If you’re planning a trip to Oahu and think there’s nothing more to the island than fruity drinks, tiki torches and luaus, I’m going to pray for you … even if I am Buddhist.
Here’s the great thing about Oahu, all of the absolutely amazing things on the island are NOT in Honolulu, and there’s no better example of why you need to rent a car than Waimea Bay. The popular beach hangout is located in Haleiwa, near Oahu’s surfing mecca of the North Shore.
If you want to mingle with locals big on the adrenaline rush, this is where you want to be. Beautiful beaches aside, this particular spot is popular because of its cliff diving off what the islanders call, “da Big Rock.”
While there are plenty of signs warning people not to jump off the natural attraction into the shallow shores of the surrounding bay, you can bet there are plenty of people dumb enough to do so … present company included.
I’ll admit, it took a good 10 minutes or so of being assured by locals that I wouldn’t break my neck before I actually took the plunge, but the feeling rushing over me after I hit the water and resurfaced was absolutely exhilarating. And just to think, the excitement was absolutely free and didn’t leave me with the drips … always a bonus while traveling, I say.
In addition to cliff diving, you can find locals free diving and rock climbing in the area. There’s also a dry cave on the beach so pack a lunch, bring a towel and make a day out of it.
GETTING THERE: The drive from Honolulu takes about an hour. Get there early as the parking lot can get a bit crowded on the weekends and during the summer. You can park alongside the road, but watch out for signs as parking in some areas can get you towed.
THE COST: Absolutely free.