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Picnic in the ocean and other things you need to do on O'ahu

by Siv Palm, staff writer

Maikiki Valley loop trail and Hanauma Bay are just some of the must see sites for visitors and local residents alike

The people of O‘ahu greet visitors with the same warmth that the tropical climate has bestowed upon the island itself. This makes O‘ahu a great place to be, but it’s an even greater place to experience.


Whether you are new to the island or not, there are activities you should find time for. You don’t want to leave O‘ahu without memories of great hikes, snorkeling, ocean picnicking, and enjoying a night at the movies on the beach.

O‘ahu has a lot to offer hikers with its many different trails. The Makiki Valley loop trail is a good place to start your day. To get there you can drive to Makiki Street,then turn on mauka, toward the mountain. After a little less than a mile, the road makes a sharp bend. Just proceed straight ahead through the green gate, and you will reach the Makiki recreational area. Continue until you reach the baseyard, where there is a parking lot on your right. You can also take the No. 15 bus, and get off near the intersection of Mott-Smith Drive, and Makiki Height Road. From there on you walk about a mile down Makiki Heights to the trailhead.

The Makiki Valley loop trail has something to offer no matter what shape you are in. You can go for a short hike, or combine the Maunalaha, Kanealoe, and Makiki Valley Trail, making it a 2.5 mile loop.

The trail itself is beautiful—with native and introduced birds singing as you walk through the lush rainforest. There are clusters of flowers, apple trees, and edible strawberry guavas along the trail. Bamboo trees clink melodies in the wind, accompanying the bird song. Take your time and enjoy the feel of the rainforest.

When you’re tired of walking and starting to feel more like relaxing in the ocean, go to Hanauma Bay located on the south shore. The easiest way to get there is to take the No. 22 bus from Waikiki. Hanauma Bay is famous for its coral reefs and snorkeling sites.

If you’re lucky you might get a glimpse of a sea turtle, stumble onto some rainbow parrotfish, or see a darting butterfly fish.

If snorkeling is too passive, go to Waikiki Beach. Here you will find people exercising the classic Hawaiian activity, surfing. It never goes out of style, and you really can’t leave the island without having tried it.

In Waikiki there are beaches with beginner’s waves, which makes it a great place to practice. There are also many beginners’ courses that you can give a try in the gentle rollers under safe conditions. Some of the instructors even bring a camera, and offer you a chance after the lesson to buy pictures of your surfing experience.

After a long day filled with activities, it’s time for dinner. So how about a barbecue picnic in the Pacific Ocean? Here on O‘ahu that is a possibility, and one you shouldn’t miss.

Just off the H3 freeway in Kane‘ohe, is the Heeia keia Boat Harbour. It provides access to an enormous area of Kane‘ohe Bay where the water is only two to three feet deep, even at high tide. The scenery is beautiful and kind of surreal. You are away from the shore, with sand under your feet, water almost reaching your waist, looking back at Kane‘ohe’s green hills. On a sunny day, lots of people come here with chairs and tables, and sit down in the water. They spend their whole day barbecuing, swimming, and getting to know other water picnic enthusiasts.

The evening is best spent close to home, and for most students that means Honolulu and more specifically the Waikiki area. Even here, the islands special twist on things becomes apparent three times a week.

Every Wednesday, Saturday, and, Sunday is movie night at Waikiki Beach. Just around the corner from the International Market Place there is a big movie screen set up in the sand. “Sunset on the Beach” is free, and everyone may participate. The City and County of Honolulu shows new as well as old movies, and TV premieres. Several local restaurants setup food stands, and for a reasonable price you can get your favorite snack, or even dinner. All you have to do is lay down in the sand with good friends, or that special someone, and enjoy the show, island style.


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