Things to do in Oahu: How to Get off the Beaten Path - United Hub
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Things to do in Oahu: Where to find the hidden gems

By The Hub team, October 09, 2017

There are a plethora of things to do in Oahu, but here's where to find the hidden gems.

There's an island where the ocean folds into so many shades of blue, you'll give up trying to identify them. Where the jungle blankets jagged mountains that begin where the deserted beaches end. And that sand? It's so powdery that calling it sugar-like is an affront to its softness. This paradise is none other than Oahu, Hawaii; aka one of the most visited islands on the planet.

If you're looking to uncover hidden gems in a very discovered place, to be the only one on the exquisite beaches and to eat the best food — no matter where you have to go to get it — this is the Oahu travel guide for you.

Where to Stay

Leave the crowds in Waikiki and consider renting a place in a smaller beach town. On the windward (east) side of the island, Ka′a'awa (population 1,379, as of the last census) or the bigger Kailua (population 38,635) are both beautiful, lower-key options.

Ka'a'awa Valley Ka'a'awa Valley \Shutterstock

The Ka'a'awa Valley on this side of the island looks so remote and tropical that it has served as a filming location for Lost, Jurassic Park and Godzilla. And yet it's just a 40-minute drive from the throngs in Honolulu.

Mokule'ia BeachMokule'ia Beach \Shutterstock

Best Beaches

Everything is bigger on the North Shore — the waves, the scenery, the beaches. Everything that is, except for the crowds. Check out Mokule'ia Beach Park, a long enough stretch of sand that you may not run into anyone else. Depending on the time of year, the waves can get huge, so unless you know what you're doing on a surf board, it's best to stick to the sidelines.

Keawaula BeachKeawaula Beach \Shutterstock

On the leeward (west) side of the island, Keawaula Beach, with its jagged green mountain backdrop, may be the most beautiful — and secluded —in all of Oahu. Take the Farrington Highway until you find a pull-off just before the road ends at Ka'ena Point. Keawaula is the northernmost beach on the west shore, and thanks to a lack of development, you could very well have this stunning strand all to yourself.

Wai'anae CoastWai'anae Coast \Shutterstock

In the Water

While 3,000 strangers are swimming into each other while snorkeling in Hanauma Bay (seriously, it averages 3,000 people per day), you can be snorkeling with dolphins along the Wai'anae Coast. Most visitors to Oahu never come to the leeward side of the island, as it's much less populated and the road doesn't go all the way around. Once you see the unspoiled beauty of this side, though, you will be very grateful that most people stay away.

Catamaran snorkel excursion and swimming with dolphins.Take a catamaran snorkel excursion to swim with dolphins. \Shutterstock

Eō Wai'anae Tours promises dolphins on their catamaran snorkel excursions, and, sure enough, you really will be swimming with a pod of wild dolphins, which call this side of the island home. Just try not to swim into a family of Flippers while lost in awe of their cuteness.

Take a Hike

The road heading up the leeward side of Oahu dead-ends at the Ka'ena Point Trail. Hike along the rocky coast to the western tip of the island, where you'll join the Hawaiian seabirds and endangered monk seals. This out-and-back 4.8-mile hike gets incredibly hot and dry, so bring lots of water and sunscreen.

Ka'ena Point TrailKa'ena Point Trail \Shutterstock

For lusher scenery, try the 8-mile Koloa Gulch waterfall hike (not far from Laie on the windward side). Wander through the Hau'ula Valley, cross streams (you'll definitely get wet!) and scamper over wet boulders before arriving at a gorgeous, 100-foot waterfall. Take a dive in the freshwater pool because, well, you just hiked to a Hawaiian waterfall and that's what to do after hiking to a Hawaiian waterfall.

Where to Eat

You can't go to the North Shore without hitting one of its exemplary shrimp trucks. Feasting on spiced crustaceans served out of trucks is as much a part of Hawaiian surf culture as riding the waves. The best is the turquoise Aloha Shrimp truck, which you'll find parked next to a convenience store in Hau'ula. The spicy lemon garlic flavor is crave-worthy.

Hawaiian Butter Garlic ShrimpHawaiian Butter Garlic Shrimp \Shutterstock

The best poke on the island is served out of a tiny strip mall joint in Wai'anae. Aloha Poke (yes, another “Aloha" restaurant; they don't call it the Aloha State for nothing) knows its cubed, marinated raw fish, and the spicy and ginger shoyu varieties are awesome.

Even if you're looking to dodge the crowds and stay out of the city, Palace Saimin is worth the trip into Honolulu. This local's favorite has been simmering saimin — think Hawaii's version of ramen — since 1946. Bonus: a large bowl will only set you back $5.


This article was written by Allyson Reedy from Islands and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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