Oahu, Hawaii is one of those dreamy destinations that you have all seen portrayed in at least one romantic comedy. It is not only one of the most popular vacation destinations, but it’s also one of the most beautiful places to visit for a dreamy getaway. Oahu is known for it’s beautiful crystal-clear beaches, hikes, sunsets, great surf, and delicious food.
There is so much to do in Oahu and so many sights to see! You could go surfing, hike to a waterfall, watch the sunset from a hidden beach, go skydiving, snorkeling, or just have a drink by the beach. In this guide, I will give you my recommendations on what to do when visiting Oahu and my favorite spots that I visited.
There are so many beautiful hotels in Oahu and some might seem a little pricey, but I will say there are a lot of factors to consider. There are some reasonably priced hotels around the city, however, if you are looking to go to the beach a lot, you might want to look into the hotels that are beachfront. These hotels are usually more expensive, however, you will be able to have an umbrella and chairs provided by your hotel and won’t have to pay extra for it.
The Moana Surfrider, The First Lady of Waikiki
I spent the week at the beautiful Moana Surfrider which is a beachfront hotel and would absolutely recommend this hotel. I have previously stayed at the Royal Hawaiian which is it’s next door neighbor and loved it as well, however, the Moana had such a homey feel to it that I would prefer it. The Moana hotel is a beautiful historic landmark that was the first hotel in Waikiki. It first opened in 1901 and has since been renovated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Tower Premier Ocean View
I stayed in the Tower Premier Ocean View suite which had the most beautiful view of the beach and Diamond Head. Go big, or go home! This was one of the most beautiful rooms that I have stayed in hawaii and the services were just as great. This hotel offers luxurious amenities such as: spa treatments at the Moana Lani Spa, a full fitness studio, beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as a large swimming pool. Their restaurants are also outdoors with scenic views of the ocean and they offer high tea, which we thought was a great experience! We absolutely loved the hotel and will definitely be coming back.
If you are planning on visiting Oahu, it is crucial that you rent a car! I recommend renting from Turo, which is what we did. They have reasonable prices and we rented from a great guy who had a clean car and was super nice. Uber is very expensive in Waikiki and paying for parking is 100% worth it because when you’re in Oahu you’re going to want to explore the island and you won’t be able to see everything without a car.
Places to Visit:
North Shore is the one spot you will not want to miss when you’re in Oahu. It is about a one-hour drive from Waikiki and home to some great local food, culture, and famous shaved ice. It is also known for having legendary surf on the beaches and premiers some of the best surfing competitions during the winters.
If you make the trip, you cannot miss out on eating from the food trucks. I will warn you though, there will be a line, but it will be worth it! Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is one of them and has some delicious garlic shrimp that you will not want to miss out on. While here, take a walk through the local stores and find some souvenirs for your family. Another place you cannot miss out on is Matsumoto Shaved Ice which you cannot leave North Shore without trying it.
If you have some extra time, check out the North Shore Macadamia Company which has the freshest macadamias and premium Hawaii coffee. My favorite is the chocolate covered macadamias! We also had the best acai of our lives at this place called Nalu 10/10.
What to Do:
There are so many hikes to choose from in Oahu and all of them are equally as beautiful. The first hike we went on was the Lulumahu Falls. It is on government property so you need to follow some rules and get a permit online to do it. It takes you through bamboo trees and is quite the hike. There’s also some signs that help you find the waterfall, it was one of our favorite hikes. However, there are so many other hikes that you can find and asking a local is always a good idea!
There are so many great places to eat in Honolulu and the food never disappoints. We did not eat at one place that we did not love! If you like poke, this is the perfect place for you. They have the BEST poke in Oahu and one of my favorite places was Maguro Brothers. I actually went there at least twice a day for poke! Some of my other favorites was Egghead cafe, the best breakfast and the food at the hotel was also great.
Every beach in Oahu is a sight to see and there are so many to choose from. One of my favorites, however, was in Waimānalo. East Honolulu also has some stunning and hidden places to check out. It’s a local beach, but it is so beautiful and relaxing if you want to get away from the crowds in Waikiki.
If it’s your first time in Hawaii, you need to go to a luau. Learn about the culture, have some great food, and an amazing show! We went to the Chief’s luau and had a great time.
All in all, if you’re thinking of traveling to Hawaii, this is your sign! If you’ve been to any of the places I listed or have any recommendations for me send them in the comments.
Brian SmithNovember 26, 2021
Matsumoto Shaved Ice is such a tourist trap and their flavors are nothing more than you’d get at a Hona Ice truck. Do yourself the favor and go right across the street to Aoki’s! So much better, recommend getting Ice cream and condensed milk on it…so good!! There is also a really good place in Waikiki right next to the Cheesecake Factory…that place is killer
Andrea ValentinaJanuary 21, 2022
Thanks for the recommendation! I’ve always gone to Matsumoto since I was a kid, so it’s personally one of my favorites, but I definitely have to check those others out.