The most visited of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu is a popular choice for good reason when it comes to Hawaii vacations. This beautiful island offers an abundance of activity options, from those found within the cosmopolitan city life of Waikiki to outdoor adventures that extend from the mountains to the sea. And while the bustling streets of Honolulu and the famed beaches of Waikiki have plenty to offer, the best places to stay on Oahu are often tucked away from the city center, where you can still experience the tranquil vibe island life has to offer. Visitors who come and experience only the hustle and bustle of Honolulu and Waikiki without venturing beyond the city’s reaches miss out on some of the most beautiful parts of the island. Enjoy the best of both worlds – easy access to the activities of the city as well as beaches tucked away from the crowds when you venture to West Oahu.
The western coast of the island is known for having the most sunny days per year, in addition to being home to some of the island’s most beautiful white sand beaches. From your location on the West Coast, enjoy easy day trips into the city and to the island’s surf crazed north shore. And within West Oahu itself, there are ample beaches, golf courses, shops, restaurants, and activities that are all easily accessible. Soak up the beauty of the island when you select one of the best places to stay on Oahu, all situated along the desirable west coast
Bring your beach vacation dreams to life when you stay at the Beach Villas at Ko Olina. These accommodations are situated along the island’s west coast, with many offering ocean views. Most of these units range from 1-3 bedrooms, making them ideal for couples, families, and small groups alike. Embrace life along the oceanfront from the open concept great room in your beach villa, with extended living space on the outdoor lanai. For those who truly want to make the most of your island getaway, the proximity of the beach to these accommodations allows the ocean to be an integral part of everyday life.
The beaches at Ko Olina consist of four white sand lagoons, with outer rock croppings protecting the shoreline from larger waves. The tranquil waters here are ideal for swimming and stand up paddle boarding. The lagoons are connected by a 1.5-mile paved path, creating a beautiful space for walking or jogging along the waterfront. For those interested in embarking on a dolphin or whale watching excursion or a romantic sunset sail, the upscale Ko Olina Marina is located nearby, offering a wealth of adventures on the water. From your beach villa at Ko Olina, an oceanfront paradise awaits!
If you’re headed to Hawaii with your sights set on soaking up as much beach time as possible, consider a stay in Ko Olina’s Beach Tower. This building is situated as close as possible to the ocean, putting the white sands of Ko Olina Lagoon 2 just steps from your door. The ocean lagoons are known for their tranquil waters and spectacular sunsets, making this a picture-perfect place to spend your beach vacation on Oahu. Wake in the morning to enjoy an oceanside stroll along the beach path that fronts the building, lounge along the sun-soaked shoreline, or swim, snorkel, or stand up paddle board in the calm waters. This is beachfront living at its finest!
Accommodations in the Beach Tower range from 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom to 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom units. These villas offer a breezy open floorplan, many with ocean views. The kitchens are designed by local celebrity chef Roy Yamaguchi, adding a distinctive touch to every space. Many of these accommodations boast glass doors that can be completely slid away, revealing an indoor-outdoor living space right along the beachfront. Guests of the Beach Tower enjoy access to freeform swimming pools and luxurious hot tubs surrounded by tropical landscaping, retaining a tropical vibe whether you’re lounging poolside or oceanside. The keiki pool keeps things family-friendly, with shallow waters and a sandy bottom perfect for families traveling with children. Grab a tropically infused drink at the Beach Tower’s oceanfront bar, conveniently located right onsite. With upscale swimming pools and a sandy ocean beach just steps from your door, a stay in the Beach Tower is ideal for any water enthusiast!
Keep the sea within sight when you stay in a condo situated in the fabulous Ocean Tower. Ranging from 4 to 10 stories tall, you’ll enjoy a bird’s eye view of paradise. Many of the condos within the Ocean Tower boast oversized glass doors that slide completely away, creating a seamless indoor-outdoor living space. Move easily throughout your chic condo, enjoying sweeping views of the ocean and palm tree groves. Many of the condos within the Ocean Tower also offer views of the complex’s large, heated lap pool.
The majority of the condos in the Ocean Tower offer 2 to 3 bedrooms, making them well suited for couples, families, or small groups. This property is situated conveniently near a calm white sand ocean lagoon. With just a short walk from your door, enjoy a refreshing swim, snorkel, or stand up paddle boarding session. These calm bays are protected from larger waves, making it a relaxing beach day for the whole family. Enjoy the stunning beauty of the coastline with a stroll down the 1.5-mile paved path that fronts the ocean, easily accessible from Ocean Tower.
With its blue skies and warm weather, West Oahu is a golfer’s paradise. Staying in the upscale Ko Olina Fairways community puts you right along the front nine holes of the Ko Olina Golf Club, putting days of golfing in paradise right at your doorstep. Most of these homes boast 2-3 bedrooms, offering plenty of square footage for families and small groups. Whether you plan to spend much of your time golfing or you simply appreciate the peacefulness that life on the green can offer, these accommodations offer a spacious and beautiful place from which to enjoy island life. With such proximity, it’s likely you’ll be drawn to spending at least some of your time perfecting your swing at the Ko Olina Golf Club. This Ted Robinson-designed course has earned many accolades and offers a variety of water features and multi-tiered greens to keep things interesting. You’ll also enjoy easy access to dining at Roy’s, which serves Hawaiian fusion cuisine and offers both lunch and dinner.
Accommodations in Ko Olina Fairways are comprised of condos and townhomes, with single story and two-story layouts available. Features such as two-car garages and private backyard spaces are common in these homes, with some yards backing right up to the golf green. Enjoy drinks on your private patio, fabulous west side sunsets, and a laid-back lifestyle from the comfort of your accommodations in Ko Olina Fairways. Guests in Ko Olina Fairways also enjoy access to community amenities such as a swimming pool, hot tub, and barbecue area.
Step back in time to the charm that filled Hawaii’s Plantation Era at Coconut Plantation, where classic architectural elements remain alongside luxurious amenities. This gated community is for the discerning traveler who enjoys peace of mind and immaculate living. The sprawling homes in this location range from 2-4 bedrooms, making them a great option for the entire family or group. Along with well-designed and spacious interior living spaces, many of these homes boast multiple outdoor lanais, where the living space is extended and you can enjoy every moment of your down time surrounded by lush tropical plant life and soft island breezes. The homes within Coconut Plantation offer a true home away from home experience, with spacious great rooms that boast comfortable living room furnishings and fully equipped kitchen that are more than ready to hold the treasured moments of daily life.
Take advantage of the well-manicured grounds of the Coconut Plantation neighborhood, where you’ll find shared amenities that will provide additional options for fun throughout your stay. This complex offers two swimming pools and three spas for relaxing days when you don’t want to venture far. While one swimming pool boasts a shallow end with a sandy bottom perfect for the kids, the other freeform pool is ideal for lounging and enjoying an afternoon poolside barbecue. Coconut Plantation is conveniently located just behind Ko Olina Station and Ko Olina Center, where you’ll find a variety of shopping and dining options. These lifestyle centers offer a dozen shops that range from surf shops to boutiques, as well as 9 dining options. From breakfast to dessert and every meal in between, the restaurants here have got you covered throughout your stay. You’ll also find multiple coffee shops and a grocery market for your daily caffeine fix and for picking up ingredients to whip up your own meal at your Coconut Plantation vacation rental.
Tucked away on lush, well-manicured grounds are the Ko Olina Hillside Villas. These well-appointed villas offer resort living ideal for those on a budget. Even with a budget-friendly price point, you’ll find many amenities in these condos that make them a top choice. Six to eight condos are housed in each building at Hillside Villas, creating a boutique feel. Spread out and make yourself at home in these 2- to 3-bedroom condos with a multi-level floorplan. Many of the Ko Olina Hillside Villas offer a main-level open concept living area, with the bedrooms tucked away upstairs. This layout is perfect for families traveling with children or with those who keep varied schedules, allowing plenty of space and solitude to slip away from the activity for a good night’s sleep.
Enjoy extended living space on the outdoor patio, alongside a grassy area perfect for the kids to play. Ko Olina Hillside Villas also offers community amenities, such as the spacious swimming pool surrounded by loungers. Spend the afternoon lounging poolside or unwind with a relaxing soak in the hot tub after a day of island adventuring. A barbecue area adjacent to the pool makes it easy to enjoy relaxing days without traveling far. From the Ko Olina grounds, enjoy access to a round of golf at the nearby Ko Olina Golf Club, shopping and dining in Ko Olina Center, and world class white sand beaches that front the resort. Well-maintained accommodations and easy access to resort amenities make Ko Olina Hillside Villas an economic choice!
The gated Kai Lani community is situated right along the oceanfront, making it both exclusive and highly desirable. Here you’ll find luxurious 2- to 3-bedroom condominiums, many with an ocean view. The Kai Lani community is also bordered on one side by hole 12 of the Ko Olina Golf Club, making this neighborhood both an ocean lover’s and a golf enthusiast’s dream. Choose between a first or second floor condo for your upscale getaway at Kai Lani. These condos boast an open floorplan with a kitchen, dining area, and living room that flow easily together. Tropical-inspired furnishings and a well-equipped kitchen keep the vibe laid-back and welcoming.
Pamper yourself with the many amenities that are offered at Kai Lani. Lounge alongside the freeform swimming pool or book an easily accessible round of golf. One of the resort’s ocean lagoons is just a 200-yard walk away, where you’ll find a silky white sand beach and perfectly calm aqua blue waters. From Kai Lani, you’ll also enjoy easy access to the Paradise Cove Luau for an unforgettable evening of Hawaiian food and traditional dance. The shops and restaurants of Ko Olina Center and Ko Olina Station are also located just around the corner, putting a variety of culinary experiences within easy access. From Kai Lani, enjoy a premium location surrounded by the ocean, world class golf course, white sand beaches, and shopping and dining options!
This luxurious gated community is as close as you can get to life on the golf course. Though the course also borders other communities, Ko Olina Kai Golf Estates by far puts guests in the best position for making the most of a golf getaway to Oahu. The Ko Olina Golf Club lies to one side of the neighborhood, while the fairways wrap around three sides of the community, putting Ko Olina Kai in the center of the action. Within Ko Olina Kai Golf Estates, you’ll find single family homes as well as townhomes, affording an abundance of space and privacy for guests. Most of these accommodations offer 2 to 4 bedrooms, with some homes offering up to 2,000 square feet of living space. The open concept great room offers a generous area for gathering together, while additional space abounds on the outdoor lanai.
From Ko Olina Kai Golf Estates, enjoy premium access to the Ko Olina Golf Club, consistently ranked among the top courses both in Hawaii and in the country. The Clubhouse itself features a Hawaiian pitched roof with broad verandas for taking in spectacular views of the course. Make the most of your golf getaway by booking a daily tee time, or perfect your swing by participating in the daily golf clinic or by taking a private lesson. Finish off your day on the green with a meal at Roy’s, an upscale restaurant that serves delicious Hawaiian Fusion cuisine. Aside from easy golf access, guests of Ko Olina Kai Golf Estates also enjoy amenities such as a saltwater swimming pool, hot tub, and tennis courts, among others.
Situated along the northwestern coast of the island lies the beach town of Makaha. With long stretches of white sand beaches along one side of the road and the slopes of Mt. Ka’ala on the other, this sleepy coastal town is the perfect place to get away from it all. Many accommodations in Makaha, such as the Hawaiian Princess, are situated right along the beach, putting the ocean in your front yard. From the open concept great room in your Makaha condo, open wide the glass doors and breathe in the scents and sounds of the ocean, just steps away. Offering relaxed oceanfront living, condos such as Hawaiian Princess are ideal for couples who desire to get outside the city and resort areas and experience a different side of Oahu.
Makaha Beach is known for its good surf, though conditions here are more well-suited for intermediate and advanced surfers. The expansive stretch of white sand is also perfect for those who simply love to lounge and soak up life along the ocean. Makaha is also known for its excellent offshore dive sites. Hawaiian Princess fronts Papaoneone Beach, just down the road from Makaha Beach. Also known as Turtle Beach, green sea turtles can often be spotted along this stretch. The oceanside town of Makaha can be reached by a 50-minute drive from Honolulu, putting day trips into the city within easy reach, while still ensuring ample separation from the city’s hustle and bustle.
A drive up the western coast of Oahu is what road trip dreams are made of – long stretches of white sand beaches curled up against the turquoise blue ocean on one side of the road and dramatic mountain ridges on the other. With stunning scenery everywhere you look, it is well worth it to go beyond the skyline of Honolulu and Waikiki when vacationing on Oahu to experience the beauty that lies beyond. Continuing up Farrington Highway past the beautiful vacation areas of Ko Olina and Makaha, the road eventually dead ends dead ends at Ka’ena Point State Park due to sea cliffs and rugged terrain. The site of a seabird sanctuary, Ka’ena Point is a great location for a hike. Whales can often be spotted offshore here between November and March. Those who venture this far are also rewarded with the windswept and secluded Keawaula Beach, also known as Yokohama Bay. This slice of paradise is backed by spectacular mountain vistas and is likely one of the most secluded places you’ll find on the island.
On the other hand, while West Oahu is home to beautiful beaches and a more laid-back lifestyle than what you’ll find in Honolulu, there is no shortage of ways to stay entertained. The southwestern town of Kapalei offers a variety of shopping and dining, and towns all the way up the coast offer small, locally run shops and eateries. Be sure to check out Mina’s Fish House, Roy’s Ko Olina, and Kaʻahaʻaina Café for top dining options in West Oahu. Farmer’s markets and farm-to-table initiatives are also a great way to experience the local side of West Oahu. Many local products can be found at the farmer’s market in Waianae.
Water activities such as surfing, stand up paddle boarding, boogie boarding, and snorkeling are all easily accessible along Oahu’s west coast. The Ko Olina Marina offers a variety of boat excursions, including dolphin and whale watching tours, sunset sails, snorkeling expeditions, and dinner cruises. Waianae’s Dolphin Excursions and Dolphin Star are two other outfitters based along the west coast offering a variety of boating options. It is also well worth it to spend some time exploring the island’s rugged interior by embarking on a scenic hike or going horseback riding with outfitters such as Ohikilolo Adventure Park. For those looking to get off the beaten path of Honolulu and Waikiki, the west coast of Oahu is an optimal choice!
At Ola Properties, we live and operate out of Oahu and our professional team is available for assistance from pre-booking inquiries to post-vacation follow up. We offer a wide selection of vacation rentals on the island of Oahu, any of which are some of the best Oahu places to stay, and are here to answer any questions you may have. To learn more about any of our rental properties or to learn more about which would be the best fit for your island vacation, please reach out to our team. With years of vacation rental experience on Oahu, we are dedicated to helping you make the most of your island vacation!
When you’re on Oahu and it’s time to eat, you have so many delicious choices. You’ll want to enjoy a traditional Hawaiian meal, seafood, and the multicultural dishes that give the island such a rich and diverse culinary heritage. These specialties are made by some of the country’s best chefs — and not all of them are in restaurants. The food trucks on Oahu serve up amazing meals and treats that you’ll want to try, too.
You owe it to yourself to check out Kapolei food trucks. Here are some of the best food trucks on Oahu’s Leeward side:
Local Stop food trucks feature a Korean/Puerto Rican fusion style with Malasada burgers, kalua pig, and the local favorite pastele.
Check out Grinds 2 Da Max for large lunch plates full of katsu (a breaded cutlet of meat or chicken), ahi, salmon, ribeye, crab salad, kimchi, noodles, and more.
Popular with locals, TeppanLegend also serves katsu with fried noodles or rice, plus seafood specialties. Visit their Instagram account for their rotating location schedule.
Legacy Grindz prepares shrimp, chicken, ahi, pork chops, burgers, and fries with island flair.
At Laverne’s food truck, get a taste of squid luau, kalua pig, chicken, beef stew, mahi mahi, and more Hawaiian specialties.
Then there’s our favorite, Jed’s Lunchwagon.
This is a no frills food truck located in Kapolei that specializes in early breakfast including local hawaiian favorites like the loco moco and omelette with portuguese sausage.
Since 2009, Jed’s Lunchwagon has been supplying the hardworking people of Hawaii with delicious breakfasts and local-style plate lunches.
Jed’s is located in Campbell Industrial Area from Monday through Friday, 5 am to 1 pm.
For authentic Texas-style barbecue, the Sunset Smokehouse is the place to go. Try smoked brisket or spareribs with some cole slaw and sweet tea. Open weekends only.
Smoked ribs and barbecued chicken with fries are on the menu at Bozie’s. It’s Chicago-style Tennessee barbecue “with Aloha spirit.”
Get your morning joe at Aloha Brew Coffee Bar, which crafts lattes, chai drinks, hot chocolate, and tea. Check their Instagram for locations.
You don’t always see a Volkswagen bus turned into a food truck, but that’s what Rocket Coffee uses to deliver organic cold brew coffee, açaí bowls, tea, and more.
El Jalisciense brings out enchiladas, tacos, rice and beans, and other Mexican dishes to Waikele Premium Outlets in Waipahu.
Shaka Bowls is the place to go for made-to-order açaí bowls, poke bowls, and gelato.
For more food trucks on the leeward coast, you can usually find them gathered at Campbell Industrial Park (1001 Kamokila Boulevard in Kapolei) and Mililani Technology Park (100 Kahelu Avenue in Mililani).
Many food trucks close when they sell out of food, so check their schedule first and arrive on the early side to make sure you have the chance to sample their ono specialties.
Contact us for information on beautiful places to stay while vacationing and the best Kapolei food trucks.
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and love is in the air on Oahu. Whether you and your significant other are looking for a low-key romantic night or an exciting, thrill-filled day to spice up the relationship, Oahu has ideal date spots for Valentine’s Day and all year round! Here is a list of places to go for a perfect date night on Oahu:
Roy’s Ko Olina
Enjoy a delicious Hawaiian fusion style dinner surrounded by luxury at this upscale restaurant located within Ko Olina Resort. Choose to eat inside for a fantastic view of the Ko Olina golf course from the 18th hole or dine outside on the patio while engaging in conversation and taking in the fresh Hawaiian air. Check out Roy’s Ko Olina’s website to browse its extensive menu and make sure to call ahead for a reservation as seats at this popular restaurant go fast.
Coquito’s Latin Cuisine Restaurant
If a casual, laid back setting is more of you and your partner’s style, try a dinner or lunch date at Coquito’s Latin Cuisine Restaurant. This restaurant is just a short 20-minute drive Ko Olina and offers meals and desserts native to a variety of Latin American countries for a range of tastes and flavors that will have you coming back to try more. Coquito’s is also a “BYOB” so you can you own beverages, thereby saving on costs. For dates beyond Valentine’s Day, consider going back for one of their weekend specials.
Ice Palace Hawaii
Perhaps you haven’t skated since you were a child, or even at all, or maybe you’re thinking that you came to Hawaii to get away from the cold. All of this and more is why ice skating would be a perfect spontaneous date for you and your partner. Ice Palace Hawaii holds public skating throughout the week, including Valentine’s Day. You and your partner will feel youthful and excited while laughing with each other as you glide along the ice holding hands and trying to keep balanced.
Rent a bike at Bikeadelic for as little as $7 an hour for a casual, romantic trip around town, or follow a designated biking trail around sites in Honolulu such as Diamond Head and Hanauma Bay. Bikeadelic offers a range of bikes including basic bikes, sports bikes, and tandem bikes to make for a great date for nature-loving couples.
Get out for a fun, romantic night this Valentine’s Day on Oahu and continue to check our blog for more great things to do for Date Night on Oahu.
For information on beautiful places to stay while vacationing in West Oahu, visit our vacation rental page or call us at (888) 737-4188 or (808) 726-2878
Travel guidebooks are excellent ways to learn about the vacation areas we are traveling to, as they explain where to find the hottest restaurants, the most popular tourist sites, and even the best stores for souvenirs. Everything you want to know about your planned vacation destination is listed within the pages of these very informative tomes, leading the way to a trip that is jam packed with adventures.
But what if you want to visit a site that is less crowded or want to find out where the best place for a family night on the island is located? Sometimes it’s the smaller adventures and the lesser-known sights that can create the most memorable vacations, and when you stay in one of our Ola Properties tropical escapes, our staff can help with the Oahu hidden gems that make a vacation shine but just can’t be found in the guidebooks.
When you want to eat like a local, the more popular restaurants found in the guidebooks may not be the answer, and My Café, located at 563 Farrington Highway is a perfect example! Open until 2 PM, it’s the best place to try Loco Moco, a Hawaiian specialty, and although it may be crowded, the low prices are just one sign that your fellow diners are residents of Kapolei.
Yes, there is a train on Oahu, operated by The Hawaiian Railway Society and the 90-minute tours offers a glimpse into the fascinating history of the island. Plus, if you take the 3 o’clock train, it includes a stop at 2 Scoops, one of our favorite ice cream shops! Located at 91-1001 Renton Road in Ewa, this open-air train will be a fun way to kill a couple of hours on a lazy island day!
One of the most famous Hollywood kisses, that sandy embrace in From Here to Eternity, took place below the Halona Blowhole right here on the island of Oahu. You can recreate that magical moment yourself if you don’t mind a little sand in places that aren’t normally sandy!
Not every minute of every day has to be filled with island explorations of Oahu’s hidden gems; your Ola Properties cozy island digs offers the best place for a night of family fun! Pop some popcorn, pour the kids some juice “Mai Tais” (save the real stuff for you!), and spend an evening playing board games in our comfortably appointed living rooms, watching the sunset from the porch, or simply enjoying a night of movies on television! Reserve yours today and start preparing for the family adventure of a lifetime!
Hawaii is known for more than its majestic scenery and abundant beauty. Every bit of Hawaii is rich in history, culture, and a sense of community. The Iolani Palace is a Hawaiian landmark that not only symbolizes Hawaii’s past but the heritage that Hawaiians are so proud of still today. Read on to understand why the luxurious, opulent, and spectacular Iolani Palace is one of Hawaii’s most-visited attractions.
It all began on December 31st, 1879, when the cornerstone for Iolani Palace was first laid. It was designed to house the Hawaiian monarchs, the royal family, and other important officials. Completed in 1882, the palace was home first to King Kalakaua and then nation’s last-reigning monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. As a beacon of Hawaiian strength still today, she inspired her people after her brother, King Kalakaua died in 1981 by taking her rightful place.
In just a short time, the Iolani Palace served as more than the official, royal residency. It became Hawaii’s epicenter for political, social, and cultural life. It stood tall, in grandeur, until the monarchy was overthrown in 1893. After the monarchy fell, the palace went through a myriad of changes but was finally restored to its current glory in the 1970s, after being established as an American National Historic Landmark in 1962.
Iolani Palace was a truly magnificent sight to behold. It sits on the southern shores of Oahu and was designed to be the grandest piece of property Hawaii had ever seen, housing the royal family and government officials, and hosting official functions and dignitaries from all over the globe. As the center of Hawaiian culture, parties, dances, and important matters all occurred under the palace’s roof.
When completed, the massive palace had all of the up-to-date amenities you would expect and many that people didn’t expect in Hawaii at the time, like the nation’s first electric lights, indoor plumbing, and an advanced communications system. And aside from the building itself, the Palace Grounds matched Iolani’s spectacular opulence.
Iolani Palace was ahead of its time, impressed people from all walks of life, and put Hawaii on the international map. It still stands today as a symbol of Hawaii’s rich history, culture, and strength. Even today, Iolani Palace is considered the “spiritual and physical multicultural epicenter of Hawaii.”
There is extraordinary historical significance to the palace as well. Even the ground it was built on dates back to antiquity and is still believed today to be an ancient site of worship. The grounds were also home to King Kamehameha III and the first 5 Hawaiian Kings before the property was demolished to make way for the Iolani Palace.
Iolani Palace was restored to its original beauty and today houses artifacts, furniture, and pieces of Hawaiian culture that are visited by thousands of people each year. In addition to the Iolani Palace itself, visitors can enjoy the splendor of the grounds, which includes Keliiponi Hale, The Sacred Mound, and Hale Koa.
Hale Koa is also known as the Iolani Barracks and was originally designed to house the Royal Guard. The Sacred Mound is a mysterious and alluring area, marked off by fences to respect those who may be resting there. This site once served as a royal tomb for kings, queens, and other important Hawaiian chiefs. Keliiponi Hale, also known as the Coronation Pavilion, was used for the coronation of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani and is still used today as the location for the inauguration of Hawaii’s Governor.
Visitors can explore historical archives, browse the extensive collections within the palace, and even enjoy on-site concerts by the Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace.
As a symbol of Hawaii’s past, rich culture, and the strength of their people, Iolani Palace continues to inspire Hawaiian life today.
Located on the island of Oahu, Kualoa Ranch is a private nature reserve which is owned and managed by the eighth consecutive generation descendants of Dr. Gerritt P. Judd. As a missionary doctor, Judd came to Oahu in 1828. His purchase of 622 acres in 1850 was later increased to include more than 4,000 acres by his son.
The natural beauty that Hawaii is known for is why the Kualoa Ranch continues to operate. With a goal of “protecting and enhancing the natural beauty of these lands while developing sustainable recreational, agricultural, and aquacultural enterprises that are compatible with the environment,” the owners and more than 300 employees are on a mission to “enrich people’s lives by preserving Kualoa’s sacred lands and celebrating it’s history.”
Dr. Judd first built a sugar mill at Kualoa in 1850 and, though the mill’s operation was short-lived, it still stands today. The Ranch now has a thriving and fully sustainable livestock operation with more than 600 head of cattle, and more than 200 sheep. They maintain fresh and saltwater shrimp, oyster, and fish farms, as well as tropical flower, exotic plant, and fruit tree gardens.
With 4,000 acres of land, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you want to experience the breathtaking mountain views or the pristine beaches there is a tour or activity that will give you memories that will last you a lifetime. You can experience the exotic flavors of the cultural cuisine straight from the farm to the table. As the film site of more than 70 blockbuster movies and television shows you are sure to see some sights that look familiar from movies such as Jurassic Park, Godzilla, LOST, and Hawaii Five-O.
With one guide for every six to ten guests availability is limited. Many tours sell out two to three weeks in advance so be sure to book ahead. This is just a sampling of the many experiences that await you at Kualoa Ranch Oahu, Hawaii.
There are packages of tours available or you can plan your own time and book individual tours. Accommodations in Ko Olina are available through Ola Properties for weddings, family reunions, corporate events, birthday parties and any other event you are planning.
Hawaiians have a connection to the land and sea that starts at the very beginning for locals. Spending any amount of time in Hawaii will make it clear just how important nature is to native Hawaiians. There’s a long cultural history of caring for nature that exists through many avenues, including preservation, enchanting botanical gardens that can be found on many of the islands, and aloha ‘aina.
Aloha ‘aina is commonly translated as “love of the land”, but it has a much deeper and heartfelt meaning to many. The ‘aina means much more than simply sand or dirt, it denotes a deep emotion carried from ancestral times when all people lived as an integral part of nature. Humans considered nature a sibling born from the same parents when time began. Humans depended on nature to thrive and therefore always gave it the respect and love it deserved.
Aloha is often defined as affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, civility, kindness, charity, and hospitality. It is a love that extends to all with good will and it is given without restraint or for want of anything in return. And so people were taught aloha ‘aina, aloha kai, “love the land, love the sea” and only take what you need.
This belief and tradition extend to the present day, in which visitors and experience the love and care that many locals still put into nature with lovingly maintained botanical gardens. Some of the best botanical gardens to visit follow.
Ho’omaluhia translates to “a peaceful refuge”. The 400-acre Oahu botanical garden surrounded by the Koolau Mountains definitely fits the title. The gardens were designed in 1982 to create flood protection and it features plants from the Americas, Africa, India, Melanesia, Polynesia, and Hawaii. The lake offers catch-and-release fishing in the large lake and is ideal for lazy afternoons in the sun.
Waimea Valley covers nearly 2,000 acres and features the 45-foot-tall Waimea Falls. The ancient ruler of Oahu, Kamapuaa, named it the “Valley of the priests” because native Hawaiian high priests and their descendants lived in and cared for the valley for centuries. The park is now home to thousands of tropical, native, and endangered plants. Visitors can explore the trails and swim in the falls.
Foster Botanical Gardens is nestled right in the center of Honolulu, and offers a bit of piece from the bustle of city life. The park is 14 acres and is the county’s oldest botanical garden with a large collection of tropical plants and trees. They also house an outdoor butterfly garden and a prehistoric flora collection. One of the greatest lures is the amorphophallus titanum plant, also known as the corpse plant.
Love of the land is a hallmark of Hawaiian culture and it’s easy to get involved and help preserve the nature that has been so vital for hundreds of years. For more information and other great places to visit on Oahu please visit Ola Properties today.
Visitors to Oahu often spend their time seeing the island’s most popular places: Waikiki Beach, the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and the Diamond Head crater. To truly soak in Hawaiian culture, however, you also don’t want to miss a visit to a heiau in Oahu. These Hawaiian temples were once used by native islanders to pray and make offerings or sacrifices to gods, goddesses, and spirits.
Heiaus were abandoned or destroyed in the 1800s when Christianity came to the Pacific islands. Today, the ruins of the surviving temples are preserved in historic sites that you can visit.
Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site in Oahu’s North Shore is the largest heiau on the island. According to historians, this site was overseen by priests and consists of three walled enclosures that once likely held structures. Worshippers may have lit a fire to communicate to the heiau on Kauai. The Pu’u O Mahuka name means “hill of escape,” perhaps because volcano goddess Pele jumped from here to the neighboring island, Molokai, after feuding with her sister, Namakaokahai. From the historic site, you can view the Waimea Valley and Oahu’s North Shore.
Inland from Kailua Bay, you’ll find Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site. What was once a large structure, possibly a tower, is now a 30-foot-tall mound of rocks near a stream and marsh. It is believed native islanders used the area for farming fish and growing crops. Legend says the area may have been built or inhabited by Menehune, or little people who lived on the islands before Polynesians settled here. Today, visitors to Ulupo say they feel a sense of peace.
The sacred site of Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area was once a heiau for healing. People who were sick or injured would come here to visit the kahuna, to pray, and be healed. The kahuna would also train other healers here and store medicines. Historians believe that healing plants used to grow here, but now Keaiwa Heiau is a forested park with a 4.8-mile hiking trail and a campground. The trail provides views of Pearl Harbor. This is also a beautiful place for a picnic.
If you’re looking to see a native Hawaiian building at a heiau, visit Hale O Lono Heiau in Waimea Valley. This is the site of a temple dedicated to Lono, the god of fertility, peace, and rain. This heiau dates back to 1470 AD and is still used today for traditional practices. Many people visit the Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens and hike to the waterfall here.
On the eastern end of Oahu, take in the beautiful ocean views at Makapu’u Beach Park, where you can see a small heiau. You’ll see a low stone wall with signs. While you’re in the area, see the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline and take the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail for more beautiful views of the eastern shore.
There are more heiaus on Oahu — including the lesser-known Pahua and Maunawila heiaus — and on other islands across Hawaii. When visiting these sacred sites, respect these ancient temples and let them stay intact for their preservation of Hawaiian culture.
If you’re like most people, and the thought of experiencing majestic dolphins fills you with wonder and happiness, it should come as no surprise that you can make that dream a reality in Hawaii.
Oahu’s western shores are known for having some of the clearest and calmest waters. In addition, these waters are rife with tremendous marine life, such as hundreds of fish species, dolphins, and even whales. And in true Hawaiian style, there’s a way to experience it all.
The Waianae Boat Harbor rests on the Western shores of Oahu, in Waianae. It is from here that you can begin your dolphin excursion experience. Twice a day, at 7:00 AM and 10:30 AM, boats leave to take visitors and adventurers on snorkeling adventures, whale watching tours, or your own customized dolphin excursions in Oahu, year-round. No matter the day, long as the weather permits, Hawaii allows you the opportunity to see and experience the natural wonder of dolphins.
Dolphin Excursion Details
Once you’ve boarded the boat that will take you to see the dolphins, your journey begins. It takes you along the scenic coast of Oahu in search of these magnificent creatures. The exciting adventure provides you with multiple hours on the water. The Hawaiian habitat makes the ideal playground for dolphins to provide spectators with a brilliant show, in their natural habitat. Viewers can enjoy a plethora of delightful dolphins, take photos, and take in their true, natural beauty. What you see on your dolphin excursion is sure to be remembered forever.
Hawaii’s marine life is one of the most beautiful in the world, with varieties of tropical fish, sea turtles, whales, and of course, dolphins. Dolphin excursions on the Western shores of Oahu provide you with views of 3 types of dolphins, in fact.
This species is the most commonly seen dolphin by spectators and visitors. They tend to stay near the shore during the daytime, after spending all night foraging for food. They are long-beaked and smaller, known for their “spinning” and incredible aerobatics as they leap from the water.
Commonly referred to as the most intelligent of the species, Bottlenose dolphins are larger and entirely grey. These dolphins are often found engaging in playful activities with other dolphins and visitors, like “bow riding,” where the dolphin rides waves created by surfers or even whales.
This species can be easily confused with Spinner dolphins because they are very similar in size and appearance. But Spotted dolphins have a white-tipped beak and the adults have a unique, spotted body. These dolphins do not stay close to the shore and often travel in schools of up to hundreds of dolphins.
Come experience Hawaii’s Dolphins with Ola Properties and Dolphin Excursions as your guide. We’ll help you find the perfect rental for your vacation and point out the most amazing experiences you and your family won’t want to miss out on. So, don’t wait! Secure your rental today.
Hawaii is a multicultural state, and it attracts people who want to share aspects of cultures that they love. One of those people was Doris Duke, the daughter of a New York tobacco and hydroelectric tycoon who used her inheritance to fund a wide range of interests, charitable giving, and traveling through the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa. In 1937, she had a home built in Honolulu where she could share one of her major interests, Islamic art, with the world.
She was born November 22, 1912 to Nanaline Holt Inman and James Buchanan Duke. She grew up in New York and New Jersey, and she became famous for her colorful personal life and interests in horticulture, philanthropy, and art. Part of her charitable work included working in a canteen for sailors in Egypt during WWII, giving money to medical research and child welfare groups, and creating a charity to preserve historic colonial homes. She died in 1993 from a pulmonary edema following a severe stroke.
Doris Duke traveled extensively. In 1935, she visited the Taj Mahal and was inspired to build something similar. She and her then husband, James Cromwell, bought land at Diamond Head in 1936, and had an airy, spacious home built there in 1937. The home consists of multiple open-air courtyards teaming with fountains and foliage, themed rooms such as the Mihrab room and the Syrian room, and a separate peristyle building at one end of a pool called ‘the playhouse.’ They called this home Shangri La.
She decorated Shangri La with furniture, colored-glass windows, and screens from Moroccan workshops, but she did not stop there. She spent years collecting Iznik tiles, a type of pottery from Turkey that has a clear lead glaze, and used it in her home decor. She reconstructed the Mughal Garden (she loved horticulture and had a whole farm dedicated to it) and brought an 18th-century Syrian interior home with her.
During WWII, she couldn’t go to her Shangri-La, so she let soldiers stationed in Honolulu use it for recreation. Afterwards, she created the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art to encourage the study of the sort of art she had filled her Hawaiian home with. The foundation still owns the house and uses it as a museum, sponsoring cultural programs and residency programs for artists who promote the understanding and appreciation of Islamic art. They also preserve the 2,500 pieces of art she had collected. The museum itself is a piece of art, with many of the exhibited collections, such as her Iznik tiles, being part of the structure. There are pieces from many countries including Spain, Iran, Egypt, and Morocco, and the art spans multiple time periods. If you go there, you will see everything from silk carpets to pottery made throughout the world.
The foundation gives guided tours of the grounds in partnership with the Honolulu Museum of Art. In fact, the tours start and end at the Honolulu Museum of Art, so you can get a two-for-one art experience if you want to. Tours are available Wednesday through Saturday, at 9 am, 10:30 am, and 1:30 pm. Guests will have to reserve tickets in advance, but they get a shuttle ride to the museum and a knowledgeable tour guide.
If you would like to preview what you might see at this lovely museum, check out their temporary homepage at https://www.shangrilahawaii.org/. You’ll find events, artists, and information about joining tours.