The Best of Oahu, Hawai'i

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Advisor - Jen Huyck
Curated By

Jen Huyck

  • USA

  • Hawai'i

  • Oahu

  • Active Travel

  • Adventure Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Beaches

  • Luxury Travel

  • Hiking

  • Island-Life

  • Outdoors

Wooden bridge on mountain overlooking ocean and city
Curator’s statement

With its unparalleled beauty and rich culture, Oahu is a truly special destination that brings unforgettable adventures, memories and aloha. Known for its world-class surfing, mesmerizing beaches, historical sites and natural beauty, Oahu is a perfect tropical getaway. After living on Oahu for over three years, I have a deep appreciation for the island and Hawaiian culture.

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in Oahu

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Things to do in Oahu

Woman standing on mountain with ocean in background during daytime

Catamaran Sunset Cruises : It’s hard to beat a sunset Catamaran cruise! Holokai Catamaran and Kepoikai II Catamaran provide daily and sunset cruises as well as private charters. Cruise aboard and enjoy the breathtaking views of Diamond Head and the Waikiki skyline. You might even spot a dolphin or a honu (sea turtle) if you’re lucky!

Hiking: There is nothing quite like the beauty of the Koolau mountain range! Leisurely stroll through the peaceful Lyon Aboretum before beginning a hike to Manoa Falls, located about 10 minutes from Waikiki. At the end of the easy 1.7 mile trail and nestled in a magnificent jungle featuring a bamboo forest, you will arrive at a spectacular 150 foot waterfall. Hiking on Oahu is one of my areas of expertise, and I encourage you to contact me regarding specific hiking trails you may be interested in.

Surfing : Rent a board at Moku Hawaii in Waikiki and paddle out to one of the numerous surf breaks near town!

KCC Farmer’s Market: The KCC (Kapiolani Community College) Farmer’s Market is held every Saturday from 7:30-11:00 AM. Located at the Kapiolani Community College at the base of Diamond Head, Oahu’s best farmer’s market boasts an array of unique vendors, produce stands and prepared foods.

Snorkeling Hanauma Bay: Hanauma Bay offers a pristine ecosystem and the best snorkeling on the island. Housing hundreds of species of fish and marine life, Hanauma Bay is one of Oahu’s jewels.

Chief's Luau: Hawaii's highest rated luau does not disappoint! Join Chief Sielu and ohana for an exciting Polynesian show while enjoying a traditional Hawaiian luau buffet.

Kualoa Ranch Tours: Discover Jurassic Valley through one of the many Kualoa adventure tours! Kuala Ranch offers many adventure options including zip-lining, horseback riding, Jeep expeditions and Hollywood movie tours.

Day Trips from Oahu

Day on the North Shore: Spending a day on the North Shore is a must when visiting Oahu. From watching the surfers at Pipeline, kayaking under the Rainbow Bridge, shopping in Haleiwa town, to gorging out on a shrimp food truck - there is a little something for everyone.

A Day in Kailua: Depending how long your trip is, I would also highly recommend spending a day in Kailua. Kailua is a 14 mile drive from Waikiki and is home to some of the prettiest beaches on the island, including Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach. While there, you may want to make a stop at Kalapawai Market to pack a picnic for the beach or, if you’re up for an adventure, renting kayaks at Kailua Beach Adventures and kayaking out to the Moke Islands is always a great time!

Places to eat & drink in Oahu

Restaurant overlooking beach and ocean during daytime

Duke’s: Make sure to visit Duke’s to enjoy a cold beverage, tasty meal, and great people-watching! Featuring the iconic view of the turquoise waters of the Waikiki water with Diamond Head in distance, this location can’t be beat. Come on down to the Barefoot Bar to enjoy live entertainment and be sure to order a hula pie for dessert!

Uncle Bo’s Pupu Bar & Grill: Home to the best pupus on the island, Uncle Bo’s offers a unique and eclectic dining experience that can’t be missed! This place books up quickly so be sure to make reservations at one of their two locations (Kapahulu Avenue, Honolulu or Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa).

Fresh Catch: Fresh Catch is another hidden gem, providing some of the best daily fresh poke bowls! With over 20 varieties of freshly made poke and local style sauces, Fresh Catch is a must for poke bowls or plate lunches. Check out one of their three locations (Honolulu, Kaneohe and Pearl City).

Banan: Pick up a Banan bowl, an acai bowl with a twist! Banan uses locally sourced bananas to create a frozen banana base, complete with all your favorite toppings! Get it served in a papaya boat or pineapple yacht! Banan is the perfect refreshing treat to enjoy on a hot day!

Kona Brewing: Set on the docks of Koko Marina, Kona brewery offers a relaxing atmosphere, delicious food, a generous happy hour (Mondays-Fridays 3PM-6PM), and of course ample brew options. Kona Brewing carries all of their ales and lagers, including several specialty beers and exclusives. Live music Fridays and Saturdays from 7:00PM to 9:00PM and Sundays from 6:00PM to 8:00PM.

Diamond Head Market & Grill: The best traditional lunch plate on the island! The fried rice breakfast special is to die for! The market and bakery are just as good. Make sure to get a blueberry scone!

The Pig & The Lady: Located in the heart of Chinatown, this classy Vietnamese restaurant combines traditional Vietnamese cuisine with elements from other cuisines to create a truly unique dining experience. Reservations are recommended as this locally-owned restaurant fills up fast!

Hau Tree: Hau Tree, located inside The Kaimana Hotel, offers breathtaking views and excellent cuisine. Dine on the patio under a beautiful Hau Tree with a view overlooking Kaimana Beach. Top notch service and tasty brunch. Book a Friday dinner to catch a fabulous view of the Friday night fireworks!

Leonard's Bakery: Home of the famous malasada! Need I say more?

Advisor - Jen Huyck

Travel Advisor

Jen Huyck

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