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Introducing Central & Leeward O'ahu

The island’s tallest mountains stand watch over the rugged rural highlands of central Oʻahu. Squeezed between giant military reservations en route to the hip, laid-back North Shore, the region is much more of a thoroughfare than a destination unto itself. Few visitors make leeward Oʻahu their first stop either. The land is dry and brown, and much of the region’s population subsists at the lower end of the economic scale. Though the coast as a whole is a little rough around the edges, suburbanite Kapolei boasts a few family-friendly attractions and Disney’s resort has caused a splash in Ko Olina. The intrepid traveler venturing further north will find undeveloped beaches and unvarnished communities. Cultural pride is alive here, as more Native Hawaiians live on the Waiʻanae Coast than anyplace else island-wide. Near the island’s tip at Kaʻena Point, habitation gives way to green-velvet-tufted mountains and rocky coastal ledges.