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Trip List by BabyJava

Discovering Honolulu / Waikiki / Oahu

Sep 19, 2007  Recent trip with lots of research on what to do
4.5 of 5 stars based on 19 votes

Best places to go with tips on what and what not to do!

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Honolulu, Oahu, Kapolei, Wahiawa
  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Sightseeing, Shopping, Active/Outdoors, Beachgoers
  • 1. Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort
    Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Honolulu, Oahu
    Show Prices
    Avg price: $435

    This definetly was the most beautiful hotel on Waikiki. I never saw any tourists stop to take photos of any hotel but ours while we were lounging on the rocking chairs in front of the hotel. This hotel is smack right in the middle of Waikiki Beach. The service was spectacular and the best I ever received as well as the view and location was breathtaking. We were in the heart of it all and not one complaint of this magnificant hotel. It is a beachfront hotel with a private beach area for hotel guests to lounge as well as a great beachside bar area with live entertainment. I went to just check out other hotels while I was there...and nothing COMPARES to this hotel. Be sure to request a room in the Tower section.

  • 2. Matsumo's Shaved Ice on the North Shore

    The best shaved ice I ever had in my life! So I heard a lot about this place and we dropped by on the way back to Waikiki. This place was packed! When we went to order our shaved ice, I was overwhelmed by all their selection of flavors, and sizes, and additions like ice cream and red sweet beans. I ended up getting 3 flavors with ice cream and finished it so fast. The ice was soft and good, not hard and flavorless like you are used to at fairs. They also have an assortment of tshirts and sweaters that carried their logo that you can purchase. Be sure to get there early cause I think they close at 6pm and a lot of people were devastated when they got there too late. Oh I so crave for their shaved ice. Definetly don't miss out!

  • 3. Chip & Cookie

    If you love Famous Amos cookies, you gotta check out this store. Wally Amos himself has a store in Kailua, which is on the windward side of the island. We just happend to stumble on this place on the way to Kailua Beach. Their cookies are tiny bite sized goodies and made fresh at the store. They are sooo delicious that I bought a whole pound and we finished them so quick. They're a crispy chewy texture that is 100% tastier than famous Amos cookies...yep they are that good. They have flavors like chocolate chip, butterscotch chip with pecans, chocolate macadamians, oatmeal raisins, chocolate chip with pecans and sugar. They give you free samples and you can buy cute little cookie stuffed toys there as well. You can also find coupons for this store in most Oahu tourist magazines.

  • 4. Nuuanu Pali Lookout
    Nuuanu Pali Lookout, Oahu, Hawaii

    One of the most beautiful views! Overlooking cliffs and mountaintops up here are great for photos, but beware ladies, definetly do not wear skirts or dresses for they will be around your waist! The wind will have your clothing and hat blowing all sorts of ways. Also tie your hair back if you have long hair so you can actually capture your face while taking photos. A great photo opportunity where you can lie sideways on a rock with your arms to your side, have the wind blow against you and it looks like you are flying! Bring a light sweatshirt...the wind gets chilly.

  • 5. USS Arizona Memorial / Pearl Harbor
    USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu, Oahu

    When we got here...our tour didn't start for 2 hours, so we went across to the USS Bowfin submarine to kill some time (see below on this attraction). We were starving and found that there were only cold sandwhiches and snacks here...but if you want more options, go to the USS Bowfin area where you can find hot food. The boat ride to the memorial was very nice and it's a great place to reflect and remember our heroes. This is close enough to Waikiki where you can take a bus ride or even find shuttles for really cheap here. Also very important...NO purses, camera bags, bags of any sort are allowed in here. They do provide lockers which you can pay to store your stuff...but if you want to avoid the hassle, just put money in your pocket, and hold your camera.

  • 6. USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
    USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Honolulu, Oahu

    This was an interesting thing to do ...go into a submarine...I mean whenever am I gonna get to do this besides at Disneyland? It was $10 and you get to go down on a self guided audio tour to see how these men lived down there. It was a cool experience. You are able to also get a pic of yourself on a newspaper document with actual articles from that actual day of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. However I wished we would of went on the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial instead....it's a huge ship with aircrafts on there that just looked so cool.

  • 7. Iolani Palace
    Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Oahu

    This place outside is beautiful. We took a self guided audio tour which tells stories of the royal family back in the days. It was very informative and interesting...however kind of slow. You get to see their living quarters, clothing, jewelry, and much more...however it's fine just to take photos outside since photography is not allowed inside.

  • 8. Diamond Head
    Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu

    What a hike! My butt hurt from this hike! Ok it was well worth the hike for the fantastic views and photo opps, but seriously be prepared for the hike up these hills and steep stairs. It gets very very hot up there so be sure to wear sunscreen and bring water. But most importantly wear appropriate shoes. I saw people in flip flops struggling...and some without water. For young kids and older people, unless you are in really good condition, I wouldn't recommend it. I am a healthy, young person..and it was a hard hike!

  • 9. Coco Cove Store for the Best Hawaiian Lip Balm

    This store has some different things from all the ABC stores out there. But my favorite find was this lip balm that is the best. It's by Island Soap and Candle Works, however you can't buy it at their store, Coco Cove seems like they are the only one that carries it. It's a stick balm, not the round pot balms, and the best flavor is KAUAI KISS. It's a combination of mangoes and bananas. The scent is unbelievable and is all natural, handmade in Hawaii, and made with macadamia nut oil. I had to buy 5 to bring back with me to California.
    226 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815 ; (808) 924-5072

  • 10. Duke's Restaurant & Canoe Club
    Duke's Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu

    Ok..we have a Duke's in California as well...but I always have to go here when I am in Oahu..just to have some drinks and listen to music beachside. It's located in the Outrigger Waikiki and their drinks are pretty good. The food I had in CA was ok as well as the dinner I had here before, but this was the first time I had lunch at Duke's. I had the fish tacos cajun style...and dang they were good. They weren't filled up with cabbage like your normal fish tacos, you just tasted the yummy fish and the sauce they put on top of it. I definetly recommmend having the fish tacos here...cajun style!

  • 11. Ala Moana Center - Longs Drugs For Best Prices On Souveniers
    Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, Oahu

    The Center is just like any shopping mall with stores I can get back home. No real advantage for me shopping here except lower taxes and one place I didn't think I'd find anything. I walked into Longs to get a drink and low behold I see a whole store of souveniers at price lower than your ABCs and other shops in Waikiki and Honolulu. I did quite a bit of souvenier shopping here but wished I would of done it all since it was much cheaper than all the other places.

  • 12. The Bus - Cheap way to get around
    The Bus, Oahu, Hawaii

    Ok so I rented a car for a few days to go see the island, worth it but very expensive for hotel parking ($25/night). So the rest of the time we took the bus. It's only $2 each way and you get a free transfer which gives you a 3 hour window to transfer to another attraction/location. We even managed to get to a location and use the same transfer to get back to Waikiki. You can buy a 4 day pass for unlimited rides for $20 at any ABC store, but for our 4 days, we ended up paying less with the free transfers. There are signs at the bus on how to get places. They do come pretty often, so it was a good way to get around.

  • 13. Aloha Tower Marketplace
    Aloha Tower Marketplace, Honolulu, Oahu

    This place is ok if you just have nothing to do. It has some shops, but nothing really that great. We came, saw, ate at the Don Ho Restaurant which was ok and left. During lunch, we did see fighter planes do practice flights which were cool. This place is a harbor where cruise ships dock.

  • 14. Ward Centers

    This place consists of 3 different areas next to each other. There's the Ward Warehouse, Ward Centre, Ward Entertainment Center, and Ward Village, Ward Gateway and Farmers Market. There's restaurants, movie theaters, and shops here. It's nice just to walk around and have dinner at night from a long day of activities.

  • 15. Paradise Cove Luau
    Paradise Cove Luau, Kapolei, Oahu

    This luau was very impressive. The location was amazing and all the activities they provide you was so fun to do. I also looked up Germaine's luau which is next to a factory or power plant of some sort...which alarmed me that would ruin by island views. Paradise Cove was definetly beautiful and worth it.

  • 16. Dole Plantation
    Dole Plantation, Wahiawa, Oahu

    We dropped by here on our way back from our drive around the island. They have a cute gift shop where I bought a whole bunch of things, but other than that...there really wasn't much except a maze and tour you can purchase...didn't look worth it at all, so we skipped that ...but the gift shop had fun things to buy.

  • 17. Giovanni's Original White Shrimp Truck - I kid you not, the best shrimp scampi ever! Yummy

    I am not a big shrimp fan, but when I heard about this place, smelled it, and then ate it, I was hooked. So who cares this place doesn't even have an address. All you need to know is you'll find it on the north shore on Kamehameha Highway in Kahuku. Don't be fooled by the other trucks and shacks...this is the real deal. With a white truck covered in graffiti as the kitchen and picnic tables as your table, it's not the poshest place, but the food was definetly worth it. The best shrimp I ever tasted. It was garlicky and buttery bursting wtih flavor. It comes with 2 scoops of rice and 12 shrimps. It's kinda pricey....$12 a plate...but if I could of ate there every day I was in Hawaii, I would of. It's so good, I've been trying to find recipes online for this to recreate this savory treat. If you have to eat anywhere in Oahu, eat here!

  • 18. Additional Tips

    Be prepared and bring sunscreen, mosquito repellant, aqua shoes to prevent cuts from rocks and coral while swimming, and snorkel gear and fins. For kids, you can bring or buy swimming tubes/donuts to float around in the ocean. You can also go to the supermarket and buy a case of water instead of buying them individually all the time to save some money. With all the activities, you'll be drinking lots of water. To save money on car rentals, some place like enterprise have better rates for weekends vs. weekdays. Try to reseve ahead of time cause they do sell out and overbook a lot. Be aware though, most hotels charge $25 a day for parking which can be very pricey. Make the most of your car rental by grabbing one of the free maps in those tourists book and drive around the island stopping at all the attractions and small towns, get to know all the non-touristy areas as well. While in northshore, stop by the fruit stands and try some Logans. It's a tropical fruit that's round and brown that has a sweet, delicious meat. However do skip the coconut drinks...most of the time they are old and not good at all, save your money. Some places I do not recommend: Perry's Smorgys Restaurant and Keo's Thai Restaurant.