Lydgate Beach Park

Top choice in Wailua

A narrow stretch of blond sand strewn with driftwood can entertain restless kids of all ages, all afternoon. Generally safe swimming can be found in two pools inside a protected breakwater, and beginner snorkeling too. Other amenities include two big playgrounds, full-size soccer fields, a paved recreational path, picnic tables and pavilions, restrooms, outdoor showers, drinking water and lifeguards.

To get here, turn makai (seaward) on Kuhio Hwy between mile markers 5 and 6. At the park's northern end, multifeatured Kamalani Playground is a massive 16,000-sq-ft wooden castle with swings, a volcano slide, mirror mazes, an epic suspension bridge and other kid-pleasing contraptions.

Beware of the open ocean beyond the protected pool – it can be rough and dangerous, with strong currents, huge waves, sharp coral and slippery rocks. When the wind is blowing, kitesurfers put on a tremendous show. Camping is allowed at the south end of the park.