Field Guide: Be Our Guest
Tired of showing visitors the same old tourist destinations? Try these alternatives to freshen things up.
Paddling on the Ala Wai
The Waikiki Beach Boys’ Social Paddling program is the perfect way to introduce your guests to paddling. For $10, you can get in a double-hull canoe, learn the basics and paddle out to the ocean for a swim. Social Paddling usually happens Sundays at 3 p.m., but check the website (waikikibeachboys.com) first to make sure it’s happening. On the Ala Wai, next to the McCully Street bridge.
La Mariana Sailing Club
While it’s fun to venture into Waikiki for drinks, the traffic, messy parking and crowds can get old. La Mariana has one of the best sunset views in town, and feels like a bit of Old Hawaii. There are puffer-fish lamps, fishnets hanging from the ceiling and tikis all around. The Mai Tai is the signature drink here, but try Daddy’s Rum Punch for the perfect sunset cocktail. 50 Sand Island Access Road.
Royal Birthing Stones
The Kukaniloko Birthing Stones are 80 rounded stones found just north of Wahiawa. Used by Hawaiian royalty, the stones were used for labor and delivery, and are believed to have been aligned with the stars, making them Hawaii’s Stonehenge. Petroglyphs can be found on some of the stones. Kukaniloko is one of the most sacred sites on Oahu. Drive through Wahiawa, and turn left opposite Whitmore Avenue into what appears to be a pineapple field.
Had enough of watching the Hanauma Bay movie yet again and then encountering more swimmers than fish? Go west. At the end of the road, past Waianae, the water of Yokohama Bay is clearer than any swimming pool. The sandy bottom is a shell collector’s dream, the reefs are some of the healthiest and prettiest on the island and dolphins are frequently spotted spinning off the coast. Check surf reports first, as the current and shorebreak are dangerous when there’s a west swell. Park near the lifeguard tower, and don’t leave valuables in your car. The end of Farrington Highway, Waianae.
Did You Know?
You’re not imagining it. The Arizona Memorial is one of Hawaii’s busiest tourist spots, with 4,500 visitors a day—1.5 million in a year.
The Fish Auction
Instead of having sushi at Nobu or Sansei, why not go straight to the source? Hawaii’s fishermen unload their catch at the United Fishing Agency auction every Monday through Saturday. The bell signaling the start of the auction rings at 5:30 a.m.; a great way to put Mainland jetlag to use. The auctioneer is quick, but the daily buyers are friendly and helpful. To buy fish, present your driver’s license at the counter prior to bidding, and bring cash. Covered shoes are required, and a sweater is recommended, because the building is a giant refrigerator. For as little as $25, you can take home an ahi and make fresh sashimi or poisson cru for dinner. Pier 38, off Nimitz Highway.
Aiea Loop Trail
Hawaii’s role in World War II is always interesting to learn about, but if you’ve been on the boat to the U.S.S. Arizona so many times you’ve got the speech memorized, why not go out and find a war-era plane crash in the mountains? If you look hard enough, about a mile after you get your first view of H-3 from the Aiea Loop Trail, you’ll find a B-24 Liberator that crashed on May 5, 1944. The plane is downslope of the trail, partially covered by a fallen tree. The hike starts at Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area, at the top of Aiea Heights Road, and is a relatively easy, five-mile loop. Bring water and bug repellent. The top of Aiea Heights Road, Aiea.
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