The Ultimate Guide to Oahu, Hawaii
Can you live like a Hawaiian local and finish all of this in one day? Hawaii has so many beautiful beaches, trails, delicious restaurants, amazing reefs and next level waves. Here is a full itinerary for a week's worth of fun on Oahu.
Being an island, you can always watch the sunrise over the water. Makapuu Beach is a perfect cove for a perfect sunrise. Bring a blanket and a cup of coffee, a camera for pictures and a sunset buddy. Makapuu beach is a cove offering amazing waves and a beautiful beach. With lush, tropical mountains as a backdrop, and the Makapuu lighthouse on the coast's edge, this spot is more than ideal. Plus, the beach is often packed with surfers and tourists, so a sunrise moment to yourself is the perfect experience. Set up a time lapse, play some music and enjoy the rising of the sun. It’s always worth it!
HOW TO PICK ONE! Oahu’s hikes are incredible, with lush rainforests and exotic animals. Pros and cons of Hawaii hiking, cons the best views are up a mountain, pros: the views are spectacular anytime of year and provide panoramic ocean-island views. Some of my favorites are Koko Head, Ehukai Pillbox, Kuliouou Ridge and the Makapuu lighthouse trail. While all of these hikes will make your heart scream, they offer unbelievable sights. It truly feels like the top of the world.
Looking for a calm beach to wade in the water? As seasons change, swells change bringing huge waves and shorebreak to different sides of the island. For families or relaxers, this is not the beach experience you want. Luckily, there are a few beaches offering calm waters and fun environments year round. The Ko Olina lagoon inside the Disney Resort is a perfect relaxation beach. These public coves were created for safe swimming environments for kids and families year round. If you’re looking for a more naturally calm beach, Waikiki is often great for swimming, although it has big crowds as well. Maybe if you’re lucky, a local will show you one of the hidden spots on the island.
Surf and Hawaii are like peanut butter and jelly. There are numerous spots to surf all around the island all times of year. During the winter, the North Shore gets huge swells for big wave surfing. If you’re on the island in December the famous Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is up and going, bringing in world famous surfers and huge crowds. If you’re more into body surfing and boarding, Makapuu state beach is the perfect place. Home to huge shore break, body boarders are often seen spinning in and out of waves.
Sharks cove on the north shore is a natural gem for snorkeling. With calm waters and protected shallow reefs, it is the perfect place to snorkel with kids! And even better, advanced swimmers can dive through the underwater caves further out to sea. Even more famous, Hanalai bay is a protected cove perfect for snorkeling. This huge protected bay is one of Hawaii’s most popular spots. THe protected reef teaches all about ocean and sea life conservation before experiencing it yourself. It’s usually packed with people and has a maximum daily limit. So get up and at it early, and you might be lucky enough to see turtles.
Hawaii’s ahi poke is the best in the world. It's fresh and delicious and can be served just about everywhere. Funny enough, locals swear by Foodlands ahi poke bowl. A rice base with your choice of poke, topped with nori seasoning. It's like a Hawaiian chipotle. Pupukea grill is a local food truck that serves great poke right across from sharks cove snorkeling spot. Another Hawaii favorite is Banan’s all natural, dairy free banana soft serve! Similar to acai bowls, this banana soft serve-ice cream is served in a bowl with all types of amazing toppings. My favorite being homemade macadamia nut butter, yum! They have various flavors including traditional banana, chocolate, acai and green magic. There’s nothing better than a cold, sweet treat after a long day at the beach.
Closing out the day with a sunset is always a must in Hawaii. You can’t go wrong with a sunset picnic. Charcuterie on the beach with a bottle of wine and peaceful waves. Off the beaten path, Yokohama Bay is a beautiful beach on the west side of Oahu serving some of the best sunset views. As the sun says its final good bye over the horizon, look closely for the green flash.
If you have been planning to go to Hawaii for years, but haven’t had the chance, this is a sign. Pull out your computer and research what adventures Hawaii can offer you. It’s never too late to ride your first wave or sip a pina colada on the beach.