There’s a part of Oahu that very few tourists ever get to experience, Waianae on the westernmost part of Oahu. We recently took a ride out to this part of the island and were reminded just how awesome it is on the Leeward side. The major reason many folks don’t venture out to the Leeward side is the distance from the usual tourist hub of Waikiki. However, that shouldn’t discourage you; in fact this is what makes this part of the island such a wonderful place to visit. There are a couple of resorts nearby including the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa at Ko Olina and Makaha Resort & Golf Club. Both of these properties are good choices if you plan to stay outside of Waikiki.
The Waianae coast stretches 20 miles from the town of Nanakuli to Makua Beach. A nonstop ride from Waikiki takes about 1 and 1/2 hours. The main attractions on this side of the island are the beaches, but you’ll also find some great local plate lunch spots including our favorite, the Maile Deli located in Maili. The Maile Deli is reasonably priced and famous for their gravy and burger bowl (aka “loco moco”). If that’s “over the top” for you there’s Sun Sushi, a great sushi takeout place with a few tables. The sushi there is fresh, tasty, and nicely prepared.
As mentioned, the beaches are a main attraction on the Waianae coast. The ride up the coast is magnificent and you can sample some of the beautiful beaches along the way. During the winter months, the surf may be intense so you may wish to visit during the summer months when the surf is calmer. We decided to ride all the way up to the end of the coast to Makua Beach and work our way back. Makua Beach is tucked away behind the mountains and good for a little private time with that special someone. Unfortunately, it is not a good place for recreational swimming so we just enjoyed a picnic lunch there.
Our next stop was Makaha Beach. This beach is wide and not too crowded; the water was perfect for swimming. There’s a wonderful beach park there with beautiful views of the mountains. We then went to Maili Beach Park. We were lucky to go during a festival and got to see wonderful local handmade items for sale. Although we did some sunbathing; short breaks made it a bit hazardous for swimming. However, Maili Beach is great for boogie boarding.
Our last stop was Pokai Beach Park. We spent the rest of the day here because it’s perfect for swimming. A p:25:rotective breakwater makes Pokai Beach Park the safest place on the Waianae coast to swim. This is the ideal place to enjoy a day at the beach if you have children. I can recommend many other beaches on the Waianae coast, including Ohikilolo and Nanakuli.
A trip to the Leeward side of Oahu is certainly worth your time; there is so much to see and experience and should be included in your Oahu vacation plans.