Driving Oahu’s East Coast with Shaka Guide
Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive takes you on an epic coastal road trip. You’ll hike to the summits of dormant volcanoes, snorkel at one of Oahu’s top spots, relax on white-sand beaches, and explore a 400-acre botanical garden.
About Oahu’s Eastern Shore
Oahu’s east coast may not be as popular as its northern counterpart (the North Shore), but this unruly stretch of shore offers a unique glimpse into the island’s history. On Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive, you’ll traverse past Honolulu to make your way to Oahu’s windward side experiencing unforgettable landscapes, active adventures, and hidden gems along the way.
As you’re driving along Kalanianaʻole Highway towards Kaneohe on Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive, you’ll pass can’t-miss scenic and historic sites. You’ll want to pull over at Halona Blowhole. This natural wonder is an underwater cave created by volcanic eruptions. On days with strong winds and high tide, water shoots out of this cave like a geyser. While you’re there, take a look at adjacent Halona Beach Cove, also known as Eternity Beach or Cockroach Cove. This spot is most notable for providing the backdrop to Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr’s famous kiss in the movie “From Here to Eternity.” You can hike down to the beach for a dip or just take in views from above.
Continue driving and you’ll reach Sandy Beach. This spot is known for its shore break. We suggest you sit back and watch bodyboarders and surfers test their skills!
Finally, as you’re winding down your tour, we’ll guide you to an ancient Hawaiian heiau. A Heaiu is a temple where ceremonies and spiritual worship took place. You can hop out of the car and take a short walk on the path next to the heiau to see a taro patch. Taro is an important crop here in Hawaii and it’s used to make poi; you’ll learn all about it on the tour!
In addition to the sites you’ll see, there are some activities you’ll want to plan for. There are three hikes to choose from — or you can do them all! These are Diamond Head Crater, Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail, and Judd Trail. The first two are dormant volcanoes and the third is a jungle walk. All the hikes are considered easy to moderate and 2-miles or under round trip.
Diamond Head sees about 3,000 visitors a day, so it’s a highly trafficked trail. If you’re looking for something a bit calmer we recommend Makapu’u Point. You’ll hike the paved walkway to the top where you can lookout onto a historic lighthouse, Oahu’s windward beaches, and the Ko’olau mountains.
Not only can you hike to the summits of Oahu’s volcanoes, you can snorkel in the island’s seas at Hanauma Bay. This crescent-shaped bay is one of Oahu’s top attractions and is home to about 450 types of sea life.
Finally, if you’re looking for an active adventure while at the award-winning beach in Kailua, rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board in Kailua town. The water at this beach is bright turquoise and the waves are gentle, allowing you to kayak or paddle board with ease.
While you’re touring Oahu with Shaka Guide, you’ll be in some of the island’s best foodie neighborhoods. Take the opportunity to become familiar with Hawaiian cuisine! Start your day with a malasada from Leonard’s Bakery. These deep-fried doughnuts are coated in sugar and you can even get them stuffed with flavors like haupia (coconut), chocolate, guava, and macadamia nut. Grab a few extra for the drive and head out on your east coast adventure.
For lunch, you’ll have a number of options. If you want to try traditional Hawaiian fare, visit Ono Steak and Shrimp in Waimanalo where you can get a plate lunch or poke. After lunch your just a short drive from Dave’s Ice Cream; a local shop with daily-made ice cream in flavors like chocolate macadamia nut, Kona coffee, and ube.
If you’d like to wait and grab lunch in Kailua, that’s also an option that won’t disappoint. You’ll have a variety of eateries to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a refreshing acai bowl, a vegan or vegetarian lunch, or a pre-beach sandwich, Kailua’s got you covered!
Explore Oahu’s eastern coastline | Tor Johnson, Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)
Wrapping Up Your Day
No matter what you choose to see and do on your East Oahu Shoreline adventure with Shaka Guide, we’re sure you’ll leave the day with a new appreciation for this vibrant corner of Oahu.
Also check out: Shaka Guide’s East Oahu Shoreline Drive Itinerary