luau is crowded, so arriving early and getting to your seats is better. You’ll be served drinks and get to take pictures with the dancers. We liked the performances at this Luau more and the food.
Pro Tip: Book the VIP seats for the best views of the dancers on tables close to the stage and shorter check-in lines.
You’ll love the luaus and keep coming back on every trip since they’re the best thing to do in Ko Olina. Some things to consider before you go:
- The Paradise Cove Luau costs $150 per person.
- Both luaus are for families and have fun activities.
- Try the Fia Fia Polynesian Dinner Show for a more adult-centered luau.
Wrapping Up: The Best Things to do in Ko Olina
Ko Olina is every vacation lover’s dream; luxurious hotels, secluded villas, private cruise trips, lush golf courses, and excellent food offer the perfect holiday.
You also don’t have to spend a hefty sum to vacation here, just stay at one of the nearby accommodations in Honolulu and drive 30-40 minutes to Ko Olina for its activities.
We had the most amazing time in this reserved community and experienced generous hospitality from the hotel staff and ship crews. A trip to Ko Olina is the perfect way to treat yourself and experience a more reclusive side of Hawaii.
Looking for great snorkeling and family beaches? Visit Paradise Cove and Ko Olina Beach, respectively.
Need a few hours away from crowded spots? Take a private cruise on Oahu’s coast.
Want a night of fun, food, and dance? Attend the Paradise Cove and Ka Wa’a Luaus.
I guarantee you won’t want to return from the wonders of Ko Olina!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
What is Ko Olina known for?
Ko Olina is known for its four artificial lagoons, which offer protected swimming and white sand beaches. And it has major resorts like the Marriott, Four Seasons, and Disney.
How do you get to the secret beach in Ko Olina?
There isn’t a defined entrance and path to Secret Beach. To get there, take a right from the Marriott Hotel’s lagoon on a trail that leads directly to the beach.
Is Ko Olina Lagoon free?
You can go to all four lagoons for free, but not their resorts since admission to any beach or lagoon in Hawaii is free and open to the public.
What are the best restaurants in Ko Olina?
There are some amazing restaurants in Ko Olina serving delicious local food. Tropic Poke is great for seafood, Eggs’ n Things have a terrific breakfast menu, and Monkeypod Kitchen has farm-to-table food and drinks.
Last Updated on January 26, 2023 by Brigitte