modo donuts

Oahu Must Sees, Dos, and Eats


And if you don’t want to read the details of my day-by-day, here’s a summary of what I recommend on Oahu. I tried my best to make it more of a local experience while incorporating some tourist attractions, because those are the most popular things for a reason! Feel free to reach out or comment with any questions!  

I provided links for the experiences and hikes that lead to the full post with more descriptions and photos.


Kaneoheo Sandbar
Rent a kayak and paddle out to the sand bar to stand in the middle of the ocean. When the tide is low, the sand sits well above the water.


Snorkeling at Shark’s Cove
Shallow waters with plenty of cool fish in an enclosed area. Also checkout Hanauma Bay (more crowded and touristy, but a great spot) We recommend full face snorkel masks, they make everything so much easier, and pickup a pair of fins at a local store!

Swim at Halona Cove
This was a great spot to just swim and jump in the waves, they aren’t small waves, but also not gigantic. This spot is also really easy to find and get to!


Sunset at China Walls
A great spot to see the last light of the country and watch the surfers, plenty of parking and easy to find!


Sunrise at Sandy Beach
Worth waking up to see all the colors of sunrise reflect on the tidepools at Sandy Beach (a.k.a. Broke Neck Beach). Stop at The Cream Pot nearby for breakfast!

Hangout at Lanikai Beach
Just one of many of Oahu’s gorgeous beaches, hard to find parking though so just drive around. Bring lunch and hangout all day!

Other: Sunset at Sunset Beach, Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, Snorkel at Hanauma Bay, Shop at Ala Moana Center, Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, Shop at Waikele Outlets, Buy a fresh coconut from a road-side stand or farmer’s market


Makua Cave
1.7 mi RT, Easy-Intermediate, Stunning sweeping view of west side’s coastline.


Koko Head
1050+ steps, Intermediate, amazing 360 views of entire southern part of island

Lulumahu Falls
2.5 mi RT, Easy-Intermediate, Extremely muddy


Makapu’u Tidepools
2 mi RT, Intermediate, Hike down from the Makapu’u Lighthouse trail to these semi-hidden tidepools that you can swim in!

Crouching Lion Hike
1.5 mi RT, Intermediate, Pretty steep and muddy hike but a nice view! You don’t have to walk all the way out to the rock to get the view either!



Helena’s Hawaiian Food
Hands down our favorite spot to eat on the island. We were obsessed with their spare ribs, but their laulau, kalua pork, and macaroni salad was all delicious. There is usually a wait but it’s totally worth the wait, or take it to-go!

Foodland Poke
Foodland is just a grocery store but it’s probably the best deal on the island for poke, good quality for a reasonable price. Can’t go wrong with a half pound of Shoyu Ahi, half a pound of Spicy Ahi (not spicy), and a bag of Tostito’s Scoops.

Ono’s Steak and Shrimp
Something so simple about really good steak, butter garlic shrimp with rice, and macaroni salad just sealed the deal for me! Another great option is Giovanni’s Shrimp.


Other great food: Button Up Cafe, Sura Hawaii, The Cream Pot, Poke on Da Run, Rainbow Drive-In. Great food we wanted to try but didn’t get to: Boots and Kimo’s, Marukame Udon

Dessert + Snacks

Liliha Bakery
Specifically the Matcha and Chantilly Coco Puffs! Seriously so good, my mouth is watering just thinking about them.

Haleiwa Bowls
We had two other acai bowls while on the island but this was definitely our favorite. I also wanted to try Sunrise Shack but didn’t get the chance.

Modo Donuts
If you like mochi, you need to try these, they have so many good flavors. Their location was a little hard to find but I shared a tip here! My favorite flavors were cookies and cream, black sesame, and earl gray!


Shimazu’s Shave Ice
While everyone recommends Matsumoto’s, I loved Shimazu, short line, lots of options, huge portions, and good quality! We got the Milk Green Tea and Matcha flavors, haha adventurous I know. (Thanks for the recommendation Bailey!)


Other: Ube Pie from McDonald’s, Malasadas from Leonard’s, Dole Whip from the Dole Plantation


Oahu Day 6 | Kaneohe Sandbar, Crouching Lion Hike, Sandy Beach


Day 6 — Kaneohe + North Shore + Waikiki

There are almost no words to describe the Kaneohe Sandbar. It’s a huge bar of sand in the ocean where the tide goes up and down, on days where the tide is low, the sand just sits like an island above the water.

We rented a kayak from Holokai Kayak and Snorkel. After some research, most prices were competitive and around the same amount, but they gave us a good deal! Threw in the seat backings and an anchor. We kayaked out about a mile from the shore to the sandbar.

We unfortunately went on a cloudier, actually rainy day, so there weren’t many people around. While the sun did come out here and there, it was pretty cloudy. Still it was an amazing experience and hope to go back again.

We continued up the east side of the island on Kamehameha Highway towards the Crouching Lion hike. Put the directions into the map and park alongside the road north from the trailhead, there will likely be other cars there. Usually I hear this area is pretty hard to get parking, but we went on a cloudy/rainy day so had no problem getting parking. Walk south down the highway towards the ‘Area Closed’ sign and start here.

Stay left as you hike up, this is the more direct route. You will have to climb over a fallen tree. Unlucky for us, it was a rainy day, and while the uphill climb was cardio it was also pretty slippery from the wet mud. It wasn’t raining when we went up so were able to climb the 1 mile up pretty quickly probably in about 20–30 minutes. The views at the top were quite rewarding, we didn’t actually hike to the very point that is a singular rock since it started raining. We reached the overlook before it continues to the rock, they consider this the Crouching Lion “mini” hike.

We started to hike back down and this proved to be one of the hardest hikes I have ever done, not because it was tiring but because it was so vertical going down with no traction. Not to mention, it was pouring, and the mud continued to get more and more slippery. It probably took us about an hour to slowly make our way down, and we came back super muddy. I wouldn’t recommend this hike on a rainy day but would recommend it on a sunny, dry day.

One thing I did want to do was find a swing along the road on the beach. And when people say if you just drive along the road and you will find one, they were right, I probably spotted 3 or 4. {They were all along the east side.)

After our drive along the east side of the island we continued driving towards the North Shore. We stopped for garlic shrimp at Giovanni’s Aloha Shrimp which is the truck still on the east side right before you drive to the top of the island. This one had almost no line versus the other Giovanni’s in the heart of North Shore that almost always has a long line, highly recommend this location.

To finish the day we watched the sunset at Sandy Beach with our Hawaiian Sun Guava and Lilikoi (lychee) drinks. While it was crowded and touristy, it was a really great spot, this is also where the famous curved palm tree is.

This day ended with lots of dessert, we had to get our Matcha and Chantilly coco puffs from Liliha Bakery. Cannot recommend enough, we even bought and froze a dozen to bring home.

Followed by our search for the Modo mochi donuts! Tip: this location is IN the Mitsuwa Marketplace IN the Waikiki International Market Place. It was a tiny booth like storefront. My favorite donuts from them were the cookies and cream, and black sesame!