A Week on Oahu, Hawaii
Oahu is the most populated and most popular vacation destination of the Hawaiian islands. After a week on the Big Island of Hawaii, we were ready for some more dining, shopping, and sandy beaches. Oahu really has it all!
If off-the-beaten-path and few crowds is your jam, drive up to the North Shore of Oahu, specifically Haleiwa. The uncrowded, gorgeous sand beaches provide ample beach blanket space to marvel at the surfers tackling the giant waves.
The North Shore is known for having monstrous winter waves and daredevil surfers. While not good for the average swimmer, it is my preferred locale for people/surf watching.
Both Mom and I decided that next time we are on Oahu we will be staying for a few days on the North Shore and a few days on Waikiki. This trip we spend every night on Waikiki while venturing out around in the island in our rental car a few times.
We sprung for an upgraded room with a balcony overlooking the ocean and that was the best vacation decision we made this trip. I spent many a night out there, particularly at sunset.
The Hilton Hotel on Waikiki Beach also has Friday night fireworks every week. You just show up on the beach a few minutes before and they last about 10 minutes. It was a very cool, family-friendly activity.
My favorite thing we did on Waikiki is a little strange. I fell in love with the small outdoor market that took place outside a nearby bank on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. There were so many yummy treats for sale for a decent price (Hawaii is expensive so it is relative). Malasaladas are fruit filled doughnuts of deliciousness.
I also had many papaya salads, fresh cut pineapple and mango, as well as pad Thai and some eggrolls. Take them with you to the beach to watch the sunset. Sunset time is strolling around time here.
On the nights when the outdoor food market was not running, I mostly stuck to poke bowls, grilled fish (usually in taco form), shrimp, Kona coffee and some local beers.
If I lived on an Hawaiian diet for the rest of my life, I would be a happy person.
Maui Brewing company had some interesting beers. And their restaurant was a pretty good backdrop for happy hour followed by sunset.
One morning I woke up bright and early to catch the sunrise on Diamondhead Mountain. The hike up is steep but isn’t too bad. With a lot of breaks, anyone can do most of it (or enough of it to get the gist and views). It was a gorgeous morning.
Definitely make the effort to hike up one morning as early as possible, before it gets hot and before it gets too crowded along the trail. I took my hotel’s first shuttle and was very happy with my early morning views.
While I think Kauai remains in my top spot for favorite Hawaiian Island, Oahu is a close second. You can get everything here- quiet towns, fine dining, food trucks, markets, and great beaches but you will have to deal with quite a lot of traffic. Inter-island flights make it easy to hit a few islands and experience all that Hawaii has to offer.
When the time comes to travel again, keep Hawaii at the top of your list!