Description - |
O'ahu is 44 miles long and 30 miles across encompassing 594 square miles. The island was formed by two volcanoes, Waianee and Koolau, now extinct. The mountain ranges on the western and eastern sides of the island are named for these volcanoes, respectively. Both ranges are protected by state forest reserve lands. Fifty beaches that line the O'ahu coast are within the state or county beach/park program. Many of these sites contain various facilities the least of which are bathrooms and showers.
Diamond Head State Monument protects and preserves the tuff cone formed by subterranean explosions thousands of years ago. This site has been designated significant by many cultures on the island. The Hawaiians used the summit for human sacrifices. British sailors thought it filled with riches, hence the name. The United States used it as a strategic arms position. Today the site supports facilities for picnicking and hiking.
Hanauma Bay State Underwater Park is well known for it's fascinating volcanic features and sheltered swimming area. From the park overlook the beach and reef of the bay are visible. There are a few short trails within the park that provide access to interesting rock formations and ocean overlooks. Caution should be used when hiking on slippery surfaces near the water. (Lava rock is sharp and slippery and the wave action here has swept individuals to their death.) The bay contains a colorful and lively reef with many native and exotic fish, which makes it good for beginner SCUBA divers, intermediate and novice snorkelers. The beach here is long, narrow and lined with palm trees.
Iolani Palace State Monument is a significant historical and cultural resource for the Hawaiian people. It was the home of the Hawaiian royalty from 1882 to 1893, when the government was overthrown. The palace was used as the territory and state capitol until 1969, when a new and larger facility was constructed. The site has been restored to its former opulence with nineteenth century artifacts.
Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area encompasses 385 acres of forested land north of Pearl Harbor. The site protects a variety of natural and cultural resources including: a eucalyptus forest, guava trees, ohia lehua and heiau ho'ola.
Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, lying in close proximity to historic visitor attractions such as the USS Arizona and the USS Missouri, protects some of the last remaining wetland areas on O`ahu. It is composed of two units, the 37-acre Honouliuli Unit, which borders West Loch, and the 25-acre Waiawa Unit bordering Middle Loch of the famous Pearl Harbor.
This island is well known for its surfing sites. The northern shore of the island contains the best known beaches for large competition surfing during the winter months. The leeward coast also boasts excellent surfing conditions during the colder months of the year. The windward side of the island harbors the best windsurfing conditions as the tradewinds blow steadily on to the eastern shore. Southern O'ahu contains the most popular calm water beaches for swimming, snorkeling and diving.
Whatever floats your boat, The islands will be able to serve up the time of your life. Weather it's hiking, camping, fishing, biking or even backpacking there is a forest or state park that can deliver what you asking for. Be sure to spend time on one of the other islands of Hawaii, Maui, Kaua'i or Molokai as well.