How to Spend a Week on Oahu

How to Spend a Week on Oahu
In the middle of a particularly wet and cold Vancouver winter, I planned a week-long escape down to the gorgeous island of Oahu, the third-largest island in the state of Hawaii. The week was the perfect remedy for the winter blues, as we frolicked along pristine beach fronts, explored hidden jungle waterfalls, ate countless acai bowls and lazed around in the heat. I spent a week staying with a friend on the gorgeous island of Oahu, the third largest in the cluster that makes up the state of Hawaii.
 
WestJet flies directly from Vancouver to Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii located on the southern coast of Oahu. The flight is approximately 6 hours over the Pacific Ocean, and from the moment you step off the plane you will be greeted with a humid heat, and you'll be dying to peel off your layers and replace them with thin shorts and swimsuits!
 
I have split this post into 3 categories: the best hikes, the best beaches, and where to eat. Enjoy ogling over this incredible place, and then book yourself a ticket there right away!

The Best Hikes to Do on Oahu

Pillboxes Hike, Lanikai

This is an insta-famous hike, and for good reason. Offering one of the best views in all of Oahu, the hike up to the Pillboxes starts at Kaelepulu Drive and winds up a windy ridge for about half an hour to large concrete pillboxes. Perched on top, you can see the beautiful Lanikai Beach and the Moku Islands, and if you time it right, sunrise from here is arguably one of the best on the island.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout Point, Pali Highway

Off the Pali Highway is a stunning view point where you can pull off the main road into lush greenery where both the wind and the view will knock you off your feet!

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Jackass Ginger Pools, Pali Highway

Just before the lookout (see above), there is a short hike down the Judd Trail to the Jackass Ginger Pools, an ice cold cluster of natural pools, slides and waterfalls. The water was beautifully clear and it danced gently over the rocks. In the Hawaiian heat, even in the middle of December, we were completely dry just a few minutes after leaving the pools.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Kaniakapupu Ruins, Pali Highway

A few minutes along the road from the Jackass Ginger Pools is a small gap in the overgrowth where a path of wildly overgrown and beautiful bamboo leads to the Kaniakapupu Ruins built in 1847! It was only in use for a few decades before it was abandoned, and now you can wander all about it.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Diamond Head Crater, Honolulu

One of Hawaii's most famous hikes, Diamond Head sits just outside the bustling metropolis of Honolulu, and allows hikers to climb an actual crater! It’s easily accessible by bus, and we also passed plenty of direct shuttle buses coming from the hotel district. The whole thing is 1.5 miles round-trip but there is no shade so it’s pretty hot and sweaty the whole way up. Also, you’re meant to pay a $1 entrance fee but we didn’t see anyone in the ticket booth even after waiting five minutes, so we ended up just walking in! If you have a car, parking is $5.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Tree House, Tantalus

Along the drive up to Tantalus overlooking Honolulu is a darling little tree house with incredible views towards Waikiki and Diamond Head Crater. The climb is scary and the route across to the platform is nerve-wracking, but the view is so well worth it.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Puu Ualakaa State Park, Tantalus

We drove through Tantalus and stopped in at Puu Ualakaa State Park to drink in the gorgeous panoramic views over Oahu's southern coast. The almost 360-degree views of the island were jaw-dropping.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

The Best Beaches on Oahu

Sunset Beach, North Shore

We took advantage of cheap transfer bus fares (buy one ticket and get a free second transfer ticket) and took the bus around the northern coast of Oahu in search of the beautiful Sunset Beach on the North Shore. The main beach was unfortunately blocked off with yellow caution tape, but we found a tree that was beautifully shaped for some neat photos.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Waimea Bay, North Shore

Hopping back on the bus from Sunset Beach took us to Waimea Bay to catch the afternoon sun. Probably the least touristy of all the beaches we visited, it was quiet and relaxing.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Banzai Pipeline, North Shore

While this beach is particularly incredible year-round, especially well-known for its fantastic surf, getting to experience the Surfing World Cup here was unreal. We woke up at 3am in order to nab a good spot and piled onto the beach with the other onlookers in time for sunrise and the start of the event where world champion surfers took on the waves to compete for three world titles!

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Lanikai Beach, Kailua

I was so excited to visit beautiful Lanikai Beach! Given that this is my first time visiting a tropical destination, it was absolutely breathtaking to experience turquoise waters, pure white sand and breezy palm trees in real life.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Kailua Beach, Kailua

Kailua Beach is Lanikai's lesser-known neighbour that has more of park vibe than tropical beach front. The sand is more filled with shells and pebbles, but when it began to rain, the overcast clouds created a stunning, moody backdrop.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Sandy Beach, East Coast

On the eastern side of Oahu lies the beautiful Sandy Beach, probably my absolute favourite of all the beaches that we had a chance to visit. Between sporadic bursts of warm rain we wandered in and among the rocks and watched the sunset and I felt completely in awe of the beauty sprawled peacefully out before us.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu

It's fascinating seeing the 'tourist' side of Hawaii in the form of the Waikiki Beach strip with jam-packed all-inclusive resorts and beaches but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to see Hawaii for what it really is.It was still fun to resort-hop the length of the Waikiki strip, wandering through the expensive resorts and hanging out on the Hilton's hammocks.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, Honolulu

Owned by one of the beachfront resorts, the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is popular with children seeking water-sport thrills. The most stunning sunset of the entire trip seemed to light the nearby Ala Wai Yacht Harbour on fire.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa
jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Where to Eat on Oahu

Acai Bowl at Haleiwa, North Shore

Of course, the acai bowl is something that Hawaii is more than well-known for. A delicious blend of frozen acai berries topped with all sorts of treats, makes for a beautiful bowl that can be eaten at any time of day for any meal. Probably the island's best acai bowls are created from scratch out of a beach hut at Haleiwa Bowls on the north shore.

jana meerman oahu hawaii usa

Shave Ice at Waiola's, Honolulu

For a treat we headed to the well-known Waiola's for delicious rainbow shave ice with condensed milk toppings.

waiolas oahu hawaii

Acai Bowl at Andy's, Manoa

We hit up Andy's in the centre of Manoa Marketplace, a delicious place to grab acai, sandwiches and other fresh deliciousness.

andys acai oahu

Poke Bowl at Ono's, Honolulu

We finished off a day of beach adventures and sandy explorations with a fresh poke bowl from Ono's, a hidden hole in the wall in Honolulu that the locals know well.

ono poke bowl oahu

Korean BBQ at Sura Hawaii, Honolulu

The Sura Hawaii in Honolulu is amazing because they bring you a whole pile of raw stuff (meats, eggs, veggies, side dishes, sauces, everything) and then you cook it right on your table top!

jana meerman sura hawaii bbq


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: