Pupukea Beach Park
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Pupukea Beach Park information
Lonely Planet review
With deep-blue waters, a varied coastline and a mix of lava and white sand, Pupukea, meaning ‘white shell,’ is a very scenic stretch. The long beach encompasses three areas: Shark’s Cove to the north, Old Quarry in the center and Three Tables to the south. The waters off Pupukea Beach are all protected as a marine-life-conservation district.
Snorkelers take note: the reef formation at Shark’s Cove provides an excellent habitat for marine life, including sea turtles. When seas are calm, this is a great area for water exploring, just make sure you always wear shoes to protect from sharp coral. And no, despite the cove’s name, the white-tipped reef sharks aren’t usually a problem; just keep your distance and don’t provoke them. One of Oʻahu’s most popular cavern dives is also accessed here. Some of the caves are very deep and labyrinthine, and there have been a number of drownings, so divers should only venture into them with a local expert. This area is known for petty theft, so be sure to leave your belongings across the street in a rented locker at North Shore Surf Shop . It also rents surfboards, snorkel sets and bicycles, as well as selling low-key beachwear.
The rock features at Old Quarry are sculpted as if they were cut by human hands, but rest assured that these features are natural. Coastal tide pools are interesting microhabitats, best explored at low tide during calm summer seas. Be careful, especially if you have kids in tow, because the rocks are razor sharp. There are showers and restrooms in front of Old Quarry; bus 52 stops out front.
The flat ledges rising above the water give Three Tables its name. In summer only, the area is good for snorkeling and diving. While it is possible to see some action around the tables, the best coral and fish, as well as some small caves, lava tubes and arches, are in deeper water further out. During the winter, the sandy bluff tucked near the tree line is a good place for an up-close-and-oceanfront picnic. Access to Three Tables is just beyond Old Quarry, where there are a few unmarked parking spots.