Oahu is one of the most popular Hawaiian destinations simply for the reason that can offer almost every different side of the island life that Hawaii offers. With Honolulu and Waikiki Beach being a more metropolitan version of Hawaii and the North Shore representing Hawaii as a surfer’s paradise and more remote island destination, Oahu really does have it all. This past December my family and I decided to visit this island for the first time, and it easily became one of my favourite places I have ever been. Here’s some of what we did with our week on this beautiful island and ideas for what you can do on your visit here as well!
Visit The North Shore
The North Shore of Oahu is most of the islands most popular destinations outside of Honolulu, and for very good reason. With endless beaches and surf centred communities, the North Shore is this pinnacle of living the island life. Much unlike Honolulu, the North Shore offers a relaxed and serene atmosphere for visitors and locals to enjoy. If you’ve come to Hawaii to surf an enjoy some incredible waves, the North Shore is where you’re going to want to be as it’s home to some of the worlds most prestigious surfing competitions such as Billabong’s Pipemasters. If you’re not a surfer don’t worry, there’s many other activities to occupy your time here including shopping at local Hawaiian stores and a never ending amount of amazing food such as The Sunrise Shack for smoothies bowls and Matsumoto’s for shaved ice!
Waimea Bay & Valley
Waimea Bay & Valley are also located on the North Shore, but deserve their own attention nonetheless. Waimea Bay is an incredible beach to spend the day soaking up the sun on, and right across the street is Waimea Valley which is a great little hike to a pretty incredible waterfall. This hike is perfect for those of us who aren’t really hikers as it’s a very easy walk through some of Hawaii’s most beautiful nature that ends at one of my personal favourite swimming spots which serves as an amazing reward for the “hike” over there. Waimea Valley is also a historical landmark on the island of Oahu so while you’re taking in the beauty of the island and all it has to offer, you can also learn about the history of the island and how it came to be.
Lanikai Beach is on the east side of the island and is that incredible white sand, bright blue water beach that you went to the island hoping to find. This beach is perfect for relaxing in the sun or spending the day indulging in various different water sports making it the perfect beach for everyone to enjoy. For those of you who love a good hike, right by the beach is the Lanikai Pillbox hike which can be followed up with some well deserved time laying in the sand. I don’t want to sound dramatic but this beach is without a doubt one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and definitely should not be missed if you find yourself on the island of Oahu anytime soon!
I’m going to be honest, I was a little skeptical about going to Hanauma Bay as everyone that I had spoken to about it said that although it was beautiful, it was always way to crowded to actually be enjoyed. They weren’t wrong about it being crowded as this is definitely one of the islands most popular tourist attractions but despite the crowds I think this was one of my favourite activities we did that week! With some of the most beautiful and colourful fish and coral reefs, Hanauma Bay is the islands most popular and incredible spot for snorkelling. Even if you don’t plan on snorkelling, the beach alone is beyond worth the visit as it’s one of the most gorgeous areas of this island.
Diamond Head Memorial Hike
Another very popular tourist activity on the island of Hawaii is the Diamond Head Hike. This hike is a bit more difficult than the one at Waimea Valley but is still suitable for beginner level hikers. I’d recommend doing this one as early in the morning as possible as it does get very busy during the afternoon with tourists and hikers, but even if you can’t get there early the hike still worth the trip! The view of the island from the top of Diamond Head is uncompareable and absolutely breathtaking, plus you’re getting in some quality exercise on your way up there, does it get any better than that?
Spend the day on Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach is without a doubt the most popular area on the entire island, and reasonably so. This beautiful, long stretch of sand and water is an amazing place to spend a sunny day as it’s got a beautiful view, endless amounts of amazing restaurants right on the beach, world class shopping and exciting water sports to keep you occupied for a day (at least). This beach in my opinion is the definition of the word fun and is a must see while you’re on the island. I came to island dying to go surfing again, but as I am far from a professional I was too scared to take on the gigantic waves on the North Shore so we opted to surf on Waikiki Beach instead which ended up being the most fun we had all week!
I hope this has helped those of you planning a trip to Oahu decide on the things you want to do while visiting the island!