6 Great Days in Hawaii on Oahu
The island of Oahu can be a great jumping off point for a visit to the Big Island of Hawaii, the Valley Island of Maui, or the Garden Island of Kauai, but we think the island of Oahu, known as the Gathering Place, is awesome, all on its own, for a fabulous, week-long vacation. And Oahu isn’t just Honolulu and Waikiki Beach, it’s also natural wonders and fun for the entire family.
Here are 6 days of fun and adventure on Oahu – mix them up any way you like.
Day 1 – Hike to the top of Diamond Head
Maybe not on your first day, but be sure to hike Diamond Head one of your days on Oahu, depending on the weather. The trail is 1.6 miles round-trip, so not too long, but the last 560 feet before you get to the top consists of more than 150 steps, so be sure to bring water, take your time, and once at the top, enjoy, as the views are astounding. Gates open at 6am and close at 6pm, with the last hikers permitted in at 4:30pm, so plan accordingly.
Day 2 – Chill out
Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, so that’s why we recommend one day to be totally chill. Walk on Waikiki Beach; swim at Kaimana Beach, a quiet section toward Diamond Head; and then in the evening have a mai tai overlooking the beach or attend a beachfront luau. Sure, it’s touristy, but if you’ve never been, a luau is an excellent introduction to the unique culture, dance, music, and cuisine of Hawaii.
Day 3 – Circle the island
After a day of chillin’ on the beach, get up early one day, rent a car for the day, and take yourself on a circle trip of the island. Going counter clockwise from Waikiki, you can hike up the Koko Crater Railway Trail, stop at Halona Blowhole, visit Sea Life Park, go ziplining at Kualoa Ranch, watch the surfers on the northwest shore, hike up the Waimea Valley, visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and so much more. You certainly can’t do it all in one day, so maybe make it two? But be sure to stop at Matsumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa for an island favorite.
Day 4 – Snorkel among multicolored fish
Two locations — Shark’s Cove on Oahu’s North Shore and Hanauma Bay, east of Diamond Head — are two of the island’s best and most popular snorkeling spots. At Shark’s Cove — inappropriately named, as sharks aren’t common there — the shallow waters are crystal clear, making for one of the top snorkeling spots in the world. Hanauma Bay State Park is very popular due to its proximity to Waikiki and excellent and easy snorkeling. Get there early or take the shuttle or bus from Waikiki. Low tide is also a good time to visit as there are fewer waves, making it easier to snorkel. You’ll have to watch a short nine-minute video about snorkeling safety, reef preservation, and the park before you head to the beach. At the beach, you can rent snorkel gear.
Day 5 – Learn how to surf
Granted, you may not be up for tackling the big waves on the North Shore, but lucky for you, Waikiki Beach has warm water, a gentle surf, and helpful lessons from great instructors will get you to “hang ten” in no time. And, as surfing was introduced to the world at Waikiki Beach, it’s the perfect place to learn. There are numerous surf schools all along Waikiki Beach: Ty Gurney, Gone Surfing Hawaii, and Mickeys Surf School get great reviews.
Day 6 – Find the perfect souvenir
You’ve had a blast in Hawaii, so be sure to commemorate it with the proper souvenir – an authentic Hawaiian shirt. The whole family can find matching (or not) shirts, dresses, and pants at Hilo Hatties, located in the Ala Moana Center. If you are into vintage, be sure to check out Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts – and plan to stay awhile, as the store is stocked with more than 15,000 shirts in an endless array of tropical colors and retro designs. Hawaiian shirts not your style? Check out Crazy Shirts, available in many Waikiki Beach area shops or head to the outlet store, located in Ward Village.
Honolulu is easy to get to with nonstop service on Sun Country Airlines from Portland. Fly there for as low as $229* one-way. Flights are on Wednesdays and Saturdays, May 1 – August 31, with additional service starting again in December.
*Fare is valid for one-way travel and is inclusive of all government taxes and fees. Must be purchased by 11:59 pm CT (Central Time) on 5/20/2019 for travel 6/8/2019 – 12/17/2019. Additional baggage and other service fees may apply. Seats are limited and fare may not be available on all flights or dates within the travel range. Valid for new bookings only. Fare, route, and schedule are subject to change without notice. Restrictions apply.