The “Hollywood” of Oahu is at dramatic Kualoa Regional Park (#lethawaiihappen)

Kualoa Regional Park on the northern part of windward (eastern) Oahu: drab name, very cool place. The camping area of the park has an excellent swimming beach, including a short walk to the sands of Secret Island—which only seems like an island since its hemmed in by the bay on one side and big Moli’i Fishpond on the other.

You may recognize the jagged ridge that lords over the scene,  featured in TV commercials and programs (Five-O) and movies (Godzilla, 50 First Dates, Jurassic Park, Mighty Joe Young).

Calm waters attract outrigger canoeists. Just off the point is a small island (you can also swim to it) called Mokoli’i, but known as Chinaman’s Hat (its profile looks like one of the straw hats worn by Chinese workers in the old days).

Kualoa Ranch, on the mountain side of the rural highway from the beach park, has several historical sites dating from the sugar cane heydays in the late 1800s.

Kualoa Ranch is private property, but visitors can arrange tours by jungle vehicle or horseback. The Ranch also has big gift store and cafeteria-style restaurant. The front deck is where to be to take it all in. One last thing: about two miles south of the beach park and ranch is Tropical Farms, an old-timey family operation that offers free coffee and mac nut samples, along with a wide selection of gifts and artwork. Oahu Trailblazer has details on many more places to check out on this underrated Hawaiian coastline.