Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and take on lush greenery and beautiful mountains in East Oahu
Oahu's East Shore is located approximately 30 minutes from Honolulu and Waikiki. The region comprises quiet, coastal neighborhoods and towns nestled between the ocean and mountain ranges. Bordered by Ko'olau Range, East Shore extends from Kahana Bay to Makapuu Point and Lighthouse on the southeastern part of Oahu and includes the following communities: Kahala, Kaimuki, and Hawaii Kai.
Since the wind and weather come in from the east, East Oahu is an incredibly lush and beautiful region. The air is also cooler than the rest of the island because much of the incoming moisture gets blown over the volcanoes. This weather makes things more beautiful, carving dramatic formations into the mountain ranges, feeding waterfalls, and allowing local flora to flourish. It also allows for various outdoor activities, such as snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and swimming.
East Oahu homes are eclectic and among the most sought-after on the island. The region features single-family homes, luxury waterfront homes, and hillside properties with incredible views. Many houses were built in the 1960s and have undergone renovations to include modern amenities like spas and pools.
What to Love
- Peaceful and laid-back lifestyle
- Lots of waterfront and hillside properties with beautiful views
- Popular tourist spot
East Oahu bursts with history — explore the many rock platforms scattered throughout the island that were once altars, fishponds, and villages. The ancient ruins found along East Oahu are treasures to Hawaii natives and tourists, enhancing the Hawaiian lifestyle by incorporating tales of history and legends into the modern culture of the island.
The pace is slower, so don't expect anything to happen quickly. The residents are more oriented toward nature. Activities like beachgoing, diving, boating, hiking, exploring the ruins, and surfing are favorite pastimes here.
Dining, Entertainment, and Shopping
From the eclectic food scene in Chinatown to barefoot fish tacos, you'll find almost anything in Honolulu. Fresh East Oahu offers an extensive list of dining and shopping options. The Hawaii Kai Towne Center is home to a variety of shops and restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse, Maile's Thai Bistro, Costco Wholesale, GNC, and more. You can also get a haircut, visit a spa, do some banking, and more in one destination.
The nearby Koko Marina offers more boutiques, restaurants, water sports, a movie theater, and more. Highlights include 24-Hour Fitness, Consolidated Theaters, and Kona Brewing Company, which overlooks the marina.
Kahala Mall is located just a few minutes from Waikiki and features over 100 local shops, premier retailers, and restaurants. Whether you are looking for a souvenir, something special to wear, or a taste of Hawaii, this indoor mall has all the bases covered.
A stroll along Koko Avenue in Kaimuki will reveal a variety of small shops and retailers offering all kinds of products, including clothing, music, furniture, and more. Kaimuki is also home to major shopping centers like Market City Shopping Center and Kaimuki Shopping Center that are worth checking out.
Things to Do
Hanauma Bay is one of the most popular spots for spotting turtles underwater and snorkeling in the Pacific Ocean. Even if you don't spot a turtle during your snorkeling adventure, the hundreds of fish and marine species you'll see are breathtaking.
There are many hikes in East Oahu, including Diamond Head Crater Hike, Koko Head Hiking Trail, and Makapuu Lighthouse Trail. Diamond Head Trail is quite a rewarding hike that offers 360-degree views when you get to the summit. It isn't easy initially, but it gets easier as you climb.
Koko Crater Railway Trailhead is a steep hike up an abandoned railroad track on Koko Crater. Depending on your speed, it can take 15 to 90 minutes to hike to the top, at which point you're rewarded with dramatic ocean and city views.
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is a 1-mile paved trail that offers a somewhat easy climb to the Makapuu Lighthouse. You can see Lanai, Maui, and Molokai in the distance on clear days from the lighthouse.