There are so many amazing things to see and do on O’ahu that it can be overwhelming to plan for. That is why we’re highlighting some of our favorite activities and places. If you have any questions please feel free to call or stop by our onsite office.
BEACHES, NATURE & HIKING
- Hau’ula Beach Park. We’re actually located adjacent to this beautiful park. Enjoy strolling from one end of Hau’ula bay to the other, exploring tidal pools, reefs, rivers, etc.
- Hau’ula Loop Hiking Trail. An easy to moderate hiking trail suitable for the whole family is located only a few blocks from Hale Ko’olau. Enjoy stunning coastal and valley views.
- Kualoa Ranch. This famous windward O’ahu ranch has many outdoor activities available including horseback riding, hiking, ATVs, and more. Tour the valley where they filmed Jurassic Park and Lost. Located about 20 minutes South of Hale Ko’olau.
- Gunstock Ranch. Located about 15 minutes North of Hale Ko’oalu, Gunstock Ranch offers various outdoor activities including horseback riding, swimming lessons, hiking, etc.
- Kokololio Beach Park. One of our favorite beaches on O’ahu and popular with kama’aina (locals). This stunning beach is set back from the highway and is accessed via a beach dune covered in ironwood and beach almond trees. A perfect spot for a picnic or to spend a lazy day.
- Pounders Beach Park. One of the most popular bodysurfing & boogie boarding beaches on O’ahu is located only a few minutes North of Hale Ko’olau. Be careful…strong shore break.
- Malaekahana State Park. This expansive (37 acre) and pristine state park is located a short drive North of Hale Ko’olau between La’ie and Kahuku. Enjoy strolling along the unpopulated beach where you can frequently see sea turtles and monk seals.
- Kahana Bay. Located about 10 minutes to the South of Hale Ko’olau you’ll find the popular Kahana Bay Beach Park & Valley area. The bay is surrounded on 3 sides by the majestic Ko’olau Mountains. You can kayak up the Kahana Stream into the valley or drive/walk up and go hiking.
- Hukilau Beach. Located about 5 minutes to the North of Hale Ko’olau in the town of La’ie you’ll find the popular Hukilau Beach. Hukilau is named for a traditional method of fishing which was popular at this beach for many years.
- Turtle Bay/Kalewa Bay. A short 10 minute drive from Hale Ko’olau to the North you’ll find the popular Turtle Bay & Kalewa Bay area. Although the Turtle Bay resort occupies much of the area the beach is public and there are public parking spaces available.
- Sunset Beach. The beach where “Baywatch Hawaii” was filmed is a popular North Shore attraction and surfing beach. Located about 15 minutes North West of Hale Ko’olau.
- Pipeline Beach. One of the most famous surf beaches in the world and a venue for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing competition is located only 20 minutes North West of Hale Ko’olau.
- Sharks Cove. This North Shore beach is popular for diving and snorkeling in the summer months. Across the street you’ll find shops where you can rent surf boards, bikes, and snorkel gear. Don’t let the name scare you, you’re more likely to see sea turtles (Honu) than sharks here.
- Waimea Bay. This iconic North Shore beach hosts various surf competitions in the winter months and is a popular spot for swimming and snorkeling during the summer months.
- Waimea Valley. This valley was once home to a thriving ancient Hawaiian community on the North Shore of O’ahu. Today you can explore the lush valley, learn about Hawaiian culture, and enjoy a leisurely walk to a waterfall while enjoying indigenous plants and flowers.
- Hanauma Bay. Located on the South East side of O’ahu by Hawaii Kai you’ll find the popular Hanauma Bay. Created when a seaward wall of an ancient volcano collapsed and flooded, this bay is an excellent spot for snorkeling. Arrive early though, it gets crowded and only allows a limited number of visitors per day.
- Pali Lookout. The point where King Kamehameha I, the king who united the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler, drove the warriors of O’ahu over a cliff to their bloody deaths also provides stunning views of the Windward Coast.
- Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens. Located in Kaneohe, about 35 minutes to the South of Hale Ko’olau you’ll discover an expansive botanical garden which is ideal for learning about native Hawaiian flora and fauna while providing excellent photo opportunities.
- O’ahu Hiking Trails. Explore the many O’ahu hiking trails.
HISTORY, CULTURE & MUSEUMS
- Polynesian Cultural Center. The #1 paid attraction in Hawaii is located only a few minutes North of Hale Ko’olau. Explore various Polynesian villages, learning about the rich cultural history of the South Pacific, including Hawaii. Experience an authentic Hawaiian Luau and stay for their award winning evening show. Guests of Hale Ko’olau can receive a 10% discount by placing their reservations with us at least 10 days in advance. Contact us at 888.236.0799, option #2, or stop by our onsite office.
- ‘Iolani Palace. Tour the only Royal Palace on US soil. Nestled in modern Downtown Honolulu next to the State Capitol Building, the Palace makes up part of our Capitol District and is a must-see.
- Bishop Museum. The premier place to experience the history, arts, and culture of the Hawaiian People.
- Mission Houses. Historic site and archives includes three restored houses, two of which are the oldest in Hawaii. Located in our Capitol district next to ‘Iolani Palace and the State Capitol Building.
- Queen Emma Summer Palace. Located in the lush Nuuanu valley, this was the summer home of Queen Emma and her husband King Kamehameha IV. Stop by before/after visiting Pali Lookout.
- Honolulu Zoo. Located between the slopes of Diamond Head and Waikiki is the Honolulu Zoo where you can learn more about Hawaii fauna as well as see animals from around the world.
- Waikiki Aquarium. Across from Kapiolani park just outside of Waikiki is the Aquarium where you can learn about Hawaii’s aquatic life, reefs, and dynamic ocean ecosystem.
- Sea Life Park. Located on the extreme South West tip of Oahu you’ll find the Sea Life Park where you can swim with dolphins.
- USS Arizona War Memorial/Pearl Harbor. Every red-blooded American knows about the attack on Pearl Harbor which prompted President Franklin Roosevelt to declare December 7, 1941 a day which would live in infamy. Come and learn about the attack, walk the decks of the might Missouri Battleship, site of the surrender of the Japanese which ended WWII, and pay respect to the brave men and women who fought and gave their lives for freedom.
- Byodo–in Temple. Located in the valley of the temples just outside of Kaneohe is one of the most spectacular structures located on O’ahu.
- Honolulu Museum of Art. Located just outside of Waikiki and Downtown you’ll find the epicenter of Hawaii’s art culture. With exhibits showcasing famous national and international artists (and some not so famous) there is always something new to see and learn here.
- Doris Duke’s Shangri La. Explore the massive oceanfront estate of the reclusive tobacco heiress located on the slopes of Diamond Head. See one of the most expansive private collections of Islamic Art.
RESTAURANTS, LUAUS & DINNER CRUISES
- Crouching Lion Inn. Enjoy casual island dining at this local historic landmark in Ka’a’a’wa, just 15 minutes South of Hale Ko’olau. There is also a pub and pool hall area.
- Papa Ole’s Kitchen. Located a short walk/drive North of Hale Ko’olau you’ll find one of the most popular local-style plate lunch restaurants on the entire island.
- Seven Brothers. Absolutely incredible burgers. Located in La’ie Shopping Center next to Foodland about 5 minutes North of Hale Ko’olau.
- Hukilau Café. Excellent local restaurant which is particularly popular for breakfast. We love their banana pancakes. Arrive early and expect lines, especially on weekends.
- Kahuku Grill. Located in the old Kahuku Sugar Mill next to First Hawaiian Bank. Same family that owns Seven Brothers. Excellent breakfast and lunch menu. Great fall back in case lines at Hukilau Café are too long.
- Kahuku Farms. Hands down the best fresh island smoothies (Particularly the Papaya Power)! Excellent vegetarian lunch options too. Bring the keiki (children) and enjoy a tour of a modern working farm.
- Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. Over the years the popularity of this shrimp truck has grown and the number of visitors making a pilgrimage for their delicious shrimp has caused a whole community of other lunch trucks and shops to pop up nearby. Could this be Oahu’s new International Marketplace?
- Ted’s Bakery. Located on Sunset beach this North Shore bakery has become famous state-wide for their delicious pies. We love the chocolate haupia.
- Haleiwa Joe’s. If you are looking for something a little more formal and elegant on the North Shore then look no further than Haleiwa Joes. Located in Haleiwa, about 35 minutes NW from Hale Ko’olau. The excellent cuisine and island atmosphere is worth the drive and the price.
- Cholo’s Homestyle Mexican. What can be said? They have the best margaritas on the North Shore. We also like them because they are very active in the local community.
- Polynesian Cultural Center. Book your luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center via Hale Ko’olau and save 10% when you book at least 10 days in advance. Call 888-236-0799, option #2 or stop by our onsite office for more details.
- Paradise Cove Luau. One of Oahu’s most popular luaus is located next to the Ko’olina Resort on the West Coast of Oahu, about an hour from Hale Ko’olau.
- Germaine’s Luau. Also located on the West Coast of Oahu in Kapolei.
- Chief’s Luau. We’ve heard good things about this newcomer located in the Sealife Park at Makapu’u on the South West of O’ahu, about 1 hour from Hale Ko’olau.
- Star of Honolulu. The Grand Dame of Honolulu Dinner Cruises.
LOCAL SHOPS & GALLERIES
- Monarch Tattoos. Ok, we know tattoos are not for everyone, but if you’re thinking about getting some ink to commemorate your trip to Hawaii then look no further than our very own Monarch Tattoo Parlor in Hauula, located next to the Fire Station.
- Lance Fairly Gallery. Located at the South end of Hau’ula Bay you’ll find the Lance Fairly Art Gallery.
- Kim Taylor Reece Art Gallery. Hawaii’s foremost fine art photographer maintains his home and gallery in Hauula.
SURFING LESSONS, SURF BOARD & BIKE RENTALS
- Surf N Sea. North Shore’s Oldest Surf Shop. Apparel, Rentals, lessons, and more.
- Uncle Bryan’s Surf Academy. Surf lessons and rentals.
- North Shore Bike Rentals. Enjoy exploring North Shore beaches along our famous bike path.
- Sunset Suzy. Surf lessons on the North Shore with a female instructor.
- North Shore Surf Girls. A surfing school for the ladies.
OTHER FUN STUFF TO DO
- Shark Tours. Explore the underwater world of sharks in a steel cage. Maybe you’ll see an elusive and deadly great white.
- Sky Diving. Feeling really adventurous? Sky dive over the North Shore.
- Maitai Catamaran. Enjoy a sunset maitai cruise off Waikiki.
- Turtle, Dolphin, Whale Watching & More. Year-around dolphin and whale watching tours.
- Hawaii International Film Festival (April).
- Honolulu Triathlon (May).
- Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony (May).
- Prince Lot Hula Festival (July).
- Aloha Festival (September).
- Triple Crown of Surfing (November-December).
- Honolulu Marathon (December).
- Island Transporter. Shuttle Services to and from Hale Ko’olau.
We have compiled the list of activities and events above as a courtesy for our guests staying at Hale Ko’olau. We are not responsible for, nor do we take any responsibility for, the operators or third parties herein.