Last summer I went to Oahu, Hawaii for about three weeks with a good friend. I wrote a little bit about my experience, but only a couple of posts total, so I decided I would come back and talk in detail about my time! I’ve compiled a list of places you must visit when on the island of Oahu.
Waikiki Beach is THE tourist destination on the island. Waikiki Beach is on the south side of the Oahu. There are so many stores (some high end, like Prada, Tiffany’s, Gucci) and restaurants to visit. The shopping and dining strip lies directly across from the beach, so there are plenty of places to rent surfboards, paddle boards, inter tubes, and take lessons!
There is a huge rock/coral wall separating a good part of the water from the rest of the ocean, so there is plenty of space to swim where its safe and surrounded by people. The water is SO blue! Over the wall you can watch sailboats pass by and surfers catch waves.
AND can we please talk about these incredible sunsets?!
Sharks Cove (North Shore)
Sharks Cove over on the North Shore of the island is a famous spot for snorkeling and swimming with sea life. There are a lot of group and family snorkeling excursions that take place here, so expect it to be pretty crowded when you visit. Make sure you wear water shoes; no matter how dumb you think they look, nothing is worse than stepping on a sea creature or a sharp rock. Trust me, I’ve been there! I had to cut my time in the water a little short since I got too close to a bright purple sea urchin. Ouch.
Chinatown is the COOLEST place. Its so unique and also so crowded. We spent a couple of hours in Chinatown and I got great little gifts to take back home to my family.
I also tried tapioca pearls for the first time when I was there — those are the dark blue, blueberry-like balls you see at the bottom of my smoothie! These pearls are very common in Asian desserts with a soft and chewy consistency, similar to gummy candy! Sometimes they are filled with juice, which makes for a sweet surprise while you’re eating! Notice how big my straw is — thats so I can drink the pearls with my smoothie!
I know I sound like quite the tourist throughout this post since most places I’m writing about are pretty popular, but trust me when I say that Pearl Harbor is pretty freaking cool.
Both of my great grandfathers fought in WWII and were at Pearl Harbor during its attack, so it was incredible to stand where they once served for our country and learn more about what happened. The tour is pretty lengthy, so be prepared to spend the day there. We also went to the USS Arizona Memorial and it was truly breathtaking. You could see parts of the massive battleship underwater, where oil still leaks. The ship also serves as the resting place of 1, 102 soldiers of its original 1, 177 strong crew. You take a short ferry out to the memorial and upon arriving to the sunken ship, the soldiers on board ask passengers to practice a moment of silence. When the ferry was completely quiet outside of the memorial, I got goosebumps.
Kualoa Ranch (North Shore)
I’ve blogged about my experience at Kualoa Ranch before, but it is worth mentioning again! Very reasonably priced, this place is great for anyone, no matter your age and group size! My ticket for a day of 3 activities including lunch and round trip transportation was $166 (USD). My three activities were a boat tour (called an “Ocean Experience”), a tour around the property on a jeep (“Jungle Tour”), and an hour of horseback riding which showcases an island nicknamed “Chinaman’s Hat” and the property’s 800 year old, 125 acre fish pond. You’ll spend the whole day on the ranch, so make sure you’re prepared to do so. The buses back to your hotel might not arrive/leave on time and you might see a little bit of rain here and there (the North Shore gets it a lot), but don’t stress. The history of the ranch is unbelievable, the horses are beautiful, the tour guides are friendly and informative, and you won’t regret spending a day at Kualoa Ranch.
So. That wraps up my recap (finally) of my time spent in Oahu, Hawaii! Have you ever been? What were your favorite spots? Are you planning on visiting anytime soon?