To be honest with you when we went to Oahu, Hawaii last year, I didn’t think I was going to like it (we had to go for a wedding). I wasn’t that into a Honolulu / Waikiki type of vacation, it seemed to lux and tourist driven for me. But boy was I wrong because we loved it. It was because instead of staying in the Honolulu core, we treated ourselves with your credit card points (shoutout to RBC’s Points System) to a car rental and got to see the entire island in all its glory. Honolulu wasn’t my favourite, it did, however, host some of the best places to eat, but regarding things to do and things it sees in Oahu, Hawaii – your better off doing a bit of traveling around the island.
Oahu, Hawaii was probably one of my best-planned vacations because we were going for 8 days for a wedding. I didn’t think I was going to have that great of a time, so I ultra planned it to make sure we did, and I am glad I did because that got me to discovering some of the less touristy places on Oahu, Hawaii.
Here is my Complete Guide to Oahu, Hawaii: How to see the island in 5 Days, eat at the best places and do the coolest things!
Oahu, Hawaii Day 1: THE EAST SIDE
Have a Wonderous Breakfast on the East Side at Over Easy
Address: 418 KUULEI ROAD 103, KAILUA, HAWAII 96734
Shoutout to the best breakfast place name and to the fact that I can’t make my eggs over easy. My biggest recommendations for Hawaii is get up with the locals, get up early, this place opens at 7 am and is undoubtedly busy during peak times.
Work off Breakfast with a Moderate Hike Up the Lanikai Pillbox Hike
Be warned, it’s either a drop-off or street parking that can be semi-hard to find if you are going during a peak period. But like all hikes you can do in Oahu, you won’t regret it, the view was spectacular. This was easily the best value for effort hike we did. Meaning that it was the best amount of effort for the best view imaginable.
Reward Yourself With Brunch at Cinnamons
Address: 306 S Kalaheo Ave, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
If you are still digesting breakfast, then first you might want to reconsider all the food stops I put you for on this itinerary. But you gotta eat a Cinnamon’s and you
Go To Oahu Prettiest Beach, Lanikai Beach
Address: Lanikai Beach, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
The mistake we made was going here first and comparing every other beach we went to, to this one. Actually no it wasn’t a mistake, cause knowing how pretty it was had us going back over and over again.
Opt For A Lighter Lunch at Kalapawai Market
Address: 270 Kuulei Rd #105, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
You might not even be hungry from the heavier breakfast and brunch options I provided, but you might be hungrier a little later during the next activity! So grab some sandwiches and sweets and be on your way.
Check out Bellows Field Beach Park
Address: 220 Tinker Road Waimanalo, Hawaii 96795
You could go back to the gorgeous Lanikai, or you can check out something new and go to Bellos Field Beach Park.
After a Day of Beach Have Dinner at Rai Rai Ramen on the East Side of Oahu, Hawaii
Address: 124 Oneawa St # 1, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
Indulge in some rich broths for dinner to warm your insides.
For a Sunset Walk
Either pick one of the previous beaches or try to race you way back up the pillbox height, your in Hawaii so make sure you take the extra time to enjoy the sunset!
Oahu, Hawaii Day 2: The North Shore
Grab Some Sort of Acai Bowl from Banzai Bowls
Address: 59-186 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
Acai bowls are the staple of Hawaii and to be real eating them for breakfast makes be feel like I started my day off right!
Just Walk Around Haleiwa Town and Watch Them Surf
Go for a stroll around the town that is known worldwide for it’s surfing.
Indulge for Brunch at Dat Cajun Guy
Address: 66-472 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
Since we ate a healthy breakfast, it’s time to indulge at brunch at Dat Cajun Guy, not that you need a reason to indulge you on Vacation. But some people I get don’t like to eat too heavy until later in the day. And later in the day it is 😀
Ethier Learn to Surf or Go Snorkeling at Sharks Cove
Go to the beach, rent a board and ask someone to teach you the basics of riding. It’s gonna be hard, you might hate it but at the end of the day, at least you can say you did it. But if that’s really not your thing, opt to snorkel at Sharks Cove instead.
Eat a pound of garlic butter shrimp from Giovanni’s Shrimp Trucks
Address: 66-472 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
Drive there, stop there and eat. Even if your still full, you’ll somehow make room. I believe in you.
Activity Swim under Waimea Falls
Address: 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
I hope you were able to rest a tad, but hike through the Waimea Falls to be met with a dip in the fresh water is the ultimate way to end the day.
Grab Some Poke Bowls from a Local Place
I don’t really think you can go wrong with Poke Bowls, well if the fish smells off you probably shouldn’t. Anyway, your gonna be smelling and sticky from your hike so grab some bowls to go and head off to a beach or home or whatever.
Wash off the Day at Sunset Beach
Address: Pupukea, HI 96712
Wash off the day and end your day my watching the sunset at Sunset beach, I could picture a better ending to the day.
Oahu, Hawaii Day 3: The South Bay
Have Breakfast at the Hotel or Local Coffee Shop
You’re waking up early, depending on where you are on the island you want to leave your hotel at 6 am to get to your destination before 7 am. So order breakfast in or buy something the night before at the ABC market.
Start Your Day Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
Address: Hanauma Bay, Hawaii 96825, USA
It’s early and hopefully, it’s not Tuesday, cause they are closed on Tuesday. Getting here before 7 am has many benefits, one being its free to enter and two is that you get parking and three it’s not as crowded. Also, pro tip is that go all the way to the end of the beach.
Brunch Island Brew Coffeehouse
Address: Hawaii Kai Shopping Center, 377 Keahole St, Honolulu, HI 96825, USA
The food is tasty here and the options are great, you can grab away filling acai bowl to keep you feeling healthy or a waffle spread just because you can!
Climb Up a Million Stairs on the Koko Head Trail
This is nature’s stairs on a whole new level. It’s nothing but stairs and it goes on and on and on, but let me tell you, the view was incredible so if you just power through it, you’ll be facing a great reward.
Grab Some Poke Bowls from Ono Seafood
Address: 747 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
Chances are you are already wipe out from the day, but it’s far from over you productive people you. Grab some poke bowls and head to the beach to take a nap.
Go to The Closet Beach
Check out: Waialae Beach Park Address: 4925 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
Find you yourself the near beach to nap on, just don’t forget sunblock!
Eat at an American Classic: The Cheesecake Factory
Address: Royal Hawaiian Center, 2301 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
The one on the strip gets busy, yes I realized that there are a million other better restaurants but if are visiting Hawaii and you aren’t from the states then like me you don’t get Cheesecake Factory and it’s millions of options at home.
After Dinner Just Stroll Around the Strip
One of the favorite things to do on vacation is just walking around and people watching. Watch the street performs, window shop, grab dessert, and watch a live show.
Oahu, Hawaii Day 4: Honolulu, Hawaii
Stop by the Classic Honolulu Coffee for Breakfast and Coffee.
Honolulu Coffee has gone international, I know they just opened a few locations here in Vancouver, so make sure to visit the spot that everyone raves about!
Make a Visit to Pearl Harbour
Address: 1 Arizona Memorial Pl, Honolulu, HI 96818
Because you can’t go and not visit.
Head Back to Honolulu’s for Brunch Goofy’s
Address: 1831 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 201 Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Deliciousness, pure and amazing deliciousness. Make sure you add this to your must eat in Honolulu list.
Beach it to Waikiki Bay
Address: Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
There are a bunch of beaches, so walk the water, set down your towels and bask in the sun!
Eat Lunch at Marukame Udon
Address: 2310 Kuhio Ave #124, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
This place gets a nice long nice, that’s how we knew it would b good, because we shall them bring out the velvet ropes, we wanted to have lunch at heavenly but they already had a super long line so we opted to go here instead, I guess not everyone see udon has the perfect lunch meal
Mall Shopping and Shopping on the Strip
Address: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA
After days filled out adventure, it’s time to fill your materialistic soul, I am not one to judge because mine is here and thriving. Either shop on the strip or hit up the Ala Moana Center for some amazing shopping. PS rumor has it, designer goods are slightly cheaper in Hawaii compared to other places in the USA!
Find Your Favorite On The Strip to Have Dinner At
After a nice afternoon of shopping drop your bags off at the hotel and head over to the strip and pick a place that looks good. Make sure you read the review because some places can be tourist traps but for the most part we enjoyed our random pick!
If It’s Friday Watch the Fireworks on boardwalk
Address: 2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, USA
I really hope it’s a Friday the night you find yourself on the strip because you can now just mosey on over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village and watch the fireworks with your ice cream in hand.
Oahu, Hawaii Day 5: End on The West Side
Have Breakfast at Heavenly Island Lifestyle
Address: 342 Seaside Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
We ate here the most because it was so good. Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner Heavenly has you covered if you are looking for a food spot in Oahu, Hawaii!
Go for a drive and Check all the View Points Drive Along the Way
All the viewpoints are amazing, so make sure you drive around the entire island (it’s not that big) and stop at all the view points, you are either going to met with endless ocean or a lush terrain, either way, you won’t be disappointed to what Oahu, Hawaii has to offer. Since are are ending on the West side, make sure your driving eastward.
Have Pie for Brunch Ted’s Bakery
Address: 59-024 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
Get some chocolate pie, you deserved it.
Swim or See The Turtles at Laniakea (or Turtle) Beach:
Address: 574, 61-574 Pohaku Loa Way, Haleiwa, HI 96712, United States
I like turtles.
For Lunch Grab Burgers at Seven Brother at the Mill
Address: 56-565 Kamehameha Hwy, Kahuku, HI 96731, USA
Burgers are my favorite food, and if they are yours as well then eat here, because it’s amazing. And also Oahu, Hawaii’s best burger spot.
You have explored a lot of the land, now it’s time to explore the waters so go Kayaking and have some FUN!
Grab Dinner Somewhere on the Beach
So as you continue your drive around the island, stop for dinner somewhere along the beach.
End The Day At KO’OLINA LAGOONS for an Epic Sunset
Address: 92-100 Waipahe Pl, Kapolei, HI 96707, USA
Bask in the glory that is Oahu, Hawaii and don’t forget your dessert!
And that brings me to the end of my Complete Guide to Oahu, Hawaii – I hope you enjoyed, I really love writing this post because it really let me reflect on all the places we went last year! If are headed to London, England by any chance, check out my Complete Guide to London, England: Free Things to Do and Cheap Places to Eat!