Industrialist Henry J. Kaiser overcame major challenges in the 1960s to develop 6,000 East O'ahu acres, which originally were primarily wetlands, into a thriving residential community. Hawai'i Kai now offers a marina, golf course, botanical garden, equestrian center, marine conservation district, and some of O'ahu's most inviting beaches.
Swim and snorkel among some 200 species of fish at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, one of Hawai'i's first Marine Conservation Districts. Free kama'aina admission with ID. Parking is limited; consider taking The Bus (route 22). Closed Tuesdays. 100 Hanauma Bay Road. 808-395-2211; tinyurl.com/zurm7ep.
Watch horseplay or take lessons at Koko Crater Stables. 7491 Kokonani Street. tinyurl.com/zw7x9jq.
A 2-mile trail meanders through the 60-acre collection of dryland plants from around the world at the adjacent Koko Crater Botanical Garden. 7491 Kokonani Street. 808-522-7060; tinyurl.com/ho3sj9b.
These shops are all in Koko Marina Center. 7192 Kalaniana'ole Highway. kokomarinacenter.com.
Pop into Cosmopolitan Sun Shop for swimsuits, sunglasses, pareu, hats, towels, and any other fun-in-the-sun needs. Building E-120. 808-395-4269; tinyurl.com/guxxdlv.
Mikinola is a magnet for fashion plates. It's a one-stop shop for head-to-toe chic ensembles, from shoes and handbags to jewelry and dresses. Building D-100. 808-394-6666; shopmikinola.com.
Lei and other botanicals create a montage of vivid colors at Marina Florist. Say hello to Sunshine, the yellow parakeet. Building D-104. 808-394-5555; marinafloristhawaii.com.
At Moena Café, start the morning with a kalua pig Benedict, short rib loco moco, or cinnamon roll pancakes. 7192 Kalaniana'ole Highway, Building D-101. 808-888-7716; moenacafe.com.
Pad thai, Thai stuffed chicken wings, and any of the curries are musts at Maile's Thai Bistro. 333 Keahole Street, Suite 2B8. 808-394-2488; mailesthaibistro.com.
When Roy's Hawaii Kai opened in 1988, chef Roy Yamaguchi's menu included kiawe-smoked Sichuan baby-back pork ribs. Other favorites, including seared misoyaki butterfish, have been around for nearly as long. 6600 Kalaniana'ole Highway. 808-396-7697; royshawaii.com/roys-hawaii-kai.html.