Hawaii is one of the most sought after travel destinations of the world, it’s not just its year-round vacation-ready climate, coconut water on tap, crystal clear waters and hike-able active volcanoes. Its more! It’s the people, the culture and the lifestyle that bundle all of the above into a perfect relaxation destination package just for you, where you just can’t help but plant that smile on your dial until your cheeks hurt and everyone stalking your FB back home is already searching airfares!
It’s near impossible to get it wrong, but I’ll point you in the right direction just to get that vacay brain active and planning all your things to do in Hawaii!
Here’s 10 tips on my favourite things to do in Hawaii – starting with Oahu, where nothing gets left out!
1. BEACH PLEASE!
If you’re going Hawaii, sif you don’t want to get a little Hawaiian sunshine and dip your toes in crystal clear waters! Here are some of the best vs the popular and why you should choose!
Lanikai Beach – 40-45 min from WaikikiWHY: this is where the locals hang, not super crazy surf so you can relax in the waves, not over populated with tourists, white sand, crystal clear = beach heaven
Chinaman’s Hat – 55-60 min from WaikikiWHY: not really a swimming beach as it’s mostly white wash, although u totally still can, really open stretch, PERFECT for shell hunting and u can take a photo ‘wearing’ the hat = shell collector
Kailua Beach – 35-40 min from WaikikiWHY: really close to Lanikai, kite-surfers dream, super secluded, nice waves, crystal clear water = secluded stretch
Sharks Cove – 1hr and 30 min from WaikikiWHY: awesome snorkeling, this is where I saw a monk seal just chilling on the rocks, don’t let the name fool you, great little cove filled with sunshine = snorkel adventure
Turtle Bay – 1hr and 40 min from Waikiki
WHY: to see the turtles! Located inside a resort, also saw a beached seal here, great rock lookout, bring your wet shoes as turtles hang up the break by the rocks so you can stand, 10min from Sharks Cove too, cocktails in the water is also a plus = turtle gliding
Waikiki Beach – central.WHY: great for central location, wasn’t my fave, did see some wild turtles off the pier though, very shelly, over populated and beach chairs only for hire, cool activities like water bikes and kayaking = activity zone
2. WHAT THE HIKE?
What the hike is correct. There are SO many, each rewarding with amazing views or activities at the end.
Maunawili Falls – 30min from WaikikiI hadn’t originally had this beauty on my itinerary but now knowing I couldn’t imagine the trip without it! I mean talk about beautiful untouched island life! It’s about a 40 min walk through beautiful rainforest and crossing rock covered streams and virtually no one else in site! Just dip into the refreshing rainfall water, swim under the falls, jump off the rocks, put flowers in your hair and stay a while.
Pillbox Trail – 45min from WaikikiIt’s short and steep, just the way we like it! Only about 25-30 min walk to the top but those views! Climb onto the graffiti coloured pillboxes and take in the sunrise over Lanikai beaches twin islands! What a way to start the day!
Kaniakapupu Ruins – 20min from WaikikiThe sun is great and all, but you do have to rest that sunburn at some point! Retreat into this bamboo covered forest and after a short 20 minutes of walking you will be greeted with the wide open space that is the Kaniakapupu Ruins, once said to hold over 10,000 guests for olden day parties and rituals. Aint no party like a Kaniakapupu Partaaaay…..doesn’t quite roll of the tongue does it? But it sure is purrdy.
Now I didn’t do these two but I was dying to…
Stairway to heaven – 20min from WaikikiIf you don’t knowwww, now ya know….if you’ve ever stalked any awesome travellers insta and seen this bad boy then you my friend, have been oogling at the Stairway to Heaven hike. It is insanely high and insanely illegal, most probably because of said high-ness. However you can sneak over the gates on the highway sometimes before sunrise when the guards aren’t as energetic to chase you 😉 It hasn’t been maintained and from what I hear from the locals, it’s a little rusty at the top. 3-4 hours up and 3-4 hours down. Who wants to do an 8-hour stairmaster workout?
Deadman’s Catwalk – 25min from WaikikiAlso illegal, but not guarded, I’m pretty sure you have to trespass on someones property to get to it though, but it sure is worth the view from the top! My great friends at the Oahu Experience just got engaged there, this is them and this makes my heart smile.
P.S. How inventive are the hike names? Can we just appreciate this for a hot minute…
3. DO YOU EVEN LUAU?Ever since I saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall I really wanted to go to a luau! There’s a few choices on the island but we went with the authentic and highest rated Polynesia centre. There are a few slightly cheaper options at some chain hotels in Waikiki but it’s just not as authentic. Authentic people, authentic food, authentic show and there’s even a statue of the guy who invented the ‘shaka’ you can make a whole day out of it, package it with an evening fire twirling show AND if you’re like my now wonderful fiancé, you can even propose to your girlfriend on stage at it! Eeeeeeeeeeee I GOT ENGAGED AT A HAWAIIAN LUAU! Obvs not biased, but I mean come on, if the mood is so magical to get your proposal on then you’re obviously having a pretty great time?! #ifyouluauthenyoushouldaputaringonit
4. LOCO MOCO CUISINEIt’s really fun to say, really hard to finish. A lotta rice, topped with a lotta meat patty, topped with a fried egg and COVERED in a lotta gravy. There tons of local cuisines though, like purple taro buns, Wagyu beef and don’t forget the plentiful amounts of shaved ice! Yesssssiirrrrrrr!
5. HITTING NEW HEIGHTS
You could rent a car to see the island OR you could just power hang glide over it? Best. Experience. Ever.
6. PEARL BARBOUR *autocorrect* HARBOUR*I didn’t actually go to Pearl Barbour or Harbour as we ran out of time but I did go to one of the filming locations and saw some of the headline newspapers so I feel I got some sortve experience. It’s definitely and all day thing, there’s 3 different sections and the site says each takes about 4 hours to see fully so depends how gun-ho you are! It looks totally eye-opening though and would be some great history to squeeze in your trip!
7. KUALOA RANCHAnything you want, you got it, anything you need, you got it, anything at allllllll, you got it, baaaaabyyyyyy. For realz though, whatever touristy tour way you want to see the island – this is your one-stop shop, we did the movie tour as RJ was steadfast on checking out Jurassic Park but the ranch itself is ginormous and beautiful. There’s also horse-riding tours, water boat tours and zip line tours – yep, you can zip line across the whole island! How innovative! Bring your wallet as it’s fairly standard scale pricing, not too over not too under, but you will find quality.
8. SOUVENIRS & KEEPSAKESI would be lying if I said I didn’t buy a few shell bracelets and frangipani hair clips to bring home. I spread my souvenir shopping out both at Kualoa Ranch and also along the Waikiki strip, I actually found Kualoa to be more pricey, I thought since it was so far out it wouldn’t have tourist prices but Waikiki actually caters really well for tourists and you can walk a mile souvenir-shop hopping and get amazing bargains on all your little bits and bobs. Gee thanks Waikiki, me likey yo pricey!
9. IN LOVE WITH THE COCODid you know coconut water has amazing health benefits and is perfect for hydrating you on hot humid days? Did you know Hawaii is hot and humid? Did you know it’s also FULL of coconuts??? Well, now you do. Get one.
10. GET LEI’DLook how happy she is, don’t you want to be this happy? Hawaii is the only place you can ask to get lei’d from any local and you won’t get a sideways glance, but if you do, tell them MyTravelation told you to, and if they ask who MyTravelation is, tell them about this site! #shamelessplug
So, I know I’ve based everything around driving distance from Waikiki since it’s where most people stay, however I totally recommend renting a beach house in Kailua or anywhere on that side really, for some great rentals check out where I rented on Kailua by clicking here – although there is definitely pro’s to staying in Waikiki, but if you want to get out of your comfort zone and go exploring, Kailua is really central to both Waikiki activities, hikes, beaches, the north shore and much more!
If you’ve gotten tanned, in shape, views for days, souvenirs & lei’d on your vacation, you’re totally doing Hawaii right! Now cheers that coconut to the person next to you and let the island breeze wash over your face while you text your loved ones back home ‘Aloha’ (goodbye) cause let’s face it, you’re probs not leaving…
Mahalo for reading 🙂