Oahu's Windward Coast

ebook Kahala, Hawaii Kai, Kailua & Beyond

By Sharon Hamblin

cover image of Oahu's Windward Coast

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To get to Windward O'ahu from Honolulu, continue past Waikiki and Diamond Head and head to Kalaniana'ole Highway (Highway 72) for a scenic trek that takes you out of busy Honolulu and into a natural paradise. Along the way, you'll pass one world-class resort, several natural attractions and several smaller and charming towns surrounded by some of the world's favorite beaches. If you want to check out the glorious Kahala Hotel & Resort, take a break. If not, head back up Kealaolu Avenue and get onto Kalaniana'ole Highway (Highway 72) headed east. You'll follow along the south shore of the island, passing many beach parks, which are detailed in this guide, passing through Hawaii Kai (this is where one Costco is located) and toward the Koko Head area. This drive is where you'll be happy you rented that convertible! Next up is Hanauma Bay State Park and the Halona Blow Hole. When people think of Kahala, most people associate it with the fabulous Kahala Hotel and Resort. There's a little more to the area – a shopping center, quiet neighborhoods and great beaches. Koko Head is a massive 642-foot-high ancient tuff cone in the headland that defines the southeastern side of O'ahu. The neighboring 1,208-foot-high Koko Crater overshadows Koko Head. There are many spectacular natural attractions around Koko Head and you could easily spend an afternoon exploring these amazing sites. And then there is Waimanalo Bay. Welcome to O'ahu's longest sandy white beach. There are several beach parks along the bay and snorkelers will be pleased with the conditions and the variety of tropical fish in this shallow, reef-protected bay. This area also has some interesting shopping and not-to-miss sites. Also here is Sea Life Park, about 15 miles from Waikiki on Oahu's lovely Makapu'u Point. The world-class marine attraction has a perfect location, perched between the beautiful Ko'olau Mountain Range and breathtaking Makapu'u Beach. Kailua is a laid-back beach town with some fabulous beaches. The community has a great shopping center, access to beaches and relaxing eateries. The town is cute and is a great place to stop when you're traveling around. In fact, in Kailua, a local decree states that no building may rise higher than the tallest palm tree in town. Be wary though – this side of the island can get as much as 80 inches of rainfall a year. Kailua is actually the shopping center to go to on the Windward Coast – it has grocery stores, surf shops, activity centers, restaurants and tons of little shops. Take the time to stroll through the town center before hitting the beaches. This guide tells you all you need to know: the hotels, the restaurants, what to see and do, how to make your visit unforgettable!

Oahu's Windward Coast