Hawaii May 15, 2018
This One Small Hawaii Town Has More Outdoor Attractions Than Any Other Place In The State
From the north shore of Kauai to the southern coast of the Big Island, The Hawaiian Islands are home to countless incredible coastal communities. But on the southern shore of Oahu, just minutes from the Aloha State’s bustling capital city is a small residential area that is home to countless outdoor attractions, including some of the best beaches in the country, world-class hiking trails, and even a stunning cactus garden. Any guesses as to which community we’re talking about? It’s Hawaii Kai, of course!
Ready to experience all this residential community has to offer in terms of outdoor attractions? Here are 11 incredible spots to visit while in Hawaii Kai:
1. Hanauma Bay
Dr. Beach, a professor from Florida who releases an annual list of the country’s best beaches, has named Oahu’s Hanauma Bay the greatest beach in America for 2016. Located on Oahu’s southeastern shore, this marine life conservation district was formed from a tuff ring and is perhaps the island’s most popular snorkeling destination for tourists and locals alike.
2. Koko Head Stairs
Please don’t let the short 1.5-mile round trip description fool you — Koko Head is brutal — we’re talking more than 1,000 railway steps leading to the summit. It’s a great workout that yields stellar views, and if you get up early enough, it is one of the best spots on the island to view the sunrise.
3. Sandy Beach
Sandy’s — as the locals call it — is a striking beach with year-round crushing shorebreak that has resulted in many wanna-be bodysurfers with sprains, neck compressions, and broken bones. But as long as you're careful, the beautiful beach can be the backdrop for some wonderful Hawaii memories.
4. Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail
Within the Kaiwi Scenic Shoreline is the Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail, a short and sweet two-mile hike on a fully paved trail to a historic lighthouse. The paved trail is perfect for the entire family, gaining approximately 500 feet in elevation over the course of a mile. This magical spot is home to one of Oahu’s most popular hikes for visitors and locals alike — as well as some of the best views you’ll find anywhere on the island.
5. Lanai Lookout
From the parking lot of this scenic overlook, you will have uninterrupted views of the stunning Pacific Ocean, and, on a clear day, the island of Lanai. Beyond the parking lot, you will find stunning lava formations carved into the coast by the sea, but unfortunately, due to a few tragedies, hopping over the short wall and exploring for yourself is currently off-limits.
6. Kanewai Spring
Kanewai Spring is not only a gorgeous oasis with sparkling crystalline water, but it is one of Hawaii’s last remaining freshwater springs. The freshwater spring runs from the mountains, providing fresh, clean water to the shore and has been feeding locals for more than 1,000 years. It is said that ancient Hawaiians who lived in the caves above the mountains relied on the water from the spring.
7. Halona Blowhole
During periods of high tide and strong winds, rolling waves crash into the shore and shoot sea spray into the air through a cave, acting as a sort of
8. Halona Cove
Situated between Halona Point and the Halona Blowhole, this small rocky cove is perfectly picturesque and has been featured in films like Pirates of the Caribbean and 50 First Dates. Despite its Hollywood fame, the only way to reach the stunning cove is via a rocky and slightly treacherous
9. Koko Crater Botanical Garden
The Koko Crater Botanical Garden is quite unlike any other garden you’ll find in Hawaii. On the outside of this tuff cone is the popular Koko Head Stairs, while on the inside, you will find that extensive plant collections occupy 60 acres of the inner slopes and basin of this 200-acre volcanic crater found on Oahu’s southeastern shore. Flora includes native Hawaiian and African plants, a plumeria grove, dryland palms, and large cactus and succulent
10. Makapu'u Tide Pools
The lava rock-lined coasts of the Hawaiian Islands provide create perfect conditions for tide pools, and while all of Hawaii’s tide pools are spectacular, we are absolutely enamored by the picturesque Makapu’u tide pools.
11. Alan Davis Beach
Only accessible via a short, 10-minute walk along the Kaiwi Shoreline Trail - found near the Makapu'u Lighthouse trailhead — Alan Davis Beach is a popular cliff jumping spot, as well as a secluded area to hang out and enjoy a perfect Hawaiian
12. Spitting Caves
The picturesque Spitting Caves are found below a high cliff where waves crash underneath and shoot into the cave, ejecting the water like a reverse blowhole — fascinating, huh?
How many of these incredible destinations have you visited? Share your favorite spot with us in the comments below, and join our
Hawaii Nature Lovers Facebook group to share your best photographs of this area, and the rest of the islands, with fell Hawaii enthusiasts.