Having lived on Oahu all my life, not knowing when I would ever return, I made a few stops to soak up the atmosphere and imprint the beauty into my mind.
The Pali Lookout
I grew up in Kailua, Oahu until my early 20s, then moved to Kaneohe. The Pali Lookout is where you can see all that I was leaving behind. Kamehameha the Great and his army of men forced warriors over the cliffs to rule the islands. You can also see most all of the city of Kaneohe and Kailua, where I grew up, and the Marine Corp Air Base. This is one of the few site seeing areas that you can get to the mountain top view by car and not need to hike. The beauty of the mountains up close, the strong winds that can literally lift light-weight tourist into the air, and the view down to the ocean shores, is breathtaking.
Lanikai Beach Park
Since I grew up in Kailua, we were fortunate to experience the white sandy beaches on a regular basis. My mom would bring my brothers and I to play in the sand while we looked for shells and watched the windsurfers from the shore. Lanikai is still known as one of the best windsurfing beaches in the world. World Champion Robbie Nash grew up windsurfing at Lanikai. Today, Lanikai is known as the home to the LOST television stars when they are filming in Hawaii. Even the president and his family have vacationed in Lanikai. My first job was at my Aunt and Uncle’s beach store, which is still there but under new ownership – Kalapawai Market. It was also where my mom lived with my Aunt and Uncle; they cared for her when my mom was a young girl.
Ala Moana Beach Park
I swam my first Tinman Triathlon there. Over the years everyone has been to this beach park because of its calm waters near the shore and great surf as you paddle out. The picnic areas are flooded with people on weekends and holidays. Fireworks during the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve can be seen from everywhere. Often if I was near the area during my lunch hour I would park my car there, find a place to sit under the shade and just enjoy the sun and water.
A Non-Stop Drive Around Half the Island
With traffic and time, if I wanted to see my home island one more time, and I only had a short period of time I would drive the coastal area of Kailua, Waimanalo, around to Hawaii Kai, Kahala, Downtown Honolulu, into Pearl City, past Pearl Harbor and go back to Kaneohe via the H3 Freeway. Along the way I might stop at some favorite places to have some local foods which I write about in my article on, ‘Places to Eat Before Leaving Hawaii.’
If I have the time, besides visiting with family and friends, my church New Hope Oahu, and running errands, I would head out to the North Shore. The drive out to the Leeward is relatively smooth in the mornings as everyone is trying to get into town. By driving on the main highway I would still see some of the areas that I spent my life driving as a professional home health social worker, as I covered most all of the Leeward and Central Oahu. Driving through Mililani and up to Haleiwa and towards North Shore, the ride would remind me of the time on my Harley 1200L Sportster, (which I sold before I moved).
Driving through the pineapple fields with the mountains on the left and the Pacific Ocean as it peaked through the fields. A stop for shaved ice with a mix of rainbow flavors. Pulling over to the side where everyone is watching the surfers glide across humongous waves, I’m reminded that I wasn’t just lucky to live in Hawaii; I was truly blessed to be surrounded by awesomeness of our creator.