Your Destination Guide to Oahu

Destination Guide Oahu - Your Destination Guide to Oahu, HI

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West Shore

West Shore
West Shore

© Heather Harvey

A throwback to the first half of the 20th century, Oahu's West Shore is definitely not for the typical tourist. It takes a sense of adventure and a love for unpaved paths to make it on this side of the island. No ABC stores, glinting historical palaces, or high-rise hotels here, the leeward side rests quietly, covered by beaches, untamed land, and very local locals.

That's not to say you shouldn't visit if you don't have the chance. Those with a love for World War II history should find their way to the old bunkers in 'Ewa or Aiea Loop Trail's WWII plane. Be sure to drive along Waianae's coastline for views of gorgeous, huge waves and green hills meeting at sandy shores.

If you're not quite ready for the quiet local vibe of 'Ewa or Waianae, stick with Aiea or Waipahu for some great shopping discounts. Aiea houses Aloha Stadium, home to the Wednesday and weekend swap meet that will get you souvenirs at half price. Pearl Ridge Mall's monorail is worth a look, and the shopping center offers plenty of eateries for the hungry tourist. Waikele Premium Outlets in Waipahu will have you digging for your wallet in minutes to snap up the good deals.

As tempting as the shopping may be, don't forget that West Shore offers some of the most peaceful, least crowded beaches on the island, so stop by one or two before you head back to the rush of Waikiki. Ko Olina offers snorkeling in a calm lagoon for those afraid of the rougher surf, and family picnics work great at 'Ewa Beach Park, which includes nice bathrooms, showers, a band stand stage, and several sports courts.

Oahu | West Shore

'Ewa Beach
  • 'Ewa Beach
  • One day when the gods were playing a game of ulu maika on the beach, one of the rolling stones went astray, causing them to name the beach 'Ewa (pronounced ehvah), meaning "stray." The name still has meaning, as you have to go a bit astray to land in the area.
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  • Aiea
  • Aiea, about a 20 minute drive from downtown Honolulu, is home to Aloha Stadium, several awe-inspiring hiking locales, and a collection of appetizing restaurants.
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  • Nanakuli
  • Along the beautiful coasts of Oahu's west shore lies the enticing region of Nanakuli. Nanakuli, literally interpreted to mean 'look at knee', allows visitors to choose from an array of summer recreational activities, including snorkeling, scuba, and skin diving.
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  • Waianae
  • Traveling through the area of Waianae evokes a true sense of Hawaii, its being one of the last local strongholds. Waianae is a quaint and quiet area on the west side of the island that possesses beautiful, unobscured, sweeping views of the coastline.
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  • Waipahu
  • Waipahu, in Hawaiian, translates to "spring water", with "wai" meaning water and "pahu" to "burst or gush forth". This area has a deep cultural and historical significance to Oahu: most of the area was used for sugar cane production dating back to 1897.
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