Dream Vacation Day On Oahu

By Sylvia Torres
Reservation Supervisor
Pleasant Holidays

As long as I've been visiting Oahu, I have always been amazed by the number of people who arrive for several days and never once leave the Waikiki area. Don't get me wrong...Waikiki's beautiful beach, plus the city's shopping, dining and nightlife options, can keep a visitor happy for a few days or even weeks, but to experience more of Oahu, try the do-it-yourself tour my husband and I embarked upon recently.

Our departure point was the Waikiki Parc Hotel, which along with deluxe accommodations features ample parking space for those with rental cars. We crossed over the Ala Wai canal and headed west on the H1 freeway, passing Honolulu International Airport, then veering north on the H2 toward Oahu's beautiful highlands, past sightseeing stops like the Dole Plantation and - eventually - to the North Shore. 

Best known for large, powerful winter surf that challenges the world's best surfers, the seven-mile stretch of highway that winds through the North Shore proper also includes the quaint town of Haleiwa, lots of casual places to eat, and some gorgeous beaches. The surf was up on this day, so I dropped my boyfriend off for a few waves while I headed to Haleiwa to browse the arts and crafts shops, pick up some souvenirs for friends and family, grab a "shave ice" (Hawaiian snow cone) and catch some rays at Haleiwa Beach Park.

A little later, with both of us back in the rental car following lunch at Kua Aina Burger (great burgers made to order), we headed out of Haleiwa, past Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach and toward what I think is the most beautiful part of Oahu, the windward coast. The leisurely drive on the two-lane highway offers scenery rivaling anything you'll find on the Neighbor Islands, with the Ko'olau mountain range jutting skyward on your right, and the blue Pacific Ocean on the left.

Cruising past landmarks like Kualoa Ranch, Chinaman's Hat, Makapu'u Beach, Hanauma Bay and the scenic marina at Hawaii Kai, it occurred to me that relatively few of the millions of visitors to Hawaii each year see this part of Oahu. Re-entering Waikiki late the afternoon, we had plenty of time to shower and make a 7:00 p.m. dinner reservation at Duke's, totally relaxed after another perfect day in Paradise.

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