Situated along the slopes of the Waianae mountain range, is the Ewa plain. Known as “the second city,” the west side of Oahu is undergoing rapid development. At one time, the rich red soil leading up to the mountains bred sugar cane. Today, it breeds subdivisions. Primarily large planned developments--each paired with a private golf course. Among these planned communities are luxury timeshares, world-class resorts and protected lagoons colored aquamarine with a shallow and soft sandy bottom.
Disney Resorts have recognized the value in this area and in the midst of bringing their first resort, Aulani, to Hawaii. Although there is no theme park, there is a “fantasy-laden water play area” along with an 18,000-square-foot spa. Yet even amongst all of this new development, you can still find a piece of old Hawaii along the Waianae Coast. Places like Makaha Valley, Nanakuli and Maili are home to the largest population of Native Hawaiians on the island. Hawaiians began to settle in this area during the first half of the 20th century after the McCandless brothers discovered water in an artesian well in 1879.
Most of the coastline along Waianae boasts spectacular, natural beauty untouched and private. Serene stretches of rugged rocks and sea make for great surf conditions and many of the beaches in this area are considered “localized” and “perpetuate a truly Hawaiian lifestyle.” It’s best to be respectful and be aware of your surroundings. Makaha Beach is a good place to watch Hawaiian longboarders tackle the crushing surf.
Keawaula Beach (a.k.a. Yokohama Bay) and Kaena Point mark the end of the road. This is one of the most remote beaches on the island; expect it to never be crowded. During the winter months, the surf rages here and you can probably get a picture of some of the most talented surfers/bodyboarders on the island. The lethal combination of strong tides and a rocky bottom make for dangerous swimming conditions. While swimming isn’t recommended, hiking is. The hike to Kaena Point, the northwestern tip of the island, makes for a perfect day hike. Along the trail, you’ll encounter numerous seabirds including albatrosses, and rare native plants.