We just returned from our 3rd trip to Oahu. Overall, we had a great time. We stayed in the Kailua/Lanikai area.
During our visit we went to Hanauma Bay twice. The snorkeling remains great.
Both times we arrived at ~8:30am. We were nearly the last folks allowed into the park since the parking lot was full.
Although, the thing about Oahu is that there aren’t many places to go snorkeling. Maui and the Big Island (both on the western side) have many more places to snorkel.
Went to Pearl Harbor to see the USS Missouri and Bowfin sub. In the photo below past the tip of the USS Missouri you can see the Arizona Memorial.
Lanikai Pillbox Hike
We picked the hottest day to hike up to the pillboxes (old WWII concrete buildings). The trail is very steep and has become even more difficult over the years. This site seems to give a good history behind the pillboxes.
Circular day trip from Lanikai to the northwest, north and eastside of the island
- We took a drive to see the northwest part of the island that we hadn’t seen before. Once in Pearl City we took Hwy 99 north. The first part of our day trip was a nice drive. There were a few nice, small towns along the way.
- I’m not sure why we drove past Waimea Falls State park. It seems like it would have been a nice place to visit. More info can be found below:
- On the west side of the island you’ll find ‘Ehukai Beach Park. This is the beach closest to the legendary Banzai Pipeline.
- Next, we visited Pupukea Beach Park. It has 2 main areas; Shark’s Cove and the calm cove on the left. We weren’t able to go snorkeling since the water was a bit rough this time of year, but it looks like a nice snorkeling site in the summer. Others seem to rave about it (see link above)
- Turtle Bay is located on the north-end of Oahu. We were able to park in the public parking that is adjacent to the Turtle Bay Resort.
- Further down the eastside of the island is the sea arch off La’ie Point. Driving directions and the legend of La’ie Point can be found here:
I chose not to post my photo of the sea arch since millions of others have taken the same picture.
- We drove by Chinaman’s Hat from the north. Since it was a partly cloudy day I took this photo instead…
- And finally back to Kailua/Lanikai.
Southwest Oahu – Ko Olina Lagoons
We also drove to the western side of the island and visited Ko Olina Lagoons. The lagoons are man-made. The surrounding beaches are nice. There is a trail that connects each of the lagoons. These have restrooms and probably showers.
We went snorkeling in lagoon #4 which is the largest of the 4 lagoons. This lagoon also more parking than lagoons 1-3.
The snorkeling wasn’t great, somewhat cloudy, but there was a good variety of fish. The photo’s below will give you an idea what its like to snorkel in the lagoons.
We enjoyed the following restaurants.
- Cinnamons, lots of great food at a great price. Pancakes the size of dinner plates! Get there early for breakfast since the parking and restaurant fill up quickly.
- Big City Diner
- Boots and Kimo’s Homestyle Kitchen. Sports themed, good food, but a little loud in side.
- Late Thursday afternoon we stumbled on the Kailua farmers market. It’s a fairly good sized farmers market with a variety of restaurants, fresh fruit, veggies, etc. One guy was selling avocado’s the size of a softballs.