Aloha. Oahu is more than Honolulu (Waikiki Beach) and Pearl Harbor. Your entire family will enjoy the excitement of Waikiki from the shopping to the soft rolling waves that almost anyone can surf. Great for watching or joining in on catamaran rides or outrigger canoe. The view of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach from beyond the waves is priceless. Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial is a must for those that wish to honor those that died on Dec. 7 1941 and for those that want to see the folly of war. See my Honolulu Oahu tips.
The part about Oahu being more is from the fact that I enjoyed the windward side of the Island with having a home in Kaneohe, next door to Kailua and the beautiful white powder sandy beach, now home to windsurfing. If you are young at heart or have children, you might want to try this water sport. If not, there is Mini Putt for all and a zip line for the entire family in Kaneohe. Take the Pali Pass from Honolulu to get to Kaneohe/Kailua and stop at the Nuuanu Pali Lookout to view the rugged Koolau Mountain Range and the Kaneohe Bay and Chinaman's Hat Island. Everyone gets a kick out of the force of the wind at the lookout, so hold on tight to your hat.
Also on the windy side is the Haiku Gardens, a hidden tropical gem in Kaneohe, where one of my daughters got married. The gardens are an area of the flora of Hawaii with a great restaurant, Haleiwa Joe's, sitting above on a cliff looking down into the garden and pond. This is a sight your family should remember for their entire life of the peace and beauty of paradise and a meal to boot.
Up the tropical coast are parks to visit with vistas out to sea and to the mountains as well as the Polynesian Cultural Center, where all the cultures of the Pacific are shown in dance and traditions during the day with a Luau at night. Many tourists consider this a highlight of their days in Hawaii.
The North Shore needs no introduction if you or anyone in your family like to surf or like to watch surfers. This is the home of the giant waves in winter and calmer seas in the summer. Waimea Beach is a wide sandy beach with many surfers in the water and a great place to relax on the sand. Across the road is the Waimea Falls Park with the one mile walk to the falls through the tropical jungle and then see the falls or climb up and dive in to cool off. In the world of surfing, Pipeline, Sunset and Waimea are well known. Snorkeling is also popular on the North Shore at Sharks Cove, close to the artsy town of Haleiwa where Matsumoto's Shave Ice is a delight for all. I have gone there since the 1960's and it still is "ono" to me. Try a Shave Ice like locals with ice cream and azuki beans on the bottom. "Brok'da mout". Sorry, slippin' into my local talk just thinking of Matsumoto's.
Between Honoulu and Haleiwa is the Dole Plantation. Okay, this is the home of the world's largest maze. Let the keikis (children) get the steam out by trying this wild maze while you enjoy their famous Dole Whip at the Plantation Grille.
Close by to Waikiki is Hanauma Bay Park beyond Diamond Head and Hawaii Kai. This is where the snorkeling is easy as sticking your head into the water with a snorkel mask and see the tropical fish. Nearby is the blow hole, where ocean waves rush into a tube on the cliff and shoots out in a whoosh sound and geyser spray. staying on the road and you will come to Sandy Beach, a body board area that wipe outs are common and many tourists sit and watch the action.
Well, I could go on and on about the night life of Waikiki. The sunset cruises in the waters off the beach. Sounds of slack key guitars strumming in the many hotels while the ancient art of the hula is performed. The hustle and bustle of the shopping madness at the International Market Place will keep you and your family happy campers.
A hui hou, Aloha'oe.:-)
Stand-up paddle boarding is a variation on surfing that is becoming very popular in the islands and is one of the fastest-growing watersports. In stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) riders stand upright on wider, longer boards and use a paddle to maneuver. Great for a core muscle workout, SUP is often used for fitness rather than for riding waves. Lessons are highly recommended for your safety and for the safety of your fellow beach goers and surfers.
Note: Heed all warning signs. Talk to your instructor about changing conditions, strong currents and reefs. Use your own best judgment to determine whether a particular beach is appropriate for your ability level.
Uncle Bryan's Sunset Suratt Surf Academy
"Stand-up paddling is a lot of fun! And if you're looking to learn while you're on the North Shore, you've come to the right place. We do tours and lessons for all ages and skill levels—from kids to adults and from beginners to experts."
Surf & Sea Stand Up Paddle Lessons
Call 808-637-SURF (7873)
Hours: Mon - Sun 9:00am - 7:00pm
Hawaii's oldest surf and dive shop opened in 1921, a variety of items for sale from boards to musical instruments. Excellent instructors.
Lessons and anything for the surf
Honu Hawaii Activities
Phone: (808) 633-8904
Goofy Foot Stand Up Paddle Lessons - Lahaina $100.00
Stand Up Paddle Lesson & Rental - Maunalua Bay $ 49.00
Stand Up Paddle Lesson - Maunalua Bay $115.00
Stand Up Paddle Tours, Lessons & Rentals - Kailua Bay $ 59.00
The Banyan Courtyard at the Moana Surfrider was a favorite place of our to enjoy some drinks and entertainment when we stayed at this hotel. There are plenty of tables ;some with umbrellas sit sit and enjoy a cocktail. There is nightly musical entertainment and this is the perfect spot for viewing. The centerpiece of this area is the very old; very large Banyan Tree in the center. I am a lover of trees and this particular Banyan is quite a sight to behold. I am glad the hotel made it a focal point and didn't tear it down to increase property space.
Kalakaua Avenue is Waikiki's 2 mile long oceanfront street. The street is lined with hotels, restaurants, stores, shopping centers and is what I would call the center of Waikiki.
The streets are always jammed packed with pedestrians either shopping or walking around looking for places to eat or drink.
I enjoyed walking along Kalakaua Avenue, stopping in some of my favorite shops or grabbing a bite to eat or just some drinks.
The Ko'olau Montain Range is the backbone of O'ahu with it's green jagged hills stretching from the south shore to the north shore.
Although it is called a mountain range, Ko'olau is actually the western half of a volcano that was destroyed during the prehistoric times.
Ko'olau Moutain Rainge is a dramatic backdrop that can be seen while driving along the windward coast. During our drive along the coast we stopped to photograph it from various towns.
Kapiolani Park is a 170 acre park that was dedicated by King Kalakaua to the people of Hawaii in 1877. The park is named after Queen Kapiolani who was King Kalakaua's wife. It was initially used as a military encampment for WWII, but today it's full of activities with families enjoying picnics, festivals and music.
The day we visited there was a fair going on selling all sorts of items from jewelry, clothing, and all other sorts of goods. It was a nice way of spending a few hours enjoying the wonderful weather.
Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is a man-made lagoon which is owned by the State of Hawaii. The lagoon was part of the Henry J. Kaiser Hawaiian Village project which expanded the old Fort DeRussy Channel, creating the new beach and 14 foot deep lagoon. The lagoon was named after the surfer and Olympic swimmer Duke Kahanamoku.
The lagoon is loacted adjacent to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and the Hilton Hawaiian Village and can be easily access walking along the beach. The lagoon was a nice place for me and Ferni to enjoy a little canoe ride before heading out to lunch.
The weather in Oahu is almost always fantistic which is ideal for lounging around at the pool. We were staying here at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and decided to take advantage of the pool grounds during our visit.
Althought we normaly leave the pool/beach lounging to one fo the other islands (usually Maui), during this particular trip we decided to relax more and enjoy the rest. The pool area is quite nice with plenty of lounge chairs along the pool with or without shade.
You aren't allowed in the pool area unless you are a guest of the hotel. Towels are provided free of charge.
Diamond Head, or Leahi is it is known by Hawaiian's, is Hawaii's most recognizable landmark, an iconic fixture where all roads are measured by it's distance (jsut ask a local for directions, they will refrence distance from Diamond Head)
This volcanic cone was given it's English name by sailors who mistook its glitering calcite crystals for diamonds. The cone is part of a series of volcanic eruptions that also created Punchbowl Crater, Hanauma Bay, Koko Head and Manana Island.
Diamond head is famous for it's historic hiking trial, amazing seacoast views and its military history. The state park can be visited daily from 6-6 and the entrance fee is a $5 car park fee. You can hike up to the top of the crater where you'll be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views of Oahu.
The hike to the top of the crater is about 1 1/2 - 2 hours so bring water and a good pair of walking shoes. There are benches and places to rest if you have difficulting making the climb.
A great way to see more of the island is to get out there and do some exploring. If you are based in Waikiki Beach, why not rent a car for the day, or take the bus to one of the other exciting places on the island.
I've rented a car a few times during our many visits because we wanted the ease of being able to drive around at our own pace and stop and admire the beauty of the island at our own time.
Oahu has some beautiful points of interest and great look out points where you feel you are all alone on the island.
These are just a few of the great places we've seen during our drive around Oahu:
Nuuana Pali Lookout
Ko'olau Montain Range
I'm a great nature lover and one of the things that I love so much about visiting Oahu is the opportunity to see the humpback whale.
The northern humbpack whale migrates to the Hawaiian islands (one of three locations they migrate to) yearly during the fall. Their migration is about 3500 miles which takes them about 6-8 weeks to complete. The whales can be seen mainly of fhe island of Maui, but you can get a glimpse of them on a few other islands including Oahu.
I've seen the humpback off the shores of Waikiki Beach on a whale watching trip. It was amazing to see these beautiful beings up close and personal.
The migraion season is November - May.
If you're driving along the coast of Oahu you will definitely come across the large cone shaped island juting out of the ocean. Stop and take a pic and enjoy a refreshing coconut drink.
The area where it is most visible seems to be a great picnic area as we saw plenty of families enjoying a beautiful day.
The Byodo-In Temple is a replica of a 900 year old temple in Uji Japan and it was built to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to the island. The temple was built to resemble a phoenix which symbolizes hope and renewal.
The main room is known as the Ho-o-do which houses the image of Amida, the Budha of the Western Paradise. The Amida was carved by a Japanese artist and is the largest carved in over 900 years. He is seated on a lotus flower and measures over 18ft. It is quite an impressive Budha.
You will also find a sacred bell which weighs three tons and is said that "ringing the bell will cleanse the mind of all evil tempations through its listening tones". There are a few wonderful ponds with plenty of Kois and plenty of birds as well.
You will feel an inner peace and tranquility while you are visiting the temple, take your time to savor the beauty and serenity.
The beaches of Waikiki are legendary. They are quite beautiful, clean and you can learn how to surf here.
We had a really relaxing few hours here and witnessed a wedding and many tourists oggling the sun bathers and swimmers.
The blowhole is an old lava tube that sucks up the sea water and funnels and spouts it through the hole, as a geyser. The blowhole can spout as far as 30 feet above the rock formation.
Although not advisable you can make your way down to the blowhole for a better look at the spouting geyser.
I respect nature and prefer to admire it from the distance. I wouldn't want to be faced with an unexpected emergency.
The blowhole is located along the Kalaniana Highway not far from Hanauma Bay and Koko Crater.
Upon arrival to the Halekulani you are greeted at the desk and assigned a staff member to tour you...more
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, United States
Good for: Business
1277 Mokulua Drive, Kailua, Hawaii, United States
Good for: Families