You are one LUCKY person to be thinking of going or actually going to Oahu! We just got back about a month and a half ago. Here is my list of must do’s while you are there.
First things first, give my sweet sister a huge hug and hello from me! And her darling family!
Before we get started I want you to keep in mind that we rented a van, had our 4 young kids with us (ages 7, 5, 3, 1), and stayed with my sister. We borrowed two car seats from her so we only had to bring a booster and our one year old’s car seat.
That was a pain but it could have been worse. Oh, we also didn’t check any bags! That’s right friends, we packed my family of 6 (including a stroller, and two car seats) and just had our carry ons!!! We pretty much rock! Haha
We visited 3 different beaches. Only 3 because we found our favorite one on Oahu and just kept going back. And it was…
This was hands down our favorite beach. There is some shade by the beautiful, smooth sand. Can’t forget the bathrooms to change and go potty in if you need them. They have outdoor shower to rinse off. The parking lot is a good size, and you don’t have to pay for parking. Did I mention the sand?? It was awesome.
The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is an awesome paved trail. It is not flat! I about died. Not really but it was harder for me then it should have been. I’d suggest going earlier, not in the middle of the day. The parking lot is not the biggest but it is free to park.
Also, keep in mind that there are no drinking fountains or bathrooms. Make sure you take care of that beforehand. The views make this hike/walk so very worth it! There are many stopping points with some historical information along the way.
You cannot get right next to the lighthouse but that’s okay. We were there on a very clear day and we could see Hawaii, Maui, and Molokai islands. The views are breathtaking!!
Any Lost fans? They shoot some scenes at this beautiful temple. To get into the cemetary and grounds it is free. If you want to visit The Byodo-In Temple there is a small per person fee.
While you are there you can walk around the amazing grounds, go into the temple (don’t forget to take your shoes off), lite incense, visit the gift shop, or visit the small food shack.
We walked around and visited the temple. Don’t forget to say hi to the cats that found this cemetery home.
Think Sea World on a much smaller scale and with tons more conservation. We were able to feed the sea turtles, beautiful birds, and touch some sea life in their touch exhibit. We saw their sea lion and dolphin shows. They were amazing! This park is totally able to see and do everything in a few hours.
My sister mentioned before we started a drive on the H-3 that it was such a beautiful drive. To which I responded that pretty much all the drives on Oahu were gorgeous. I was WRONG!! The H-3 drive is one of the most beautiful and breath taking drives I have ever seen, not only on Oahu but in general. It is totally worth taking a drive on it.
We didn’t spend a ton of time in this little city but we did drive through Laie a few times. It is right on the coast. This is home to BYU Hawaii, The Polynesian Cultural Center, and where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints temple is located. You could definitely spend some time there in Laie, Oahu.
Waimea Valley is such a fun place to explore and play. There is a main, paved, trail to the fresh water waterfalls. All along the trail there are turn offs to fun places to look and explore. All the while you are surrounded by the beautiful Hawaiian scenery. You could absolutely spend a day there. They have a café and bathrooms at the bottom where the gift shop is located. And if you are feeling adventurous you can swim in the fresh water at the bottom of the waterfall.
Bishop Museum is a collection of a few buildings. Each building is a different type of museum. One has a rotating exhibit. While we were there it was Legos. The kids had a blast playing in the Lego pits. The old building is a three story Hawaiian history museum. I could have spent much more time there but the kiddos were done pretty quickly. They did love the wood floor map of the world.
There is a science building with a volcano model, an underwater walkthrough of artwork, and a fun place/dress up area on the top floor. The last building that we were in briefly was the space building.
Yum! Yum! Yummy! I wanted to go to the Dole Plantation because of the Dole whip. It was worth it! And I could eat it every day. So fresh! They have such a great gift shop with many interactive things to do. We went on the train tour. It was easy to hear the prerecorded story, which was very interesting and educational. We were able to see much of the pineapple fields as long as the many other things that they plant. If you’re feeling adventurous you can go on the maze.
The North Shore is where the bigger waves are. We didn’t see very many, maybe not the time of year. But we did swim at the North Shore. It wasn’t our favorite beach, but fun to say we did it. We didn’t have time but there is a cool beach that is home to many sea turtles. I’m not sure of the real name but if you google turtle beach North Shore it should come up.
Haleiwa is a fun beach town. There are many food trucks and beach shops. We ate at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, which was yummy and super windy outside. Hold on to your food! Our 3 year olds hot dog and fries went flying right off the table. A waiter saw and brought us a new one. So kind!
This was AMAZING!! I had been years ago, about 13 years. So much has changed. There is a new video that is very touching and educational. The short boat ride to the USS Arizona memorial was fun. Being on the memorial and seeing parts of the sunken ship were very cool and sad.
You’ll want to plan for this trip because there. Eddy and I could have stayed a lot longer but the kiddos were done. There are also other things to do and museums to look at. They are not free. It is totally worth looking into everything there is.
When you are on vacation it is so fun to try local places to eat. Here are a few of our favorites that we tried all around the island of Oahu.
- Malasadas Truck: by the Polynesian Cultural Center
- Cream and Roll
- Teddy’s Bigger Burgers
- Taco Del Mar
- Waiola Shave Ice
- Don Goyo’s Mexican Food
- Puket Thia
Our kids have been asking when we get to go ago. Haha! Not soon enough! We loved our time there. The views and scenery are breath taking. We had great company!
Oahu is definitely a trip worth saving to go on again! Aloha!
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