Hoot Blog

Our top four driving destinations in Oahu

 While it may feel like you could spend your whole Hawaiian trip just exploring Honolulu, the island of Oahu offers plenty more in the way of spectacular sights. To get the best experience of the true Hawaiian island lifestyle, why not rent a car and get out further afield and check out these stunning spots?

1. Haleiwa

Time from Honolulu: 1hr 10 mins drive

What's there?

The quaint town of Haleiwa was originally settled in the 1900s when the area was dedicated to the sugar plantation industry. Nowadays, the town is renowned for its surfing vibe with its proximity to the famous surf beaches of Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Ehukai.

The waves around Haleiwa are world famous.Haleiwa offers world famous surf waves.

If you're not interested in learning how to surf, the town and its surrounding vicinity also offer plenty of exciting activities. Consider checking out turtles at Laniakea Beach or, for a unique historical and natural experience, visit Waimea Valley where you can walk through stunning tropical forests and fascinating archeological sites.

Cost

Make sure to bring some cash to spend in the great selection of bohemian style shops and cafes in town.

Highlights

If you're around in October-April check out Ehukai Beach to catch some waves on this world-renowned surfing venue. Alternatively, sit back and watch the pros at work.

2. Nuuanu Pali lookout

Time from Honolulu: 18 minutes drive

What's there?

At over 300 metres above Oahu's coast, the lookout offers panoramic views of Honolulu and the island's Jurassic Park-like landscape. It can get quite chilly at the top so remember to bring a jacket!

Other than its picture-perfect vistas, the lookout also has important historical significance. The 1795 Battle of Nuuanu, which saw King Kamehameha I unite Oahu after his victory, took place here with thousands of warriors being thrown off the steep cliffs. If you're enjoying the escape from Honolulu, consider driving a little further to picturesque Kailua, just another 10 minutes along highway 61.

Cost

Visiting this beautiful view point is totally free!

Highlights

Enjoy the clear views of Mokolii Island and the Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.

3. Kailua Beach

Time from Honolulu: Just over half an hour's drive.

What's there?

If Waikiki beach was a bit too busy for you, Kailua offers more of that soft white sand and turquoise water but with fewer people watching. The beach is truly a stunner and was once named by Conde Nast as the most beautiful beach in Hawaii. Considering it's only a 30-minute drive from Honolulu, it's definitely worth checking out if you have a car.

Cost

With lots of restaurants to choose from you're going to want some money to spend on a delicious meal, and maybe some traditional dessert to follow!

Highlights

After a trip to the beach, be sure to visit Kailua's Island Snow where you can try the famous shave ice – keep an eye out for (Former US) President Barack Obama who's been known to visit while on vacation. 

Halona blowhole is awe inspiring.Halona blowhole is next door to Halona Cove.

4. Halona Blowhole

Time from Honolulu: Half an hour's drive.

What's there?

Just along from Halona Cove, you can find a natural wonder guaranteed to inspire awe. The Halona Blowhole is over a thousand years old, formed by the merging of molten lava tubes created during volcanic eruptions. Whilst the volcano that created it is no longer active, this spectacular blowhole can send up geysers as high as 30 feet. The waves below are so violent you'll literally be able to feel them rumbling beneath your feet before an eruption.

Cost

This view spot is free, but it can be tricky to find parking.

Be aware

The waters around the blowhole, and on Halona Cove, can be rough and there is no lifeguards present. Swimming is not advised.

To get the best out of your trip to America, combine a trip to Hawaii with a visit to Las Vegas.