Aloha guys! Oahu is such a beautiful island and offers fun for everybody: If you like the ocean, you’ll love this island. If you like hiking, you’ll love it. If you like to shop till you drop, you’ll love it. Check out my personal ten best things to do on Oahu!
Things to do on Oahu: Climb Diamond Head
It belongs to the skyline of Honolulu like the TV-Tower to Stuttgart: The volcano crater Diamond Head at the Eastern end of Waikiki.
It was created during an eruption 200.000 years ago. Between 1904 and the end of World War II the crater was an important military outpost and you can still see the remains of old cannon emplacements along the rim.
Nowadays the crater is open to the public and there is a 0.75-mile (1.1-km) hike that leads to the edge of the crater’s rim. Sure this hike made it on our bucket list! 🙂 Even though it is short, a 170 m (560 ft) elevation gain awaits you – part of it by climbing up long fleets of stairs.
I recommend doing this hike in the early morning when a) the sun is still low and b) not too many other tourists are on the trail. Also bring a torch! You have to walk through a very dark tunnel!
As soon as you reach the top, you know the hike was worth the effort. The view is amazing!
Things to do on Oahu: Visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial and the Mighty Mo
If you are at least a tiny bit interested in history, you can’t stay on Oahu without visiting Pearl Harbor. To explain the importance of this place in a nutshell: The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 led to the United States’ entry into World War II. One of the battleships, the USS Arizona, lies still at the same spot where it sunk 75 years ago.
At first we visited the memorial that is installed above the sunken battleship. There are 1,300 free walk up tickets each day so if you want to visit this memorial by yourself, make sure you arrive early. At first you get to watch a film about the attack, then you bord a boat that brings you to the memorial. From there you can see parts of the Arizona below the surface. The ship is now also the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen who died during the attack. A touching sight and place.
There is one more thing I can recommend doing while in Pearl Harbor: Visit the battleship Missouri, also called Mighty Mo. This is the place where representatives of the Empire of Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender on September 2, 1945.
Things to do on Oahu: Treat yourself with an acai bowl
I haven’t heard about acai bowls before but I fell in love with them right away here in Hawaii! The super healty acai berry became a food trend a little while ago already. But creating a kind of sorbet with it and topping it with granola and fresh fruit has been a veeeeery good idea if you ask my taste buds! 🙂 I tried my first acai bowl in Haleiwa at a food stand next to the main road. Guys: soooo good! I would love to start all my days with this treat as breakfast!
Things to do on Oahu: Go wave watching at the North Shore
The North Shore of Oahu is the opposite of glamorous, buzzing Waikiki. It is a very relaxed stretch of shoreline with the worlds tallest waves. In winter you can even observe the famous pipeline. We reserved a full day to get there and do some wave watching.
Even the drive up north was scenic:
We had chosen a very windy day and expected the waves to be enormous. They were fairly big but didn’t form the world-famous pipeline though.
After watching the forces of nature for a while we drove on. Next stop: Haleiwa, a cute town with strong surf vibes.
Food, gas, shops, beaches – everything a girl needs to be happy 😀
We spent quite a while in this lovely town, browsing through the shops and galleries and buying a little bit here and a little bit there. A great place to end a trip to the North Shore.
Things to do on Oahu: Snorkel at Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay in the South-East of Oahu is one of the most beautiful snorkeling spots I’ve ever been to! It is a special place, not only because of its geological history: When you snorkel in Hanauma Bay you actually snorkel in the remains of an old volcano crater. The bay was created when wave erosion cut through the walls of Koʻolau volcano. The half-moon shape of the bay speaks for itself.
The beauty of this volcano bay itself would make it worth a visit, but there is more: Haunauma Bay is a fantastic snorkeling spot! About 400 species of fish are known to inhabit the bay and even green sea turtles like the shallow and save water. I have never seen so many colorful fish so close.
As parking space is limited, you should arrive early when you are visiting Hanauma Bay by yourself. There is a 7.50 Dollar entrance fee but every cent spent is well worth it!
Things to do on Oahu: Explore Waikiki
Even though it is one of the most touristy places I’ve ever been to (I would compare it to the Strip in Vegas), I still loooove Waikiki (as I do Vegas ;-)). Strolling through the streets underneath palm trees, looking into the one or other shop, grabbing a drink here and a bite there with the option of hopping into the turquoise water of Waikiki Beach at the end – that’s how I could spend every day from now on 🙂
Things to do on Oahu: Hang out at Tilia Exquisite Aloha
Tilia is my most favorite café in Waikiki. Relaxed atmosphere, super friendly owners and their food is delicious. If it would be located in Stuttgart I think I would go there every second day. Moritz can recommend their waffles and I – of course 😉 – their acai bowl! If you’re in Honolulu, go there for breakfast or lunch – or both! ;-D
Things to do on Oahu: Meet sea turtles
Ever since I watched the Disney movie Finding Nemo I’m in love with sea turtles! 🙂 And when we found out that the Hawaiian Islands are perfect for spotting them, we were thrilled. Unfortunately we didn’t see any at Hanauma Bay. But there is a place not that far away from Honolulu where they can be found very often, too: Electric Beach (also named Kahe Point). This is not the most scenic place in the world and right next to an electric power plant (hence the name :-)). But that doesn’t matter when you’re under water, observing turtles, right?! 🙂
It was a bit tricky to get out as big waves washed ashore. But once we made it behind these guys the water was relatively calm and snorkeling was fun. And – drumroll: tatatata: We swam with a sea turtle! Yes, we didn’t only see her somewhere far away. She swam right up to us and we were able to have a good look at her. These creatures are so cute!
Things to do on Oahu: Eat shave ice
Another thing I haven’t heard about before but fell in love with is shave ice. It’s a big thing over here and a typical Hawaiian treat (and yes, it is really called shave ice, not shaved ice :-P) It literally consists of shaved and thus snow like ice and flavored syrups. The syrups come in all colors you can imagine . But when I saw shave ice on the North Shore (where it is especially famous) for the first time, it always looked artificial and I didn’t feel like I need it. But then I found a shop in Waikiki that served save ice with syrup made from real fruits and I thought I give it a go.
I tried Tropical Island with mango and pineapple flavor. Delicious! Could I please have it every day from now on? I think I should open a shave ice shop in Stuttgart! 🙂
Things to do on Oahu: Enjoy the sunset with a cocktail in hand
While on Oahu, we stayed in an apartment in Waikiki so we were lucky enough to enjoy some of the famous and simply beautiful Waikiki sunsets.
After a few days, we had found our favorite spot: Koa Oasis Booze Shack at Fort DeRussy Boardwalk.
This place is less crowded than Waikiki Beach, there is a pier you can get on for a better view of the sunset and, last but not least, the cocktails you get at the Booze Shack are amazing! 🙂 Legend has it that they serve the best Mai Tai in Waikiki, if not on the Hawaiian Islands. However, I liked their Lava flow even better.
Well, well… time flies and we had to leave Oahu eventually. But no doubt, we’ll be back! 🙂
Next stop: Big Island
More information about: