Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hawaii Part II (Activities)

The following links will take you to ideas for activities that will burn calories while you enjoy our 50th state.  Most of these are located in or near Honolulu (on O’ahu).  As with any trip, there’s far more to do than one has time for, so I haven’t tested all these options.  I tend to travel inexpensively and independently, avoiding tours and paid excursions, so most of the ideas below can be considered “budget” options.

Diamond Head. 
Plan on having alot
of company!
Diamond Head State Monument (did it)
Charge:  $5 per car parking fee or $1 per person if you walk in from outside the gate.
Description:  A gazillion people a day can’t possibly be wrong!  On this walk, you’ll climb from inside an extinct volcanic crater to its rim for a terrific view of the Pacific Ocean, Honolulu, and O’ahu’s south shore.  The trail gains 700’ and includes stairs, so you will get your heart rate up.  The trailhead is about a 10 minute drive from Waikiki.

Ka’ena Point State Park (did it)
Charge:  No entry fee
Description: Park at a beach access lot at the end of the paved Farrington Highway, then wander down the rutted 4x4 road and along the rocky shoreline to O’ahu’s farthest west point.  This 2.7-mile (one way) track is mostly flat, very easy to follow, and you’ll see far fewer people than at Diamond Head.  Big surf pounds the black pahoehoe lava tidepools and leaves treasures like seashells, coral, and sea glass in protected pockets.

Hiking with a Purpose
Sierra Club Hikes (maybe next year)
The Sierra Club’s Hawaii Chapter, O’ahu Group looks very active!  Group hikes are scheduled for every weekend and posted on the website about a month in advance.  Look for opportunities to join the club’s service hikes (beach clean ups, trail clearing and maintenance), summit hikes, excursions to botanical gardens, and even a yoga & hike event. 

Hawaii Audubon Society Hikes (maybe next year)
The Audubon Society doesn’t appear to host nearly as many hikes as the Sierra Club or the HTMC (below), but the treks they do schedule take you to interesting, off the beaten path locations.

The appealing thing about the HTMC is that they take groups into hard to access spots.  Although O’ahu holds two dramatic mountain ranges, much of the upland wild lands are off limits without a permit, and the HTMC secures the permits for groups.  Some of their excursions require reservations and some are are multi-day trips.

YMCA (maybe next time)
Options:  Yoga and other exercise classes, exercise equipment, weight room
Try these locations nearest to Waikiki and Honolulu:  Kalihi Street Location (in downtown Honolulu near Bishop Museum) and Nu’u’anu Location (where Pali Highway joins H1)

Options:  Yoga classes offered 2-5 times daily, levels from beginning to advanced.
Silent Dance Studio is a non-profit organization.  Their large studio is comfortable and airy and some teachers make use of the bar.  Classes are $10 for a one-hour class (more for longer sessions) and props and mats are provided.

Options:  Sunrise and sunset yoga in Kapiolani Park (Waikiki) and Beach yoga at 6:30 a.m.
The setting should make the expensive $20 per session fee worth it.  If you’re there for a while, try the $45/3 class pass.  Located at the Waikiki Trade Center in central Waikiki.


Valentine's Day Biathlon Starting Line.  Photo by Matt Kinney

When:  Early February
What:  5K beach park run (paved trail)/1000 meter ocean swim.  Individual and team divisions.  The hand-off for Sweethearts and Married teams is a kiss at the transition point.
Where:  Ala Moana Beach Park

When:  President’s Day
What:  8.15 mile run.  Huge community event with a 3-day fitness expo preceeding the race.  Adult & kids divisions.  Wheelchair & handcycle events.
Where:  Starts in Honolulu and ends at the Aloha Stadium’s back goal line of the north end zone on the stadium floor.

When:  Early March
What:  3 mile run (1.4m on sand), 500 meter ocean swim, 12 mile bike ride (alternate beach cruiser division!)
Where: Haliewa Beach Park

Water Play
Kuhio Beach (did it)
This is a beautiful white sand beach with plenty of room to spread out even with the loads of people that flock to it.  The water is typically good for beginning boogie boarding, bobbing, and snorkeling.

Ala Moana Beach Park (did it)
Ala Moana offers protected water perfect for lap swimming and playing in the water.  This beach is frequented by locals and tourists and is especially busy on the weekends.  As a bonus, there’s a paved running trail in the park.

Lanikai beach (did it)
Known as one of the most beautiful beaches on O’ahu, Lanikai is located on the eastern side of O’ahu, about a half hour drive from Honolulu.  It is a lovely swimming and snorkeling destination.

Get your snorkeling gear and boogie boards here for reasonable rental rates.  I’d recommend renting this gear for the entire time you’ll be in Hawaii.  Keep it in your car so you don’t miss out.  Snorkel Bob’s offers prescription lens snorkel masks for many levels of near-sightedness.

Trail:  Ala Wai canal running trail (did it)
Run toward the zoo and continue up toward Diamond Head along pleasant sidewalks to get more distance.
Trail:  Waikiki beach front (maybe next year)
Run along the main drag of Waikiki amidst high rise hotels, condos, chic shops, and tourist traps, to the farthest east oceanfront parks.  Run in the early morning to avoid crowds and be able to keep your pace up.  Otherwise, you’ll be dodging strolling tourists.
Trail:  Ala Moana Beach Park (did it)
Run the approximately 5K distance on a paved trail that circles the grassy park and nearby Magic Island.  Follow your run with a dip in the calm ocean.

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