Where the main road through Waianae dead-ends is Kaena Point State Park, a hiking path will take you from Kaena Point to Yokohama Bay in about three hours. All you need to make this trek is water, sunscreen, a camera -- and strong legs.
Located on the western coast of the island of Oahu, Wai?anae, HI is a census-designated place in Honolulu County, with a population totaling just over 13,000 in the 2010 census. With warm tropical breezes blowing year round, this is the land of perpetual summer and palm trees. This part of Oahu is normally warm and dry. If you like building snowmen, this isn't your place. Otherwise, bring your swimsuit and move on in.
Moving to Town
Palm trees and sunshine, check. Deserted beaches just off Farrington Highway, the main road, check. And of course there are plenty of house rentals, in Wai'anae. Popular options in this area just forty minutes from Waikiki but a peaceful world away include 1 bedroom apartments for rent, 2 bedroom apartments, and many a home for rent. The Honolulu Star Advertiser runs many classified ads where you'll be able to spot rentals, particularly in the Sunday edition. Look on neighborhood bulletin boards and online. Landlords tend to ask for solid documentation in regard to your work history and credit, so be prepared with W2s or tax returns.
No matter where you live, you'll be close to a white, sandy beach and aquamarine water off the island of Oahu.
Makaha Valley: At the far end of the Farrington Highway, which serves as the main road through this part of Oahu, is this rural area. With a beautiful state park at one end and many places to hike and explore, there are also small to medium-sized apartment complexes and single-family homes holding a mix of renters and owners, all likely owning a surf board or two. This is the spot if you like to cruise down the beach and see more seabirds than people. Ka'Ena State Park at the end of the road is just one beautiful spot. Several forest reserves offer wildlife and quiet paths.
Makaha: Far different from Makaha Valley, this small, urban density enclave offers small to medium-sized, single-family homes, apartment complexes and high rises. Occupied by both owners and renters, these residences were built between 1940 and 1999. Nearby, you'll find the Makaha Golf Course.
Ma'ili: Suburban by density, this coastal community has many medium-sized to small, single-family homes and town homes occupied with a solid mix of owners and renters. Most homes were built between 1940 and 1999, with most on the newer end. Calm Ma'ili Beach Park is located here. Bring your sunscreen.
Palehua: Suburban in feel and with a mix of single-family homes and high rises, this area is primarily owner occupied, but rentals are available if you look carefully. This neighborhood is located closet to the resorts on this side of the island, including the Ko Olina Resort, with its pristine but man-made lagoons.
Living in Wai'anae
Life along the leeward coast is laid back, and while this area is less than 30 minutes from the heart of Honolulu, it has a more rural feel to it. You'll find plenty of deserted beaches and excellent places to hike. The views on this part of the island are nothing short of spectacular, and you'll often have a sunset-watching spot all to yourself, unlike among the crowds of Waikiki.
Makaha Beach Park offers excellent surfing and calm swimming along a white sandy beach with facilities. More remote, just a few miles away you'll find Yokahoma Bay where surf churns against deserted, vast white sand, and fascinating hiking trails lead you around black lava rocks. Secluded and majestic, sunbathers, nature lovers and poets could hang out here all day. Crystal-clear waters, few crowds and plenty of parking - that's the coastal vibe in this area where locals outnumber tourists, hands down. While there are retail shops and some restaurants, this is a quiet area, and most nightlife is focused on the two large resorts in the area.
If you're looking for museums, nightlife and fine dining, drive Highway 93 into Honolulu for an evening on the town. You will need a car in this area. While there is public transportation, the ride can be long and bus service is not always frequent.