To be honest, there’s not a lot to do in Makaha for the average visitor. However, curiosity gets the best of those who have seen and done it all on Oahu. Then there’s those who have fallen in the Ko Olina trap and quickly search of an escape, knowing that the island’s wild west is next door and begging to be explored. The first question asked is in regards to whether or not Makaha is safe for tourists. It is. With that out of the way we can now provide intel on what to do when spending the day in the most remote of Oahu’s leeward towns.
4 Fun Things to Do When Visiting Makaha on the Leeward Side of Oahu Hawaii
Soak Up the Mana at the Legendary Surf Spot
The world associates the North Shore’s Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay with heavy wave surfing, however, it’s Makaha Beach Park (featured image above) that started it all. The first recorded wave ridden here was back in 1937 when Wally Froiseth and John Kelly paddled out on hot curl boards, revolutionizing wave riding equipment from thereon in. Another major stepping stone Makaha can claim is being the first place in the world to host an international surf contest, dubbed the Makaha International Surfing Championships in 1953-54. The Makaha International also offered the world it’s first female surfing champion, Marge Calhoun. Then in 1969 legend Greg Noll rode one of the biggest paddle-in waves ever recorded at the very same beach. These are just examples of historical moments that have happened at Makaha Beach Park. Hang around long enough and you’ll feel the mana.
Visit the Peacocks of Makaha Valley
After bathing in the mana of Makaha Beach Park, walk directly across Farrington Highway to Kili Drive and stroll up the hill to Makaha Valley Towers. Why would we send you to a gated residential complex? Because outside of its gates is the biggest flock (or ostentation) of wild peacocks that you’ll ever see. These impressive and colorful beasts wander around like they own the place. They proudly display their train (tail feathers) on cue for all who approach, providing a photo-opportunity unlike any other on the island.
*Tip: If you want to stay in the area, Makaha Valley Towers has a number of reasonably priced and attractive suites listed on Airbnb.
Sunbathe at Papaoneone Beach
When done exploring Makaha Valley, head back down Farrington (view directions) to the best sunbathing and swimming spot in Makaha – Papaoneone Beach. The beach is hidden from the highway by Hawaiian Princess Resort, which is a gated community comprised of timeshare condos. There are more locals here than anything, so don’t be tricked by the “resort” monicker. Speaking of locals, the beach is frequented by green sea turtles. They come to bask on the sand once they’ve had their full of abundant seaweed that coats the shoreline reef. On the southern end of Papaoneone is a small yet exceedingly scenic mountain named Mauna Lahilahi. You can prospect the edges of Mauna Lahilahi when you need a break from the hot sand of the beach. There are no amenities at Papaoneone, so be sure to grab refreshments at Long’s Drugs which is just a 5-minute walk away.
Cool Down with Mountain Magic Shave Ice
When loading up on drinks and snacks at Long’s Drugs, you’ll notice their next door neighbor which happens to be the next fun thing to do in Makaha – Mountain Magic Shave Ice. Be sure to return here when done at Papaoneone. Mountain Magic has the best Hawaiian shave ice on Oahu’s west side. If you know our Hawaiian travel guide, then you know how serious we take our shave ice.
Everything above is within the embrace of Makaha. There are other great things to see and do in nearby Kapolei, which you can check out here. If you have any other questions about Makaha feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you.