Posted: 8/3/20 | August 3rd, 2020

I didn’t know much about Oahu before I visited. everyone told me it was worth it for Pearl Harbor but to spend the rest of my time elsewhere in Hawaii. Maui and Kauai were where the action was, they said.

But Oahu was home to Honolulu’s international airport, from which I was catching an onward flight to Taiwan. considering that I had limited time, going to multiple islands wasn’t feasible.

Fortunately, after spending a full week on Oahu, I can say this: everyone was wrong.

Maybe they just let their preconceived notions get the better of them.

Or maybe they just didn’t give the place a chance.

But whatever the reason, I’m here to tell you that Oahu has some magic. Sure, it’s quite developed, has horrible traffic, and huge crowds. and yeah, maybe it’s not as “raw” as the other islands (I assume that’s why people like them).

But there are plenty of spots in Oahu where you can live that Hawaiian dream and there are tons of things to see and do (even if you’re checking out Oahu with kids).

I spent a week round-tripping the island (which, given how small it is, [turned out to be] quite easy). My plan was simple: sit on a beach as long as I could, eat my body weight in poke (diced raw fish, pronounced “po-keh”), and hike.

Along the way, I also binged on shrimp, drank the best piña colada of my life, and took notes so you can do even better when you visit!

Driving Oahu: A Road-Trip Itinerary

First, a tip: if you’re driving around Oahu, go counterclockwise from Honolulu, considering that a lot of of the food trucks you’ll want to stop at are on the ocean side of the highway as you go up the east coast. So going in that direction just makes it much easier to pull off the road and try all the food trucks that line the highway (and there are a lot). There’s also a lot more to do on the east side of Oahu, so it’s best to start there.

That said, I actually don’t think a standard road trip is the best idea. Oahu is smaller than you think — you can drive end to end in under two hours — so everything provided below can really be done as a day trip from one base or another, which will save you packing and unpacking, as well moving from place to place too often (especially considering that the east and west coasts don’t have a lot of affordable accommodations).

Base yourself on the North shore for a couple of days and then in Honolulu (in the south) for a couple of days (or vice versa).

Day 1: Honolulu to Kailua (28 miles)

Pick up your rental car, head out of Honolulu (you’ll be back later), and start off at Hunauma Bay in southeast Oahu. You can spend a few hours there snorkeling and kicking back on the beach before heading to the nearby Halona Blowhole Lookout for the view and Makapu‘u point (Oahu’s easternmost point) for a short hike. There are also plenty of beaches, food trucks, short hikes, and viewpoints along the way to Kailua, where you’ll want to stay the night.

Where to Eat:

Teddy’s bigger Burgers

Any of the food trucks on the way north

Buzz’s Steakhouse (for dinner)

Where to Stay:
Airbnb is the best option, considering that there aren’t lots of hotels or hostels in Kailua. book early though, as there isn’t a lot to choose from.

Day 2: Kailua to Haleiwa (50 miles)

Start your morning with the popular Lanikai Pillbox hike just south of Kailua, where you can get sweeping views of the ocean and the cities and beaches on this side of the island. The hike is short (it only takes about 20-30 minutes) but steep, so wear proper shoes.

If you have some time in the morning, Kailua and Lanikai beaches are both beautiful (they’re ideal next to each other and on the way from the pillbox hike). Not a lot of people, white sand, blue water. They’re heaven.

As you leave this area to head north, visit the Ho‘oamaluhia Botanical garden (it’s free!), which is also home to a lake filled with tropical plants.

Afterward, drive up the east coast toward the North Shore. Along the way, you can stop at the Kualoa Ranch, where lots of motion pictures have been filmed. If you do a tour, I suggest the 90-minute Hollywood motion picture sites excursion (which includes scenes from Jurassic Park!), as you don’t need much a lot more time than that to see the ranch. (It’s expensive, though, so if you’re on a budget, I’d skip it.)

As you keep going north, you’ll find a ton of beaches and hikes (there are plenty of signs for everything). I really took pleasure in the Hau‘ula loop trail especially, which is about 10 miles north of Kualoa. It’s really overgrown, so you’ll feel like you’re very much in the jungle (meaning you’ll also need to bring bug spray). and like a lot of hikes here, there’s a picturesque viewpoint!

Then drive around the northern idea of Oahu to Haleiwa, your base of operations while on the North Shore.

Where to eat Along the Way:

Kalapawai Café and Deli

Fresh catch Kaneohe

Shrimp Shack

Seven Brothers

Ken’s FreshFisk

Fumi’s Shrimp

Hvor man skal bo:
Airbnb is again the best option, as there aren’t lots of hotels or hostels in Haleiwa. book early here too.

Days 3 & 4: North shore (Base: Haleiwa)

This was my favorite part of Oahu. It was Hawaii the way you imagine it must be: a lot quieter, less touristy, and less developed. and it had that whole “hippie vibe” going for it. everyone up here was much a lot more laid back than down south.

You can learn to surf here (two-hour lessons begin at just $80 USD) or hike the Ka‘ena point trail (west of Haleiwa) and/or the ‘Ehukai Pillbox (east of Haleiwa). The latter is pretty muddy, so bring proper shoes.

Haleiwa itself is a sleepy little vacationer town with a bunch of restaurants, shops, and parks. There’s not much to do in the town itself other than eat and window-shop.

If you do just one hike, though, I absolutely recommend the Ka‘ena point Trail, which was one of the best experiences I had. It’s a scenic, two-hour coastal walk to the northwestern idea of Oahu, where you will find a protected biological area with seals and native birds. At the tip, you can see all the way down the west side of the island — a magical view. Bring sunscreen and water, as the whole trail is exposed to the sun.

Hvor man kan spise:

Ted’s Bakery

Sunrise Shack

Hale‘iwa Joe’s

Matsumoto shave Ice

Ray’s Kiawe


Jenny’s Shrimp Truck

Giovanni’s Shrimp

Day 5: Dole Plantation, Oahu’s West Side, Honolulu (60 miles)

Head south (inland) and stop at the Dole Plantation. While it is incredibly cheesy and touristy (I mean, so lots of useless souvenirs!), it does have a cool maze, and there’s a train ride through the farm that, while whitewashing a lot of bad things, was an interesting look at the value of the pineapple to Oahu. For a general introduction geared to your average tourist, it was surprisingly informative.

Afterward, continue south toward Honolulu and then head west on the H1 road to the west coast for some deserted local beaches, such as Ma‘ili, Ewa, Makua, or Yokohama. stop at Countryside Café for some extraordinary diner food. The portions are pretty large, so you can share them.

Then head back into Honolulu, as there’s not a lot of accommodation along the west coast. If you do want to stay longer, you’ll find some listings on Airbnb and if you book far in advance. Otherwise, there are a few hotels in Kapolei if you don’t want to drive all the way to Honolulu.

Days 6 & 7: Honolulu

I actually liked Honolulu a lot (the main beach area of Waikiki is a vacationer trap though). While downtown is a bit bland, other communities are filled with awesome stores, breweries, bars, restaurants, and art galleries. Be sure to check out the “hip” Kaka‘ako part of town in particular.

Consider going on a hike on diamond Head, a volcanic cone on the east side of town. It uses an extraordinary view of the city, though it’s one of the a lot more popular trails in the area, so if you aren’t there early enough to beat the crowds, you’ll generally be walking in a slow-moving line up bjerget. If you are short on time, skip it.

Other things to Do:

A complimentary walking excursion with Hawaii complimentary excursions (call ahead, considering that they only run when they have bookings).

Pearl Harbor – This is a must. It’s not even up for debate. Du nødt til at gå.

Iolani Palace, the former royal residence of Hawaii’s monarchs.

Soak in the sun on Waikiki beach or other nearby beaches, such as Ala Moana, which is popular with locals.

There’s also an Islamic art museum, which is meant to be great, but I didn’t make it there.

Hvor man kan spise:

The Pig and the Lady

Mei Sum dim Sum

Shirokiya Japan village Walk

Rainbow Drive-In

Leonard’s Bakey

Ono Seafood

Hula Dog

Hvor man skal bo:

The beach – This hostel is ideal on the beach, includes complimentary breakfast, and has plenty of space to kick back and meet other travelers.

Polynesian Hostel beach Club Waikiki – The accommodations here are basic, but the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, and they organize lots of events.

Additionally, head to the royal Hawaiian hotel for the best piña colada of your life. It’s not cheap ($15 USD a pop), but it is sooo good! Every one of my friends who didn’t buy one got it as their second drink. (Fun fact: My grandfather was stationed in Oahu during WWII and went back to Oahu often. The royal Hawaiian was his favorite hotel. It’s pretty cool that it’s still there!)

Average costs

How much do things cost on Oahu? here are some normal prices (in USD):

Hostel dorm – $27

Airbnb – $100+/night for a one-bedroom or studio

Hotel – $175–250/night for a mid-range boutique hotel

Car rental – as low as $20/day, plus insurance

Gas – $3–3.50/gallon

Poke bowl – $12–15

Takeout meal – $10–14

Sit-down meal at a fancy restaurant (with drinks) – $50+

Local lunch – $15

McDonalds – $6 for a value meal

Groceries – $75 for one person for a week

Beer (at a restaurant) – $8–10 ($2–3På den japanske gåtur!)

Piña Colada-$ 10-15

Kaffe – $ 5

Udlejning af surfbræt – $ 25/dag

Snorkel Gear Rental – $ 15/dag

Dykpriser – $ 125


Oahu er temmelig dyr. Meget af alt skal importeres, så hvis det ikke kan dyrkes i nærheden eller fanges i havet, kan du forvente at betale meget. Men det er ikke umuligt at spare penge. Her er et par måder at reducere dine udgifter på:

Vandretur og glæd dig over strandene. Naturen er gratis!

Køb din egen mad fra supermarkeder, så du kan tilberede dine egne måltider eller have picnic. Selvfølgelig er der masser af restauranter i verdensklasse her, men hvis du vil holde dine madomkostninger nede, skal du tilberede nogle måltider. Poke på supermarkeder er alligevel velsmagende!

Hvis du spiser ude, skal du slå madbilerne. En masse omkostninger omkring $ 10 USD for et måltid-meget mere overkommelige end sit-down restauranter.

Hvis du får alkohol, skal du gøre det på japanske markeder, hvor du kun kan finde øl til kun $ 2-3 USD (sammenlignet med $ 8 USD ved barer).

Spring over ride-delingswebsteder som Getaround eller Turo (hvor du lejer biler fra private ejere). De er normalt mere overkommelige end de store udlejningsfirmaer, men på Oahu opkræver værter dig et ekstra gebyr for at droppe bilen i lufthavnen. Jeg fandt, at de almindelige biludlejningsselskaber var meget billigere, med satser så lave som $ 20 USD om dagen.

Få din gas på Hele -stationer. De var konsekvent de billigste på øen.

Mens Oahu ofte er overfyldt og overdrevent kommerciel, var der en masse fantastiske ting at gøre og se. For mig var de bedste dele maden og vandreturen – med så masser af vandreture kunne du tilbringe uger her. Min yndlingsdel af Oahu var North Shore, så jeg anbefaler, at du i det mindste tilbringer et par dage der. Jeg ser bestemt frem til at vende tilbage!

Book din rejse til Hawaii: logistiske ideer og tricks
Book din flyvning
Brug Skyscanner eller Momondo til at finde en billig flyvning. De er mine to foretrukne søgemaskiner, fordi de søger på websteder og flyselskaber over hele kloden, så du ved altid, at ingen sten bliver tilbage. Start dog med Skyscanner først, fordi det har den største rækkevidde!

Book din indkvartering
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the greatest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and hotels. Mine yndlingssteder at bo er:


Polynesian Hostel beach Club Waikiki

Waikiki Beachside Hostel

Glem ikke rejseforsikring
Travel insurance will secure you against illness, injury, theft, and cancelations. It’s detailed protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it lots of times in the past. Mine yndlingsfirmaer, der tilbyder den bedste service og værdi, er:

Sikkerhedsfløj (for alle under 70)

Insure My trip (for those 70 and over)

Medjet (til yderligere hjemsendelse af hjemsendelse)

Leder du efter de bedste virksomheder til at spare penge med?
Tjek min ressourceside for de bedste virksomheder, der skal bruges, når du rejser. Jeg viser alle dem, jeg bruger til at spare penge, når jeg er på vej. They will save you money too.

Need an affordable RV for Your road Trip?
RVshare lets you lease RVs from private individuals all around the country, saving you tons of money in the process. Det er som Airbnb for RVS.

Want a lot more information on Hawaii?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Hawaii for even a lot more planning tips!

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