Free, Accessible and Right Under Our Noses: An Appreciation for Hawai‘i’s Parks and Beaches

Posted in: Culture & History, Editor's Blog, Things to Do

By Richard Melendez

"Going out" doesn’t always mean going out. It can just mean going out.

Okay, okay, what I’m trying to say is that going out doesn’t need to mean heading out to a restaurant or event. It could just mean stepping outside to enjoy the sun and fresh air.

Not only is Hawai‘i a paradise like no other with more than enough in natural wonderment to keep us both enthralled and appreciative; Hawai‘i also does a great job of keeping its beauty accessible and enjoyable by all. Think of our beaches:

Bellows Beach
This may help.

It may sound preposterous to locals, but it's true that some communities in other parts of the world keep their beaches private—they're either fenced up behind someone's home or require an admission fee to be paid before entering. Hawai‘i’s beaches, on the other hand, are free and public. You can quite literally pull over on the side of the road and jump in the water, and no one will tell you to get out because you’re trespassing.

In most neighborhoods, you can walk a block or two and find a lovely patch of green to sit down on, have a picnic or kick back and read. Whether large or small, these parks are community gathering places where neighbors can chat it up while walking their pets, kids can enjoy some playtime, or you can find a moment of serenity after a harsh work day. Even the more urban areas tend to do a pretty good job of maintaining a sense of green to break up the monotony of concrete and steel.

Makiki District Park
Makiki District Park, an oasis in one of Honolulu’s more densely populated neighborhoods.

(History buffs, take note! A number of our parks are notable for more than their open spaces: Like Cartwright Field, built by Alexander Cartwright, the “father of modern baseball” who also served as a Chief Engineer of the Honolulu Fire Department and financial advisor to Hawaiian royalty; Or Thomas Square Park, the site of the 1843 ceremonies officially restoring the Kingdom of Hawai‘i to Kamehameha III.)

If you’re a visitor, we hope you take notice of how accessible our parks and beaches are, and cherish them every moment you can while you’re here. And if you’re fortunate enough to live here, please don’t take these resources for granted! People in other parts of the country would love to be able to go to the beach without paying entrance fees.


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