Oahu endears itself to both visitors and locals with its truly breathtaking scenery. The Ko'olau Mountain Range slopes across the island with rolling green hills and steep peaks that overlook Kailua Bay. Off the sandy shore, the ocean plays host to an array of aquatic wildlife, such as sea turtles, dolphins, exotic fish, and kayakers. The last of these creatures comes from Twogood Kayaks, whose trained naturalists lead tours through the area's brilliant turquoise waters and offshore islets filled with natural coves and 12 species of seabirds.
In addition to garnering a reputation for making and selling some of the swiftest kayaks over the past 30 years, the staffers also train the next generation of competitors during camps and clinics.
For owner Nicole Robinson and the instructors at The Roof, yoga classes are about connecting with students in both the physical and spiritual sense. To encourage these connections, Nicole and her team lead sessions seven days a week from within the 2,300-square-foot Kailua Town studio, a sister studio to Hot Yoga by the Sea. Here, students of all levels improve their minds for meditation and body for flexibility during a variety of physical practice from Rock the Roof Flow to Twilight Vinyasa to Rooftop Restore. As muscles strengthen, minds can seek out inner peace on the spacious rooftop patio where twinkling string lights and panoramic views of Hamakua Marsh intermingle with the stars above and an occasional full moon during twilight yoga sessions.
To further encourage clients' search for calm, Nicole and company provide regular meditation workshops and yoga retreats as well onsite childcare services. The latter service, dubbed Yoga Playtime, provides a safe space for kids 1 year to 6 years to practice yoga and learn as parents participate in yoga classes or hide from their kids in a bathroom stall.
On the windward side of Oahu, the majestic Mokulau Islands embellish the sun-drenched horizon that faces Kailua, a beach town nestled directly below the Koolau Mountains. Here the aptly named Windward Watersports makes its home, under the direction of Jeff Tobias, a professional kitesurfer who helped to pioneer the sport locally. He and his staff leave the region's fragile ecosystem undisturbed as they lead passengers in exploring it via kayak, kiteboard, standup paddleboard, or surfboard. Patrons can rent the vessels for self-guided adventures into a bay teeming with as many sea turtles as a marine biologist's bathtub, or follow guides on kayak tours to surrounding points of natural splendor such as the "Mokes," only 45 minutes away. Strategically located, Windward Sports takes advantage of year-round trade winds and a temperature perpetually hovering around 80 degrees. Kailua serves as the ideal spot for kitesurfing, standup paddleboarding, and surfing lessons. Jeff and his sporty employees craft lessons that cater to all abilities and focus on safe, fun recreation atop frothy crests.
Explore coastal caves and rock formations. Walk past active lava flows and tubes. Paddle through schools of tropical fish against the underwater landscape of a reef. These outdoor adventures make up the daily commute for the five guides who helm Hawaii Pack and Paddle. In addition to belonging to the same family, these guides—each certified lifeguards trained in first aid and CPR—share a passion for the untamed splendor of Hawaii's outdoors. It's a passion they bestow upon others during 10 organized tours that challenge participants to kayak, snorkel, and embark on day or night hikes.
As a fully-insured kayak and snorkel-tour company, Hawaii Pack and Paddle sometimes leads forays into little-seen areas, such as the rugged Keauhou Bay or the cave where high-school senior Tiffany keeps her diary. Some tours lead adventurers through the lava flows and jungles of Volcanoes National Park, along the shore of Punaluu Black Sand Beach, or past the waterfalls and ridges of Waipi'o. Other tours focus on special topics such as spear-fishing and underwater geological exploration. Alternatively, multi-day tours may blend several outdoor activities or include overnight camping. On each excursion, guides elucidate facts about the local ecosystem and its ties to Hawaii's cultural history, and they often train participants in one of their favorite skills: marine-life identification.
For 29 years, The Watercraft Connection has been helping locals and tourists alike explore the waters of Oahu. The family behind the business sends guests into a harbor nestled in the historic surf town of Haleiwa. There, folks board jet skis, ocean kayaks, or chartered boats and head out to explore the beaches of nearby Ali'i Beach, Puaena Point, or Anahulu river.
Getting a close look at local flora and fauna is a big part of these expeditions. Customers can glimpse green sea turtles and wild peacocks while kayaking down the Anahulu, or spot dolphins and whales while lounging on chartered cruises. Diving and snorkeling trips offer a deeper perspective on coral reefs, sea creatures, and the pirates who evolved gills sometime in the 1700s.