The east side of Oahu is still my favorite part of the island and one of my favorite places. It hasn’t gotten old, and there’s a bit of reminisce that occurs every time I go there because I used to live so close to it. Now I only go occasionally, which makes it all the more special each time I am there.
I just absolutely love doing the drive around the east side of the island. I have never seen such beautiful, clear waters so close to the road. And the colors shine deep blues and greens that I have yet to see anywhere else in the world. If my phone tablet can take photos as gorgeous as these, you can imagine what these scenes actually looked like.
Along Kalanianaole Highway there are plenty of scenic spots where you can stop and take photos, particularly the Blow Hole. The road is narrow and windy, but makes for an awesome, movie-like drive. This is one of the only highways I would ever consider sporting a convertible car for. The beach is lined by steep hills and rock formations that on their own are a sight to see, but are often overlooked since most people are looking the other way at the majestic sight of the Pacific Ocean. I often find hand gliders catching the wind draft just off the hills, from which they undoubtedly launched. I bet out of anyone in that side of the island at that moment, they have the best view of nature.
There are also tons of beaches and hikes along this side of the island. From small beaches like Halona Cove for soaking up some sun to big, active beaches for serious bodyboarding and surfing like Sandy’s and Makapu’u, there will be a beach on the east side that will fit every style. There is the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, great for a quick stroll up a hill for a fantastic view, and if the weather and tides permit, also great for tidepool sightseeing. If you want a serious challenge for a hike, try Koko Head. And don’t forget to indulge on some delicious homemade ice cream and mochi (one of the best I’ve had, in my opinion) at Bubbies inside the Koko Marina Center toreward yourself.
It depends how far up you want to drive on the east coast, but you can continue your way upwards past Waimanalo, a small country town where the people are friendly and life is simple. Waimanalo is a great spot to stop for lunch, and while I would always advocate getting plate lunches for the more authentic Hawai’ian experience, Waimanalo boasts a good Mexican restaurant that’s been approved by my boyfriend’s and my Southern Californian upbringing: Serg’s.
These are all some of my favorite spots, which I used to frequent almost every weekend since it was so convenient from Hawaii Kai, the neighborhood I used to live in. Now that I live basically near downtown, I make it out to this side of the island maybe once or twice a month if I’m lucky. I know it’s not a far drive at all, but it’s long enough to make it a harder struggle to get there. I need to be better with using my free time on weekends more wisely.
Thanks for reminiscing with me. I hope you will explore the east side of Oahu (preferably with me!) at least once in your life.
How to get there:
Take H1 West until it becomes Kalanianaole Highway, and just stay on course to your heart’s content!