Traveling through Oahu and don’t know where to go?

Traveling can be exciting but the preparation can be daunting. My husband and I were planning our trip to Honolulu and did not know where to start with planning our itinerary. Where was I supposed to find the best spots for snorkeling, hiking, zip lining, eating or even the best beaches that are a must-see? After a few hours of searching different sites, I was able to put together a list of places and activities that seemed like fun. Our priorities included snorkeling, hiking, white sandy beaches, watching sunsets, eating amazing food (which included fresh sushi), and the best spots for photography.We stayed in Oahu for one week and were extremely lucky to experience amazing weather (for the most part) and was able to visit most of the spots that made it on our list. Before our trip, we were fearing there was a hurricane set to hit the island while we were on our vacation, so we were extremely thankful that we did not experience hurricane weather.

After we got back from our vacation I started thinking about all of the cool places we got to see and things we did. So, I figured why not put together my own list of helpful tips and great spots to visit, so that maybe this will help anyone looking for places to see and fun activities to do while in Honolulu.

Haunama Bay_Edit (1 of 1)

Tip #1: Haunama Bay is a great spot to snorkel. Lots of different kinds of fish and I hear turtles will make an appearance as well. Here is my helpful tip: arrive before 7 a.m. to get into the park for free and not have to pay for parking. You will also be able to skip the Bay’s orientation video. If you skip the video, please make sure to not step on the coral reef, it is a living organism that the people of Hawaii are trying to preserve. I also recommend bringing your own food. They do have a concession stand but the options are not that good or healthy. Also keep in mind that the later you arrive the harder it will be to find parking.

Tip #2: Makapuu Point Light is a wonderful and easy walking trail with a paved road. If you are a novice hiker, this hike is for you. It’s roughly a 2-mile hike up to the top of the mountain. Along the way, you will see great views of the mountains, city, beaches and the best part amazing views of Waimanalo Bay and Makapuu Lighthouse. Access to the lighthouse is supposed to be restricted but I did see a few people walk on the trail and walk right up to the lighthouse, but of course I am not recommending this, just letting you know that it is possible. Also, at the top of the hike, there is a trail that you can take down the steep mountain to visit the tide pools below. I would not recommend taking this trail if you are not an experienced hiker, but it looked really fun. I would have hiked down if it wasn’t so late in the day.

Tip #3: Fresh Sushi can be found everywhere on the island but the best we found was at the local Safeway sushi bar! If you want really fresh sushi for a good price; eat the freshly made sushi at here. They seem to make them in the morning time so I would recommend picking it up between 9am-11am to get it at its freshest. Literally some of the best sushi we have had anywhere bar none was at Safeway. (Note: not all Safeway’s have the fresh sushi bar available)

Tip #4: Ono steaks and shrimp shack has some of the best fish tacos on the island! Seems like a place locals go to and is a place you should definitely try to visit. Even though the fish was battered it still tasted fresh. I also enjoyed the mango slaw they added on top, it gave the taco a sweet and salty taste. I also got the coconut shrimp which was crispy and sweet. The hubs had the steak and garlic shrimp with white rice and the famous Hawaiian potato salad which he really enjoyed. The only reason we came across this little gem is because we drove by it and then we looked it up on Yelp to only find out that it had amazing reviews.

Tip #5: Leonard’s bakery has delicious malasadas (doughnuts filled with cream). We came across this place when we stopped by to eat sushi at Safeway and I recognized the sign from a TV show. After looking it up I found out that this is a really popular spot. Don’t let the line deter you, it goes pretty fast and the malasadas are worth it. The malasadas are delicious when they are fresh and hot, so make sure to eat them fairly quickly!

Tip #6: Byodo Temple is such a breath-taking and spiritual place. This was one of my favorite places we visited. We walked around the entire temple and really took in all of the nature that surrounds the temple. Inside the temple is really peaceful and a great spot for photography. Tips: 1. Make sure to wear and bring bug repellent. There are tons of mosquitoes everywhere. 2. The entrance fee is $3 and it is cash only. 3. Ring the bell after you enter, it is good luck!

downtown_Edit (1 of 1)-2

Tip #7: If visiting Downtown Honolulu and need to park your car one of the best spots is the zoo. It is public parking and $1 an hour. It is available at all hours.

Ko Olina Sunset_Edit (1 of 1)

Tip #8: Ko Olina is a great spot for watching amazing sunsets. It is at the southern tip of the island so there is nothing obstructing the view. When you enter the resort you will need to pass a booth with a guard. Don’t worry about that, just keep driving past them because anyone is allowed to visit the resort. Once you enter the resort go all the way to the end and park in the Marina, it’s free (just make sure you don’t keep your car there overnight).

Tip #9: Koaloa Ranch is worth every penny. The tour guides available are really fun and some are super adventurous. Everyone on the ranch was super sweet and you can walk around the ranch if you decide not to do any of the tours. The tour we decided to try was zip lining. This tour was so much fun and exhilarating.

Tip #10: Duke’s restaurant has a pretty affordable and tasty lunch buffet. At least we thought it was a fairly good deal. There was really good food options and just like any other buffet, you can eat as much as you want. The dinner was a bit pricey and not really worth it to us. Of course it tasted good, but I wouldn’t say it was worth the price. You are more so paying for the location and the view that comes with it. That is why I recommend trying the buffet instead of the dinner.

Tip #11: Renting a car can be such a hassle sometimes.  Fortunately for us, we had a really good experience renting from Alamo, the store located at the airport. We were not too happy with our first rental car we had, so after a few days we called to explain our concerns with the car and they told us to stop by the rental store and they will give us a new car. Of course, we did just that! After dropping off the first car we got really lucky and was given an upgraded rental for no extra charge. Overall we were really happy with their service. (Sorry this is the only photo I have of our car)