I know what you’re thinking: “The Hawaiian Islands are so small – how could anything possibly be out in the boonies?” I get it. I maybe once would have agreed with you, but once you’re used to living in Hawaii, driving more than an hour to reach your destination can seem like forever. From secluded beaches and incredible coastal parks to stunning forest reserves and picturesque lookout points, these 15 enchanting places might be far away by Hawaii standards, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth the journey it takes to get there.
1. Laie Point State Wayside
Off the beaten path, on Oahu’s northeastern tip, is Laie Point State Wayside, a small point that juts into the Pacific Ocean and offers up an incredible vista of the Ko’olau mountain range.
2. Alakai Wilderness Preserve
Near the summit of Mount Waialeale, the wettest spot in Hawaii, is the Alakai Wilderness Preserve. This lush preserve is about as wild as it gets.
3. Waianapanapa State Park
Located on Maui’s Road to Hana is this amazing state park, with an absolutely stunning black sand beach, hikes, a blowhole, ocean caves, sea arches, fresh water pools and cliff diving. What more could a true explorer want in a park? Camping, perhaps? Oh yeah, they have that too.
4. Mokuleia Beach
Located on the remote northwestern shore of Oahu, just past Haleiwa, is this secluded beach – the nearest store and restrooms are more than ten miles away. The bright blue water is almost always choppy, and green sea turtles tend to hang out on the shore during the summer. In fact, this beach is so secluded that it was used in filming the first season of Lost.
5. South Point
Located at the end of South Point Road near Na’alehu, on the southernmost tip of Hawaii Island, is this picturesque spot known for its phenomenal fishing and sweeping panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Ka Lae, Hawaiian for “the point,” is the southernmost post in the entire United States, and is a popular tourist destination, despite its remote location.
6. Ke’e Beach
Located in Haena State Park, Ke'e Beach marks the end of the Kuhio Highway, the furthest you can drive on Kauai's north shore. A protected reef makes this an idyllic spot for snorkeling and swimming during the summer.
7. Garden of the Gods
Also known as Keahiakawelo, this otherworldly rock garden at the end of Polihua Road is located 45 minutes from Lanai City on a dirt path only advised for vehicles with four-wheel drive. On a clear day, visitors can see the islands of Molokai and Oahu.
8. Lapakahi State Historical Park
Found within the rugged 262-acre oceanfront park on Hawaii Island’s remote coast is an easy one-mile loop trail through the partially restored remains of an ancient coastal fishing settlement, with a variety of historic structures to check out throughout the carefully-placed footpath.
9. Dole Plantation
This historic plantation now serves as a major tourist destination in the middle of Oahu. James Dole, who purchased the 61-acre land parcel in 1900, was the first person to truly understand the pineapple’s potential and became known across the United States as the Pineapple King, and Hawaii was famous for being the pineapple capital of the world.
10. Polihale Beach
At the end of a long dirt road off Kuamuali’i Highway, Polihale is the largest stretch of sand in Hawaii, and is often overlooked for more accessible Kauai beaches.
11. Polulu Valley
If you desire dramatic views of Hawaii Island’s northeastern coastline and impressive cliffs, head to Pololu Valley, Waipio Valley’s lesser known - but still just as gorgeous - cousin. With a stunning black sand beach, horses grazing on the hillside and small islands off shore, Pololu Valley is one of the best lookout points on the island.
12. Halawa Beach Park
At the end of Kamehameha Highway on Molokai is this beautiful black and white sand beach that’s unlike any other place in the world - and about as remote as it gets.
13. Waihou Spring Forest Reserve
The reserve was created in an attempt to protect the source of the Waihou Spring, one of the few perennial springs on the western slopes of Haleakala. The actual land area is quite small – measuring just 186 acres – but it is a popular area for short hiking trips.
14. Yokohama Bay
Keawa'ula Beach - or as it is commonly known - Yokohama Bay, is the northernmost beach on Oahu's western coast, and is home to stellar surfing during the winter months, and was once a popular hangout for squids.
15. Lava Tree State Monument
A 17-acre park that features a forest of lava trees, the result of a lava flow in 1790 that swept through the forest, leaving behind lava molds of the tree trunks. The park is free to visit, and features a 0.7-mile loop path and picnic tables.