Current conditions at Bellows Field Beach Park
Beach & Nearshore
On December 7, 1941, Bellows Field, along with Pearl Harbor and Kaneʻohe Air Station, was attacked by war planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy. At Bellows Field, two Americans were killed. The following morning a Japanese naval officer, believed to be the first prisoner of war in World War II, was captured on the beach. He came ashore after his two-man submarine went aground on the reef in Waimanalo Bay. The body of the sub's second crew member, an enlisted man, washed ashore, and the submarine was salvaged by the U.S. Navy.
On July 4, 1964, forty-six acres of Bellows Field Air Force Station beachfront were turned over to the State for use by the public on weekends and national holidays. This section of beach, known as Bellows Field Beach Park, is maintained by the City and County of Honolulu. Located between Inoaʻole and Waimanalo Streams, it is open to the public on weekends and on national holidays. Camping permits are issued by the City and County of Honolulu.
Bellows Field Beach Park is fronted by a long, wide, sand beach. A shallow sandbar off the beach provide good waves for bodysurfing and bodyboarding. A typical windward beach, Bellows has an interesting array of marine life. The prevailing trade winds blow a jellyfish called the Portugese man o'war onshore. Small, blue, floating bubbles that are hard to see in the surf, man o'war inflict painful stings on unwary swimmers. See the lifeguards for severe stings. Man o'war are often accompanied by a small, floating snail, the pupu pani, or “cork shell.” Among the most fragile and delicate of all marine mollusks, the pupu pani have thin purple or lavender spiral-shaped shells. They drift in the open ocean with the jellyfish and are blown onshore with them.
Bellows is also home to the ʻala ʻeke, the Pacific mole crab. Commonly known as “sand turtles,” these crabs live at the water's edge where they ride up and down the beach with the waves in search of their favorite food, man o'war. If they are threatened, they immediately burrow out of sight in the wet sand, the reason they are called mole crabs. Usually not more than an inch long, the ʻala ʻeke have rounded shells which give them their popular local name, “sand turtles.”