It goes without saying that Hawaii isn’t shy about showing off its natural beauty. Boasting some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, year-round tropical weather, incredible rainforests and pristine, glistening water as far as the eye can see, Hawaii is a true gem.
For nature lovers, daredevils and explorers, there’s no better state to be in. Oahu in particular has a lot of bragging rights when it comes to trails, beaches and tropical surroundings. Looking for adventure rather than mai tai sipping? Do you prefer to hit the trail rather than relaxing poolside? Check out some of these remarkable, one-of-a-kind ecotourism hotspots while staying in your Oahu vacation rental:
Even during the early days of Hawaiian history, Waikiki Beach was still considered a haven for oceanfront fun. According to EveryTrail, Waikiki was mostly marshland during those beginning days – but today, it’s considered one of the most beautiful beachfront locales in the world.
While a stroll along the crystal-clear sands is practically mandatory, the nearby Kalakaua Avenue is also a must-see. A word to the wise: Be sure to pack a towel while walking along the surf here, because there is a good chance you’re going to want to take a dip in the beautiful azure waters.
There are few places in the U.S. that can say they have an authentic Pacific rainforest, but Oahu is one of them. Manoa Falls, in short, is perhaps one of the best falls to see not only in Hawaii, but also the U.S. It’s not every day you can truly say you took a walk through the rainforest to a beautiful waterfall, so this ecotourism hotspot shouldn’t be missed!
Even more impressive, Manoa Falls encompasses a 150-foot high waterfall that is bound to amaze just about any traveler. The hike up to the apex of the falls is quite impressive, but still relatively easy for even novice hikers, as it’s only 1.6 miles, or about 45 minutes. If you want some social media-worthy pictures, this is the place to grab a family photo or keepsake of your honeymoon.
The Olomana Trail
Brace yourselves, travelers: This trail isn’t for novice explorers. The hiking trails here are quite impressive, but they are known as some of the most difficult on the Hawaiian isles. However, as strenuous as the paths are on the Olomana Trail, many tourists staying in Oahu condo rentals have said that the extra sweat while climbing to the top is well worth it. From the apex, you get stunning views of Kailua, the surrounding mountainous terrain and the Pacific.
Be advised: There are more than 1,000 feet of elevation gain during the hikes here, so this might not be the best trail for travelers who are wary of heights. However, there are ropes along the trail to prevent hikers from getting off course. Overall, the trail is around 2.5 miles and can take anywhere from one to three hours – perfect for an afternoon hike!
Are you a true thrill seeker? Spend a day hiking and cliff diving at Maunawili Falls. You and your traveling party will have to trek about 3.2 miles through the jungle to get to the falls, but will be rewarded with a truly beautiful swimming hole that’s perfect for an afternoon dip. You can simply wade in the water to cool down from the hot Hawaiian sun – or, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, take the plunge and jump from the falls into the pool.
The trail will take around one to three hours to hike, depending on your skill level and outdoor experience, but the thrills might be well worth it for all you daredevils out there.
Diamond Head Crater
Along the eastern coastline of the island near Waikiki, travelers have the opportunity to see one of the most popular outdoor attractions in all of Hawaii. Diamond Head Crater and Oahu are synonymous with one another, and it makes sense considering they both make up some of the most renowned geological features in the world. Taking up more than 475 acres, the crater is the result of an explosion that took place 300,000 years ago.
Today, it’s part of the Diamond Head State Monument and known not only for its amazing hiking trails, but also its military history. Though Diamond Head is not quite as high as the Olomana Trail at 560 feet, it can still get very steep and hard to climb in some areas (after all, it is a crater). However, once you reach the the Koko Head to Wai’ana, you might be able to catch a glimpse of humpback whales in the distance (especially during their migration in the wintertime).
The caretakers of Kahaku Farms date back three generations from the Matsuda and Fukuyama families who journeyed here from Japan. After working on the sugar plantations in the early 20th century, these trailblazers started farming on their own, and the rest is history.
This could be an excellent place to take the kids if you’re looking for a family-friendly ecotourism spot, as they can learn a bit about coastal agriculture, eat some delicious Hawaiian food and get to experience nature without having to climb difficult trails.
They say you really don’t get to know a culture until you experience the regional food, and there is perhaps no better place to enjoy culinary delights in Oahu than at Kahaku Farms. Here you can hop on a tractor and take a ride along the North Shore. Bananas, papayas and other Hawaiian fruits are located throughout the tour, and at the end you can either get a sampling of the regional delicacies or enjoy a delicious smoothie. If you can’t get enough of the produce during your tour, you can also enjoy a wonderful meal at the on-site cafe.
After your day of exploring the breathtaking tropical wilderness of the island, wind down in the evening in your Oahu condo rental and relax. With all of the outdoor exploring you’re bound to do on this magnificent island, you deserve it.