Located about an hour, or so, from downtown Honolulu (depending on traffic), Oahu's Waianae Coast, is one of the few remaining rural communities on that island's leeward side. In a contrast to the glitz, glamor and crowds of Waikiki, Waianae offers a small-town, slow-down feel, and, at least somewhat, still contains the spirit of old Hawaii.
Being on the island's dry side, Waianae is like the “Palm Springs” of Honolulu, with plenty of sunshine and not much rain. The area affords a desert-island-type experience with daytime temperatures in the mid-to-upper 80s and plenty of blue skies to match the azure Pacific waters lapping upon Waianae Coast shores.
While the tropical greenery of Oahu’s windward side (Kailua, Kaneohe and the North Shore) is generally absent here, so is the higher humidity and overcast skies of the island’s rainy side. Waianae’s dryer climate leads to lessened effects of mold and moisture, and fewer populations of Hawaii’s insect pests.
However, Waianae’s desert-island feel transforms entirely during Oahu’s wetter months (November through April) when seasonal rainfall brightens up mountain sides and valley floors, turning the Waianae Coast a brilliant hue of Kelly green, like Ireland with tropical breezes!
The lack of tourist visitation and lower population provide the Waianae Coast with beaches devoid of crowds, and swimming spots with plenty of elbow room. Although Oahu’s storied North Shore is generally recognized as the island’s surf mecca, Makaha Beach is actually where Hawaii’s modern-era surf revival got its start. That strand of sand hosts famous winter-time board contests that still draw crowds to its famous shores.
As one of Oahu’s least-touristy destinations the Waianae Coast attracts visitors who are orientated towards self-containment. Folks who desire a more laid back tropical experience and who don’t need the minute-to-minute distractions of Waikiki (high-end shopping, organized activities and the frenzied pace of pack-rat promenades) find their bliss among the area’s hiking trails, agricultural crop lands and slower pace of living. Those who seek an affordable place of residence find Waianae to be their mecca of Hawaii-on-a-budget lifestyle.
Just as there are several island in the Hawaiian chain, each with its own personality and attractions, Waianae is Oahu’s place that attracts paradise seekers with an inclination to get off the beaten path and explore a version of less-harried happiness.