Friday, February 27, 2009

Lydgate a sure thing for families

With a huge man-made swimming area that is safe on the surfiest of days and acres of lawn with play areas, the historically situated Lydgate Park can lay claim as Hawaii’s best beach park for families. The big play sets at Kamalani Playground back the swimming beach and just down the bike path is a several-story Play Bridge, with chutes and ladders that could accommodate a couple classrooms of scurrying youngsters. Several picnic areas provide respite from the beach scene.

History buffs can check out the ruins of Hikina’akala Heiau, which sits nearby on a grassy rise at the mouth of the Wailua River. Built by the ancient ali’i— Hawaiian royalty—this was the first of seven temples built along the river heading inland to Mount Waialeale, the “birthplace of all waters.”

For a more vigorous break from the beach scene, hikers can take off on a several-mile beachcombing expedition. You can follow the back path and then drop to the sands of wild Nukoli’i Beach, a favorite among net fishermen and the occasional endangered Hawaiian Monk Sea.