Sightseeing Kualoa to La‘ie, O‘ahu

Sightseeing Kualoa to La‘ie is incredibly varied, from exploring out-of-the-way areas to all kinds of informative tours and outdoor adventures—you won’t find any tourist traps here.

Chinaman’s Hat

Just offshore from Kualoa Regional Beach Park (49-479 Kamehameha Hwy.) is the curious islet known as Chinaman’s Hat. Mokoli‘i Island is its Hawaiian name. The island is a quick kayak trip from the beach and has a tiny private alcove of sand on the back side. You can hike, or rather scramble, up to its 213-foot summit.

Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch (49-560 Kamehameha Hwy., 808/237-7321) is both a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch, activity, and cultural center and the site for many of the Hollywood blockbuster movies filmed in Hawaii. They offer historical and cultural tours like their Movie Sites and Ranch Tour, Jungle Expeditions Tour, Ancient Fishing Grounds and Tropical Garden Tour, or Kahiko Hula Lessons starting at $24 adult, $15 children. They provide one- and two-hour ATV or horseback packages, starting at $69. They also have venues for weddings and corporate events, and even have tours that include lunch or dinner. Cultural/historic tour package tours start at $59, adventure tour packages start at $99.

La‘ie Point State Wayside
La‘ie Point State Wayside. Photo © Robert Lindsell, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

La‘ie Point State Wayside

The La‘ie Point State Wayside is a hidden marvel, the perfect place to pull up to the edge of the rugged point, relax, have a snack, and watch waves crash against a small seabird sanctuary just offshore, a little island noteworthy for its sea arch. There are trash cans, but no services in the area. It is also a popular spot for cliff jumping. On the south face of the cliff is a small area where jumpers plunge roughly 30 feet to the warm water below. There is a nook in the cliff to climb out of the water and up an extremely sharp and rocky gorge to the top of the cliff. It’s best to watch a few others jump and get back up before you try. There are no lifeguards, and you’re on your own, quite far from a sandy beach.

Tucked away at the back of a neighborhood and out of view from the highway, turn off of Kamehameha Highway onto Anemoku Street, then hang a right onto Naupaka Street and follow it to the end of the point. Anemoku Street is across the highway from the Laie Village Center.

Laie Hawaii Temple

Built in 1919, the Laie Hawaii Temple (55-600 Naniloa Loop, 808/293-2427, 9am-8pm daily) was the first temple erected by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints outside the state of Utah, and also the first in Polynesia. You can tour the grounds and gardens of this stark white, grand edifice, and there’s an accompanying visitors’ center free to the public.

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