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  • "Balancing relaxation and adventure in Oahu"

Peter Kim

Los Angeles, California

Balancing relaxation and adventure in Oahu

The thing about me when I travel is I like to do as many things as humanly possible and that usually involves very little sleep/rest. When I get back from vacation, I'm usually 10 times more tired than when I left. 

A few details:

  1. Spending 1 week there and I've never been to Oahu.
  2. Staying in Waikiki.
  3. It's a family trip, would love to know what 2 senior citizens might be able to do.
  4. I don't like helicopter rides!
  5. I run marathons and play pickup basketball, would like to know where to get a run in or a game of pickup hoops (indoor or outdoor).

Questions:

What are a few sights that I would regret not seeing and where are the best beaches to just relax on?

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  • TJ Trapp

    top answer by

    Oahu is a great island to drive around. Rent a car in Waikiki and drive around the entire island counter clockwise. It's a half day excursion. =)

    If you go to Hanauma Bay , be sure to get there early. The snorkeling is good until it gets crowded.

    On the north shore, you must get food from Giovanni's Shrimp Truck [link] It's amazing. I had the Hot & Spicy Shrimp. It was hot and spicy. Tag the truck when you're done eating!

    In Waikiki, go to the Side Street Inn . It's great Hawaiian comfort food served family style. Bring your appetite. The salads are amazing, the pork chops are good, ribs are good, the poke is great. The fried pound cake is a nice dessert. There are two locations, go to the one on Hopaka for the authentic experience.

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    • Peter K.

      Peter K.

      These food suggestions are awesome, thanks TJ! · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

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    2. Giovanni's Shrimp Truck (restaurant)
    3. Side Street Inn (restaurant)

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  • Clark Kent Koga

    answered by

    Since this is your first time, the best way to see the entire island is to go on a circle tour around it. There are a bunch of companies offering this, but the one I went on (and probably the best reviewed online) is Roberts Hawaii. It'll take a day (8AM to 4PM) but you'll see pretty much everything you need to. It's also senior-friendly; the most you'll do is get on and off the bus a couple times. From there, you can handpick which areas you want to explore further.

    If you're not into that and just want to get to the good stuff:

    1. Waikīkī Beach - Hawaii's most commercial and touristy stretch, but it's probably a couple skips away from where you're staying. Good for surfing, paddle boarding, etc. You can also get on a catamaran, ~$30 with unlimited alcohol with Na Hoku II.
    2. Kailua - Farther out but definitely less commercial; nothing but sand and trees on the stretch. You can rent out kayaks and paddle to the Na Mokulua islands.
    3. Hanauma Bay - Good for snorkeling. $7 bucks to access so it won't be crowded.
    4. North Shore - Must if you're into surfing. Far out though and will need about a day to make the most of it.
    5. Diamond Head Crater Hike - Since you run, you might want to try the hiking trails. Amazing sunrise view. This is also the nearest one to Waikiki.

    Have fun!

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    • Peter K.

      Peter K.

      Thanks for the recommendations Clark! I think spending half a day on a tour on one of my days there sounds pretty good and sounds like it makes all the major stops as well. Also the Hanauma Bay snorkeling spot sounds good especially if it isn't so crowded. · (0 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Waikīkī Beach (attraction)
    2. Kailua (city)
    3. Na Mokulua (island)
    4. Hanauma Bay (attraction)
    5. North Shore (region)
    6. Diamond Head Crater Hike (attraction)

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  • Nalin Mello

    answered first by

    I totally get it man. I was there past summer, and like you said we only had very little time to sleep. I've posted an answer to the question which I asked before heading to O'ahu. That pretty much sums up what I did there. So, for more details feel free to take a look at those links. I'll add the places here for your convenience. I'm not much of a runner or a big hiker, but I do enjoy hiking near scenic places.

    Tip: Waikiki can be a pretty harsh place when it comes to parking. I'd suggest you renting a small car (if you do) so that you chances of finding parking is high. Also, before paying for the parking, see if you can find a place in "Ala Wai Blvd". I was able to find parking there, and I never paid for parking ( ~$30/night =/ )

    Here are my favorite places,


    Hanauma Bay is a must see. Make sure to go early morning, and also bring cash if you are going snorkel.

    Hanauma Bay

    Diamond Head Crater Hike can be a small hike for you but you gotta check out the view from the top. It's gorgeous. My favorite place is Polynesian Cultural Center. You'll learn a lot about different who lives in small islands in the pacific ocean.

    Waikiki can be a crowded place. If you don't like crowded places, then I'd suggest hitting some of the beaches in the north side of the island.

    Hope this helps :)


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    • Peter K.

      Peter K.

      Hey Nalin, thanks for the answer! That was another thing I was wondering about, driving and parking but I will keep that in mind. Definitely want to do the crater hike, and I'm all for less crowded beaches! · (1 likelikes)

    • TJ T.

      TJ T.

      +1 for getting to Hanauma Bay earlier than everyone else... · (2 likelikes)

    Mentioned in this answer:

    1. Waikiki (neighborhood)
    2. Polynesian Cultural Center (attraction)
    3. Pearl Harbor Visitor Center (attraction)
    4. USS Arizona Memorial (attraction)
    5. Battleship Missouri Memorial (attraction)
    6. Uss Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park (attraction)
    7. Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor (attraction)
    8. Hanauma Bay (attraction)
    9. Dole Plantation (attraction)
    10. Diamond Head Crater Hike (attraction)
    11. Chinaman's Hat (attraction)
    12. Waikīkī Beach (attraction)

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