Oahu Chapter

Beach Access

Beaches are a public resource that belong to all of us. When gates are put up by wealthy landowners or private businesses, this threatens our right to access our beaches. Despite our right to public beach access, private gates and security guards have been placed at some beaches, especially in Hawaii Kai, Portlock and Kailua on Oahu, causing concern to our community.

This gate at Makalei / Leahi in Honolulu was put up by the City citing safety reasons. They promptly took it down after hearing several complaints. 

Threatening Beach Access With Vegetation

Along with closing off access to beaches, private homes and developments have been encroaching on the public’s right of way to the beaches by extending their vegetation line and their properties further toward the ocean. In October 2006, the Hawaii Supreme Court issued a ruling strongly reaffirming that the shoreline in Hawaii, which marks the boundary between public beach and private land, extends to the highest wash of the waves, and rejecting the use of artificially planted vegetation to determine the shoreline.

For more information about beach access in Hawai‘i you can check out the State of the Beach page on Beachapedia.

To report beach access issues, you can report it to the contact at this site. For support in demanding beach access, please contact our Beach Protection Coordinator Dr. Michael Foley at beachprotection@oahu.surfrider.org.

Koʻolina Beach Access Issue

Since COVID-19 shutdowns, Koolina Resorts have kept their beaches and public parking lots closed to the public. While we understand the challenge to businesses during this time, all City beaches re-opened beaches on May 16,  and Koʻolina is legally obligated to open the parking spots associated with their beaches as part of their agreement with the City. Koʻolina continues to refuse to open their parking lots, citing “costs”,  even though their parking lots are automatically operated.

The Department of Permitting and Planning sent this letter on August 4, 2020, reinforcing the need for Koʻolina to reopen their parking lots as we have requested.

Read more at this article.

Public Beach Access Points Around Oahu

This map shows all beach access points on Oahu. It was made in 2008, and we are looking into ways to get it updated.

Click here to view Oahu’s Shoreline Access Points GIS map