Kaena point is the far western tip of Oahu, and it is one of the few truly wild places left on the island. At the very tip lies a wildlife refuge where monk seals relax and albatrosses nest from November through January. You can still see indigenous plants atop the ecosystem and watch the waves erode old lava formations. As you look back towards whence you came, you can view both the Wainaie Coast and the North Shore in the same glance. And you'll be mostly alone.
To get there, you have to park your vehicle (make sure you leave NOTHING valuable in it) and walk two miles. This is true whether you start your hike at the end of the Farrington Highway on the Wainaie Coast or the end of the Farrington Highway coming from Haliewa. You can make it to the point from either spot and we've done it both ways.
The Wainaie route is more rugged, with more dramatic peaks and a sharper shore, to include sea arches. THe North Shore route is more beautiful, with a more interesting shore line and an easier walk. Neither side is pristine -- both come littered with garbage until you get to the wildlife refuge an hour into your hike -- and neither side has shade. From either point do the hike early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid becoming a charcoal briquet.
Kaena Point is Oahu's most Northwestern point on the island. If coming from the North Shore side, you will pass some of Oahu's most secluded beaches, such as Mokuleia Beach Park, and Army Beach. Be careful at these beaches, since there are no life guards on duty, and the currents can be very strong. There are also a lot of rocks hidden beneath the water that you can not see until its to late.
To get here coming from Haleiwa, take Kamehameha Highway to the round about and head towards the 930 junction on Kaukonahua Rd. Take a right at the T in the road, and follow Kaukonahua Rd as it turns into Farrington Highway. Follow Farrington Highway pass Dillingham Airfield and Mokuleia State Park, and the road will come to an end. This is the farthest point you can drive to.
For hikers, you can hike 2.5 miles around to the point, or 5 miles around to where Farrington Highway ends on the Southwest most point of the island at Yokohama Bay.
Flat Island is located off of Kailua Beach on the Windward side of Oahu. About 30 minutes from downtown Honolulu. The island is about a half mile off shore, and is easily accessible by kayak.
The island is a bird Sanctuary, and is protected under state law. You are still allowed to visit the island, but must stay along the paths that cirlce the outer perimeter of the island.
From the island you can get some great views of the windward side of Oahu, that can only be seen from this vantage point. Even if only planing a short visit to the island, i recommend renting kayaks and paddling out to flat island.
*Thank you cousin Nick for the pic....
At Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau you can find a great lookout overlooking Waimea Bay. Simply follow the dirt path around the upper part of the Heiau. Follow the path to the left when it branches off into the high grass. On wet days it can be very muddy and slippery so watch your footing. You can also stain your clothes so if you dont want this to happen, dont proceed.
Follow the path about 50 ft and you will come to a drop off that over looks Waimae Bay. From here you can get great pictures of the bay, and of the Northwestern coast of Oahu.
Kawela Beach is located just South of Sunset beach in Kawela Bay along Kamehameha Highway, on the North Shore of Oahu.
During the summer months this beach is great for snorkeling and scuba diving. It also makes a great beach for families. Walking along the beach you can find many tide pools which can be fun to look in.
During winter months, the surf in the area can be very dangerous, so do not enter the water. Waves easily reach over 20ft, and pound against the rocks.
Please do yourself a favor if you are ever fortunate enough to fly to the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Get yourself a rental car and see the Island outside of Waikiki Beach.
I can't tell you how many times I hear that Honolulu is just a huge city & that people prefer other Islands. Although the other Hawaiian Islands are also lovely, so is Oahu!
So, get your map out & explore!
Make a stop by Waimanalo Beach. It is a local favorite and for a good reason--great body surfing. If you dont have a board, you just need your body to ride some gentle waves.
It's a great beach!
Here is the general warning from the Waimanalo web site:
Monitor ocean conditions closely. This area is usually calm with a gentle shorebreak. Watch for Portuguese man-of-war, stinging jellyfish. Obey all postings and warning signs/flags. A good sign is the locals--if they are in the water, all should be a-okay!
Here's another show of Kualoa Beach, and its backdrop, Kaneohe Bay. On a sunny day the ocean is an amazing blue and green that words can not explain. The Koolau mountains are absolutely breath taking, and you can definitly come away with pictures that most other tourist dont have.
Kualoa Point is located on the windward side of Oahu, about 20 minutes from Kaneohe, and 45 minutes from Honolulu, along Kamehameha Highway.
The beach is a great spot for long boarding and fishing, and is located just 5 minutes from Kualoa Beach Park, China Man's Hat.
The beach is never crowded and is a great spot for families. Just down the shore is Kaaawa Beach, another great family beach. Only draw back is the rocks in some areas beneath the water.
On the way to Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau State Monument, you will have to ascent Pupukea Road. On the way up you will be treated with breathtaking views overlooking Pupukea.
Pupukea Rd is located off Kamehameha Highway, across from Pupukea Beach Park (Shark's Cove) on the North Shore of Oahu. Its also between Waimea Bay, and Ehukai Beach Park (Pipeline). South/east from Haleiwa.
Spinner dolphins are often sighted in the less populated bays in the summer, right around dawn. If you do not chase them, they often swim right up to you. If you try to get closer, they leave, so just relax and enjoy their company. It is a blessing.
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.
Pounders Beach is a favorite for bodyboarders on the Windward side of Oahu. Pounders is located at Laie Beach , in Laie along Kamehameha Highway. About 30 minutes north of Kaneohe.
The beach is never to crowded, and on calm summer months, can be a nice beach for families.
Beware of strong currents during winter months. If the water looks rough i wouldn't recommend swimming here.
*** This picture is taken by Koloa Stream, that emptes into Laie Beach near the parking lot.
Laie Point makes a great spot for fishing, and is a favorite for the locals in the area. The point is also used for the back drop of wedding pictures.
Be careful during high surf if walking out on the rocks. It's not uncommon for a wave to come thru and take what ever is exploring the rocks, with it back into the ocean.
Makapuu Scennic Point is located on the Eastern shore of Oahu, above Sea Life Park, and Makapuu Beach. From this vantage point you can get some beautiful pictures looking towards the Windward side of the island.
Here you can also get great shots of Makapuu Beach, Makapuu Lighthouse, and Rabbit and Turtle Island.
Makapuu Scenic point is located off of Kalanianaole Highway between Sandys Beach, and Sea Life Park. Approximately 30 minutes from downtown Waikiki
A picture of Margaret with Rabbit Island, and Turtle Island in the background. Rabbit Island is said to look like a rabbits head, with his ears floating behind him in the water. And Turtle Island, is said to look like a turtles shell...