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Thanks to an excellent network of roadways, exploring Oahu by car couldn’t be easier. Most visitors head north, where the organic farms, surfer towns, and huge waves of the North Shore are a great contrast to sophisticated Waikiki’s calm water, but you can also explore the rugged fishing villages on the west coast, and nearly deserted beaches to the northwest.

Day Trips from Honolulu

Ko Olina Resort and Marina

Families flock to resort on the western coast of Oahu for its string of man-made lagoons that offer the safest of swimming conditions; resort shops, a marina, restaurants, and a golf course are also nearby.

Ko Olina, 92-1480 Aliinui Dr., HI, 8808-680-7680, www.koolina.com
Tags: family | snorkeling | day trip | swimming | resort

Kualoa Ranch

Whether you choose to explore the 4,000-acre Kualoa Ranch on horseback or by ATV, you’ll ride through meadows, jungles, and beneath mountain cliffs to reach spectacular views of the ocean.

Just past Mokoli`i Island off Kamehameha Highway, HI, 808-237-7321, www.kualoa.com
Tags: family | hiking | day trip | horseback riding | adventure

Swim with dolphins

The Island Spirit takes pride in its knowledgeable crew and personalized service. Between six and 16 passengers are treated to iced cappuccinos and light health snacks as they wait to snorkel amid the complex coral systems, dolphins, manta rays, monk seals, and green sea turtles off Oahu's leeward coast, with 60- to 100-foot visibility and waters that never dip below 76 degrees.

Wild Side Specialty Tours, Waianae Boat Harbor, Slip A5, HI, 808-306-7273, www.sailhawaii.com
Tags: family | snorkeling | smart splurge | day trip

Visit sacred sites

Visit some of the lesser-known wahi la’a (sacred sites) scattered around the island, including the 19th-century ruins of King Kamehameha’s summer palace.

Mauka Makai Excursions, 350 Ward Ave., Suite 106, HI, 866-896-0596, www.hawaiianecotours.net
Tags: editor pick | culture | history | tour | day trip

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