sunrise

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.

Experiences:

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.

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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!

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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!

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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


Hikes:

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

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

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

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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!

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Food:

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.

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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!

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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!)

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

 

Oahu Day 9 + 10 | Sunrise at Sandy Beach, Lanikai Beach

 

Day 9

Started the day at Sandy Beach or 'Broke Neck Beach’ to the locals, for sunrise. While it seemed like it was going to be cloudy, it ended up clearing up and being a really pretty sunrise.

I also finally go to try the Souffle Pancakes from The Cream Pot. The pancakes were pretty pricey but so fluffy and good. (Thanks for the rec Ian!)

Because we were up so early for sunrise, it was only 8AM so we decided to check out Waikiki, the most touristy beach on the island with all hotels lined up along the beach. We walked through one of the hotels, and while it was really nice, I didn’t love the touristy feel of the area. There really is just so much more on the island to see, eat and do. But they really did make the downtown area really gorgeous, especially at night.

While we were in the area we drove to Ubae for their ube cheescake tarts, 2/5, it wasn’t bad but pretty expensive for how small of a cheesake it was, it didn’t have a partciularly strong ube taste either. We went next door and got some laulau from Young’s Fish Market.

The entire trip, all I wanted was a fresh coconut, while there were lots of fresh coconut stands along the road around the island I never got one. We happened to stumble upon a farmer’s market where a guy was selling HUGE coconuts for $5, it even came with a handmade wood straw. He opened it up right in front of us, and explained where he climbed and harvested them on the island.

We couldn’t leave without one last stop at Lanikai, so spent our afternoon just relaxing on the beach. We also proceeded to do a mini photoshoot with our coconut before Jordan tore it open and we ate the coconut meat.

We got lunch at Rainbow’s, before visiting Jordan’s grandma one last time at her hair salon. I got their mixed plate and Jordan got the loco moco. Can’t go wrong with some good Hawaiian fast food. We also saw the coolest VW vans all over the island and here was a pretty green one parked outside Rainbow’s.

Day 10

Our last day we packed, had our last pound of poke from Foodland, visited Jordan’s grandpa’s grave one last time and finally tried the McDonald’s Ube Pie. Why did it take me until the last day to try this, it was so good, better than the ube cheesecake.

Before we knew it, our 10 days in Oahu were over! Belly’s full, a few shades darker, and rejuvinated, we were out! Until next time!