Spend the day with dolphins, relax on quiet beaches, take a swing on epic golf courses, dine at award-winning restaurants and hang out with Mickey Mouse.
Put Waikiki in your rearview mirror for the day and head up to the Leeward Coast of the Island. We have 10 excellent reasons why the West Side may in fact be the best side of Oahu.
A Dolphin Playground
Dolphins splashing around the Hawaiian Islands are not difficult to find, but there is one place that various pods enjoy gathering together at. The three species of dolphins commonly seen close to Hawaii’s shores are the Spinner, Bottlenose and Spotted. Picture this: You’re enjoying a cup of coffee on a boat, floating on glassy waters and to wake you up, the gentle morning sun kisses your cheeks. Then, out of the corner of your eye you spot not one, not two, but an entire pod of Spinner Dolphins playing on the coast line. But don’t focus too closely on just what’s in the distance. Below the front of the boat is a small family (including a tiny baby) of Bottlenose dolphins surfing the waves your boat is rolling out.
Hawaii’s tradewinds come from the northeast and set good conditions for water activities such as surfing. The water is clean and glassy.
What Lies Beneath
All of Oahu boasts world-class diving but the Leeward Side is home to an array of sea life in groups at easily accessible spots. Look for Hawaiian sea turtles, playful dolphins, a variety of colorful fish, sea urchins and an underwater Buddha statue around the active reefs sprinkled along the coastline. Just remember to follow the guidance of the lifeguards and online surf reports.
Perfect for families visiting Hawaii, the Hawaiian Railway Society operates weekly rides on the historic train track. The educational, non profit organization takes passengers along a fully narrated, two hour (round trip) journey past old plantations and a “ghost town,” from Ewa to Kahe Point.
Family Time with Disney
Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa is a luxury hotel in Ko Olina. Families can stay at the award-winning destination, experience a cultural luau or simply dine with everyone’s favorite Disney characters.
There are beaches in Hawaii, and then there are beaches on the West Side. Do not miss an opportunity to spend the day at the kid-friendly (and free from Waikiki crowds) lagoons at Ko Olina or the stunning Nanakuli beach, where parking is very close.
A Hawaiian Sunset Like No Other
We all know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Set up camp (with a permit) or stay a little later on Nanakuli or a beach you’ve been diving from to catch an unobstructed ocean sunset. Sit back, relax and let your camera sit to the side while it catches an Instagram-worthy timelapse.
A Hole in One
Oahu has more golf courses than any other Hawaiian Island and a handful are situated on the West Side. Take your pick for a pristine tee time at Ko Olina, Kapolei, Makaha Valley and Ewa Beach, to name a few.
Pink Pillbox, Makua,
Reason 10: Food