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Hawaii, Honolulu, O'ahu

7 nights in Hawaii: things to do or see in or around Honolulu?

I'm traveling to Hawaii for the first time in August with my mom. We'll be there for 7 nights. What are some things we should do or see?

And would you recommend staying on Oahu for the whole week or visiting another island? I wouldn't want to hop from hotel to hotel, but I don't mind splitting the trip into two halves and spend 3 nights on one island and the other 4 nights on another island.

If someone has an itinerary, I'm all ears as well.

7 Answers

top answer by
Tony from Seattle

Oahu is certainly not my favorite Island, but it's quite nice, especially if you get out of Honolulu (tho Hono has some tasty food).

If you dig snorkeling, head to Hanauma Bay.

It's downright stunning.  I'd go early, as it can be crowded.  Don't expect a rustic experience-- they have a required educational movie you have to watch before you go in and you have to buy a ticket.  You can grab gear at Snorkel Bob's Oahu (there's on on the other islands, too).  For sneaky eats, head to Side Street Inn (it's not really a sports bar).  A lot of the local chefs eat here.  It's grubby but tasty, with amazing salads, poke, fried pork chops and more.

I tend to love Kaua'i best of the islands.  It's laid back, small enough to explore, and features amazing hikes.  The Waimea Canyon is pretty stunning there.

You can also see the Na Pali coast via boat, hike (very strenuous) or kayak (only possible during lower swells in the summer).

Hands down my favorite experience in Hawaii is getting close to flowing lava (!), which can usually be done on the Big Island (which is my close second).  The Big Island features virtually every habitat that the planet offers from desert to rainforest-- it's incredibly diverse.  You can play with wild horses in Waipio Valley

...or you can freeze your butt off on the  Mauna Kea Summit.

And, my favorite-- see some lava.

Most of the time something is going on and often you can either hike to it, take a boat, or (most expensive) take a chopper.  Up to the minute lava reports are here: 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hanauma Bay (attraction)
  2. Side Street Inn (restaurant)
  3. Kaua'i (attraction)
  4. Waimea Canyon (attraction)
  5. Na Pali (attraction)
  6. Waipio Valley (attraction)
  7. Mauna Kea Summit (attraction)
  8. Snorkel Bob's Oahu (attraction)
10 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Suzi from Seattle

Hi Samuel! 

There's definitely lots to do in Honolulu; I'd recommend staying put in Oahu for the whole week rather than island hopping. The other islands deserve whole trips for themselves!

In Honolulu, there's lots of shopping and tourist sites in Waikiki. There's also great hiking (Diamond Head Crater Hike, Koko Head, Lanikai Pillboxes Hike, Makapu‘u Lighthouse), and fabulous beaches.I'd say it all depends on what kind of activities you like and what style vacation you have in mind.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Honolulu (city)
  2. Waikiki (attraction)
  3. Diamond Head Crater Hike (attraction)
  4. Koko Head (attraction)
  5. Makapu‘u Lighthouse (attraction)
  6. Lanikai Pillboxes Hike (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered by

Definitely recommend a jaunt to another island, especially if it's your first time in Hawaii You can't go wrong with any of the other islands. They are all unique and beautiful and have endless things to do. But the Big Island ( Hawaii (island)) and Maui are my favorites. A nice itinerary might be two or three nights in Waikiki and then 4 nights on a neighbor island. On Oahu, definitely head over to Kailua Beach for a day, one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere. Then get shave ice at Island Snow. If you do stay in Waikiki you'll likely be at a larger hotel, so on the other island you can switch it up and rent a condo. If you choose Maui, we like the Napili Beach area. If you go to Maui, be sure to catch sunrise on the summit of Haleakala. Or on the big island, sunset on Mauna Kea. Both are worth the time.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hawaii (attraction)
  2. Hawaii (island) (attraction)
  3. Maui (attraction)
  4. Waikiki (attraction)
  5. Kailua Beach (attraction)
  6. Napili Beach (attraction)
  7. Haleakala (attraction)
  8. Mauna Kea (attraction)
4 thanks

answered by
Gigi from Honolulu

I've lived on Oahu for 30 years and these are mostly what my visiting friends and relatives have loved to do over the years - On Oahu, first definitely visit USS Arizona Memorial.  It's part of history after all.

Go to Kailua to the top rated Lanikai Beach and then go across the road to Buzz's Original Steakhouse for lunch or dinner (get the Artichoke).  Also great is the JW Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa right next door to the Disney Aulani Resort & Spa with three very nice beaches and lagoons.  If you're into hiking you can try the popular Diamond Head Summit Trail  

I've never been but my mother and others have truly enjoyed the Polynesian Cultural Center.  

If you've never been here before it would be great for you to visit an outer island.  I'd recommend Marriott's Kaua'i Beach Club on Kauai.  

The island of Lanai is very small but beautiful and no car needed.  You get shuttled between two Four Seasons Hotels or a smaller hotel in Lanai town.  Of the two Four Seasons I recommend Four Seasons Resort Lana'i at Manele Bay.  Very nice and relaxing getaway and a much better pool than the Four Seasons at Koele.  Or there is also the Big Island if you want to drive a lot and see the volcanoes. Highly recommend the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Don't know if you're younger, older, with kids, so some of these suggestions might take precedence over others depending on those factors.

Enjoy your trip.  Bring lots of sunscreen.  

2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Michael from Honolulu

Aloha, do you have an idea what dates you will be here? The reason I ask is that there are some great events in August like festivals, craft fairs, etc that I would love to suggest if you are here during those times. 

Will come back and update this again. 

answered by
Fran from Greater New York

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pearl Harbor (metro area)
  2. Polynesian Cultural Center (attraction)
  3. Diamond Head Beach Park (attraction)

answered by
Gigi from Honolulu

It's a day trip that you can probably book through a tour agency, maybe try Googling Roberts Hawaii tours, or other tour groups.  I believe it's only about 3 hours to drive around the entire island.

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