Beaches / Coastlines, Oahu
Kualoa Beach is located off Kamehameha Highway on the windward side of Oahu. The beach is most famous for its off shore island "China Mans Hat". The beach and island have been the back drop for many hollywood movies.
What most people dont know is that if you follow the beach shoreline east around towards Kaneohe Bay, you will come to a secluded stretch of shoreline, that not even most island locals visit.
From there you can get some great pictures of the windward side of Oahu, and Kaneohe Bay. The beach is perfect for swimming, and private tanning.
Flat island is also a great place to take your kayak surfing. Around the the North/East side of the island are small rolling waves that after a little pratice can be a lot of fun to catch.
On a busy day you will find a lot of the locals out on the surf, making it look easy. People of Kailua are friendly, so dont worry about any of that talk about the locals beating you up if you get on their wave.
*** In this picture, myself and cousin Nick take the two man kayak out for a little surfing. This is before we flipped it. We are still amateurs when it comes to tandem kayak surfing.
A question posed by another VT'er with regards to "the best place to snorkel on O'ahu" identified Shark's Cove (at Pupukea Beach Park) as the place to go. There aren't any sharks here, but the tropical fish/turtles you can see and the lava-edged pool protected from the ocean makes this a "must see" location.
Waves splash over the natural lava grotto and cascade like waterfalls into the pool. There is a store across the street from the beach where you can rent equipment at a reasonable price (Beach Boutique...more info contained in the Shopping Tips Section).
But one thing I must warn you about snorkeling at Shark's Cove...lava rocks make up a majority of the ocean floor in this area, and it is very sharp, so I would highly recommend that you wear water shoes/sandals into the water until you can get your fins on.
Having been to Oahu about ten times, I didn't think there was much left for me to discover. The only place i hadn't been was west of Haliewa, so in January 2004 I took a drive out that way. As I neared an equestrian training area and polo field, I noticed a beach access and a couple of parked cars. Having nothing but time on my hands, I pulled over and followed the path to an almost vacant horseshoe of sand, calm blue water and ironwoods. The only person I noticed was a woman meditating, so I spread out a towel and read for a while. Because of an off shore reef, the water was clear and calm, and I forgot I was on Hawaii's most populated island.
This year I returned on a weekend day and noticed a couple of changes. First, there was a wrecked airplane on the beach (strange). Secondly, far from the entrance there were women sunbathing topless and even a nude couple. I don't know if this is legal, but it may be the only place on Oahu that wearing less than a normal bathing suit is tolerated.
Thursday, February 6, 2003
On our flight to Maui, we saw some spectacular scenery from the air, including this one taken by Hans, of Hanauma Bay and Koko Head Crater. You can recognize the Bay because of its horseshoe-like form.
This is a great white sandy beach near the Sea Life Park on the southern tip of the Koolau Mountain Range, you will have to take a bus from Wakiki. While not exactly off the beaten path , it was nice and quiet
and the you can get away from the crowd at Wakiki.
If you really want to enjoy the natural beauty of Oahu's shoreline, head well further north from the city center. Take Route 83 all the way upto the North Shores where there are very few crowds. The beaches are not as shallow and tame like the ones near the city and so a bit of caution is absolutely required. As these places are far off and less traveled, if you are staying late, resist the temptation to swim after sunset since the currents are stronger and there will be hardly anyone to hear your pleas for help if one is required.
To reach Barber's Point Lighthouse take H-1 west from Honolulu, 30-45 minutes, to exit #1. This Is Kalaeloa Blvd. Follow it to the end, then turn right onto Olai St. which ends in Germaine's Luau Parking Lot. You will see the lighthouse to your right.
The 71 ft. automated lighthouse as named for Capt. Henry Barber whose brig, "Arthur," wrecked on a coral shoal off this point in 1796. It is not open to the public but may be photographed from the beach..
Really off the beaten path, travel up Pupukea Road on the Northshore for a view and bit of history on ancient Hawaiian heiaus.
This particular heiau was built over 250 years ago, and was a "sacrificial heiau" , heiau meaning sacred ground temple. Though this heiau has not been restored, you will still find that people have laid a well wrapped offering on the lele often (see picture).
The road leading to this heiau is a single lane, and be careful, high theft area.
If you are at all the independent traveler type, rent a car one day and check out the rest of the island...you know, the parts where people actually live. Just don't gawk or embarrass us mainlanders in any other way :) Some really nice, uncrowded beaches away from Honolulu...
Hanaumu Bay is a wide and sheltered bay is set in a rugged volcanic ring on the south eastern side of Oahu. The water is the most gorgeous sapphire and turquoise colour. A great area for snorkelling amongst the coral and marine life.
Bellows Beach Park
41-043 Kalanianaole Highway
It's adjacent to Bellows Airforce base on the windward side. Non military can go to the beach park
It's a great place to hang out at the beach and offers campgrounds as well. My wife and I spent a night camping on the beach. It's super romantic to enjoy a night or two together listening to the waves come in on a moonlight night. You can also.....use your imagination, work with me here :)
If you are military you can reserve on the Air Force Base at this website: http://www.bellowsafs.com/
Ala Moana Beach Park.
It's across the street from the Ala Moana Mall and is a favorite beach of locals and a good summer surf spot. I did a lot of swimming here to train for triathlons.
Families has elaborate cookouts and parties here every weekend and it's hard to find parking sometimes. Not as popular as waikiki, but definitely a great place to chill out and catch some rays.
There are showers, bathrooms and picnic facilities here.
The water is great for all ages because it is calm and has a gradual drop off to deeper water.
There can be strong undercurrents, swift tidal changes. There may be sharp coral, jagged rocks and wave action near the reef area. Absolutely aviod swimming in the boat channels on either side of the beach park.
Laie Point also offers a great view of Windward Oahu, not often seen by visitors to the island. Here Margaret and Nadine try to compete with the view.
Just across from Kualoa Ranch are some great areas to pull over and get some great shots of China Man's Hat, and the Windward side of Oahu. It doesnt get much nicer then this...