Monday, February 26, 2018 / Hawaii, USA

Travel Guide to All Things Oahu


This year for my birthday, I decided to treat myself and go on a winter getaway to Oahu, Hawaii. Hawaii consists of 8 major islands, but since this would be my first time visiting Hawaii, I thought that Oahu would be a great island to start with! We spent 7 days / 6 nights in Oahu and can definitely say we saw everything there was to see on that island. The purpose of our trip was to just relax and escape the winter blues. I'd say our trip was a wild success!

Let me guide you through Oahu and show you what we got up to on this island, including a road trip around the island, a helicopter ride on top of the island, attend a traditional Lu'au, and many more!

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Things to Do & See

Attend a Lu'au - The one thing I was very excited to do was to attend a traditional Lu'au. We went to Paradise Cove at Ko Olina, just a couple hours away from downtown Waikiki. We got picked up at 4pm and arrived at Paradise Cove in time to enjoy a couple drinks and take part in some activities, such as head piece making, spear throwing, and canoeing. Once the sun set, we enjoyed a delicious dinner and show that included their traditional dances from each island in the French Polynesia. We even got to go up on stage, learn the Hula dance, and perform! It was so much fun & something you definitely have to do once in your life.

Sunset Catamaran - Sailing into the sunset on a boat while holding mai tais in both hands was one of my favourite memories on this trip. Oh, did I mention it was open bar? We went with Maitai Catamaran (low key chose them because of the name of the company haha I love me a mai tai)!

Diamond Head Crater Hike - One of the most popular & paved hikes on Oahu is definitely up Diamond Head. It took us around an hour to get to the top leisurely, and although we were super sweaty, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the city.

Hang out at the Beach - As much as you want to explore the island, it's Hawaii after all! Be sure to take some time to just chill and soak up the sunshine. There are a bunch of beaches all around the island. They're all beautiful, although some nicer than others. The waves are amazing for surfing if you drive up to the North Shore area - I've pinpointed a couple of the beaches we visited during our drive in the map below! Waikiki Beach is the beach closest to downtown, where a lot of people just play around in the water or sit on the beach.

See Oahu from Up Above - One of the most memorable parts of my trip was going on a doors off helicopter ride with Paradise Helicopters. It was my first time ever in a helicopter and we got to see North Shore from another perspective! We chose to do the Turtle Bay North Shore Adventure, which was a 20 minute ride and I thought that was the perfect amount of time for the ride. We had amazing weather, and flew over the North Shore coast. We got to see sights such as the Kahana Bay, Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach, and even the Ko'olau Mountains and the "Sacred Falls". We were definitely high in Hawai'i!

Rent a Car & Just Drive - For two of the 7 days we were there, we rented a car from Hertz. This gave us access to drive anywhere around Oahu. The island is big, but definitely not too big to drive around it in a day. It was amazing to just drive and stop whenever we saw something pretty or something yummy on the side of the highway. On an interactive map below, I pinpointed a bunch of locations around the coast that we stopped by on our road trips!
PRO TIP: Check how much it costs to park at your hotel. For us, it was cheaper to return the car after each day vs renting a car & paying for parking over night!

Learn About the History - If you're looking for more historical things to do, definitely visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. There is also a Polynesian Cultural Centre that you can visit and learn more about the different cultures and islands.

What to Eat & Drink

Top Left - You have to give poké a try when you're in Hawaii. Enjoy it by the beach with a beer? Even better!
Top Middle - Enjoying a local dish called the "loco moco." See the photo below to see exactly what it is! And yes, people eat this for breakfast!!
Top Right - Getting a fresh fruit smoothies is a definite must when driving along the coast. I got this mango papaya smoothie from a random stand on the side of the highway!
Bottom Right - A delicious steak, jalapeno mashed potatoes, and a margarita pizza from one of the best new restaurants in Oahu, Moku Kitchen.
Bottom Middle - If you love pineapples like I do, you have to visit the Dole Plantation and try their ice cream!
Bottom Left - Another very popular thing to do in Oahu is to drive up the North Shore and stop by a shrimp truck for lunch. It was the yummiest little shrimps I've had, and the garlic rice is also so delish. We went to Fumi's!

Don't forget to try a Mai Tai - A Mai Tai is the most touristy drink to get. "Why is this on the list?", you ask. Because if you want to get drunk, this is how you do it LOL. It comes with 1.5 oz of white rum, 1.5 oz of dark rum, and a couple other syrups haha. My fave was from a small bar called Arnold's Beach Bar!

Where To Stay

Downtown - As someone who likes having access to everything at my fingertips, we opted to stay in a boutique hotel in downtown Waikiki. Of course, there are pros and cons to staying in the most tourist area of the city. For me, the biggest advantage was that it was the most convenient spot ever. We were literally just steps away from food, the beach, convenient stores, and the car rental dealership! A con would be that it was always busy - which I took as a good thing as the streets were more lively. We were able to go out to bars and then stumble back home no problem.

North Shore - Although North Shore is only an hour and a bit drive away from downtown Wakiki, they are known for the biggest waves on the island. If you're someone who loves surfing, I'd definitely recommend staying in that area of the island for a couple days to take advantage of the beaches and waves.

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I honestly had such a great time in Oahu, and wouldn't have done anything any other way. When I tell people where I went in Hawaii, the first reaction I got was "You should go to more islands!" Although that was my initial thought while planning for the trip, there's something about going to a place and 'over'doing it. We did literally everything you could do and I can safely say that I don't need to come back (although I 100% would).

But I'm sure I will definitely be back to Hawaii, & hopefully get to explore the other islands next time!

I hope this guide was helpful, and as always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or send me an email :) I hope you enjoy Oahu as much as I did! xo

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