OAHU BEYOND HONOLULU
Oahu’s attractions are concentrated in the Honolulu area, but there’s much to be seen beyond the city. It’s easy to find your way, because only one roadway circles the island.
At the Dole Plantation, you will learn everything you always wanted to know about pineapples, and then some.
A short drive from the Dole Plantation will bring you to the famous North Shore... the world’s surfing mecca. Known for its massive waves, often exceeding 20 or even 30 feet during the winter months, the North Shore’s 30+ shoreline is almost entirely beach. Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, the Banzai Pipeline and other notable spots host surfing competitions attracting expert surfers from all around the world. Learn about Hawaii's surfing culture and history at the North Shore Surf and Cultural Museum in Haleiwa. The North Shore has only one large hotel and the communities have a very quaint, rural feel. On the North Shore’s eastern end, enjoy some fresh, hot Hawaiian shrimp from one of the many shrimp trucks lining the roadway.
Heading southeast from the North Shore, the landscape becomes very dramatic, and the scenery is among Hawaii’s best. The ocean is always in sight on this 20-mile stretch of roadway. Often times, the road is just a few feet from the shore. On the other side of your vehicle you’ll see towering, green volcanic mountains and cliffs. This beautiful area has many parks and waysides to pull over, take some pictures and enjoy the scenery.
This area is home to the Polynesian Cultural Center, one of Oahu’s most popular attractions and Hawaii’s most visited commercial attraction. This living museum is owned by the nearby Brigham Young University Hawaii and many of the performers are students there. The multicultural show features performances representing all of the major island groups which make up Polynesia... The Marquesas, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti, New Zealand, and Hawaii. Each of these has its own village within the 40-acre complex. Each evening, the Polynesian Cultural Center holds a traditional luau. A visit fills an entire day.
Built in 1968, the beautiful Byodo-In Temple is a replica of a famous 900 year-old Japanese Buddhist temple. With the towering cliffs of the Ko’olau Mountains as a backdrop, the temple is surrounded by 2 acres of koi ponds and lush tropical gardens. The large red temple was built entirely without nails and commemorates the centennial of Japanese arrival to Hawaii. It houses a 9-foot wooden Buddha image. The temple is used for worship, but visitors of all faiths are welcome to participate in its traditions and roam the scenic grounds.
Near Makapuu Point, Oahu’s easternmost tip, is Sea Life Park... Located on a hillside offering panoramic ocean views... Sea Life Park has reefs, pools, lagoons and tanks filled with exotic sea animals (including the humuhumunukunukuapua’a). Sea Life Park offers some of the most affordable opportunities to interact with the sea animals. With several programs to choose from, you may swim and interact with dolphins, sea lions and stingrays.
If you don’t wish to rent a car or navigate the roadways, several reasonably priced Oahu sightseeing tours are available, such as the Grand Circle Island Tour, which travels the route and includes many of the sights just described. As wonderful as Waikiki is, it’s great to spend a day exploring the rest of the beautiful island of Oahu.
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