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.