Oahu is the most populous of the Hawaiian islands. It is home to Honolulu, Waikiki, the Dole Pineapple farm, and Pearl Harbor. There is much to see and do here. Our family traveled there around Christmas 2013. We stayed at Disney’s Aulani Resort in Ko Olina on southwest tip. We decided to tour the less touristy, less know west and north coasts of the island. Wonders of creation abound on Oahu. There is endless natural beauty to explore.
West (Leeward) Coast: a drive along the west coast offers several sites worth seeing. This part of the island is the least touristy. There is much poverty on this part of the island. A view of the sunsets on the west coast alone worth the trip.
- Ka’ena Point State Park – Located at the very northwest tip of Oahu and reached by driving up Hwy. 93 is absolutely beautiful. It is neither crowded nor touristy. You will never forget the lava rocks and crashing waves with mountains in the background. This site is free.
- Kaneana Cave is located literally at the roadside along 93. Take a few minutes to explore. It is definitely a good photo op. You will need to bring a light to explore very deep. It is free also.
- Keawaula Beach is a large open public beach that is not crowded. The ocean view is beautiful.
- Makaha Beach Park is a large white sand beach that again is rarely crowded.
- Ko Olina is a set of 3 man-made lagoons on which Disney’s Aulani Resort is located. It is a tourist location, but is fairly laid back without a touristy feel. We stayed at Aulani and have only good things to say. A future article will focus on Aulani.
The North Shore is famous for surfing and that is what you will find: beaches with huge waves, surfers, surf shops and restaurants. The North Shore can be reached by taking H2 to 99 through the center of the island past the Dole plantation or by looping around the northeast corner on 83.
- Laniakea Beach is known as a place to view sea turtles and is called Turtle Beach. We were not fortunate enough to see any. The beach itself was worth the stop though.
- Waimea Falls Park features hikes through the rain forest highlighting native plants and birds. It ends at the beautiful falls. There is a fee for this tour.
- Sunset Beach and the Pipeline are world famous for surfing. A professional surfing competition was being held when we visited. The waves were HUGE!
- Haleiwa is your quintessential beach town with restaurants with names like Killer Tacos and Banzai Sushi. It’s a neat look into surfer culture.
Learn from us and plan your visit. Pearl Harbor with the USS Arizona Memorial was probably the site we most wanted to visit. We did not read that you needed reservations or to have a tour booked. Without pre-booking you have exceedingly long lines and waits. With limited time and patience, we missed out. On our next visit, we will not make the same mistake.
Hawaiian Fire Surfing School was a highlight of our trip. This is a surf school taught by Oahu firemen on a fairly empty beach on the southwest shore. The instructors were great. Roly had a wonderful time and surfed for the first time. We wholeheartedly recommend this to any family.
Oahu is a beautiful, family travel destination. Do not be afraid to explore as there are many sites worth seeing away from the crowds. The highlights of our trip were the Aulani Resort, Hawaiian Fire Surfing School, Ka’ena Point, sunsets, and this monk seal.
Upcoming articles on Disney’s Aulani Resort and Running at Ko Olina.
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