It’s so easy to take a nature journey to Oahu! While Honolulu is a major urban center, it’s also about as scenic as cities get, surrounded by gorgeous green mountains and rainbows in the late afternoons. Whether you prefer to explore nature on the land or sea, you’ll have abundant opportunities to do it here on sunny Oahu.
Snorkel and Swim with Sea Life
First: the ocean. We live and breathe by it here in Hawaii. You have a myriad of options for enjoying it, so take your pick. Would you like to snorkel with green sea turtles, admire migratory humpbacks, or cage dive with hammerhead sharks? All this Oahu wildlife and more are available to you. You can also explore undersea beauty by scuba diving, glass-bottom boats, or submarine. The choice is yours!
Beaches Off the Beaten Path
While Waikiki is beautiful, those in search of nature will want to take a drive around the island and stop off at some of the less-crowded beach destinations. Kailua Beach on the windward side is a popular choice for families, and you can rent kayaks and head out to the small offshore island there that is a bird sanctuary. Head to the North Shore and enjoy a swim at world-famous Waimea Bay (but don’t swim in the winter, when the shorebreak becomes quite deadly!).
Explore Nature in the City
You might be surprised to learn just how much beautiful Oahu nature there is to be found even in the urban center of Honolulu. Oahu’s many arboretums offer city dwellers and visitors alike a chance to see some incredible specimens of trees, both indigenous and exotic. Foster Garden in downtown Honolulu has the biggest and oldest on display, as it was originally established during King Kalakaua’s reign. You’ll completely forget you’re in the middle of a city! To see dryland species, head out to Koko Crater Arboretum and marvel at the size of the massive cacti there. And, for tropical lushness, Lyon Arboretum in the back of Manoa Valley simply can’t be beat. The best part is, all of these places are just a short drive from the urban center, so it won’t take up your whole day to see them.
Take a Hike
Finally, no nature journey to Oahu would be complete without going for a hike. Luckily, this mountainous island has many excellent public trails to choose from. In town, head to Manoa Falls or Mount Tantalus for a fun and quick excursion but expect to get muddy. For a hike with definitely no mud, take a walk up the short but steep trail at Diamond Head, but be warned that incredible views come with incredible crowds, so it’s best to start at 6 am when the park opens. Please be advised that some trails on Oahu, while they may be gorgeous, are not only dangerous but off-limits and illegal: don’t disrespect local laws and culture just to get a great selfie.
Have fun planning your nature and Oahu wildlife journey! Don’t forget to book a vacation rental in Oahu with the help of the team at Arrived Now!
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