This city on O'ahu’s windward side is protected from the wild Pacific Ocean and offers plenty of non-beach activities.
Kāne’ohe is one of O'ahu’s larger cities. It’s nestled on the shores of Kāne’ohe Bay, a large sheltered body of water protected by a coral reef. Look for the large U.S. Marine Corps base at the end of the peninsula forming the reef. The bay is a good place to enjoy sailing and kayaking in relatively calm waters. Follow locals to the “Sandbar,” a temporary landmass that appears in the bay during low tide.
Back on land, visit Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. The 400-acre (160-hectare) park has free entry and offers a convenient drive-through option to see endangered and rare plants from the Philippines, Hawaii, Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Polynesia, Melanesia, Malaysia and tropical America. You can also bike, jog or hike through the park for closer views or try fishing in the manmade lake. Register at the visitor center for additional activities including crafts, nature walks, cloud-watching or camping; some of these have small fees.
In nearby Kahaluu, visit the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, home to the Byodo-In Temple, a Japanese-style temple built in 1968 to commemorate 100 years of Japanese presence on O’ahu. Inside the temple, look for the large golden Amida Buddha and a replica of a 900-year-old sacred bell. In the park there is a wildlife area with peacocks, black swans and 100-year-old koi. Enjoy local performance artists and artisans who appear by invitation to perform or display products. Visit the traditional Japanese teahouse, now serving as a gift shop and visitor services center. You will find the temple a serene place to come for quiet worship or contemplation.
For a more active experience, golf at a different course three days in a row, all within a few minutes’ drive from the center of Kāne’ohe. Pali is public, while Ko’olau and Bayview are private, but open to visitors. As with most golf courses in Hawaii, you’ll find excellent course conditions, lush greenery and beautiful views. Ko’olau’s setting adjacent to a mountain range creates an unusual course design.
Kāne’ohe is 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Honolulu. You’ll find plenty to do here without ever visiting a beach.