Ka'ena Point is a great place for a quick day trip. Although it's on the westernmost tip of Oahu, it's a pleasant, scenic stop that fits in with a visit to the island's North Shore.
Day trippers can reach the point by foot from Mokuleia on the east side of the mountain range. They can also see but not access the point from the west side on the Waianae Coast.
At Ka'ena State Park on the east side, a paved road passes a beach and then turns into an unpaved road. To get here, make the descent towards the North Shore. Just before historic Haleiwa Town, turn down Farrington Highway. Follow the highway till the dirt road at the end. After a few miles, a low-impact hike takes visitors to a beach with protected birds and beautiful views of the coast. It's a very secluded and peaceful area to enjoy and explore.
Looking west at Ka'ena Point — Photo courtesy of Andy Jou
The State of Hawaii made Ka'ena Point a Natural Area Reserve in an effort to protect nesting Laysan Albatrosses, wedgetailed Shearwaters, Hawaiian monk seals and native vegetation. (It's the native vegetation that gets destroyed by vehicles, hence the no-truck law out here.)
On top of that, Ka'ena Point is a sacred place for native Hawaiians. Legend says that it's the place where souls would depart from the cliffs to venture into the afterlife.
The safest swimming at Ka'ena Point is in the shallow tide pools, if they are calm. It must be noted that there are no lifeguards out here. This spot's secluded and far from town and any facilities. Make sure to bring water and a meal for the trek out.
About 10 miles away is Haleiwa. This small, historic town is a great place for a start or end to a day spent at Ka'ena Point, as it's home to a multitude of great bars and restaurants. A wide array of shops, ranging from full blown surf gear shops to children's clothing stores and women's clothing and accessory stores, can be found throughout the town.
Further down Kamehameha Highway is the beautiful stretch of beaches that makes up the North Shore (otherwise known as "The Seven-Mile Miracle"). Out here, visitors can surf, spend a day at the beach, hike and enjoy delicious lunch and dinner at food trucks or at Turtle Bay Resort.
Ka'ena Point is the ideal place to begin or end a day on the gorgeous North Shore.