Although it is the 50th U.S. state, the birthplace of the current American president, and home to the historic events of Pearl Harbor, the Hawaiian island of Oahu bears little resemblance to the rest of the country. Covered in lush forests, rumbling waterfalls and remnants of volcanoes overlooking the pristine beaches, Oahu has a lot to offer the adventurous traveler.
Climb Diamond Head
Diamond Head is one of the most recognized natural landmarks in Hawaii. Formed from a volcanic eruption around 300,000 years ago, tourists can now hike the crater’s nearly one mile slope to the summit. The trail takes around 2 hours and requires a good deal of endurance (and a full bottle of water), but the view from the top is well worth it. Diamond Head overlooks the city of Honolulu, the buzzing beaches of Waikiki, and the Pacific Ocean.
Hit up a luau
While you’re enjoying everything Hawaii has to offer, why not learn a little more about the culture of its people? There’s no better way to do it than to experience a Hawaiian luau. Enjoy a night of true island music, feast upon local dishes, and admire the dancers as they perform the hula in native dress.
Go for a drive
Rent a convertible, put the top down, and head out along the Kalanian’ole Highway for one of the most unforgettable drives of your life. Cruising south from Honolulu, the highway winds around the outer edge of the island, providing amazing views of the coast below. It also leads to a few great tourist areas like Hanauma Bay and Halona Beach Cove (home to the Halona Blowhole, shooting water as high as 30 feet in the air). Another can’t-miss drive is the Kamehameha Highway that stretches along the North Shore, traveling alongside some of the most unimaginable beaches around.
Go cliff jumping
Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore is famous for its 30 foot waves and strong riptide in the winter months, but also for its sandy beach and cliff jumping in the calmer summer months. Located right in the bay, Waimea’s giant “Jump Rock” is perfect for recreational cliff jumpers looking for a thrill.
Camp out on the beach
Once you experience true aesthetic perfection in nature, you don’t ever want to leave it–not even at night. So don’t! Grab a blanket, a cooler and a camera, and make your way to the nearest camp-friendly beach. Go for an evening swim, dry off next to the crackling bonfire, then fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. Can’t you just hear the ukulele now?
Experience Pearl Harbor
Like most of Hawaii, Pearl Harbor is a place of immense beauty, surrounded by clear blue water and giant palm trees. But it’s also a place of remembrance, and of understanding the past events that took place there–events that left a permanent mark on Pearl Harbor and our country alike.
Hike, snorkel, and surf
In a less than glamorous description, Oahu is like a giant rock surrounded by water. In other words, almost everywhere you look is an opportunity to either hike, snorkel or surf. A great place for a beginner to do all three is Hanauma Bay, created when one side of a volcano caved in and flooded. The bay’s C-shape protects snorkelers from strong waves, making the wonders of underwater life easier to enjoy.
Hawaii has an extraordinary amount to offer the adventurous traveler. Full of secluded beaches, amazing lookouts tucked-away in the trees and something new to discover around every corner, these seven adventures are just the tip of the iceberg (…volcano?).
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