Hawaii - Oahu: Off the beaten path
May 2, 12, 9:03 pm
I will be staying on Oahu for about a month. I've done a lot of the tourist things there before: Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace, Dole Plantation, Polynesian Cultural Center, etc. I might revisit some of these places this time, but I really want to experience new things, and I'm looking for interesting things to do and see that might be less well-known. Visiting another island is a possibility, but would probably have to be just a day trip, and I'd still be left with plenty of time to kill on Oahu. I would especially like to hear from anyone that lives or has lived on Oahu, what do you for fun and where do you like to spend your free time? I'm especially interested in hiking trails, snorkeling, good local restaurants or farmer's markets, festivals, historic sites, gardens, or any sort of off-beat things that perhaps aren't typically associated with Hawaii.
Also, unrelated question: Is there a service that ships Oahu-grown pineapples or other Hawaiian fruits overnight to destinations in the mainland U.S.? My grandmother's birthday is during my trip, and I thought she might like receiving a gift sent directly from Hawaii.
May 3, 12, 12:51 am
Oahu is so great off the tourist trail. I pity the poor souls whose experience consists of Waikiki.
Right in Honolulu there are countless great restaurants and unique food items unknown to the tourist crowd, from Chinatown to manapua, any kind of poke, mocha ice cream, noodle shops of all kinds, and local food courts that look like something out of singapore.
Two places i make a point to get to are La Mariana sailing club on Sand Island near the airport and Cinnamons in Kailua for amazing breakfasts in an otherwise remarkable shopping center. Guava chiffon pancakes, oh yeah.
I'd spend a lot of time on the windward side. Kailua particularly, is a wonderful community full of great restaurants and great beaches, largely evading mass tourism.
Lots of hiking all over. Manoa falls in the back of the Manoa valley near the UH arboretum is popular. Ka’iwa Ridge Trail for great views over Lani Kai in Kailua. There are a lot more ambitious too. Oahu Revealed is a good resource for this kind of thing.
Eat the street is a popular monthly gathering of all the food trucks in the area on one day. Never been there during, but would like to. THe saturday farmers market at Kapiolani Community College is a good one.
Tantalus road is always a fun ride to explore, and there are hiking trails in the area. Ho'Omaluhia gardens is a massive botanical garden in Kaneohe that has fantastic variety and views of its own vegetation as well as the Ko'olau mountains.
That's just a start, let me know if you need further ideas.
May 3, 12, 8:31 am
I second the motion on the La Mariana Sailing Club!
A non tourist Waikiki bar is Arnold's (down alley on right of Eggs and Things)
Have you done the Moana Surfrider tour?
"Hotel guests and the general public can experience ten decades of Waikiki's history with the resort's Historical Tour. The tour originates on the second floor of its main building, the historic Banyan Wing, twice a day, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The second floor features its own historical room to house and display memorabilia dating back to the early 1900's. The historical tour is a free program provided by the Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort to educate the general public on the history of this turn-of-the-century resort as well as the evolution of Waikiki as a leading travel destination. The tour lasts approximately one hour."
The Royal Hawaiian also has a tour.
"A free walking tour is offered every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 2pm to educate guests about the resortís rich history and famous guests." You don't have to be a guest.
May 3, 12, 10:11 am
Touring the late Doris Duke's estate - Shargrila - is an interesting morning or afternoon. We enjoyed it very much. You need to book in advance.
+ 1 on exploring the leeward coast of Oahu. Ko'Olina, Nankuli, Maili -some beautiful beaches and Disney's new Aulani Resort is open now on the leeward coast.
We never get bored with Waimea Falls Park and Beach on the north shore. So beautiful.
If you have never been to Kualoa Ranch and driven through the Ka'a'awa Valley/Kualoa Mts worth it. Views are spectacular. I think you have to book a tour to do that? That's how we visited there a couple times over the years.
We love Oahu and even Waikiki! :D
May 3, 12, 4:25 pm
Great mountain biking trails on Oahu, you can rent a bike and they will show you trails
May 4, 12, 7:31 pm
Hey everyone thanks for all the great tips. I am definitely going to check out these places, and I am really looking forward to my trip to Oahu now. Who knows? By the time I get back I may even have a few new suggestions for everyone to add to their lists!
May 5, 12, 9:05 am
No one mentioned the Kaimuki area, currently the hotbed of great dining on Oahu for locals. Look at restaurants like 3660 On The Rise, Town, Salt Kitchen & Tasting Bar, Cafe Miro, 12th Ave Grill, Hale Vietnam and To Thai For, to name a few. In Chinatown there are places like Duc's Bistro, Indigo and Epic Restaurant, also a lot of great bars there and if you are in town the first Friday of a month, First Friday is a great event.
The farmer's market at KCC is the most well known, but Oahu has dozens.