In January, Derika and I went to Oahu with a couple of friends to go to the Pro Bowl and to just get some R&R. We don’t often go back to the same place twice for vacation, but as far as I am concerned any day is a good do to go to Hawaii no matter what island. I love everything about Hawaii and would jump at a chance to go. We were also living in NYC at the time, so some sun and warm weather were exactly what the doctor ordered. When we went to Oahu the first time I did not do a ton of research, so I was excited to go back with a list. Below are some of my favorite places that we visited while we were in Oahu.
Visit Waimanalo Beach
Waimanalo Beach is hands down my favorite beach on the island. Just look at the color of the water! It is so so stunning! What I really love about this beach is that it is pretty quiet, there is always available parking, and there are a couple of cute places near by to grab food; which also makes this place a great picnic spot. If you want to have a great picnic at this beach, visit one of the three places that I have listed below.
Eat at Ono Shrimp and Steak Shack
Ono Steaks and Shrimp Shack is super close to Waimanalo Beach and a great place to check out some super fresh and local Hawaiian food. It is also a great place to grab a bite to eat if you are a vegetarian.
Eat at ‘Ai Love Nalo
If you want something super healthy go to ‘Ai Love Nalo for some farm fresh and amazing vegetarian food! This place is super adorable, so you could grab food and eat it there or take it to go for a great beach picnic.
Their portions are huge and everything tasted so good, we got a couple of bowls and they were delicious.
Grab Some Middle Eastern Food at Shaloha
Stop off at Shaloha Pita on your way to Waimanalo Beach and get some of the most amazing middle eastern food for a perfect picnic on the beach. Get the Shaloha plate and you get to sample a little bit of everything. So good and more than enough for two people. There is also a little gas station right down the road if you need a frosty beverage to accompany your lunch 😉
Watch a Sunset at North Shore
The North Shore had epic waves when we were there, so this is a great place to watch surfers or to go surfing. It is also a great place to catch an amazing sunset. After the sunset go and grab dinner at the north shore food trucks near Haleiwa.
Visit the Dole Plantation
Did you know that pineapples grow out of the ground!? I had no idea this was the case before I went to the Dole Plantation. This is a very touristy stop, but go here to see all of the cute baby pineapples and then stop and get some Dole Whip.
This my friends is the most amazing pineapple ice cream you will ever have.
Cool Off with Shave Ice
If you are on the East side of the island go check out the World Famous Shaka Shave Ice shop. I like to stop at any place that claims to be world-famous. I am also obsessed with shave ice and I have to say that this is one was amazing! The portions are HUGE!
If you want some of the best shave ice of your life. Check out Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha. They make their own ice cream and all of the syrups are made with fresh Hawaiian fruit.
Sip on a Mai Tai and Watch a Sunset
My advice to you is to run to the Mai Tai Bar in the Royal Hawaiian for one of the best Mai Tais of you life.
I would recommend that you make a reservation for their patio, so that you can sip on a Mai Tai and also catch a great sunset.
If you are on the North Shore, I would head over to the Turtle Bay Resort for a sunset. While you are there try one of their amazing Mai Tais at their pool bar. The bar is overlooking the ocean and if you are feeling hungry you can snag some great food with an amazing view.
As you can see…I drank a lot of Mai Tai’s while I was in Oahu. If you find yourself in Waikiki, head on over to the Marriott Waikiki Beach Resort for a sunset and a great mai tai at the Moana Terrace that is right by the pool. They also have really amazing fish tacos if you are feeling hungry.
Eat Like a Local at a Farmer’s Market
If you are in Oahu on a Saturday or Tuesday, do yourself a favor and check out the KCC Farmer’s Market, it is the biggest one in Honolulu. I love a good farmer’s market, and if you want to get a unique taste of Oahu, this is the place to do it. We basically ate our way though the market and I do not regret it one bit. As a matter of fact, I am getting hungry just looking at these photos!
Eat ALL of the Malasadas
I am not a huge donut fan, but I fell in love with malasadas. They kind of remind me of jelly filled donuts, but they are a bit smaller and a lot more tastier. To get some of the best malasadas on the island, you should check out Leonards. This claim usually means that the line can get pretty epic, but I promise you that it worth the wait.
Try a Loco Moco Bowl
If you are wondering what the heck is a loco moco, then you should definitely try it. 😉 A basic loco moco is white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg and brown gravy.I know this sounds kind of strange. It is almost impossible to find a vegetarian version. If you really want an amazingly healthy and delicious meal go have a meal at Heavenly restaurant. This is an adorable place that have a ton of great organic and local options, and I was super excited to try their vegetarian version of the loco moco with an ice-cold local beer. It was so so goooood!
Visit some Breweries
Head over to Kakaako Street Art for some epic murals and a fun brewery walking tour. Some of my top brewery recommendations are the Waikiki Brewery, Honolulu BeerWorks, The Aloha Beer Company and the Brewseum.
Hike the Koko Head Stairs
After eating all of that food, you are going to want to get outside and check out some of the amazing hikes that Oahu has to offer. My favorite hike was the Koko Head Stairs. It only took me about 30 minutes to climb, but it was seriously one of the more strenuous hikes that I have done. It is a little over 1400 stairs, which is actually an old railroad track that go straight up the side of a mountain. The views at the top are spectacular and you are going to want to hang out up there to catch your breath and to take it all in.
Hungry? Stop Here Before the Airport
We had a little extra time before we went to the airport so we decided to to grab one last Mai Tai and some lunch. Head to the Kalapawai Market and Deli for a Mai Tai and a awesome sandwich.
That pretty much sums up my recommendations for Oahu and now I want to go back!