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Aloha, Oahu, Hawaii

Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Makapuu Point Lighthouse, built-in 1906 on a 600-foot sea cliff is a shining beacon overlooking Makapuu Beach. The beach is a favorite for body surfers and its family-friendly Sea Life Park.

Located fifteen minutes past Hanauma Bay and beyond Sandy Beach is a large parking that leads to a two-mile paved trail overlooking the lighthouse.

Recent renovations leading to the trail and the lighthouse added additional lookout points.  were recently made to the lighthouse and the trail was recently repaved and additional lookout points were added. This moderately easy hike pays off with breathtaking views of the indigo ocean and Oahu’s eastern, or Windward Coast. 

Diamond Head

Diamond Head, or Lē‘ahi as Native Hawaiians call it, is the most iconic volcanic formation in all of Hawai‘i. Soaring high above Waikīkī, it serves as a backdrop to Honolulu’s skyline, and has forever graced postcards and pictures from the Aloha State. Even if you’ve never been to Hawai‘i, you most certainly have laid eyes on Diamond Head.

Geologists estimate that Diamond Head was formed about 400,000 to 500,000 years ago during a rejuvenation-stage eruption of the Koʻolau Volcano (which is about 2-3 million years old). No, Diamond Head is not a volcano on its own; rather, it is a crater of the Koʻolau Volcano. 

Kailua Beach

Kailua Beach is one of the most popular windwardside beaches, and for good reason. It’s full of pristine white sand, has clear blue water, and is relatively undeveloped, making it less of a spectacle than Waikīkī and more of a neighborhood hang-out kind of beach, where residents come to relax and play before or after work. The shorebreak is typically mellow and kid-friendly, and there are many activities to try out offshore.

Perhaps one of the best aspects of Kailua Beach is its walkability – the beach wraps around the long, gentle bay for 2.5 miles, with mountain views. The sun rises offshore, making it also popular with early risers.

Waterfall in rainforest

One of the many spectacular waterfalls on Oahu. The best waterfalls are Waimea Falls, Maunawili Falls, Sacred Falls, Lulumahu Falls,  Li’keke Falls, Kapena Falls, Laie Falls, Kalihi Ice Ponds,  Waipuhia Falls, and Kapena Falls. Most have hiking trails and are well worth the trip.

Byodo-in Temple

The temple , which translates to Temple of Equality, is a replica of a temple in Uji Japan.

Famed Kyoto Landscaper Kiichi Toemon Sano planned the Japanese garden complex that houses Byodo-in with extreme attention to detail, from the gravel’s ripple-like design to the small bridges over the fishpond.

Inside the Byodo-in sits an 18-foot gold leaf-covered Buddha where visitors are welcomed to light incense and offer a prayer. Outside, peacocks and black swans roam the garden grounds and turtles lounge beside the pond. The temple’s pond is also filled with koi, a Japanese decorative fish that is a symbol of love and friendship.

Green Sea Turtle

Located on Oahu’s North Shore, Laniakea Beach offers such frequent sightings of the Hawaiian green sea turtle that locals simply know it as “Turtle Beach.” This is an amazing spot to see gentle waves usher turtles to the shore for some sunbathing, and it’s considered one of the most reliable turtle-watching spots in Hawaii.

Best Places to Kayak

Windward Coast: 30 scenic miles of cliffs in the middle is Kahana Bay, Kailua Beach: Pristine, powdered sand makes and calm water. Lanikai Beach is often visited in tandem with Kailua Beach – literal neighbors and kayaking buddies. Mystical, unique, and with a mind of its own, Kaneohe Bay’s Sunken Island has gained a fitting nickname – the Atlantis of Hawaii. Another Kaneohe Bay landmark is Chinaman’s Hat, poking out of the seascape at 200-feet tall.

Wakiki Beach

One of the most famous beaches in the world, Waikiki Beach boasts more than four million visitors every year and breathtaking views of Leahi (Diamond Head). The Duke Kahanamoku statue welcomes you to Waikiki, one of the best places in Hawaii to learn how to surf or paddle a canoe thanks to its small but long-lasting wave break. 

Christmas in hawaii

My husband and I spent two weeks in Oahu so we could visit our oldest daughter. Since she and her husband were kama’aina (locals or Hawaiian residents.) we enjoyed the wonderful sights and perks, including many discounted prices. We learned to kayak in the picturesque Anahulu River, a short stretch of water filled with sea turtles. They were amazing. We also kayaked to Mokoli’i Island, also known as Chinaman’s Hat due to its shape, a tiny island off  Kaneohe Beach. Visiting the B’oyodo-In Temples was a unique experience. It’s like stepping into Japan, a place I’d never seen. I particularly enjoyed the wildlife and koi pond on the grounds. My husband and son-in-law went golfing at the spectacular Kolina Golf Course. It’s surrounded by resort hotels and beaches, luscious greenery, and is a known vacation spot for ex-President Barack Obama and his family. I enjoyed daily shopping trips with my daughter and there were so many wonderful things I spent way too much money! On one excursion I bought matching wedding for me and my husband. I couldn’t resist the titanium rings with inlaid abalone shell. We get lots of comments on their beauty.  Oahu will always be special to me because I enjoyed the time spent with my daughter. 

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