Postcard-Perfect Spots in O‘ahu
The typical O‘ahu holiday checklist involves a day at the beach and a trek to the summit of Diamond Head Crater. While both spots are worth visiting, there are more spots with equally lush Hawaiian scenery and postcard-worthy views. From the North Shore to East Side, O‘ahu offers more than just the typical tourist-heavy spots — all without the crowds.
WINDWARD O‘AHU (EAST SIDE)
Kalama Beach Park has the same powdery sand as the famous Kailua and Lanikai beaches, but it’s more of a locals’ spot. Venture to Kalama Beach Park to take in a sweeping view of turquoise Kailua Bay while savouring the afternoon’s tropical breezes and testing out your boogie-boarding skills. The beach park offers showers and restrooms, and there are plenty of casual restaurants nearby, so when you’re ready to dip back into civilisation, you’ll be all set.
As you head up the windward coast towards the North Shore, you’ll come across the sleepy town of Hau‘ula. Lined with Cook pines and ironwood trees, the 4.3-kilometre Hau‘ula Loop Trail offers plenty of shade and presents both panoramic valley and gulch views. In the rainy season, there may even be a waterfall or two.
Tip: Most trail experts recommend following the loop clockwise.
Get an early start to tackle the Kealia Trail while it is still cool. This steady incline rewards hikers with sweeping views of the North Shore, the surfers’ town of Haleiwa, and Waimea Bay. Look for noni and kukui (candlenut) trees — both long used in Native Hawaiian culture — and spot the skydivers gently wafting down to land at nearby Dillingham Airfield.
Tip: The trail is 12.2 kilometres, in and out, but many hikers do the first 2.4 kilometres only, taking in the beach views.
NEAR DOWNTOWN HONOLULU
Mount Tantalus, an extinct volcanic cinder cone some 610 metres above sea level, boasts a network of hiking trails. The winding, tree-canopy-lined drive through the rainforest alone is worth your time — even if you don’t set foot on a trail at all.
Tip: For an easy, fragrant trek through the forest, try Nahuina Trail. The 2.6-kilometre trail is shady and woodsy.
LEEWARD O‘AHU (WEST SIDE)
Take advantage of the tranquillity and consistently sunny weather found on the west side of the island. For an unforgettable sunset, lay out a towel at one of the Ko Olina lagoons. Just steps outside Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club, the four lagoons are protected, making them ideal for swimming and beach lounging.
Tip: It’s easy to explore the coves connected by 2.4 kilometres of paths.
Mākaha Beach, north of the Ko Olina resort area, can feature 6-metre surf in winter months, so swing by to watch surfing legends tackling epic waves. The surf is much lower in the summer, making for the best swimming and boogie-boarding conditions. If you’re snorkelling, keep your eyes out for green sea turtles, who just may join you on an expedition.
Tip: Weekdays are the least crowded times to experience the beach here.
When it’s time to set off on your new adventure, remember to pack plenty of water and extra sunscreen, and stay on hiking trails to avoid creating erosion.
WHERE TO STAY
Nestled on the calm leeward side of O‘ahu, Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club offers a Hawaiian hideaway in a gated community filled with crystal-clear lagoons. Here, you’ll live the local philosophy of “living pono” — living in harmony. Your home-from-home lies just steps from the ocean and a short drive away from vibrant Honolulu. Spend the afternoon by one of three outdoor pools, or find relaxation at the resort’s tranquil on-site spa. In addition to oceanfront dining and luaus, the 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villa floorplans have access to a full kitchen, as well as living and dining areas, so you can enjoy a family meal out or at “home.”
HOW TO GET THERE
Log in to your Member website to use Points* to make a reservation at Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club. You can also use your Points to reserve hotels available through the Explorer Collection, such as the Waikiki Beach Marriott® Resort & Spa and The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki.
* “Points” means Club Points in Marriott Vacation Club℠, Asia-Pacific; Club Points in Marriott Vacation Club Destinations™, Australia; and Points in Marriott Vacation Club Destinations™, Bali Nusa Dua Gardens, and is not to be confused with Marriott Bonvoy Points.
Members of Marriott Vacation Club, Asia-Pacific, who purchased their Club memberships prior to 16 December 2016 must activate their Marriott Vacation Club Destinations Exchange Program memberships to be able to access this option.
Marriott Vacation Club International and its respective affiliates and subsidiaries make no warranty, express or implied, as to the condition, capacity, performance, or any other aspect of the activities, events, or service providers listed herein. No inquiry has been made into the activities or events, or the qualifications or the quality of services offered by the providers. Do not consider this an endorsement of or recommendation for any of the activities, events, or providers.