Oahu is like no where I have ever been before. So much history, culture and a completely different atmosphere gave me a great life experience that I don’t think I could ever get anywhere else. It’s a place that you could look at pictures of all day but there is nothing like the actual experience of being in Oahu.
I have visited Oahu on two separate occasions and compiled a list of my favorite things I saw and did…
I have goosebumps and I haven’t even started telling you about Pearl Harbor. Before even going to the memorial, there is a short film that everyone watches in a dark theatre. The film really puts into perspective what happened, why it happened, how it happened and what it looked, smelled, sounded and felt like to be there.
The film ends on a solemn note of remembrance and then you walk out to a boat which takes you across the harbor to the bright, white memorial. It’s quiet when you step out of the boat minus the sounds of the water softly slapping against whatever parts of the Arizona still stick up out of the water. The memorial itself acts like a bridge over the boat so you are able to walk around and view both sides as well as see the wall with all the names of the deceased. Oil still leaks from the ship giving the water a rainbow tint. Sometimes a fish will swim by. It’s peaceful with unconditional remembrance and a hint of grief, the perfect burial ground for those who still lie under.
2. Lanikai Beach
Of all the beaches I have been to in Hawaii, Lanikai will always be my favorite. Crystal clear waters, beautiful views, not too crowded, it’s exactly what I imagine when I think of Hawaii.
3. Drive on Pali Highway
If you are looking for scenery, a drive down Pali Highway is the way to go. Lots of Fog but also lots of lookouts and views to be enjoyed as well.
4. KoKo Crater Trail
Koko Crater was…definitely not what I expected. I was hunting around online for cool trails to hike and came across this one site talking about an old abandoned railway that used to carry supplies up an old crater to a military bunker during World War 2…Koko Crater Trail. The railway has 1,078 rails to climb up to get to the top where amazing views and an old bunker await. In my head, this was going to be just like doing the stair master at the gym.
My God was I wrong. I guess I didn’t really take the “abandoned” part as seriously as I should have. The rails are crumbling, old and uneven. You really have to think about where you are stepping which was a great distraction from the 1,078 steps but also a little terrifying.
About halfway up, the ground disappears from beneath the rails, there’s nothing around to grab onto and you realize that one wrong move and that’s it. Now mind you, there were people just jogging up these without a second thought but for someone afraid of heights it was quite the adrenaline rush. (On the way down, I recommend sliding on your butt!)
Thirty to Forty more steps up the ground reappears but the trail gets steeper. And then you make it to the top and…
5. Diamond Head
If Koko Crater sounds too terrifying you can also opt for Diamond Head, a very user friendly trail. While still a good workout, the trail is a little uneven but manageable and there are rails to save you should you slip. A good dose of stairs, an underground tunnel through the mountain and lots of walking with a slight incline will still get your heart pumping. And let’s face it, the view is still pretty amazing.
6. North Shore and Halewai Bowls
You have never had an acai bowl until you go to Halewai’s Bowls in North Shore. Seriously. So. Good. It’s a cute, tiny shack that people walk up, order and sit on little benches off to the side to eat and enjoy the ocean breezes.
After scarfing down a bowl, there are a bunch of little “surfer” boutique shops full of Hawaiian trinkets and knick-knacks. This area is also a good spot to surf or watch people surf while lounging on the beach.
7. Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail
Another trail that is paved and easy to walk and navigate! This one has an actual paved road (still a good incline!) that takes you to the top where people claim to see whales in the ocean at certain times of the year. Personally, I did not see any but there is also a lovely little lighthouse to look at among other amazing views of the ocean.
At the start of the trail, there is a little divide in the road. One path is paved and takes you up, the other path is made of rocks and takes you down towards the ocean. I highly recommend also walking the path towards the ocean as that has lovely views as well and also some nice shades places to sit! Bring a bathing suit and towel to enjoy some of the tide pools there too!
8. Dole Plantation
The Dole Plantation itself is alright but the Dole Whip is what you want to go for. It’s a pineapple sorbet and ice cream mix that you can add a vast array of toppings to. They also have an amazing shop in the front full of candy, snacks, t-shirts, etc.