Growing up on O‘ahu, I would jump at my parents’ call to “go country,” to drive the long way on the winding two-lane Kamehameha Highway (Highway 83) headed north to Hale‘iwa for a dose of adventure. Today, with my kids in the backseat, I have that same anticipation of fun when we embark on this coastal scenic drive along Windward O‘ahu.
The city falls away, concerns detach, and relaxation permeates as traffic moves—or sometimes moves—at an increasingly unhurried pace. Views of the Ko‘olau range, then Kane‘ohe Bay, Mokoli‘i, and beyond deliver O‘ahu’s verdant beauty. Many spots along the way have endured—like Punalu‘u’s small roadside shops where I’d bought musubi as a kid—honoring their roots but also evolving and adapting.
The five stops below reveal a glimpse of history and a taste of today, and because one might not want to make them all in one drive, it’s all the more reason to plan not just one road trip, but two.