Leeward West Oahu
Separated from the rest of the island by the Waianae Mountains, the West Side has some of the last undeveloped coastline on Oahu. With magnificent sapphire blue waters and uncrowded expanses of golden sand beaches, it offers a safe haven from the commercialism and crowds of Honolulu. It is easily accessible from the main highway which follows the coast all the way up to majestic Yokohama Bay. As you drive, you will have the Waianae mountains on one side, and tons of options for great beaches on the other side – right off the highway! Don’t forget to check out some of the incredible restaurants on the Oahu’s Leeward Side while you’re there. You will also drive through lots of small towns whose communities take pride in their Hawaiian roots, which go back for centuries, and you will see a slice of everyday life for those who reside on this side of Oahu. There are a few resort developments on the southern end, but for the most part, Leeward Oahu is a taste of true old Hawaii…uncrowded, unrushed, and unbelievably beautiful.
Sights To See
Ko Olina Lagoons
The Disney resort has a series of four man-made lagoons with public beach access and is one of the best (and safest) beach spots on the island for small kids.
The largest natural harbor in Hawaii, it was named for the pearl oysters that were once harvested there. It is the only naval base in the U.S. to be designated a National Historical Landmark.
A lava cavern that is 100 feet high and 450 feet deep, it is dark and wet (do bring a flashlight and sturdy shoes). At the back of the cave, there is a slimy stone where legend of the shark man says he would leave his victims until he was ready to eat them.
A living museum that shows life during the era of Hawaii’s Sugar Plantations (1850-1950). The village includes both original and replicated buildings that are authentically furnished, including a Japanese shrine, sumo ring, saimin stand, Chinese social hall, and living quarters.
This heiau was built between the 11th and 12th century as a place of refuge. The heiau is 150 feet long and 35 feet wide. There are three platforms that are surrounded by the ocean on three sides. Located at Kaneilio Point on the Wai’anae coast
Situated in the lush Makaha Valley, this is the best-preserved heiau on Oahu. It was in use for over 245 years, beginning in 1545.