One of the prettiest shoreline drives in Oahu is, without a doubt, Highway 83. This picturesque driving tour with its miles of crystal blue pacific ocean was truly captivating. Imagine how hard it was for me to keep my eyes forward, especially during those times when the road was hugging the ocean so closely! My only plan was to cruise this stretch of highway at a slower pace, and to stop whenever something caught my eye since no agenda was planned beforehand.
I lucked out when searching for a rental car deal online, and scored this sporty whip for my week in paradise!
Once you start driving from the Windward Mall, in Kane'ohe, you are committed to this joyride until you have reached Hale'iwa, which is only 40 miles, but it takes an hour to complete. Being bound to that two-lane road with nearly no stop lights is actually the drive of my dreams! No commitment issues here :D
1.) The first stop on my coastal tour along the windward side of Oahu was Kualoa Beach Park, which sits at the edge of Kane'ohe Bay. Had I not already eaten lunch this oceanfront park would have been the perfect place for a picnic. A seemingly endless lawn is matched by a sandy strip of beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. The 208 ft high off-shore island seen from the waters edge is known as Mokoli'i Island or Chinaman's Hat.
Even if you can't muster the courage or stamina to swim the 614 yards it takes in order to reach the island, viewing it from afar is as good as it gets, although I have heard that it's easier to get to during low tide.
2.) This roadside attraction wasn't anything you would read about in a guidebook. Chances are they might not still be standing, but if they are, you'd want to see them! As I made my way from town to town, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed these statue-like figures teetering on the edge of the pavement. Quickly, I found a place to turn around so I could investigate further. I was able to park at the Crouching Lion Inn (around mile marker 27), which was right across the street.
What I found as I crossed over to the other side were a grouping of rock cairns balancing in between the ocean's crashing waves and speeding motorists flying down the highway. I was amazed that they remained unscathed. But that's precisely why rock cairns are so special to begin with.
You can't help but be mesmerized by the gravity-defying feats those stones can achieve. It was somewhat funny that I chanced upon this display when I did because I made one at the last stop only a few miles up the road! But before heading along my merry way, I collected a pile of rocks and stacked some stones of my own to leave as an offering for my appreciation. As you can see in the above photo, I have yet to reach a point in my rock cairn making where balance has taken precedence, with me, it's more about aesthetics. Maybe balance will come later :D
3.) La'ie Point: From this sandstone point you get a grand view of the natural arch that was carved by a tsunami in 1946. Yep, the tsunami punched a hole in the rock!
To the right of the off-shore island you get a good glimpse of the windward side of Oahu. While this site offers great views, it only takes a short time to visit. Okay, maybe it was a little boring, but it was still cool!
I think that it would be an absolute shame for anyone heading to the island of Oahu to forgo seeing this side of the island because they're planning on staying around the heavily populated cities. The areas from Kane'ohe (Windward) to Hale'iwa (North Shore) are some of the most beautiful sights I found while driving around Oahu, but they can't be easily accessed like most of the sights found around Honolulu or Waikiki. Even if you rented a car for one day, it would be well worth your while to experience the pleasure of driving along one of the best highways while visiting Oahu!
In my next post I will share the other 3 Sights to see along Highway 83!
Update: Now posted! Click below.
4.) Snorkeling (for free) in Sharks Cove
5.) Shave Ice @ Matsumoto's
6.) Waimea Bay
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- 6 Sights to See on Highway 83 (Part 2)
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