Unique Places in Oahu

  • Endangered monk seal rests on the beach
    Endangered monk seal rests on the beach
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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Oahu

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    Look for Sea Turtles at Laniakea Beach

    by AKtravelers Updated Dec 6, 2005

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    During dinner with a friend who lives on Oahu, I first heard about Laniakea Beach on the North Shore. He mentioned that he had been to the beach often in the six months he had been on-island and had never failed to see a sea turtle basking on the sand. Since I had only seen sea turtles a few times snorkling, I drove there the next morning. Sure enough, I saw sea turtles swimming near the shore, then (in the afternoon) one came on land to catch some rays.
    Since 1999, Laniakea Beach has become popular year-round with the turtles because of the algae that grows on the rocks, which the hard-shelled reptiles find both tasty and nourishing. At the same time, the beach has become popular enough with visitors that naturalists are stationed there every afternoon to inform the crowds and protect the turtles from harassment. Still, it's popularity is not widespread, either among turtles (the maximum number ever seen basking together is nine) or people (at most there were 20 people on the beach looking at the turtles and I passed two people who had no idea that turtles were swimming off shore).
    To get to Laniakea Beach from Honolulu, drive past the two left-hand exits for Haliewa. After the second exit, focus your eyes on the right-hand side of the road, looking for the first area where people park for the beach. Park you car there and cross the road to the sand, which will be obvious from the parking spot. The turtles seem to prefer the north side of the beach, leaving the rest of it to surfers (who occassionally bump into turtles on their rides).
    The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle (or Honu in Hawaiian) is considered an endangered species, so please don't harm them.

    Surrounded by swimming honu A honu crawls past yummy algae-covered rocks
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    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Lucoral museum

    by Nathalie_B Written Nov 2, 2007

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    This place is very small and mostly unknown to the Island’s visitors, but it has its charm. Lucoral is a company that specializes in pearl and coral jewelry, and has a museum that shows some stones, pearls, and corals native to Hawaiian Islands ONLY.
    If you have 30 minutes to spare that visit this place, it’s pretty interesting, although it’s quite chaotic for a museum. What I really liked was huge statues made of gem stones, some of them where over 1 meter high.
    The highlight of this museum is its staff, very nice, friendly, and helpful. From a conversation with one of them I have learned that Lucoral works very close with local schools and kids are always welcome there to enjoy jewelry making lessons.
    I was told that families with kids that are visiting the island are more than welcome to enjoy these activities.
    Of course, like every other museum Lucoral has a gift shop which sells necklaces, bracelets and rings made company.
    The entrance is free. The museum is open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm and is located in the center on 2414 Kuhio Ave, not far from Kohio Beach.

    Hawaiian pearls Make your own jewelry
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    Polo Beach: Secluded Sand West of Haliewa

    by AKtravelers Updated Mar 13, 2005

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    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.

    A family walks the shoreline at Polo Beach
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    The Legend of Laniloa, The Mo'o

    by keida84 Updated Jul 31, 2005

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    During our trip we visited a beautiful spot called "Laniloa". There is a legend that goes with this spot:
    The point of land that extends out into the ocean is called, "Laniloa". According to legend, this pennisula was originally a "Mo'o" or lizard standing upright ready to kill any intruder.

    After Kana, a lengendary warrior had rescued his mother from Molakai and reutrned her to Hawaii, Kana set out on a journey to kill all the Mo'os in the islands. He arrived in Laie where the Mo'o had been killing scores of people. Kana easily defeated the Mo'o. He took the Mo'o's head and chopped it into 5 pieces and flung them into the ocean.

    Today, you can see the Lizards head as 5 small islands lying off shore.

    Part of the Mo'o's head
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    A secret regarding the USS Utah

    by keida84 Written Jul 31, 2005

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    12-07-03: Funeral Held for Baby Entombed Within USS Utah for Baby Nancy Wagner.

    Baby Nancy's father, Chief Yeoman Albert Wagner, was attached to Utah at the time of the attack. Wagner had planned to scatter Nancy's ashes at sea when Utah left Pearl Harbor, but he never had the chance. Chief Wagner survived the attack and remained in the Navy until 1952. He passed away in 1975 prior to interments aboard Utah and was buried at sea off San Diego. Baby Nancy's urn is still in her dad's locker aboard Utah. "For sixty-two years, the courageous crew of USS Utah has watched over a tiny secret copper urn hidden in my father's watery locker," Mary Kreigh, Baby Nancy's twin sister said after the funeral service. "Nina and I are so grateful that my little twin sister Nancy Lynne has finally received God's blessing in the presence of men and women of the United States Navy.

    USS Utah was sunk by a Japanese torpedo off Ford Island in Pearl Harbor during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack. Fifty-eight enlisted men and six officers perished aboard and all but four remain inside the hull.

    Chief Journalist (SW) Tim Paynter said, "I think it is very fitting that we, as Sailors, paid our respects to baby Nancy and her father, Chief Wagner. It's sad that he couldn't be here with us today for her funeral service, which he had originally intended to hold 62 years ago."

    The Utah Memorial rests on the western side of Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. Utah lies firmly within the borders of the naval base, rendering her less accessible to non-military personnel. Dedicated in 1972, active duty, Reservists and veterans pay their respects at the monument located at the site where the hull is still partially exposed.

    The attack went quickly for Utah. At 8:01 a.m., the venerable target ship took a torpedo hit forward and immediately listed to port. At 8:12 a.m., her mooring lines snapped and Utah rolled over. Through the heroic efforts of their shipmates, 10 men were rescued from the capsized hull. Sixty-four died aboard

    December 7th 1941
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    • Archeology

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    Hawaii's State Flag

    by keida84 Written Aug 1, 2005

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    I guess I had never really noticed the Hawaiian State Flag before, but for some reason it struck me. I think it may be due to the factthat traveling with someone who has never been to the islands, I noticed more things.

    The flag of Hawaii was commissioned by King Kamehameha I of Hawaii in 1816. King Kamehameha I had unified the islands of Hawaii in 1810, using a schooner armed with a cannon. Before that time, each of the large islands had been a separate kingdom.

    The flag: The eight stripes of white, red and blue represent the eight main islands of Hawaii. The Union Jack (the flag of Great Britain) is in the upper left corner of Hawaii's flag, honoring Hawaii's long relationship with the British.

    The only place the flag flies without the American Flag is on the 3 acre site of the Royal Mausoleum, which is considered to be "The Nation of Hawaii".

    Flag of the Hawaiian Islands
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    Hill of Escape - Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau

    by pamstravels Updated Feb 1, 2005

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    Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau ("Hill of Escape") is a well-preserved temple and is the largest on O'ahu covering over 5-acres. This was considered a powerful place for the kahuna and one of two places where wives of the ancient chiefs gave birth. This heiau may also have been a site of human sacrifice. In the upper section is a raised mound surrounded by stones that may have been a central alter. The locals still leave offerings on this site such as full Heineken beer bottles, groceries, candy,etc. If you go past the alter and through the tall grass on the right there is a small path. This path will lead to a great photo opp of the north shore of Oahu.

    Located on the north shore Mauka from Sharks Cove. Turn on the road beside Foodland (across from Sharks Cove) and follow the road up to the top. Don't be alarmed when you pass the cars that have been stripped down to their frames. Who knows, they might be offerings as well! It is a national landmark and a registered state historical site.

    ****These sites are sacred to the Hawaiian people and should be treated with the utmost respect. Do not move or remove anything from these sites. Do not climb or walk on the rock walls and platforms

    Groceries for the Gods
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    • Religious Travel

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    Chinatown: Markets for the Locals

    by AKtravelers Written Nov 26, 2005

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    Hawaii has a large diverse population of Asian-Americans. The first waves of Asian settlers came from China (mostly Guangdong) and Japan, but more recent immigrants are coming from other parts of China, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines. All of these people mix in Chinatown, where they own fresh seafood and fruit markets, come to socialize or shop. The restaurants of Chinatown are buzzing. And when I walked through the markets on a sunday morning, I noticed very few tourists. That could be because few were there or maybe my attention was just distracted by all the activity and colorful merchandise.

    Me in Chinatown on a Sunday morning
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    The Haiku Steps or Stairway to Heaven

    by VeronicaG Updated Jul 14, 2008

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    We encountered an amazing sight as we drove through the mountains on the eastern side of the island. A thread-like trail of steps could be seen rising to the very top--they are The Haiku Steps, known also as the Stairway to Heaven.

    These stairs leading up to the top of Puu Keahiakahoe (altitude 2800 ft.) were created by the efforts of the U.S. Navy in 1942. The Haiku steps were meant to be used as a means of reaching the Haiku Radio Station, 'top secret facility for transmitting radio signals to the Navy ships operating throughout the Pacific'.

    It's actually comprised of galvanized-steel ship ladders 18 inches wide and 4000 feet long in total. Some sections are steep, but most are not. There are 3,922 steps. The stairs were closed after some vandals tore up a few sections of ladder. Also, they were closed at the construction of H-3.

    Repairs were made, but the stairs haven't been open yet. Friends of the Haiku Steps and others are petitioning to have them reopened for hiking.

    *Haiku is Hawaiian for Kahili flower

    The Haiku Steps
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  • Malasadas - the islander’s doughnut

    by RblWthACoz Updated Jan 20, 2007

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    Well they are sort of like doughnuts. Best when served hot. When you order them at a place, they will make them fresh for you, so they are never sitting around waiting for you to come into the store and buy them. There are several kinds to have, but I think the original style is best with the cinnamon sugar on it.

    Leonard's Bakery is well known for their malasadas because they have been around for a long time. However...Champion Malasadas are better (some people say - including me). It is a smaller store, but is not too far out of Waikiki.

    Leonard's Bakery
    933 Kapahulu Avenue
    808-737-5591

    Champion Malasadas
    1926 South Beretania Street
    808-947-8778

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    Lanikai Beach

    by bryINpoland Updated Jul 21, 2005

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    Lanikai beach, just off Kailua beach is definitly a off the beaten path, since most tourist dont often head out that way. Tucked behind the homes of Lanikai, and around the rocks of Kailua, is one of the most beautiful beaches in the World. Perfect for tanning, swimming, snorkling, sailing, kayaking, or digging holes in the sand.

    To arrive at Lanikai beach, simply head pass Kailua beach park on Kawailoa Rd, and take a left when u get to Mokulua Dr. Follow it all the way around since its turns into a one way until you see signs for beach access. Follow one of the beach access paths and, boom! you are there...

    digging holes with Mokulua islands in the back
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    Maunawili Falls

    by bryINpoland Updated Apr 1, 2006

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    Maunawili Falls is a great hike for those who want see a little bit of secret Hawaii. You know one of those places that not even all the locals see. Its about a 2 mile hike but dont worry, the way back goes very fast. If it has rained in the days prior to the hike, then make sure you wear shoes and clothes you dont mind getting wet and muddy. Bring a swim suit because there is great swimming, and some great cliff jumpin off and around the falls. Just be careful cause it u get hurt, its a long walk out.

    DIRECTIONS: If you are coming from Honolulu. Take H1 West and take the Pali Highway exit. Head over the mountain towards Kailua. Continue pass Kamehameha Highway, and about 3/4 of a mile past that is Auloa Rd. Take a right on Auloa and when u come to the fork stay left. From there u can just follow the signs that will lead u there...

    Me and the falls...
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    Koolau Waterfalls

    by bryINpoland Updated Jul 23, 2005

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    When it rains in Hawaii, it rains! Its raining as i type this, but you cant complain because thats why Hawaii is green.

    Anyways, next time you are on Hawaii and it rains hard for atleast 3 hours. Take a drive over to the Windward side, to the town of Kaneohe, and get a good look at the hundreds of water falls that come down along the Koolau mountains.

    You can only see them on the Windward side, because of the steep mountain faces that go pretty much straight down.

    For some great views up close. Drive up H3 highway heading towards Honolulu. This will take you right along the mountain for some awesome views of the waterfalls. You can also get some views along Likelike Highway, or driving along Kahekili Highway.

    To get there from Honolulu, take H1 West and take any of the 3 tunnels. Pali, Likelike Hwy, or H3 towards the Windward side. Please be careful when looking at the waterfalls while it is raining.

    Koolau waterfalls above H3
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    Laie Point

    by bryINpoland Updated Jul 23, 2005

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    On the way to Northshore, just passed Polynesian Culture Center, you enter the very small town of Laie. Here you can find one of Oahus great hidden scenic points, Laie Point.

    Very few people who visit Oahu, will visit Laie Point. Unless you are with someone who knows the island very well. Not even all the locals of Oahu know where Laie Point is.

    From Laie Point you will be blessed with great views of the Windward side of Oahu, as well as a look at Kukuihoolua Island. Those who know the island, know of the huge hole that passes thru its center, caused by thousands of years of waves, pounding at its sea facing side. On a rough day, you will see hundreds of gallons of water, blasted thru its hole.

    Laie point is also a great local fishing spot, but also a very dangerous one as well. It is very easy to get swept off the rocks by a freak wave. Pay the up most respect to the ocean, and the cliffs around it, or you might find yourself swimming for your life in the rough ocean below.

    Directions:

    Take Kam Highway north from Kaneohe. About 20 miles north in Laie, take a right on Anemoku St. At the T in the road, take a right onto Naupaka St. Follow it to the end and you are there.

    Margaret, Nadine, and Kukuihoolua Island
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    Valley of the Temples

    by VeronicaG Updated Jul 14, 2008

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    As we were driving to The Polynesian Culture Center in Laie, we noticed this lush park-like area called the Valley of the Temples. It's a beautifully landscaped cemetery.

    Although we didn't stop by, there is an immense temple at the rear of the cemetery. Named the Byodo-In, it replicates an ancient 950 year old Buddhist temple in Uji, Japan (pic #2). The temple was constructed in 1960 to commemorate the arrival of Japanese immigrants who worked the sugar fields.

    Other assorted temples can be seen throughout the cemetery, a $2 fee pp is charged.

    pic #2, borrowed from hawaiiweb.com

    Valley of the Temples The 'Byodo-In' borrowed from Hawaiiweb.com
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Oahu Off The Beaten Path

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