Koko Head (Honolulu, HI)

Some of the most spectacular scenery in the islands can be seen along the coastline of southeast Oahu. Past Diamond Head, you’ll begin to notice steep sides of Koko Crater’s caldera on the left and on the right, rugged lava and sandstone cliffs overlooking beautiful beaches and pounding surf. This is the area of the famous Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, a popular snorkeling spot, and where Doris Duke and Henry Kaiser have built huge estates. As we drove by the Preserve around lunchtime, the parking lot was completely full. Traffic cops were directing cars away.

In addition, Koko Head Regional Park has several tourist stops, including overlooks, bays, a botanical garden, the Halona Blowhole, and extremely rugged coastline. It’s mesmerizing to stand on the cliffs to watch the surf pounding the rocks and see enormous ocean currents swirling offshore.

We wanted to hike along the Kuliouou Ridge Trail when we planned our trip, but the continuing winds and spotty rain put a damper on this.