All posts by asink

North Shore

North Shore
Location: Hale’iwa, Oahu, Hawaii
Length of visit: full day
Major draws: Surfing, scenic views, shave ice, shrimp trucks
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free parking
Additional considerations: Wave height varies considerably even in winter
Description: The famous pipeline waves of Hawaii are found on Oahu’s North Shore in winter, but during the week we visited they were not very large. Luckily, it was warm enough in December for a stop at Matsumoto’s General Store for shave ice.

Atlantis Submarine

Atlantis Submarine
Location: Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Length of visit: 2 hours
Major draws: Submarine ride, shipwrecks, fish, sea turtles
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: About $100 per person
Additional considerations: Ferry boat to access offshore submarine
Description: Tiff was nervous about diving 100 feet in a submarine, but she enjoyed the spacious interior and large portholes. We saw a white reef shark, green sea turtles, numerous bluefin trevally, and many other interesting fish that were not their usual colorful selves due to color absorption in deep water.

Shark’s Cove

Shark’s Cove
Location: North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
Length of visit: 1 hour
Major draws: Snorkeling, diversity of fish species, showers
Strenuosity: 2 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Strong current at times in deeper section
Description: Most visitors wade in this shallow, protected cove but you can see the fish much better while snorkeling. We went twice to see the copious marine life here and found the water clearer in the morning.

Byodo-In Temple

Byodo-In Temple
Location: Kahalu’u, Oahu, Hawaii
Length of visit: 1 hour
Major draws: Buddhist temple, koi pond
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: $3 per adult
Additional considerations: Slapping mosquitoes is not very Zen
Description: Byodo-in Temple is a scale model of a structure in Japan. Set against the steep Ko’olau Range on the wet windward side of Oahu, it is incredibly photogenic.

Kalaupapa National Historical Park

Kalaupapa National Historical Park
Location: Molokai, Hawaii
Length of visit: half day
Major draws: Scenic views, historic buildings
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: $249 per person from Honolulu
Additional considerations: Nobody under age 16 allowed, public only allowed into Kalaupapa while on a guided tour
Description: This isolated peninsula on the island of Molokai was selected as a quarantine zone for those suffering from Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) in the 1800s. There are still about 20 patients living here today even though they are no longer forced to segregate from society due to effective medical treatments.

Diamond Head State Monument

Diamond Head State Monument
Location: Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
Length of visit: 2 hours
Major draws: Scenic views, popular trail
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: $1 per person walk-ins or $5 per vehicle
Additional considerations: Very limited parking, people jams on trail
Description: Diamond Head is an internationally recognized landmark standing above bustling Waikiki Beach. A continuous line of humanity climbs the 1.5-mile roundtrip trail to the top all day every day.

Malaekahana Beach Campground

Malaekahana Beach Campground
Location: North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
Length of visit: multiple nights
Major draws: Beachside camping, surfing
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: about $20 per night to camp
Additional considerations: Chickens provide free wakeup service, showers without hot water, campfires allowed
Description: We enjoyed 7 nights at this quiet (other than the chickens) campground where we fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves and witnessed some incredible sunsets.

WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument

WWII Valor in the Pacific National Monument
Location: Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii
Length of visit: half day
Major draws: USS Arizona Memorial, submarine, museum
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Free tickets for ferry limited each day
Description: We achieved our goal to witness the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 2016. We also managed to nab two of the limited tickets to ferry out to the USS Arizona Memorial that day where we saw scuba divers preparing to inter two survivors remains on board the ship.

Spouting Horn

Spouting Horn
Location: southern Kauai, Hawaii
Length of visit: half hour
Major draws: Natural blowhole, scenic views, sea turtles
Strenuosity: 1 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Limited parking and viewing space
Description: Two lava tubes that open to the ocean create the Spouting Horn, which splashes out one and breathes out the other. The south shore of Kauai tends to be the sunniest part of the island and has plenty to see.

Alakai Swamp

Alakai Swamp—Koke’e State Park
Location: northwestern Kauai, Hawaii
Length of visit: half day
Major draws: Scenic views, unique species
Strenuosity: 7 out of 10
Cost/Fees: Free
Additional considerations: Muddy and steep trail
Description: The wettest spot on the planet (averages 452 inches of rain per year) takes time to drain, so it naturally creates a swamp with plant and animal species unique on the island. There is boardwalk in the swamp, but to access that we hiked miles of muddy, slick trails.