Hanauma Bay Parking

Where do you park when Hanauma Bay is full?

Hanauma Bay is one of Oahu’s best tourist attractions. The beauty of the bay in addition to the world class snorkeling and year-round warm weather is what draws in thousands of visitors each year. The Bay is open from Wednesday through Sunday and spots fill up quickly as the State of Hawaii has put a daily cap on the number of visitors that can enter the park. In the past, Hanauma Bay was open until 6pm. However, following the COVID19 pandemic, the days and hours of operation have been scaled back. Currently, the Hanauma Bay parking fee is $3 and the park is open for entry from 6:45 am to 1:30 pm with all visitors being asked to leave the park by 4pm. Because of the decreased amount of time visitors can spend at the Bay, parking has continued to prove challenging for those wanting to visit.

If you’ve ever been to Hanauma bay, you know that arriving early is a must. With only 300 Hanauma Bay parking stalls available within the park, those arriving after 8:30 am will most likely be met with a “parking lot full” sign. Once the Hanauma Bay parking lot fills up, entry staff are advised not to allow any additional cars into the park.  This can be a problem since parking in the area is extremely limited; to come all the way to Oahu to snorkel at one of the most beautiful bays in the world only to be turned away at the gate can be heartbreaking. What some of these visitors may not know is that there are a number of good alternatives to consider if you find yourself encountering the dreaded “parking lot full” sign. Planning ahead for this situation is key and we will detail a few alternatives below that will help you to still make most of your day at the bay:

Hanauma Bay Parking Alternative #1 – Park at Koko Head District Park

If you’re not a resident of Oahu, you probably wouldn’t know that there’s ample parking available at Koko Head District Park. Famous for being the parking spot for those planning to climb the famous Koko Head Trail, this district park has lots of stalls available on weekdays. Weekends may prove to be a tad trickier due to an influx of hikers visiting the Koko Head trail as well as weekend sporting events that take place at the park. Baseball is one of the main sports played at Koko Head District Park and, as a year-round sport, produces packed parking lots and crowds on most weekends. Here’s some pros and cons with this parking alternative:

Pros:

  • Lots of parking on weekdays between the hours of 7 am and 3:30 pm.
  • Relatively close to Hanauma Bay (12 minute walk required to gate entrance).
  • The district park stays open until 10 pm, which means you can take your time getting back to your car, or trying out one of the beautiful surrounding hikes (Koko Head Trail or Hanauma Bay Ridge Hike).
  • Relatively safe environment as many families and other visitors frequent the park.
  • Restrooms, water fountains, and water spigots are available, if needed.
  • Parking is free.

Cons:

  • Requires a walk of about 12 minutes. Part of the walk is slightly inclined with some uneven road, which may not be suitable for all people.
  • Snorkel gear or other belongings may be burdensome to carry.
  • Must cross the road where the path ends – across from the Hanauma Bay Parking entrance gate. This could prove dangerous for small children as cars often drive fast along the main highway.

Overall, this is great place to park if you find that the parking lot at Hanauma Bay is full.  Just try to avoid parking here on the weekend as there will be little to no parking. In a future post, we’ll give detailed instructions (and tips!) on how to get to Hanauma bay from this parking location.

Hanauma Bay Parking Alternative #2 – Park on Nāwiliwili Street (Portlock)

If there’s no parking at the bay, you might get lucky with street parking available just down the road on Nāwiliwili street. This is a residential street. Therefore, we would advise you to be courteous and respectful towards residents by ensuring that you do not speed, block driveways, leave trash or make excessive noise. Local residents will respect your property and your right to park in their residential neighborhood, but it’s important to remember that this is their home and should be treated with the utmost respect. Here are some pros and cons to consider about this parking option:

Pros:

  • Close to Hanauma Bay parking entrance.
  • Close to Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail.
  • You will not need to cross the road to get to the entrance as Nāwiliwili street is on the same side of the street as the Hanauma Bay parking entrance.
  • Parking on Nāwiliwili street is free.

Cons:

  • This is a residential neighborhood, so residents may be wary of unfamiliar vehicles parking along their street.
  • The walk could still be a little dangerous as the walk up to the Hanauma Bay parking entrance is along the main highway.
  • No restrooms, water fountains or water spigots available.

This is a decent option to consider when attempting to go to Hanauma Bay on a weekend. If you’re on a budget and would like to park close to the Bay, consider parking on Nāwiliwili street as a viable option.

Hanauma Bay Parking Alternative #3 – Park at Koko Marina and catch a Hanauma Bay shuttle

Koko Marina is a great place to park if the Hanauma Bay parking lot is full. Located at 7192 Kalanianaole Hwy, Koko Marina is fairly close to Hanauma Bay. While a walk from Koko Marina Center to Hanauma Bay is an option, the 25-30 minute walk may not be a suitable choice for large groups or individuals needing additional assistance, or for those looking for a quicker, cost-effective and convenient alternative.  Another option would be a quick shuttle to and from the bay. The shuttle costs $15 per person (4 years and up) and is a convenient way to get into Hanauma Bay without the bother of needing to find your own parking. Simply book your tickets on http://bit.ly/HBParking1 to reserve a spot on one of their shuttles to Hanauma Bay. The Hanauma Bay Snorkel shuttle service also accepts walk-ins to book your spot if you decide to opt for this alternative on the day of your visit. Here are some pros and cons to consider with this option:

Pros:

  • Ample parking at Koko Marina Center.
  • Koko Marina is fairly close to Hanauma Bay. 25-30 minute walk or 4 minute shuttle ride options available.
  • Allows you to have your car available in case you want to do more sightseeing after visiting Hanauma Bay.
  • Lots of restaurants, grocery stores and more available at Koko Marina to pick up necessities before your day at Hanauma Bay or after a long day of snorkeling.
  • Ability to rent snorkel and beach gear from the shuttle company if you don’t have any of your own.
  • Convenient way to plan ahead and book your spot for the shuttle in advance.
  • Convenient shuttle service will save you time by reducing the amount of time needed to find parking and walk to the bay.

Cons:

  • Subject to availability. Spots could be limited on the shuttle due to high demand.
  • Higher cost required than traditional parking at the Bay. Parking at the bay is $3 per vehicle.

This is probably one of our favorite options as shown in the pros section above. By selecting this option, you can spend more time snorkeling rather than wasting your precious sightseeing time looking for parking elsewhere or walking far distances. Further, we think that $15 is a steal when considering time saved and convenience.

Park at The Hawaii Kai Lookout (Last Resort)

Just before arriving at the Hanauma Bay parking entrance gate (driving east from Koko Marina Center) there’s a lookout on the left side of Kalaniana’ole highway called Hawaii Kai Lookout. This parking area has 6 stalls that could possibly be used if the Hanauma Bay parking lot is full. Here are some things to consider with this option:

Pros:

  • Close to Hanauma Bay Parking entrance.
  • Close to Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail.
  • Parking is free.

Cons:

  • Very limited parking (Only 6 stalls).
  • Requires you to cross the road, which can be dangerous along the highway.
  • High possibility of theft. Leaving your car unattended along a main road could attract thieves.

This option should probably be your last resort when it comes to finding parking for Hanauma Bay. However, this may be your only option during certain times of the year when looking for a free alternative and when the Bay is extremely busy.

We hope that this article has provided you with good information that will help you plan your trip to Hanauma Bay. We’ve experienced the frustration first-hand from our guests who have been turned away from the bay after their hopes of experiencing it are dashed. We are happy we could provide some alternatives for Hanauma Bay parking so that you will be able to experience all that it has to offer. Should you have any questions, or need any advice on how to make the most of your visit, please feel free to reach out to us via call, text or email.

 

Mahalo!

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