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Oahu Adventures on Land and Water

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The island's seas, beaches and rainforested ridges form a tropical playground for outdoor adventurers. Dive deep—scuba or sub, take your pick!—or snorkel alongside sharks. Serious wave riders can hit the massive North Shore swells in winter, while beginners paddle out with the Ohana Surf Project. Onshore, climb high into the rugged, volcanic hills or ATV through jungle valleys familiar from the set of "Jurassic Park."
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252 Paoa Pl, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
A great introduction to the ocean floor for nondivers, the world's largest passenger submarine descends within view of Diamond Head and Waikiki's skyline. It churns down to 100 feet, sometimes passing eels, green sea turtles, and even majestic...
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Waikīkī, HI 96815, USA
One of the most recognizable sites in Hawaii, this volcanic ash cone overlooks Waikiki's coastline—a tectonic memory from an explosion half a million years ago, measuring almost 3,500 feet across. British sailors named it Diamond Head in the...
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609 Keawe St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
Oahu's diving may not be the islands' best, but it has enough epic descents to keep scuba connoisseurs smiling. The favorite tends to be the YO-257 navy oiler, which Atlantis Submarines sank as an artificial reef within sight of Diamond Head...
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Hanauma Bay, Hawaii 96825, USA
Hawaii's waters boast an exciting wealth of biodiversity, accessible with a swimsuit and a snorkel. The rocky shores of Richardson Beach on the Big Island are a favorite jumping-off point for humans and sea turtles alike, while the island’s...
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49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA
This 4,000-acre private nature reserve moonlights as an adventure playground and also a film set. Kaaawa Valley serves as Hollywood's "Hawaii backlot" and has hosted more than four dozen shoots, ranging from Elvis hits to Jurassic Park and 50...
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Kalaau Pl, Honolulu, HI 96821, USA
Escape the hubbub of Honolulu and stretch your legs on this 4.4-mile, moderate, out-and-back path. Somewhat steep, this serious glute workout attracts a lot of trail runners, especially on the weekends. The hike begins among rocks and small...
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66-105 Haleiwa Rd, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
Plenty of people brag about shark cage diving, but here's your chance to swim freely with these ancient predators! Hawaii Adventure Diving puts a maximum of six snorkelers in the water, accompanied by a dive master, scuba instructor, and a...
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2699 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Ease into the wave-riding scene with this uniquely soulful surf school on Oahu. Sean Anderson had been teaching for 20 years when he saw the family of a deceased surfer struggling to get into the water. With Susan Geraci he launched the Ohana Surf...
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66-105 Haleiwa Rd, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
Around 11,000 humpbacks—a quarter to a third of the global population—visit Hawaii from November until early May. They migrate here to mate and give birth: Intensely focused on procreation, these marine mammals don't eat and can lose...
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Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
One of surfing's most famous sites, the North Shore churns out giant walls of water for world-class riders each winter. When the wave faces loom to around 30 to 40 feet at Waimea Bay, the Super Bowl of surfing kicks off. The Quiksilver in Memory...
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Waimea Bay, Hawaii 96712, USA
Families gather at this North Shore cove—all golden sand and peacock-colored swells—in summertime. Adventurous types swarm the rocky headland—a riotous scene that resembles Where's Waldo? or Richard Scarry's...
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2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
A renowned group of Hawaiian watermen worked on the Waikiki beaches during the first half of the 20th century. These "Beachboys" shared their culture, aloha, and intimate knowledge of the ocean—and led the revival of traditional aquatic...