10 Must See Spots When Driving Through East Oahu

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There’s so much to do when visiting Oahu, Hawaii that there’s never enough time to do it all so let’s take a drive from the east side of Honolulu all the way up to Turtle Bay and stop at the best sight seeing places on our way there. There’s a lot more then just 10 spots to see but here’s the top 10 on my list.

Let’s start off at Koko Head Crater (aka Stairs of Doom). This is a hike that many people do when they come visit Hawaii and it has rewarding views but it’s not an easy hike to do. Lots of stairs and no shade so hydration is a must. But we aren’t hiking today. Let’s just pull over at the scenic point that over looks this gorgeous mountain and admire it’s beauty.
Next stop is right up the road. We will be stopping at Hanauma Bay. It’s one of the top snorkeling spots on the island as it’s a reservation and the marine life is very protected here but we’re just admiring the views. Pull in and park, walk around admire the gorgeous bay below.
Following Haunama Bay we can take a quick stop at one of the scenic view points. You will see a small parking lot on the side of the road. Here you will see three must see spots. You can view the Eternity Beach on the right side of the parking lot and on the left side you will see Sandy Beach and the Halona Blowhole. All tourist MUST-SEE spots. My favorite is Eternity Beach. I can’t get over all the blues in that beach. You may have seen this beach in several movies as well such as “From Here to Eternity.”
Next stop will be Lanikai Beach. It’s by far one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. The clear turquoise waters that you see on travel magazines is what you will find here along with two little islands to the distance making this one gorgeous MUST-SEE beach. I will highly recommend taking a day of your vacation and spending it here. I usually do the Lanikai Pillbox Hike and then head over to the beach for a full day of adventure. (Check out my post on the Lanikai Pillbox Hike for more info.)

Now let’s head on over to the Byodo In Temple. It’s only a few dollars to get in and it’s a quick walk around the temple. Gorgeous mountain sites plus lots to learn. It’s a replicated temple of the real Byodo In Temple. Don’t forget to ring the bell. Read more about the Byodo Temple here.

We have three more spots to stop by at. Next up is Chinaman’s Hat and Laie Point. Chinaman’s Hat is this little island that you will see to your right that, well, looks just like a Chinaman’s hat. Can’t miss it. It’s located on a beautiful beach park and gorgeous views all around. It’s surrounded by mountains and beach. Great to go for a quick swim or just to look around and enjoy a relaxing afternoon.Let’s head on north to Laie Point now. You will know this spot as the famous Forgetting Sarah Marshall cliff jump where Peter failed to jump off the cliff and just fell. And not to forget to mention their first kiss. This is a popular spot to, not just cliff jump, but to go fishing as well. If walking through here with little kids please be careful as it is rocky and there’s open water all around the point but don’t let this scare you. It’s absolutely breath taking and you can’t miss it for the world.

And last but not least, Turtle Bay. Also known as the hotel where they were all staying at in the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. This is more considered to be North Shore but it’s at a spot on the island that I see it as either/or or even both. I like coming here to see the sunsets or just to drive by. It’s a really pretty spot. Other then that this would be my ending point for the East side. Stay tuned for our upcoming post on North Shore where you will find some of the most stunning beaches and best surf spots on Oahu.**Don’t forget to subscribe to stay caught up on our following posts, giveaways, our jewelry shop, and more..**

Disclaimer: This post is in no way compensated or affiliated. All opinions and experiences are my own. Always respect the locals of the place you travel too and learn from other cultures. Admire and care for the world you live in.

Hi, I'm Jessica!

I am a wife and mother to three amazing kids. A coffee addict and wine lover. I also have a huge love for the mountains and the the ocean. Through my blog I hope to inspire families to spend more time outdoors. 


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3 Responses

  1. These spots in East Oahu are wonderful! One could see in the photos how close to nature one can get. I wouldn’t miss the opportunity of trying to hike and reach the top of the Koko Head Crater. If one opts for a more relaxing trip, there are beaches as well. Even I would pick Eternity Beach as my favorite.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post on the 10 must-see spots when driving through East Oahu. It’s evident that you have a deep appreciation for the beauty and charm of this region, and your recommendations are fantastic for anyone planning a road trip in that area.

    Your first suggestion, Hanauma Bay, is indeed a gem. Its stunning turquoise waters and vibrant marine life make it a perfect spot for snorkeling and exploring the underwater world. The advice you provided about arriving early to beat the crowds and the importance of respecting the fragile ecosystem is spot on.

    I also appreciate your mention of the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail. The panoramic views from the trail are simply breathtaking, and the opportunity to spot whales during the winter months is an incredible bonus. It’s essential to remind readers to wear proper footwear and bring water since the hike can be challenging in certain sections.

    The inclusion of Waimanalo Beach in your list is another great choice. With its pristine sandy shores and calm waters, it’s the ideal place to relax and soak up the sun. The local food trucks you mentioned sound like a fantastic way to satisfy hunger after a day of exploring.

    I was pleased to see that you recommended the Byodo-In Temple as well. This serene and picturesque Japanese temple offers a unique cultural experience amidst the lush surroundings of the Valley of the Temples. The black swans and koi fish add to the tranquility of the place.

    Your suggestion to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center is excellent, especially for those interested in learning more about the rich Polynesian heritage. The center’s various villages, cultural performances, and hands-on activities provide a comprehensive immersion into the traditions and customs of different Pacific island cultures.

    Your list also highlights the beauty of the Ko’olau Mountains, with stops at Pali Lookout and Kailua Beach. The Pali Lookout, with its sweeping views of the Windward Coast, is truly awe-inspiring, while Kailua Beach’s turquoise waters and fine sand make it a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts.

    Lastly, your mention of the Koko Crater Railway Trail demonstrates your adventurous spirit. Climbing the steep stairs to the top of Koko Crater rewards hikers with panoramic views that make the effort worthwhile. I appreciate your suggestion to bring plenty of water and be prepared for a challenging trek.

    Thank you for sharing these valuable insights into the must-see spots of East Oahu. Your passion for the area shines through your writing, and I’m sure it will inspire many readers to embark on their own unforgettable journey. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read it and express your lovely thoughts about my article. I’m glad to hear that you have found very valuable information in this blog post to help you on your trip planning. Hope you can continue to come back to find valuable travel inspiration and tips to help you continue to get good insight on traveling in Oahu.

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