Destination Oahu

Destination Oahu, Oahu without tourists

One of our next trips is to Oahu, part of the Hawaiian Islands. We’ve visited before during part of our honeymoon and didn’t do a lot of exploring except for going on a horseback ride. During a visit to an empty beach we came by some sea turtles who seemed un-bothered by us, but a giant tour bus pulled up and tourists flooded the beach. It really ruined the experience, and scared the turtles away. I’d love to see parts of Oahu that are not touristy and kind of natural.

Do you have any suggestions for us? We love hiking and more secluded beaches, even if the hike is short or the beach is small. We are staying near Kaneohe, so anywhere on that side of the island would be ideal.

Some places on our current list are:

  • Wade to Goat Island
  • Shark Fin Cove
  • Hike the stairway to heaven (except it’s illegal, yikes).
  • See a luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center (total tourist trap but we’ve never been to one!)
  • Hike Koko Crater (not very kid friendly)

As you can see, our list is rather short. Do you have any we should add to? I’d love to hear!

Destination Oahu, Oahu without tourists


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15 thoughts on “Destination Oahu

  1. Aloha Jessica!
    I haven’t commented before but wanted you to know how much I love your blog. I live on Oahu and thought I’d offer up some suggestions (some of my favorite things!) for your upcoming trip. You might want to visit Lyon Arboretum, tucked away in the back beautiful Manoa Valley. It’s part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa- 194 acres of beautiful gardens and trails. Not part of the Arboretum but just nearby is the trailhead for Manoa Falls… a short but lovely little hike. Another beautiful trail with amazing views is Kuliouou Trail. You pass the turnoff for the trail on your way to Koko Head – you can read about it here: http://www.unrealhawaii.com/2012/08/kuliouou-ridge-trail-oahu/ . Try and visit one of the amazing restaurants in Kaimuki…TOWN, Mud Hen Water (Chef Ed Kenney) or Avenues, 12th Avenue Grill (Chef Kevin Hanney) – so many great places to try. Not to be missed is The Pig and the Lady in Chinatown. Go for a early lunch (really, right when they open at 10:30am) and you won’t have to wait. Alternatively, also in Chinatown is Livestock Tavern. There, you can walk right in after the lunch crowd leaves, around 1pm. If you want to experience some wonderful Waikiki ambiance, visit the Halekulani’s House Without A Key and enjoy a beautiful hula performance to Hawaiian Music. This “pau hana” tradition is beloved by tourists and locals alike. They will validate your valet parking if you purchase a drink while enjoying the music – the sunset is free! http://www.halekulani.com/dining/house-without-a-key . For a bit more culture, visiting Doris Duke’s Shangri La is another wonderful experience: http://www.shangrilahawaii.org/ . These are a just a few ideas that don’t make the typical tourist list. Have a wonderful time…and your trip to Iceland looks amazing! Enjoy, Lori

    1. Hi Lori, wow! Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information, I’m definitely going to add some of these to our list. And thank you for the kind words, it means a lot to me to hear from readers. 🙂

  2. go to King’s Luau instead! the chief came from the polynisian culture center. It over looks the water and is a lot better! Also, go to lanikai beach/the north shore. My favorite, for sure!! Try and boat across to the island – that’s where the turtles are!
    elle
    Southern Elle Style

  3. These photos look absolutely amazing, and I’m such a fan of Hawaii. I’ve been to Maui twice, but actually never to Oahu but I’ve heard great things about Oahu too! I want to go back to Hawaii with my boyfriend this time, but we will see if I can convince him 😉 xx Adaleta Avdic

  4. You can try the pill box hike in Kailua! It gives you an amazing view of the Mokulua Islands (the islands on your first picture). For kids who like to hike it’s pretty easy and only takes about and hour with kids to get to the top. Also check out the luau at the The Royal Hawaiian. It’s still touristy but with a beautiful view and better food then at the cultural center.

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