Oahu Sightseeing

Most Oahu sightseeing tours have the following stops with a few modifications depending on the type of tour it is but 90% of them will follow this format.

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kualoa ranch aerial

Kualoa Valley

 

 

Oahu Circle Island Tours

Below is a synopsis of what you can expect to experience during a circle island tour of Oahu. Most stops allow 15 minutes or so to take pictures while others you drive by. The driver points out places of interest and narrates along the way.

Lunch is at your cost with a stop being made at a local restaurant. On the tour I recommend here you get to spend an hour at Kualoa Ranch and an hour at Dole Pineapple Plantation for a maximum experience AND value.

 

Hanauma Bay

 

hanauma bay oahu

Hanauma Bay lookout (except Tuesdays; closed) is a featured stop on circle island tours. Known as the most popular snorkeling spot this sanctuary offers world class conditions.

You will have the opportunity to stop at the lookout and take pictures.

Following Hanauma Bay is a stop to the Halona Blowhole. From there you can see water shoot straight up through a blowhole in the rocks.

Located to the left of there is Sandy beach which is known for its massive shorebreak and is popular with boogie boarders. To the right is the From Here to Eternity beach which was the filming location for this 1953 movie.


 

Pali lookout

pali lookout hawaii

The Pali Lookout

 

The Pali lookout is one of the most scenic lookouts on the island. Located off of the Pali Highway and deep in the forest it offers panoramic 160 degree views of the Windward coast as far as the eye can see.

 

 


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Windward Coast Highlights

kahana valley oahu

Kahana Valley

 

 

The Windward side offers the most scenic drives on the island. With drop dead gorgeous valleys to the left and the Pacific ocean to the right you feel like you're in the middle of a postcard.

The Ko'Olau mountain range runs the length of the coast which makes for a dramatic backdrop.

This curvy, winding road will take you past old plantation houses, flower nurseries and ancient fishponds. A stop at Byodo-In, a replica of a Buddhist temple is also included.

There is a special energy, a sacredness about the windward coast. I never get tired of the drive and to me it evokes a feeling of "old Hawaii" and a simpler, slower way of living.

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Byodo-In Temple Chinaman's Hat Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa ranch has been used for filming many of Hollywood's most famous movies and television shows. For instance King Kong, Jurassic Park, Battleship and Lost have all been filmed here.

 


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North Shore Highlights

sunset beach oahu beach

Sunset Beach

 

The north shore is one of the most beautiful places on the island. Known for its huge surf in the winter and world class snorkeling in the summer it is worth visiting.

Some of my favorite restaurants are up here and the beaches stretch for miles. The vibe is mellow and laid back. Read more

Haleiwa town has lots of funky stores, boutiques and restaurants all revolving around a surf theme. The famous Matsumoto's Shave Ice is here and 5 minutes down the road is "turtle beach" (Laniakea) which features turtles nesting on the sand.

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Waimea Bay in the summer Big waves in the winter

You will have the opportunity to drive past Waimea Bay which is famous for waves as big as 60ft tall. In the summer the water is calm and perfect for swimming or jumping off of the big rock there.


 

Dole Pineapple Plantation

dole pineapple plantation

Dole Pineapple Plantation

 

The Dole Pineapple plantation is a popular stop on the north shore. You will have the opportunity to stop by the visitors' center and buy fresh pineapple and souvenirs.

I recommend trying their popular pineapple whip ice cream.

 

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Mini Circle Island Tours of Oahu

Half circle island tours generally start midday and take 4 hours.

There is the opportunity to view Waikiki from the Diamond Head lookout and go to the top of Mount Tantalus for incredible views.

This is definitely off the beaten track.

makapuu lighthouse lookout

Makapuu Lighthouse Lookout

 

You still get to go to Hanauma Bay (except Tuesdays), the Halona Blowhole and the Pali lookout.

The drive is very pretty and is perfect for those who are either limited on time or who just want to get a taste of the island. Think of it as an appetizer.

 

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