Hawaii is infamous for being a couples destination and we now know why! My boyfriend and I fell in love with its beautiful beaches, romantic atmosphere, kind locals, and luscious greenery. I’m definitely more of the planner in the relationship when it comes to travel so I had all the to-do’s, to-see’s, and to-eat’s all mapped out beforehand for our week in O’ahu.
We rented a car (which ended up being a smart car, that we at point strapped a kayak on top of haha!) to get around the island and highly recommend you do too because public transportation, or lack thereof, isn’t very convenient.
Here are our favorite things to do on the island:
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1) Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach is arguably one of the most well-known beaches in all of Hawai’i – and also the most touristy – but hey, if it’s your first time you should check it out! We stayed at an Airbnb right next to the beach with its own surf shop, so surfboards, beach umbrellas, and snorkels were all included with our stay. Score! The waves are perfect for beginner surfers, and there are tons of restaurants and shops nearby.
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2) Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay is famous for its diverse marine wildlife. Enclosed in the southeastern area of the island, Hanauma Bay is home to a big reef and hundreds of species of fish. If you get lucky you may even see turtles! The water is crystal clear and I really recommend bringing your own snorkel mask for this one!
3) Manoa Waterfall
150-foot Manoa Waterfall is at the end of a 1.5 mile hike through the island’s lush, green, tropical rainforest. Put on your sneakers and get active! Honestly can’t decide whether the rainforest or the waterfall was more breathtaking so you just have to see both for yourself!
4) Diamondback Trail
Diamondback is a historic 1.0 mile hiking trail up an extinct volcano with an amazing viewpoint overlooking Oahu. If you’re up for some sightseeing, this hike is definitely a to-do!
5) Kahana Bay Beach Park
As you guys can probably tell by now, yes, we are an active couple! And we loved our kayaking adventure at Kahana Bay Beach Park. This is when we learned that yes, it is possible to strap a 12-foot long kayak above a 2-person smart car. It was amazing kayaking through the low-hanging plants and seeing all the different varieties of plant-life.
The most popular luau on Oahu is at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Luau tickets are pricey, upwards of $100 per person but so worth the experience! You get lei’d as soon as you walk in the door, all local dishes are served at dinner, and the performance is nothing short of entertaining, including fire-dances and traditional island dances from other Oceanic countries.
7) Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
Drive up to Oahu’s north shore and stop by Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, serving the best garlic shrimp plate on the island. There may be a line but it’s well worth the wait – literally finger-licking good.
8) Tamura’s FIne Wines & Liquors
Now onto my favorite Hawaiian food that I ate every single day: poke. Cubes of the freshest raw fish, marinated in so many different varieties I couldn’t try them all. The fish is so fresh that even gas stations, supermarkets, and even liquor stores had poke for sale! Crazy right?! My favorite was the poke at Tamura’s Fine Wines and Liquors and it was so good I went back two more times to get more.
9) Leonard’s Bakery
I didn’t know what malasadas were before coming to Leonard’s Bakery, but now I will never forget. Malasadas are a Portuguese doughnuts without a hole, lightly fried, and coated in sugar. Another line absolutely worth the wait, and I of course had to try every flavor filling. The custard was my favorite!
10) Dole Plantation
Dole plantation is a pineapple plantation home to the world’s largest maze, and the well-known pineapple ice cream they serve with chocolate.
Hawai’i is a magical place and we will definitely be back! Let me know if you have any questions about the island of Oahu in the comments below!
Are you ready to start planning your next Hawaiian vacation?!