For the Short on Time: A Quick Trip to Oahu

7:28 PM

Here for the weekend? Island hopping? Whatever the case may be, here is a list of some must-do’s on a time crunch.

Stroll through Haleiwa, North Shore

Haleiwa (pronounced ha-leh-ee-vah), meaning House of the Frigate bird, is a picturesque surf town right on Waialua Harbor. I suggest parking in the town and hoofing it through the main street so you can take photos and stop in the local shops. Stop for a quick lunch at any of the famous food trucks (garlic shrimp plate anyone?). On your way out, grab a shave ice or an acai bowl at any of the stands.

Visit Waimea Bay

Waimea (meaning Red Water) is a short drive past Haleiwa Town on the Kamehameha Hwy. If you visit during summer the water will be calm and you’ll have the best chance to jump off the famous rock. If it’s winter then be prepared to sit and watch the powerful waves crash onto the sand as brave body boarders and surfers take on 30-50 swells. Beach parking is always full but parking in the Waimea Valley is worth it. There are tropical gardens that you can take a short walk through to a waterfall that even has lifeguards on duty.

Snorkel at Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is a popular snorkeling spot because of the colorful array of fish living in the reef. The view from parking area is breathtaking but the view in the water is even better. A short video detailing safety tips and marine conservation starts your adventure . They have snack bars, a souvenir shop, gear rental, and information tables. At $7.50 per person the money goes to keeping the bay clean and protected. Keep a close eye out for a Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle swimming along!

Hike to Manoa Falls

The waterfall is nestled in the heart of Manoa, one of the greenest areas on Oahu. Just behind the tropicals gardens of the Lyon Arboretum, the hiking trail is great for families. Young children and even grandma and grandpa should have no trouble making the 1.5 mile trek to the 150 ft. waterfall. Bring your swimsuit for a great photo op in the water.

Surf in Waikiki

No trip to Oahu is complete without a visit to Waikiki. Surf lessons for the whole family are available at reasonable prices, or you can just rent a board from the stand and teach yourself. You can even snorkel after a quick surf sesh or take a ride on a canoe. When you’ve worked up an appetite in the water, just take a stroll down the Waikiki strip to see all the restaurant choices you have. If you head down to this beach on Friday night, you’ll be able to catch the fireworks show put on by the Hilton.

Sunrise at Lanikai Beach, Kailua


With the two small islands, known as the Mokes, just off the coast, watching the sun creep up is always spectacular. The water is always calm and has the signature turquoise color that Hawaii is known for. During the day, kayak rentals allow you to hang out on the Mokulua Islands. If you have time, hike up to the Lanikai pillboxes for a panoramic view of Kailua, the hike isn’t too difficult, and while it is steep in some areas, it's worth the climb.

Tour the USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor

It goes without saying that the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument is an important part of history and a visit to this infamous site is recommended. This FREE tour is packed with emotion, historical information, and a view of the ship’s resting place. If you’re lucky, you may come on a day when a survivor of the attacks on Pearl Harbor will be there. The mini-museum, video, and tour guides are all helpful sources for information.

Mahalos, Alecia <3

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