Before Western contact, Kahana valley was home to a strong community with an abundant supply of seafood from the bay, and crops cultivated in the freshwater streams. In ancient times, fishermen in this valley developed a brilliant way to ensure a big catch. A fish watcher would climb up to the cliff overlooking the bay. The fish watcher would wave flags and direct his fellow fishermen down in the bay paddling in a fishing canoe, with specific instructions as to where they should cast their net. A share of the catch would be set aside for any passersby or visitors– some say this was an example of “the aloha spirit”.
Today, somehow Kahana Bay generally remains relatively uncrowded when compared to the majority of Oahu beaches. The white sand beach is juxtaposed to wooded camping grounds.
The camp sites are popular amongst locals for birthday parties, graduation parties, and simply for weekend camping trips. Kahana Bay is part of the larger Ahupuaʻa ʻo Kahana state park which offers many activities including fishing, hunting, and hiking.
If you want to go camping at Kahana while visiting Oahu, make sure to reserve a spot online well in advance as spots fill up rather quickly. Camping reservations require a small fee.
If you don’t feel like camping, it’s free to hang out at the beach for the day and explore the natural and manmade features of the coast and campgrounds.