Hawaii has always been mine and Thomas’s favorite getaway spot. Prior to setting out on our trip to Hawaii back in April, I talked to my sister, a former Oahu resident for 7 years, to identify the best things to do on Oahu. She put together an amazing list for us, which we used as a guide to plan out our trip, and ended up accomplishing almost all of the recommendations she gave us. We wanted to share our list (combined with my sister’s) of the 10 best things to do while you are on Oahu.
- See a sunset– Anywhere on the west coast of Oahu, you’ll be sure to see a beautiful, dreamy Hawaiian sunset. One of our favorite spots to watch the sun set was on the beach at Yokohama Bay. About an hour and a half away from Waikiki, Yokohama Bay is the furthest west point on Oahu. We also enjoyed an amazing sunset from our hotel in Waikiki overlooking the marina.
- See a sunrise– The great thing about being on an island this size is you can easily see the sunrise and sunset over the water on the same day without making too much effort. Recommended as the absolute best place to catch a sunrise, Lanikai Beach did not disappoint us. The two islands in the background, called the mokes, add an extra boost to the scene. We left shortly after sunrise, but we heard this is a great beach to spend a full day at because the water is so warm and the sand so soft. After you watch a sunrise here, we recommend going for a hike or checking out Moke’s Bread & Breakfast. If you’re not a morning person and you are coming from the US to Oahu, we recommend that you try and see a sunrise on your first or second morning because it’s easier to wake up since your body hasn’t fully adjusted to the time. With any sunrise, make sure you know exactly where you need to be to get the best shot.
- Go for a hike– Hiking in Hawaii is always rewarding. One hike (very moderate) that we loved and did immediately after seeing the sunrise at Lanikai beach, was the Pillbox Hike. A great hike for any skill level, perfect for adults and kids. Another well known hike is Diamond Head, close to Waikiki, that I’ve done on previous visits to Oahu.
- Go snorkeling– Unlike every other time we have been to Hawaii, we didn’t have the chance to go snorkeling on this trip, but that doesn’t mean that you should miss out. Reading up on the subject of best snorkeling locations on Oahu it looks like both Electric Beach and Sharks Cove are great. My sister also recommended to checkout this specific tour where you can swim with wild dolphins.
- Have an acai bowl– If you follow along with our daily life on Instagram or Snapchat, you know that we are addicted to acai bowls! Acai bowls first became popular in the US when they reached Hawaii and Southern California. We felt like it was our mission to try every acai bowl we could. A few of our favorites we had during this trip were from Diamond Head Health Bar (loved how they had tons of raw honey on top), Haleiwa Bowls (my personal favorite) and Crispy Grindz (Pipeline-Sunset Beach area).
- Eat at a Food truck on the North Shore– The North Shore is famous for a lot of things, surfing being number one and food trucks probably number two. You can find a few Shrimp trucks on the North Shore but nobody does it better than Giovanni’s. They serve you a huge plate of rice and garlic covered shrimp that will have you re-ordering more almost immediately. On one of the last days of our trip, we were really craving fish tacos and wound up at North Shore Tacos in Haleiwa- Thomas had a fish burrito and I had two fish tacos. I’m craving them both now as I’m reminiscing on how good they were!
- Stop at a fruit stand– Pineapple, coconut and more pineapple. I love to pick up fresh fruit from fruit stands, it quickly became our morning ritual while we were on the island. You’ll be able to spot plenty along the sides of the road along the Northeast shore and a few more on the Northwest shore. We stopped at this fruit stand at Kawela Bay right before Turtle Bay.
- Have some fish tacos– The best fish tacos we have ever had in our lives were at South Shore Grill near Diamond Head. In fact, they were so incredibly good that we went immediately back the next night for dinner. We probably would have gone back again if we didn’t have to leave the next day (although we seriously considered stopping by on our way to the airport). As mentioned earlier, North Shore Tacos also had some amazing fish tacos.
- Relax by the pool– You’re in Hawaii, so take a break by your hotel pool. Even if you’re renting an Airbnb without one, you can head to a nearby hotel and book a lounge chair or cabana for the day. If you are looking for a hotel with a great pool, relaxing vibe and good food, checkout the Modern Honolulu.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth–Leonard’s malasadas are unbelievably good, well worth the wait, should you find a long line out front. Other great ideas to satisfy your sweet tooth are the many snow cone places on the North Shore, try Aloha General Store and/or Matsumoto Shave Ice. The Dole Plantation on the route from Honolulu to the North Shore has some amazing pineapple soft serve ice cream as well.
Oahu map by Lauren Taylor Creates.
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