Oahu Activities & Vacations

Oahu Activities & Vacations
Oahu is probably the most popular place to vacation in Hawaii. Huge hotels and condominium complexes line Waikiki beach, so going to this island is not like traveling to a remote wilderness location. However, if you go to the North Shore, in the area around Haleiwa, you'll have a much more secluded vacation and still be able to participate in exciting outdoor activities.

Shark Encounters

You can take a boat out of the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor to swim near Galapagos and sandbar sharks. You'll in a cage with one-quarter inch thick plexiglass walls, allowing for close-ups photographs (using an underwater camera) of numerous sharks. You may also see dolphins and, if you are in the water between December and April, you stand a good chance of seeing migrating humpback whales. In 2009, two companies offered shark encounters out of Haleiwa. You don't need diving experience and will use a snorkel to swim near the surface of the water within the tank. The boats provide refreshments and have freshwater showers. This morning activity is about one hour from Waikiki. You will have to sign a liability waiver, and tips are not included in the price. You can get transportation to the harbor from some Waikiki hotels (at an additional charge), rent a car or take TheBus, Oahu's public transportation.

Hawaii Shark Encounters
Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor
66-105 Haleiwa Rd.
Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712
(808) 351-9373

North Shore Shark Adventures
Slip 35 Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor
Haleiwa, Hawaii 96712
(808) 228-5900

Waimea Falls Park

Waimea Falls Park has 1,800 acres of terrain from the mountain to the ocean. You can do a self-guided tour that takes you to a 45 ft. high waterfall. The pool below the falls is open for swimming between the performances of cliff diving. The tropical gardens have more than 5,000 species of rare plants in 35 botanical gardens and birds abound. You can to visit archaeological sites and see ancient Hawaiian activities such as, music demonstrations, warrior games and hula dancing. Other park activities include a children's play area, kayaking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The park charges an admission fee and is open daily between 9 a.m .and 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Waimea Falls Park
59-864 Kamehameha Highway (across from Waimea Bay)
Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii 96712
(808) 638-8511

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge

The James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few remaining intact wetland systems on Oahu. It protects endangered Hawaiian water birds such as the Hawaiian coot, Hawaiian stilt, bristle-thighed curlew and Hawaiian duck; 119 species of birds live or come to the refuge. Though it is only open from the third Saturday in October through the third Saturday in February, this area is definitely worth your time. Guided tours are available on Thursdays and Saturdays. Should you be in Hawaii for an extended period of time, you can volunteer to clean up trash, assist with wildlife surveys and help with the management of the habitat.

James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge
66-590 Kamehameha Highway
Haleiwa, HI
(8080 637-6330

Article Written By Ellen Kendall

Ellen Kendall has 15 years of writing and editing experience. Her travel and insurance articles have appeared in national magazines. Her book contributions include biographies and multi-cultural and Holocaust lesson plans. She has previously served as a real estate broker and interior designer and taught ESL in Korea and at Duke.

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