Windward Coast Oahu | Go Hawaii

Windward Coast

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Windward Coast

As you drive over the sloping Pali Highway, skyscrapers and the sprawling city of Honolulu give way to lush valleys and country landscapes. Exiting the tunnels east of the Koolau Mountain Range, it feels as if you’re entering a different world and a turquoise ocean shimmers in the distance. A trip to the Windward Coast reveals a slower-paced side of Oahu, and some of the most stunning natural beauty anywhere in Hawaii. 

From Kailua town, you can head in two directions. Go clockwise down the coast to Sea Life Park, Makapuu Point Lighthouse and eventually Leahi (Diamond Head) and Waikiki. Or drive north spend a day exploring the Windward Coast as it winds lazily around the island toward the North Shore, offering interesting stops along the way, like the serene Valley of the Temples, which is home to a stunning Japanese Buddhist temple

Driving along the two-lane highway you can't miss Mokolii, the tiny island fondly known as “Chinaman’s Hat.” Stop at the park and stretch your legs or have a picnic. Just across the highway you’ll find one of Hawaii’s most seen but least-recognized locations: Kualoa Ranch. A generations-old family-owned ranch, its scenic valley has provided the backdrop for countless movies and TV shows, including "Jurassic Park" and "Lost". Fortunately, it’s not just for the stars; visitors can enjoy horseback riding, ziplining, ATV tours and host of other activities. From here, Kamehameha Highway meanders past Kaaawa (“Ka-ah-ah-vah”), gentle Kahana Bay and around the northernmost tip of the island to Oahu’s North Shore, home of the best surf spots in Hawaii—and some say—the world.

Regions of Oahu

Oahu
Photo of Waikiki
One of the most recognizable beaches in the world, Waikiki was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty. Today, millions of visitors visit these shores every year.
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Photo of Leahi (Diamond Head)
Take an easy hike to the top for panoramic views of Waikiki, Honolulu and the Pacific Ocean.
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Photo of Downtown Honolulu
Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown are Oahu’s centers for government, business and arts,with dining and nightlife around every corner.
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Photo of Kapahulu
Kapahulu is a small neighborhood next to Waikiki where you find eclectic shops and some of Honolulu’s best local food.
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Photo of National Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific
National Memorial of the Pacific honors sacrifices of America’s Armed Forces.
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Photo of Pearl Harbor
Visiting Peal Harbor is an experience that will be etched into your soul forever, and offer you a new perspective on World War II. Known the world over as a "date which will live in infamy," the devastating events of December 7, 1941 changed the course of history.
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Kaena Point
Kaena Point is a scenic and sacred spot where, legend says, the souls of ancient Hawaiians would jump off into the spirit world to meet the souls of their ancestors.
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Makaha Beach
The most popular beach on the Leeward Coast offers ocean-lovers a long stretch of golden sand to play or relax.
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Haleiwa Town
This laid-back surfer town offers beautiful beaches, tasty local restaurants and food trucks, cool shops and plenty of shave ice.
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Waimea Bay
This beloved beach is popular with locals and visitors alike, and was an influential surf spot during the dawn of big wave surfing in the 1950s.
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Makapuu Point Lighthouse
Hike to this scenic point on Oahu’s easternmost tip for incredible views and whale watching during the winter.
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Nuuanu Pali Lookout
Nuuanu Pali Lookout is one of Oahu’s most popular scenic spots, with panoramic views of the Windward Coast and the Koolau Mountains.
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Byodo-In Temple
Valley of the Temples Memorial Park houses Byodo-in, a stunning replica of a Japanese Buddhist Temple set in a lush forest.
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Honolulu
Statue of Duke Kahanamoku, father of modern surfing, on Kuhio Beach, Waikiki
The state capital and largest city in Hawaii, Honolulu is a unique combination of tropical glamour and buzzing international metropolis, where sandy shores meet city streets.
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Central Oahu
Pearl Harbor Historic Sites on Oahu
Gain a unique perspective on World War II with a visit to Pearl Harbor, or explore the island's agricultural traditions at the Dole pineapple plantation.
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Leeward Coast
Leeward Coast of Oahu
This area on Oahu's west side is home to rural towns, off-the-beaten-path beaches and one luxurious resort area, Ko Olina.
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North Shore
Oahu's North Shore is a popular surf destination
Rub shoulders with champion surfers and laid-back locals on Oahu’s North Shore, the big wave surfing capital of the world.
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Windward Coast
Windward Coast of Oahu
It’s only a short drive from Honolulu to enjoy the highlights of Oahu’s lush Windward Coast, including the peaceful Byodo-in Temple and adventurous Kualoa Ranch.
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Windward Coast Highlights

Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Makapuu Point Lighthouse

Hike to this scenic point on Oahu’s easternmost tip for incredible views and whale watching during the winter.

More
Nuuanu Pali Lookout

Nuuanu Pali Lookout

Nuuanu Pali Lookout is one of Oahu’s most popular scenic spots, with panoramic views of the Windward Coast and the Koolau Mountains.

More
Byodo-In Temple

Byodo-In Temple

Valley of the Temples Memorial Park houses Byodo-in, a stunning replica of a Japanese Buddhist Temple set in a lush forest.

More

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