The lyrics of "America the Beautiful" tell the story of the country's radiant appeal. Be it the majestic "purple mountains" of the Rockies or the "amber waves of grain" found throughout the Midwest, the United States has gorgeous locations wherever you go.
If you're fortunate enough to be stationed in Hawaii, you can undoubtedly attest to this fact. Dubbed the "Paradise of the Pacific," Hawaii is breathtaking in its geography, surrounded by ocean, verdant green and towering volcanoes. Be it on the island of Kauai or in the capital city of Honolulu, there is no shortage of spectacular sights in the Aloha State.
The same is true when it comes to things to do — specifically things to do in Kaneohe. If you're one of the estimated 300,000 military personnel stationed in Hawaii who currently call Kaneohe home, here are a few things to do in Kaneohe that the whole family will enjoy. You may even like them more than the scenic views!
1. Spend the day at Kaneohe Bay
Any day spent at beautiful Kaneohe Bay is a good day, so if you get the opportunity to go there, do it. Made up of five "mini islands" that amount to around 7,500 acres, Kaneohe Bay is an inlet. And while small, it's actually the largest sheltered body of water among the main islands. It also happened to be where the long-time television series "Gilligan's Island" was filmed.
Beyond this piece of pop culture trivia, Kaneohe Bay may be best known for its golf courses. It hosts several, including those that are among the country's most challenging 18 hole courses. There are also several that are run by the military, including Leilehua Golf Course and the Walter J. Nagorski Course. Both are owned and operated by the Army and allow public access.
But if golf isn't your thing — or isn't what your spouse or kids would call fun — you may want to tour the Valley of the Temples. Valley of the Temples is a historic park that features 240 acres of total land area. Every year, tourists by the thousands come here to pay tribute to various cultures and religious affiliations (including Buddhists, Shintoists, Catholics and Protestants) as well as individuals who have since passed. A visit to Valley of the Temples is a great way to pay your respects, learn and enjoy the one-of-a-kind architecture and panoramic views. Valley of the Temples is also where the Byodo-In temple is located, an impressive edifice depicted in a number of television shows and series over the years.
2. Enjoy a picnic brunch or lunch at He'eia State Park
Located between He'eia Fish Pond and a local boat harbor, He'eia State Park is a treasure of Kaneohe Bay, featuring lush gardens, magnificent sunsets and a plethora of plants. From screwpine to beach hibiscus to portia tree, the vegetation is as varied as the scenic views are gorgeous.
But in terms of things to do in this part of Kaneohe, the options include guided and self-guided walking tours, waterfront programs for kids, and makahiki games during makahiki season, which usually runs from October through the end of January. Aside from the waterfront programs, all these activities are free.
Visit HeeiaStatePark.org for more details on any of the above details mentioned.
3. Make your way to Waikiki Beach
There are a lot of beautiful beaches in the world, but Waikiki Beach is among the elite. One of six beaches in this part of Oahu Island — the others being Gray's, Queen's Beach, Kuhio Beach, Fort DeRussy and Kahanamoku — Waikiki Beach is a great place to go, if only to say that you've been there. But just as there are a lot of things to do in Kaneohe, the same is true for Waikiki Beach. From swimming to sunbathing to surfing to shopping, Waikiki Beach has something for everyone. There are also a number of fine dining restaurants here as well as casual eateries.
Visit WaikikiBeachWalk.com to see which stores and food establishments are open and what, if any, precautions you should take regarding COVID-19 prevention, such as masking or other personal protection equipment.
4. Hike up Ko'olau Mountain
So many aspects of Hawaii make it truly unique. One such example is Ko'olau Mountain, which was originally a volcano. Much of it has slid into the Pacific Ocean and eroded, rendering the volcano dormant. Indeed, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, Ko'olau hasn't erupted in at least 70,000 years, perhaps longer.
Today, Ko'olau Mountain is not only a federal landmark, it's a popular place to go hiking. Although once considerably larger, the highest peak along the Ko'olau Mountain Range is approximately 3,150 feet.
Some of the trails are more challenging than others, but whichever you and your family chooses, you'll see a wide variety of plant life and trees, including strawberry guava, cinnamon, night blooming jasmine and iron, according to SummitPost.org. Ohia trees are actually native to Ko'olau.
If hiking sounds enticing, visit AllTrails.com for details on different trails you can take. For instance, Manana Ridge Trail to the summit of the mountain is approximately 10 miles. You can take a look at some of the comments left by those who have hiked it before to figure out how long it takes to get to the top and what to expect along the way in terms of the terrain.
5. Let your cares melt away at Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden
Of the many things to do in Kaneohe, a stop at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden may be the most serene of them all. Appropriately dubbed "the peaceful refuge," Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden is 400 acres of plant-filled bliss. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deter floods from affecting the more populated parts of Kaneohe, this sanctuary is a major tourist attraction for people who come to Hawaii from the world over. Its universal appeal is attributable, at least in part, to its representative vegetation, featuring plantings that are native to India, Sri Lanka, Melanesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, among other countries.
Aside from marveling at eye-catching topography, you can also camp and fish.
Visit Honolulu.gov for more details about planning a visit to Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden. Admission is free for everyone.
These are just five of the things to do in Kaneohe or locations not too far from it. Omni Financial serves all the Hawaiian islands, including Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Big Island. With decades of experience in military lending, Omni Financial has the convenient services and products that can be of assistance in your time of need. Even if that need is for some extra spending money while you're enjoying vacation time with family.
Contact Omni today to learn more about our seamless loan approval process.
This blog is for informational purposes only. Visit the individual websites for complete details including hours of operation and pricing information. Information can change at any time. Omni Financial does not endorse, recommend or imply affiliation with the listed companies, events or organizations.