So here you are, on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Oahu, Hawaii. You feel like you have seen this place before or at least recognize it. It is where they film the ABC hit show ‘Lost’. You have seen how stunning the island is on television, but seeing it for yourself is a totally different experience. Where and how do you even begin to see and do what Oahu has to offer to her guests? Here are my top ten recommendations on the must see and do activities on Oahu.
Helicopter tour of the island – There are multiple helicopter tour companies that offer their services to visitors of the island. This is a wonderful way to see the island from a bird’s eye view and to see parts of the island that you may not be able to see by car. I recommend these tours if you are only on Oahu for a few days, as you can see a lot of the island in short period of time. Hanauma Bay – This has to be the best place on the island to snorkel. The mountain here broke apart and created a large bay and coral reef. Because people have been snorkeling here for years, the fish are quite used to human activity and basically come right up to you, especially if you give them some fish food! Remember to bring an underwater camera. You will get some unbelievable shots of some colorful tropical fish. You just have to be quick enough to take that picture. I would recommend wearing some sort of water shoes, especially if you head towards the reef. Be sure to take an aerial shot of Hanauma Bay before you head down the stairs, the colors of the bay are just stunning!
Bellows Beach – In my opinion, Bellows Beach is one of the most peaceful beaches on the island. It is only accessible if you have a military pass, as it is a military beach, although I’ve heard rumors that it is open to the public on the weekends these days. Not too far from the beach and into the ocean, you see two islands off to the left.
If you are brave and a good swimmer, you could reach them. The waves here are fantastic and it is a great spot to collect tiny seashells. There are picnic benches and a wonderful selection of wildlife to watch. The sound of the crashing waves and the smell of the sea salt air will make for a great take home mental picture of one of Oahu’s most beautiful beaches.
Dole Plantation – For a unique learning experience, visit the Dole Plantation and you will find out everything there is to know about that delicious fruit called the pineapple. Take the Plantation Garden Tour and get a hands-on tour of how pineapples grow and find out how many different types of pineapples there actually are. You can even get Dole’s incredibly fresh pineapples sent back home to remember that taste of Hawaiian sunshine.
Halona Blowhole – The beach located just below the Halona Blowhole, is typically deserted. The waters in this area are usually a bit rough and not the best for snorkeling or swimming. However, the waters are great for wave watching and to see an assortment of sea life. Above the bay, there is the Halona Blowhole, which is a quite awesome scene to see.
The ocean waves go under these rocks, and then because of the water pressure it makes the waves shoot up the hole that is in the rock. This causes the water to “spout” right up into the air! It is amazing. As an added bonus, you typically can spot sea turtles and other sea life from the top of the bay as well.
Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona – This national historic landmark represents not only our country, but the men and women who died protecting our nation’s freedoms and liberties. In order to visit the USS Arizona, you must take a boat out to the memorial, since the ship is still intact under the ocean.
Once at the site, you are able to view the ship below, which still leaks oil today. The final part of the memorial is the shrine. Here the list of the men and women killed that day are listed on the wall. It is the final resting place for over a 1,000 soldiers who were killed in battle.
Note from Lisa – I actually enjoy the USS Bowfin submarine and the Mighty Mo, both at Pearl Harbor, much more than the Arizona memorial.
Diamond Head State Monument – If you are up for a bit of exercise, hike up Diamond Head and you will be well rewarded once you are at the top of this incredible monument. The amazing panoramic view of the entire island of Oahu from the top of Diamond Head will make you forget all your worries. Go early in the morning before it gets too hot, be prepared to walk up a lot of stairs and above all else don’t forget your camera.
Paradise Cove Luau – When in Hawaii, one must luau! I had so much fun at Paradise Cove’s Luau, that I recommend it to all who visit Oahu. First of all, the entire luau is centered towards getting you ready for the evening festivities. From the arts and crafts stations, where I made my first lei, to my first spear throwing experience, I was already having a blast and did not even know that the best was still to come.
Old Hawaiian traditions were displayed on the beach for guests, while taking in the beautiful Hawaiian sunset! The luau feast was delicious and the entertainment was amazing. Paradise Cove’s Luau will make for a memorable Hawaiian experience for years to come. Note from Lisa – check my current entertainment book review to see if there is a coupon for this luau – there usually is)
The North Shore – Any beach along the North Shore is worth visiting. There were times driving up along the coastline, that I did not even see another soul. I have never seen waves that enormous. Now, I understand why surfers flock here to ride these waves! A visit to the North Shore not only makes for a beautiful drive, but also if you are likely a great place to watch surfers strut their stuff.
Waikiki Beach – Of course this is considered to be one of the most popular beaches on Oahu. Not only does it offer, incredible views of the ocean, it offers a lot of options for those that enjoy water sports. For those that like to walk along the beach, Waikiki Beach has such soft sand! You may even be lucky to catch a movie on the beach, which is displayed on a thirty foot screen! Not only that, but very close to the beach are multiple shops and restaurants to check out.