Driving & Discovering Oahu Guidebook, the virtual Honolulu guidebook for driving Hawaii’s Oahu Island. Our online Waikiki resource reveals the best bargain and deluxe  restaurants, hotel and resort deals, best shopping, sightseeing, and Oahu’s most beautiful deserted and secret beaches.

Hawaii Map copyright discoveringhawaii.com

entire website and its contents copyright 2010 by montgomery ewing publishers LLC

Our virtual Oahu guidebook presents the Hawaiian island boasting the most beaches, dining, shopping and hotel choices. This online Honolulu guidebook explores activities ranging from Pearl Harbor to golf to North Shore surfing; dramatic hiking and visiting beautiful uninhabited islands. Waikiki Tiki Bars, hot dance clubs, LOST filming locations? All revealed here.

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Cover Photo of Richard Sullivan, author of Reclaim Your Youth: Growing Younger After 40

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Cover of American Airlines Award Winning Driving and Discovering Hawaii: Oahu by Richard Sullivan

The MAKAPU`U HEAD TRAIL begins at the Makapu`u lookout parking area and winds past amazing views of the Windward Shore, Rabbit and Turtle Islands, whales, hang gliders, bodysurfers and kayakers, only to come to a rest at beautiful Makapu`u Lighthouse. The MAUNAWILI TRAIL begins at a parking area adjacent to the Pali Highway, right after the tunnels on the Kailua side. Valley views  give way to Maunawili Falls and swimming hole. The KAIWA RIDGE TRAIL follows the apex of the hills that back Lanikai, and requires less than a five minute climb to reach. We feel it is Oahu’s most beautiful for its ease of access and the inspiring views of the Moku Lua Islands, Kailua Beach, and the peak of Olomana. HAUULA TRAIL winds through gorgeous Norfolk pine and Australian pine forest, with panoramic views of shoreline communities along the coast as well as deep into the beautiful valleys. The long but flat KAENA POINT TRAIL follows the old Oahu Railway track bed along shore and around Kaena Point. We feel that this is Oahu’s best hike: it is mostly level, and lovely views lie in all directions. You may see the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, or in winter, offshore waves on the north shore portion that top fifty feet in height.

For the best and safest experience, contact a local hiking organization.

Hawaii Trail and Mountain Club : www.htmclub.org

The Sierra Club,  808-538-6616 

The Nature Conservancy,  808-537-4508.


Haleiwa is a world-class surfing town; it has a lovely beach, some very special little restaurants, and a great summer-holiday atmosphere. If you can time your visit to coincide with a surf contest, all the better.

Kua Aina Sandwich, 66-160 Kam Hwy., almost always has a line out the door waiting for their great burgers and sandwiches, but don't worry, the tables turn over pretty fast.

Jameson’s at 62-540 Kam Hwy., is across the bridge and across the Highway from the beach, but nevertheless has been a favorite sunset/pau hana haunt for decades. It’s over-priced —and mobbed at sunset— so we like to go around 4 pm-ish, and have a comparatively inexpensive meal of chowder, Ceasar salad and a beer, and mellow out as the place fills up all around us.

We still have dreams about the Coffee Gallery at the North Shore Marketplace at 66-250 Kam Hwy., where we had a chocolate cake with ultra-chocolate fudge frosting topped with the sweetest most pungent juicy fresh-from-the-tree local mangoes we’ve ever tasted. Stop in for a cup at the North Shore Marketplace and after, some great shopping at its unique local-flavored stores, as well as chains Patagonia and Quicksilver Board Rider’s Club. Then swing by Raging Isle for very cool surf clothes as well as skate and bicycle supplies...and if you’re in the market for a new board, Raging Isle has an in-house surfboard shaper.

For cool take-home Hawaii souvenirs that you won’t be tempted to toss a month from now, step into Global Creations and Interiors at 66-079 Kam Hwy. Then, if you hunger for an unforgettable meal, walk a few steps into Haleiwa Eats Thai at the same address for non-Americanized Thai cuisine in a non-trad setting: “The food is beautiful and the staff delicious”, as one internet reviewer quipped. Order the Panang Duck with jasmine rice. Just remember: at Haleiwa Eats Thai, hot means hot. Cool your tongue afterward with a shave ice at Matsumoto at 66-087 Kam Hwy.] or Aoki’s at 66-117 Kam Hwy. Try yours local style —ask for azuki beans and vanilla ice cream on the bottom.

There are two beach parks in Haleiwa. Avoid Haleiwa Beach Park, located just past Jameson's as you're heading eastward toward Waimea Beach.  Ali`i Beach Park on the west side of town is far superior, with its huge shaded lawn, sweet beach, beautiful North Shore views and awesome surf contests in winter.


oahu guidebook:

KCC Farmers Market

Hawaii Oahu Leeward Shore Yokohama Beach copyright discoveringhawaii.com
Hawaii Leeward Oahu Shore Keaau Beach copyright discoveringhawaii.com

FARMERS MARKET: The Saturday KCC Farmers' Market is a must-do event because of the quality of the prepared foods, extraordinary Oahu-grown produce, and the very friendly sweet-natured crowds. Many people grab a table or sit on the grass to drink Hawaii-grown coffee, or eat the luscious baked goods or other gastronimical treats. Hawaii's best Farmers' Market takes place every Saturday at Kapiolani Community College [KCC], located on the backside of Diamond Head Crater at 4303 Diamond Head Road, 8 AM until noon. Whether or not you have access to kitchen facilities, this is the place to come for island-grown-only fresh fruits and veggies, seafood, chickens, eggs and grass-fed Haleiwa beef, as well as scrumptious take-out prepared foods for the beach or condo. Parking is easy and plentiful.

FREE OUTDOOR MOVIES ON THE BEACH: On Kapiolani Beach, adjacent to The Wall at the Diamond Head-end of Waikiki, Sunset On The Beach takes place regularly on weekends, with free outdoor movies screening after the sun sets. Before that, food and live entertainment begin about 4 p.m. There is no admission charge and all are welcome. Call 923-1094 for movie and event schedule. Episodes of HAWAII 5-O are screened, and a huge celebration centered around the premiere of the final season of LOST, with stars in attendance. Takes place on the last Friday in January.

THE LEEWARD SIDE of Oahu has gotten a bad rep —and not entirely undeserved— almost exclusively due to the unfriendliness of some of the locals, and lately, the homeless encampments the county has allowed to spring up in some of the parks...you’ll know just by looking whether you ‘d feel comfortable stopping at any particular one. Visit during the week when beaches are nearly deserted, and head for the northernmost beaches of Makaha, Keaau, Makua, and Yokohama. The scenery is breathtaking, and seldom pictured in any tourist promotions. Whether the grasses covering the mountains and valleys are golden or brilliant green, the effect is almost surreal. Unspoiled, unbuilt, and unpopulated, the beaches here are spectacular, with wonderful surfing waves.

Hawaii Oahu Leeward Shore Yokohama Makua Valley copyright discoveringhawaii.com
Hawaii Oahu Lanikai Kaiwa Ridge Trailhead copyright discoveringhawaii.com

  oahu guidebook:

The Kaiwa Ridge Trail:

Park where it’s not prohibited, and look for this pathway that goes uphill along the chain link fence.

Right above the beautiful tony beach enclave of Lanikai, uphill on Kaelepulu St., you can skitter up a slope and in less than 5 minutes see this exact view. More than this, the vista is 360 degrees wide, and the breezes wonderful. Bring water and a camera, and visit a bunker that stood protective watch over Oahu during WWII.


  oahu guidebook:

Spectacular Leeward Oahu Beaches: Kea`au

Keaau Beach Park, 83-431 Farrington Hwy, Waianae, pictured top, and Yokohama Beach, middle.

Hawaii Oahu Windward Shore Makapuu Beach Lighthouse Trail Hike copyright discoveringhawaii.com
Hawaii oahu Hauula Trail Hike Laie copyright discoveringhawaii.com

Hauula Trail

Don’t Miss:

  1. North Shore Farms

  2. Neapolitan Pizza

  3. Kahuku Sea Asparagus

KAHANA BAY on Oahu’s Leeward shore is a lovely crescent bay with great snorkeling roadside, near the Crouching Lion, a terrific swimming hole in Kahana Valley, and a beautiful grove of coconut palms. The inner bay waters may be clouded with silt after a rain as a major stream empties into the southeast end of Kahana Bay.

  oahu guidebook:


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Hawaii Oahu Windward Shore Kahana Bay copyright discoveringhawaii.com

Makapu`u Head Trail

Makapu`u Head Trail


KOKONUTS, OR ISLAND SNOW? The First Family’s vacation favorites are many —they often visit Sea Life Park, eat at Lucy’s Grill in Kailua, take the entire crew for shave ice at Island Snow in Kailua or Kokonuts in Hawaii Kai.  Places the First family has been spotted previously are numbered in the blue circles on the map above.

oahu guidebook:


oahu guidebook


IN YOUR HASTE TO MAKE TIME as you drive around the island, you can overlook a lot of wonderful scenery and swimming opportunities, so keep an eye out. Clockwise: At Waiahole, pull over to enjoy this gorgeous view of the pali and Chinaman’s Hat isle. After passing Chinaman’s Hat at Kualoa, look to the left for the sugar mill ruins...but keep off, they’re collapsing. At Ka`a`awa, right next to the highway, hop out and have a quick swim. At Punaluu, stop and enjoy the shaded picnic tables at sand’s edge. After passing Laie, pull into Malaekahana State Recreation Area and head to the beach. Look seaward to see close-by Goat Island, with it;s wonderful sheltered crescent bay and white sand. Paddle over on a boogie board.

Hawaii North Shore Oahu Waimea bay huge wave surfers contest copyright discoveringhawaii.com

  oahu guidebook:


OAHU’S NORTH SHORE is a mecca each winter for surfers from all over the world as swells up to 50 feet high bulldoze through gridlocked wave warriors competing for top honors, or just bragging rights. Contests are held from Haleiwa on the west to Sunset Beach on the east and multiple venues betwixt and between. Keep your eye on the surf reports and an ear to the media for upcoming events all season long.

Surf the web for the latest @ surfnewsnetwork.com  or  surfcontestinfo.com

oahu guidebook:


Historic Queen Emma’s Summer Palace 808-595-3167 is located at 2913 Pali Hwy. The Palace was used by Queen Emma to escape the heat and bustle of Honolulu, and the Daughters of Hawaii have furnished the house with beautiful pieces belonging to the Queen and her family. Especially poignant is the cradle and bedroom of little Prince Albert, whose guilt-ridden father King Kamehameha IV had drenched with water in anger a few short days before Albert developed a fever and died. Britain’s Queen Victoria, Albert’s godmother, had sent a bishop of the Church of England to Hawaii to preside over the child’s christening, but young Albert passed away before the bishop’s arrival. It is said that the king drank himself to death trying to drown his grief. The Palace has some outstanding examples of antique Hawaiian quilts on display, and the gift shop has some very nice handmade things available nowhere else. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call first to reconfirm their hours and prices.

The Summer Palace Entrance; Queen Emma pictured in an 1865 Paris newspaper; Sunny will guide you through the treasures at Queen Emma’s Summer Palace.

Hawaii Lanikai Oahu Kailua Kaiwa Ridge Trail copyright discoveringhawaii.com

Lanikai: The Kaiwa Ridge Trail

Haleiwa Beach Surf Contest,

Sunset at Turtle Beach, Surf Shop in Haleiwa Town, Lifeguard Tower

The 71st Anniversary of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor Is Being Commemorated This Year.

The overwhelming military casualties inflicted by the Japanese overshadowed the painful civilians’ toll.

Ironically it was Hawaii’s Japanese-American civilians who suffered the greatest civilian losses.

Kurusu was the Japanese envoy to the United States. The Honolulu Advertiser headlined (see above) previous to the attack fearing a Japanese strike was imminent, and it is known that Washington was warned of the approaching attack by numerous sources, including friendly nations with foreign embassies in Japan.

At the top is a rare color photograph of the USS Arizona exploding.

-Civilians shown here riding in their car were caught in the deadly attack a full 11 miles from Pearl Harbor. A backseat female passenger’s blonde curls lie splayed across the back of the front seat as her two companions slump dead.

-A soldier runs past a house set afire by a Japanese plane shot down.

-A family inspects the severe damage to their home caused by an exploding bomb.

These civilian casualties were located well away from the military targets.

Below is a postcard printed in Japan boasting of the attack.

The Hawaii Nature “Conservancy”

They’ve Set A Dangerous Trap For You & Yours

Hundreds Of Pig Snares Lie Hidden In Deadly Wait For The Unwary—Both Animal and Human—In Hawaii’s Forests

Many hundreds of PIG SNARES, arguably just a step or two below land mines in their potential cruelty, have been HIDDEN by the Hawaii Nature Conservancy in Hawaii forests where unsuspecting weekend families and Paradise-struck tourists roam, with no markings to warn anyone, nor any responsibility taken on the part of the Nature Conservancy to check these snares to see what unfortunate creature might be dying in their traps other than the feral pigs they seek to eradicate.

Inga Gibson of the Humane Society of the United States has been working tirelessly to get a law passed requiring those who set snare traps to clearly mark them, and to check them every 24 hours. In other words, to take responsibility, a novel concept for all too many individuals and organizations these days.

Nature Conservancy TV spokesmodel Mark Fox vehemently opposes Inga Gibson’s no-nonsense, humane requirement of those who set these barbaric death traps, because, well, it would be too expensive, the Nature Conservancy representative argues, to actually hire someone to go check on the things!

Puni Freitas’ beloved dog Mamalu lost a front leg last year to a pig snare near her home. It was touch-and-go for Mamalu for six days before the family was told their pet would survive and recover. “Knowing it was a snare that had done it,” Freitas says, “we were really upset that people were leaving snares and not checking them. Most of the pig hunting families, they don’t support the use of snares. It’s too dangerous for our dogs and for our kids who still have the opportunity to go run in the mountains.

Posters of lost pets abound in rural areas of Hawaii especially. We suspect that there might be some possibility that when the Nature Conservancy finds a cherished family pet dead or driven insane with a gangrened limb in one of their traps, they might not report it. A dead missing child who’s wandered off and become ensnared might be a little more difficult to ignore, an inevitable tragedy the likes of which the Humane Society’s law seeks to prevent before it can occur.

KITV Honolulu Video

This Discovery Channel video (click the link) is misleading by ignoring the fact that if this dog were not heard and rescued, it would have chewed off its own leg, or died here, as would a child. When it comes to unintended victims, there’s no such thing as a “humane” trap of any kind whatsoever.



The Hawaii Visitors & Conventions Bureau:


Driving & Discovering Oahu


WHALE watch


On OAHU, whales are seen plentifully off the Halona Shore and Sandy Beach.

The higher you go, the better the view.

Honolulu’s St. Louis Heights, seen here as the full moon rises over it, boasts a lovely park at the top, seldom visited by tourists. It is cool and breezy up here, with towering Norfolk Pines that the winds whistle through, as well as sheltered picnic tables. Great Vistas of the entirety of South Oahu can be had from here, as well as back into Palolo Valley, adjacent.

The Old Pali Road, bottom, closed to motor traffic, but open to pedestrians. It is located to the right of the Pali Lookout observation area. Grand vistas of the Windward Shore, offshore islands and an interesting view of the rugged, corrugated pali as they meander down the coast.

Ben Boyle takes you along for company on his solo hike to Laie Falls, above the Mormon Center of Laie Town

Honolulu High Spots

Laie High Country Hike


On Oahu’s North Shore, watch giant green sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs. Look, but do not touch.

WINTER CONTESTS @ north shore oahu / november & december

Reef Hawaiian Pro @ Haleiwa Alii Beach
Nov. 12 to 24.http://vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com/reefhawaiianpro2012/video-view/follow-the-sun
Vans World Cup of Surfing @ Sunset Beach
Nov. 25 to Dec. 6.http://vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com/vansworldcupofsurfing2012/video-view/vans-x-captain-fin
Billabong Pipe Masters @ Banzai Pipeline
Dec. 8 to 20http://vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com/billabongpipemasters2012/video-view/daze-at-sea

The 7th annual Pyramid Rock Body Surfing Championship is back starting on January 12 and 13, 2013 with holding period going through February 17. So get your fins ready and enter this truly unique body surfing contest which takes place at the epic winter swells at Pyramid Rock.

 Pyramid Rock offers choice surfing during the winter months especially when Kona winds blow from the South sometimes creating long barrels rivaling the waves on the North Shore of Oahu. This body surfing contest is open to all levels of talent and will showcase some of Hawaii’s best up and coming and amateur body surfers. Open to military members and the public. Event starts at 0700-1630 with trophies awarded to the top three finishers in the following divisions: Males age 18 and below, 19-25 years, 26-34 years, 35-49 years, 50 years and over; and women’s open (no age limit).

Pyramid Rock  @ marine base / january