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Planning a trip to Ko Olina? After spending a week exploring this special part of Hawaii with my family, I’m sharing my favorite things to do, and where to stay and eat in Ko Olina.

Ko Olina Hawaii seems to have it all—and that’s the way it was always intended. The planned vacation and resort community in Oahu’s southwest corner has everything you need in terms of dining, activities, lodging, and more. After visiting, I can safely say that it’s one of the best places to visit in this magnificent state.

The Ultimate Ko Olina Guide (Where to Eat, Stay, and Play)

It’s rightfully known for its top-tier resorts, with the Four Seasons leading many luxury hotel rankings in Hawaii and Disney’s Aulani garnering the distinction of one of the best family options. But there’s so much more to discover within Ko Olina, too, starting with the four protected, man-made lagoons that offer endless opportunities for activities for both children and adults alike.

Read on for my full guide to the area, including where to eat, stay and play!

The Ultimate Ko Olina Guide (Where to Eat, Stay, and Play)

What Exactly is Ko Olina?

Ko Olina is a planned vacation and resort area community on the west side of Oahu. It covers 642 acres and has incredible views of the ocean and mountains, with a string of lagoons connected by walkways.

Where is Ko Olina?

Ko Olina sits at the southern end of Oahu’s west coast, also known as the leeward—or less windy—coast. It’s not far from Honolulu by car, assuming there’s not too much traffic.

Can I Visit Ko Olina for the Day?

Ko Olina is only about half an hour west of Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, so going for the day is a completely manageable option for guests staying in the city. However, parking in Ko Olina is limited, so if you need a place to park, plan accordingly and arrive early.

Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for the Best Hotels in Ko Olina:

  1. Four Seasons Resort Ko Olina, for the best luxury resort
  2. Disney Aulani, for the best family-friendly resort
  3. Ko Olina Marriott Beach Club, for the best villa resort
  4. Ko Olina Beach Villa, for the best beach vacation rental

If you’re looking to visit other parts of Oahu during your stay, check out my list of best restaurants and top things to do as well as my toddler-friendly travel guide.

Want to Explore Several Sights and Ticketed Experiences on Oahu?

Consider booking a Go City All-Inclusive Pass that includes 40+ Attractions!

The Ultimate Guide to Ko Olina Oahu


Staying in Ko Olina: The Best Resorts and Hotels

Four Seasons Resort Ko Olina

The Ultimate Ko Olina Guide (Where to Eat, Stay, and Play)

The Four Seasons Resort Ko Olina is considered one of the top resorts in Ko Olina, and for good reason. This is where we stayed when we visited (Read more about our stay here). The hotel is luxurious without being stuffy, boasting 370 rooms, a spa, three pools, and five restaurants/bars all within a breathtaking setting. It’s also incredibly family-friendly. The staff went above and beyond to accommodate us and make the trip special for my toddler. Book the best rates here.

Disney Aulani

Disney’s Aulani Resort & Spa
Image via Expedia.com

The Disney Aulani is a top pick for family travel, with lots of child-friendly activities and even Disney character encounters. Water slides, a lazy river, and splash areas give families plenty to do together, and the kid-specific activities are endless between games, crafts, scavenger hunts, and more. The resort spans 21 acres along a lagoon with a white sand beach. Book the best rates here.

Marriott Ko Olina Beach Club

Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club
Image via Booking.com

This villa resort sits within a gated community surrounded by gorgeous landscaping, the ocean, and a lagoon. The One- and two-bedroom beach villas at Ko Olina Marriott Beach Club are spacious and fully equipped, with full kitchens, living areas, dining areas, and washers/dryers. Its three outdoor pools offer dedicated areas for both children and adults, and other on-site highlights include a range of low-key dining options. Book the best rates here.

Private Vacation Rental: Ko Olina Beach Villa

With luxury resort-style accommodations and the privacy of a vacation rental, this Ko Olina Beach Villa is a great place for groups. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a kitchen, deck, balcony, and dining area, there’s lots of space for up to six people to spread out. It also includes access to building amenities, such as a pool and hot tub. Book the best rates here.


The Best Things to Do in Ko Olina

Enjoy the Ko Olina Lagoons

The Ultimate Ko Olina Guide (Where to Eat, Stay, and Play)

Ko Olina’s four lagoons are its gems. They’re protected on the less windy side of the island, making for calm water year-round, and they are shallow until you get decently far out. Both of these factors make them a safe place for younger children to swim, and there are large sandy and grassy areas nearby that are great for play.

Try a Watersport like SUP, Snorkeling, or Canoeing

With crystal-clear waters in the most stunning shades of blue, Hawaii’s beaches beckon. The peaceful Ko Olina lagoons are ideal for activities such as SUP, snorkeling, and canoeing. This is true even if the rest of the island is windy.

Golf One of the Best Courses in Hawaii

The Ultimate Ko Olina Guide (Where to Eat, Stay, and Play)

Included on Golf Digest’s “Top 75 Resort Courses in the U.S.,” Ko Olina Golf Club is a must-visit for avid golfers. This 18-hole course was created in 1990 by a well-known golf course designer. It is known for being challenging, with multiple levels on the greens, spacious landing areas, and impressive water elements. Beginners and experts alike will find the course worthwhile.

Experience the Paradise Cove Luau

A luau at Paradise Cove is a great way to experience Hawaiian culture in Hawaii. You’ll get the chance to sample authentic Hawaiian foods, take part in games and crafts, and watch a spectacular performance.

Take a Day Trip to The North Shore

This area along the northern coast of Oahu is a legendary surfing spot, but there’s so much more to see and do there. Whether you’re looking for epic views, delicious cuisine or adrenaline sports, you’ll find lots to do on this part of the island. We spent a lot of time exploring this part of the island and loved it. For more, check out my list of the best things to do on the North Shore!

Set Sail Out of The Marina

If you’re looking to get out onto the water, there are plenty of boating experiences available from Ko Olina’s marina for every time of day. This small-group sunset yacht tour is a relaxing option for couples, while this snorkeling tour provides fun for both children and adults.


What to Know About Visiting the Ko Olina Lagoons

The Ultimate Ko Olina Guide (Where to Eat, Stay, and Play)

Are the Lagoons Open to the Public?

While the lagoons and the sandy beaches that surround them are privately owned, they are open to the public. Pedestrians can go to and from the lagoon beaches and shoreline. Note that no lifeguards are on duty, so visitors swim at their own risk.

Where Should I Park to Visit the Lagoons?

The lagoons have designated public parking areas, although spots are limited and can be hard to come by. If you want to go to Ko Olina 1 or 2, it’s better to park at another lagoon and walk there. Ko Olina 4 has the most parking spots and is also typically the least crowded. The walk from Ko Olina 1 to Ko Olina 4 takes about 15 minutes. This means you can easily reach any of the lagoons from any of the parking lots.

Which Ko Olina Lagoon is Best for Families?

All four Ko Olina lagoons are family-friendly because the rocks prevent waves and create calm water for enjoyable play. Ko Olina 4 is the least crowded, as it’s the farthest from the Ko Olina resorts, so this is a great place to start if it’s your first time visiting.

Can you Snorkel in the Lagoons?

Yes, you can snorkel in the lagoons! It’s possible to see lots of tropical fish and even sea turtles. Head out to the rocks that separate the lagoons from the ocean to see the most marine life in action.


The Best Ko Olina Restaurants

Mina’s Fish House at Four Seasons

Located inside the Four Seasons, the fish-forward Mina’s Fish House was created by Chef Michael Mina (a personal favorite chef of mine) and our favorite meal in Ko Olina. Its open-air setting is a beautiful place to enjoy menu highlights such as the tuna tartar being done tableside, lomi lomi octopus, and Hawaiian butterfish puolo.

Roy’s Ko Olina

At the Ko Olina golf course, you’ll find an outpost of popular chain restaurant Roy’s. It’s a great place to enjoy nicer meat and seafood dishes, including locally caught fish, sushi, and sashimi. It also features an “aloha hour” menu from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Eggs ‘n Things Ko Olina

Established in 1974, this popular restaurant chain specializes in breakfast favorites like fresh fruit rainbow pancakes, Hawaiian loco moco, and, of course, a wide variety of egg dishes. Lines can be long during peak hours, but the wait is worth it!

Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman

Monkeypod is a haven where foodies and beer lovers can enjoy an upscale but relaxed dining experience featuring plenty of local ingredients. The restaurant has a live music calendar for each of its four locations across Hawaii.

Island Country Market Ko Olina

Island Country Market offers a full-service deli in addition to a lifestyle market and gift shop. Salads, sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and more appear on a lengthy menu that’s offered from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Longhi’s Ko Olina

Longhi’s is a longtime favorite in Hawaii after opening its original location nearly 50 years ago. It strives for great food, service, and ambiance, the last of which is enhanced by the opportunity to enjoy spectacular sunsets while dining.

Tropic Poke

Tropic Poke bills itself as the home of the freshest poke bowls in town, made with sustainable seafood. You can create your bowl or choose from a list of signature bowls, and top any of them with the many Hawaiian-inspired sauces and toppings on offer.

Mekiko Cantina

Mekiko Cantina is Ko Olina’s destination for fresh Mexican food, serving classics such as nachos, quesadillas, and fajitas. The restaurant’s inspiration comes from four generations of family recipes that launched the original location in California in 1958.

Noe at Four Seasons

Another restaurant set inside the Four Seasons, Noe features a modern take on Italian classics. The food is excellent, with house-made pasta taking center stage. Don’t miss the truffle tagliatelle and bucatini with guanciale and egg, which were both favorites on my last trip.


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The Ultimate Ko Olina Guide (Where to Eat, Stay, and Play)

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

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