The west can be best, if you're looking for a quick trip to escape busy Honolulu. Consider a day trip to what is technically the start of Oahu's west side. This leeward side of the island reaches far beyond Ko'olina, your destination for the day. Out here you'll find sun, usually mellow winds, protected swimming, and maybe even the company of Disney characters.
When heading west from Honolulu it's definitely a good idea to hit the road at 9 a.m., or even 20 minutes later. Honolulu rush hour is no joke, and from 6 to 9 a.m. the traffic is thick and slow, even heading away from the city. If you're hungry by the time you get in the car, stop at Mocha Java in the Ward Shopping Center. This is still in Honolulu, but it's a wonderful coffee shop with an overly full breakfast menu that ranges from eggs, to tofu, pancakes, pastries and a smorgasbord of other darn good dishes. If you you decide to wait until you reach the west side you have a few options. For a hot bar breakfast and coffee and to stock up on some snacks and drinks for the day (a more affordable option than eating each meal at the resorts) drop in to Down to Earth in Kapolei, not far from Ko Olina. The large health food store offers ready to eat meals and a full selection of groceries.
If you're in the mood for something a little more classy and a sit down atmosphere you have several options. Inside of the new Aulani Disney Resort, the Olelo Room offers a casual breakfast cuisine. The Naupaka Terrace in the the JW Marriott Ihilani offers contemporary cuisine for breakfast, and Kolohe's Beach Bar and Grill in the Marriott Beach Bar & Grill is a great option for a casual breakfast.
Once the belly is full and coffee has been had, it's time for the beach. It will probably be about 11 a.m. now, and mid-morning is a wonderful time for the beach out here. Because the winds are calm earlier in the day, and the sun is strong but hadn't hit full heat yet, this is a can't miss time to hop in the water, play in the sand and get a tan. The lagoons at Ko Olina are by far the best bet. These man made lagoons were perfectly designed to be pretty safe for swimming, have perfectly find sand, along with comforts like natural umbrellas for shade, showers, and restrooms. Heading into the Ko Olina resort area, look for the four covers on the right side of the road. They are the honu, ulua, naia and koloa lagoons.
A heavenly Ko Olina cove — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
After a couple of hours at the beach it will be time to eat again. If you picked up food at Down to Earth, enjoy it in the shade. If not, consider the `Ama `Ama Beach Restaurant at Aulani for a seafood lunch, Roy's Restaurant for Pacific Rim dishes on the golf course, or Hawaiian Bar-b-que for... you guessed it.
Perfect greens — Photo courtesy of Ko Olina Golf
After lunch you have more choices to make. You may want to hit the greens at the Ko Olina Golf Course. These exquisite greens are a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Or you might want to take the children for a stroll through the new Aulani Disney Resort and Spa. Another option that's fun for people of all ages is Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, where a world of water slides provides great relief to the Hawaiian heat.
The Waianae Coaster — Photo courtesy of Hawaiian Water Adventure Park
Always a perfect end to a perfect day, head back to the beach to catch the gorgeous Hawaiian sunset.