Snorkel at Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is one of Oahu’s biggest attractions. It attracts huge crowds of snorkelers, so be prepared to share the water. It is a crescent shaped bay that is partially protected from the open ocean. The clear and shallow waters make it perfect for snorkeling. The fish in the bay are so used to people you will be continually surrounded by them.
Watch Free Fireworks On The Beach Near The Hawaii Hilton
Every Friday evening the Hawaii Hilton puts on a free fireworks show on Waikiki Beach. It begins at 7:45pm and lasts for approximately ten minutes. You can see the fireworks anywhere on the beach near the hotel.
Take In Spectacular Views By Hiking Diamond Head
Take A Rewarding Hike Up Diamond Head, it’s a must do while on Oahu. The views are some of the most impressive on the island. The trail can be done by most people, for the most part it is not that difficult.
Wave At Family And Friends From The Duke Statue Webcam
Grab your cellphone and head to Kuhio beach in Waikiki. Stand at the statue of “Duke” Kahanamoku and call your family or friends back home. Give them the web url of the live camera that points from a hotel across the street and then wave like crazy so they can spot you. You’ll get hooked and want to call everyone you know! http://www1.honolulu.gov/multimed/wme.asp
Eat Mouth Watering Malasada Donuts At Leonard’s Bakery
Leonard’s Bakery is an icon on the island of Oahu. They have been in business since 1952 at 933 Kapahulu Avenue. A malasada is basically a Portuguese donut. It’s a pastry dough that is fried until the outside is crispy, but the inside remains soft and moist.
The donuts are served hot and come in plain or sprinkled in white sugar or cinnamon. They are absolutely delicious just as they are, but if you want to fully indulge order them filled with chocolate or Bavarian cream.
Watch Surfers On The Big Waves Of The North Shore Beaches
The drive along Oahu’s North Shore is beautiful with beaches on one side and stunning mountain scenery on the other. It’s an easy day trip to take from the Waikiki area, but is often overlooked by tourists.
In the winter months the waves on the North Shore attract surfers from all over the world. We visited one of the most famous spots on the North Shore called the Bonsai Pipeline. We watched the surfers for hours. Check out our photos of the surfers in our post. Catching Waves On Oahu’s North Shore
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet
If you really want to get your fill of shopping, there is no better place than the Aloha Stadium swap meet. It is held every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. The vendor stalls circle the outside of the stadium and are 3 or 4 rows deep. This is the best place to find souvenirs and often at a fraction of the cost that you would pay at the tourist shops in the city. Tons of items are available from clothing, luggage, jewellery, t-shirts, local antique and collectables, music, baked goods, fruit and more.
The Aloha Stadium is a half hour drive west of Honolulu. It is a good outing to pair up your visit to Pearl Harbor with the swap since they are located very close to each other.
Swap meet info and directions.
Cool Off With A Matsumoto Shave Ice
A must stop while in the North Shore historic surf town of Haleiwa is Matsumoto Shave Ice. It is a family run establishment that is celebrating their 60th anniversary of operation in the community. They have many delicious flavors to choose from. It really cools you down on a hot day.
On the walls inside Matsumoto’s you’ll see pictures of the staff serving up shaved ice to many celebrities that have stopped by when visiting Oahu.
Enjoy Some Time At Kailua or Lanikai Beaches
Kailua Beach is the go to place for local families on the weekends. The waves are gentle due to the protection of the bay. It is a full facility beach with 30 acres of public park full of grassy areas and picnic tables. There are food stands, restrooms, shady areas and plenty of parking. Several cafes and restaurants in Kailua town offer picnic meals to take to the beach.
The middle section of the beach is less crowded than the beach park area. Even though it is popular with locals it is much more laid back than the beaches of Waikiki, and only 30 minutes away. If you come during the week you can practically have the area to yourself.
Kailua is one of the most popular spots for windsurfing, there are also canoe, kayak and sailboard rentals available on or near the beach. Kayakers often go to Flat island that is not far off the beach shore.
Lanikai Beach is located not far east from Kailua Beach. It has a beautiful mile long stretch of fine white sand. It is much quieter than other Oahu beaches because it is off the beaten path. Access is through a residential neighbourhood. The offshore reef keeps the waters calm making it perfect for year round swimming. It’s the perfect beach for relaxing on. You can kayak to the Mokulua Islands, known as the twin islands. They are both bird sanctuaries.
North Shore Food Trucks
Along the North Shore route you will come across many places where food vans are parked. Don’t hesitate to stop and grab some lunch. This is one of the best areas of Oahu to hit up the shrimp vans. The fresh shrimp is cooked with garlic and lemon butter. The road between Kualoa and the surf town of Haleiwa is dotted with vans. We also found a van selling delicious Greek food.
Take In the Views From The Pali Lookout
The Pali Lookout overlooks the cliffs of the Koolau Mountain Range.It is one of the best panoramic views on Oahu’s windward side. You can see Kaneohe Bay and Kailua.
Take H1 east bound from Waikiki, then take the Pali Highway, Route 61, via Nu’uanu Pali Drive. Follow the signs to the Lookout.
Enjoy The Tranquility Of The Byodo-In Temple
The Byodo-In Temple is located in a beautiful area of Oahu, the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. It is a replica of 950 year old temple in Uji, Japan. The backdrop of tall mountains and traditional Japanese gardens and koi ponds make it a place of beauty and serenity.
Round Top And Tantalus Drive
This drive is a great escape out of the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. In just a few minutes you can be out of the concrete jungle and in a real tropical one. It is a ten mile drive that winds its way through a canopy of guava, mango and koa and bamboo trees. Even on hot days you can feel the drop in temperature in this rain forest environment.
Drive slowly and watch for breaks in the forest where pullouts open up to sweeping views. The road loops to the summit of Mount Tantalus and back down again. Along the way there are views of downtown Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head, the Punch Bowl Memorial Cemetery and Pearl Harbor. One of the best places to stop is at the Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park. Park your vehicle and walk to the end of the point. The park closes at sunset, but you can still stop at one of the other lookout points to watch the sun go down and see the glimmering lights of Honolulu.
Marvel At The Crowd Of People On Waikiki Beach When There Are So Many Other Options
What can you say about Waikiki Beach, possibly that you will either love it or hate it. It is what it is, a long stretch of shoreline lined with hotels, restaurants and sand that is crowded with people. If you are visiting Oahu you might as well experience it and see what all the fuss is about.
We found it fascinating to see people almost sitting on top of each other when you could go 100 meters down the beach and practically have the sand to yourself.
One thing to say about Waikiki beach is you will never run out of things to do. There are surfing lessons, catamaran charters and every other water activity imaginable. Or you can sit and waste the afternoon away at one of the many beachfront restaurants or cafes.
Just remember Waikiki is only a part of Oahu. There’s many other areas to explore on the island. If you get away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki Beach and Honolulu you can discover the incredible beauty and solitude that the many other parts of the island has to offer.