Oahu’s Emerging Leeward Coast

There was a time when the west coast of Oahu was only visited by surfers bound for Yokohama Bay and hikers heading to the spit of wilderness at Kaena Point. This is the sunniest and driest part of the island, where steep cliffs plummet to the blinding white sand beaches. Then JW Marriott made the bold move to build their 387-room property, the Ihilani Resort and Spa, on the remote leeward coast. In 2011, Disney followed suit and opened their first resort not affiliated with a theme park. Called Aulani, the property helped spur on travel to Oahu, especially at a time when many families found the resorts of Waikiki to be dated and chose instead to head to the Hawaiian islands of Maui, The Big Island, and Kauai. The two resorts are now part of the umbrella Ko Olina Resort and have been joined by two other properties, Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club and Ko Olina Beach Villas

I arrived at Ko Olina Resort with my family last night and have the good fortune to be reporting live from this glorious locale over the 4th of July holiday. Follow me through the course of this week at www.ActiveTravels.com/blog, @ActiveTravels on Twitter, and my Facebook Page, www.Facebook.com/ActiveTravels, to learn more about everything Ko Olina Resort offers. I’ll discuss the types of accommodation; the numerous activities including snorkeling with wild dolphins straight from the Ko Olina marina, trying the Ted Robinson-designed golf course, stargazing, and listening to live Hawaiian music; and dining at some of the foremost restaurants on Oahu including Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman’s Ko Olina outposts. I’ll also drive outside the resort gates to find the funky west coast villages of Nanakuli, Waianae, and Makaha, still home to Hawaiian families that date back some 500 years. Unlike Waikiki, the Leeward Coast still retains a semblance of authenticity. Please stay tuned!