Aloha! I have put together a travel guide to help you on your Hawaii trip & vacation planning! Here are the top attractions & things to see and do that I’ve handpicked especially for you!
1. CLIMB OAHU’S MOST ICONIC HIKE!
Diamond Head Hike is a tourist hot spot so be prepared to share the hike with others! The trail is very well marked, there’s no way you’ll get lost! You’ll pass a tunnel, a vintage staircase, a pillbox before you reach the top! Views at the summit are gorgeous! Crater on one side and downtown Waikiki on the other!
If you want to know more about my day hike, go to this link:
2. WATCH BIG WAVE SURFERS IN BANZAI PIPELINE & SUNSET BEACH
I have to be honest with you guys, I don’t know how to surf. But I had one perfect beach day while I was in town just reading a book, sippin’ on a smoothie, eating my poke bowl and watching all the pro surfers having fun in the water!
3. CAGEDIVE WITH SHARKS
This truly is an absolute must do while in Hawaii! Watching sharks in their natural habitat was one thing I would never think I would do but I wouldn’t trade for the world! Imagine 10-15 Galapagos sharks constantly circling the cage! I have no words, I was lost in the moment, what a once in a lifetime experience!
Read about my whole cagediving experience by clicking this link:
4. VISIT THE LOCALS’ GO-TO BEACH: THE LANIKAI BEACH!
Go for a dip at Lanikai Beach. “Lanikai” means heavenly sea! TripAdvisor has once ranked it as the Best Beach in the US! I say this has to be one of the best beaches in the world! It has once been a well-kept secret but now shared with locals and tourists alike! Powder soft white sand, peaceful jade green water, just paradise!
5. DRIVE INTO A TROPICAL JUNGLE
This activity is a bit off the beaten path yet well worth a visit. Drive into very lush vegetation, rainforest ecosystems and huge trees before you reach a spectacular viewpoint; The Tantalus Lookout! The very winding and narrow roads leading up to the state park is one unique Hawaiian experience you’ll surely enjoy! Come here before sunset and watch the city light up at night! Drive back down slowly and carefully please!
6. CONQUER THE 1048 STAIRS OF DOOM!
Come prepared… It’s a gruelling upward hike and the journey to peak is not for the faint hearted! But there is no better feeling than conquering the Koko head stairs! It’s torturous but rewarding! The 360-degree view of Oahu from the top is worth the grind!
I wrote a KOKO HEAD hike guide for you guys, all you have to do is click on this link below.
7. SPEND A DAY IN WAIKIKI BEACH
Oh Yes, Waikiki Beach is too commercial, too overrated, too overcrowded. But there is so much to love about it! Take a walk along the legendary beach, go shopping, parasailing, hula dancing! Or stuff your face with local Hawaiian food… Locomoco, spamusubi, malasadas, poke bowls, plate lunches, need I say more?
8. HIKE TO THE LANIKAI PILLBOXES
There are many hiking trails in Hawaii, but Lanikai Pillboxes is by far my favourite! This should be a must do while in the beautiful island of Oahu! Why? The trek is fairly easy, yet it offers Oahu’s finest sceneries! It’s short and sweet with beautiful sceneries all throughout the hike!
My mini guideline is also live: Just click on the following link!
9. EAT A HAWAIIAN CLASSIC
Shave ice is a big thing in Hawaii and while you’re here it is a must try! After hearing everyone rave about Matsumoto’s, I decided to check it out. Sure, it’s a tourist trap but straight up delicious shave ice! No large chunks just total smoothness that melts in your mouth! Don’t forget to add toppings for that pure shave ice bliss!
Calling all foodies: Here’s where you should eat in OAHU!
10. RECREATE AN OLD TIME MOVIE PALACE EXPERIENCE
Located in the island’s Chinatown District, step into the graciously restored Hawaii Theatre! Check their website and attend an event here if you are in Honolulu. Acoustic concerts, comedy shows, theatrical plays and live performances are waiting for you!
11. FOOD TRUCK HOPPING
Aside from the stunning beaches and epic sunsets, Hawaii is also famous for their food trucks! You will never get hungry in Hawaii as great food is very accessible where ever you are! Tacos, Shrimp, pizzas, malasadas, lechons, huli-huli chickens, burgers and healthy snacks are available in the parking lots, the markets or just along the road! And just a friendly reminder: Count the memories not the calories! :p
12. GO SKYDIVING!
I decided to finally skydive after years of saying “I will do it one day!” And without any doubt, this has to be one of the best things that I have ever done in my whole life! My first jump was amazing and definitely would not be my last! It was so epic I can’t wait for my next jump! Choose the best skydiving company and be ready to chill high up in the sky!
Thinking of ticking off skydiving on your bucket list soon?
Here’s all you that you need to know!
FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW!
13. VISIT A COFFEE FARM
My friend who is a local promised me that he knows a place that serves the best coffee in the island, and he was right! It’s just a few minutes away from Dole plantation and not very touristy! Free tour of the farm is offered daily so if you haven’t seen a coffee tree before like me, this is your chance! Haha! And have you ever heard of Sexual Chocolate Coffee? This is one of their bestsellers and if you want to know more about it, ask one of their friendly staff!
14. SNORKEL IN HANAUMA BAY
If you’re vacationing in Hawaii, snorkelling in the protected and pristine Hanauma Bay is a must do! It will be such a memorable encounter with underwater beauties as you swim around schools of tropical fishes, large green sea turtles and colourful marine life. And hey it would be exciting if you spot Hawaii’s state fish called, Humuhumunukunukuapuaa! Let me know in the comments! Yay!
15. TRY A MAI TAI AT THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN HOTEL
Wind down after a tiring day of hiking and beaching at the Royal Hawaiian! Grab a table and take in views of the ocean while sipping on Hawaii’s most famous drink, Mai Tai! Can I also mention it’s pink everywhere? Pink umbrellas, pink cabanas, pink loungers, pink drinks! If you love pink, this is your heaven!
16. HIT THE NORTH SHORE EVEN IF YOU DON’T SURF!
Just an hour drive away from Waikiki is the surfing capital of the world. But don’t worry even if you’re not a surfer, the North Shore is a destination for everyone! Scenic drive, anyone? Renting a car is worth it as there are so much to do! Beach hopping, food truck hunting, shopping, hiking! Follow no set plan and just stop when something beautiful pops!
17. GET LOST IN A PINEAPPLE MAZE
They say a visit to the Dole plantation is the biggest rip-off in Oahu! But hey, I don’t think it’s that bad at all! There’s plenty to do here… dining, exploring, fish feeding, farm tours and more! And the most fun part? The pineapple maze! There are even chickens, roosters and cats while you play! Don’t cheat and cut through the bushes for shortcuts please! And of course, don’t forget to reward yourself with a Dole whip afterwards! YUMMM!
18. MURAL HUNTING
If you’re tired of the beaches, the waterfalls, the rainforests while you’re in Oahu (you never will, btw), go mural hunting! Pretty much, murals are everywhere but the most striking ones are in Honolulu’s coolest neighbourhood, Kakaako! Creative, colourful and cheerful community artworks await!
19. WATCH A NEW DAY BREAK
Hawaii is home to some of the most spectacular sunrises on this planet and it’s worth getting up at least once to witness a new day break in the country! It’s a surreal and a special experience to watch as the sun comes up the vast ocean and lights up the sky! Don’t fret too much, just catch up on your sleep at the beach in the afternoon!
20. GO INSIDE A SUBMARINE
A trip to Pearl Harbor is incomplete without a visit to the USS Bowfin Submarine! Can you imagine sleeping on top of torpedoes and array of guns? Salute to these brave men in the Navy for their strength and bravery! Even if I’m not a history buff, I found the tour really fun & fascinating! And just so you know, this is not the vessel’s replica, it’s the real thing!
I wish I have helped you craft your dream holiday! Don’t hesitate to send me a message if you have any questions! Happy to help!
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Love from Hawaii,
The Travel Belle <3