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Trip List by SanDiego

1/2 Day Sightseeing On Oahu

Sep 5, 2006  A Quick Weekend Trip To Hawaii
4.5 of 5 stars based on 7 votes

If you're pressed for time here's a half-day trip around South/East/North Oahu with some fun stops along the way

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Honolulu, Oahu, Wahiawa, Haleiwa, Kaaawa
  • Category: Perfect day
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors, Beachgoers
  • Appeals to: Business travelers, Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Manoa Falls
    Manoa Fall, Honolulu, Oahu

    A relatively easy hike that most anybody of all ages can do. The trail is well-marked, and built up to make it easy to hike, although it can be very muddy in places. The path is surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers, and awesome photo opportunities along the way. Your destination is a waterfall that is well worth it. The falls can vary from a trickle to a full blown gusher depending on the rainfall. There is room to take a dip in the waterfall if you wish to, though this goes against the signs telling you to stay out. Just depends on whether you mind bending the rules or not. The water underneath the falls is safe... but stay out of the standing water in other areas, which is known to harbor all kinds of unfun bacteria. To find the falls, head for the Lyon Arboretum, and just look for the signs. You will have to pay $5.00 to park at Manoa Falls Parking next to the Charter School, but it's worth it to have someone there watching to give at least SOME insurance that your car won't be broken into. The other option is to park in the residential area below the trail, but this will make for a longer hike in and no one to watch your car to avoid break-ins.

  • 2. Round Top Drive
    Round Top Drive, Oahu, Hawaii

    This is a GREAT scenic hike. From Manoa Falls, you're only a 5-minute drive to where Round Top/Tantalus Dr. starts. This is a loop so you can go up either Tantalus or Round Top side. The drive will take you past beautiful trees and flowers and some beautiful homes, with several viewpoints to stop at along the way for great photo opportunities of all of Waikiki, Honolulu, Diamond Head, Punch Bowl, the airport, and beyond. Make sure you make a stop at the Puu Ualakaa State Park for killer views!! And watch out for the wild roosters and mongoose! :) The drive drops you back off where you began.

  • 3. Dole Plantation
    Dole Plantation, Wahiawa, Oahu

    Head North and you'll come upon the Dole Pineapple Plantation. You can pick a pineapple, check out the plantation, ride the "Pineapple Express" train, Challenge your friends in the Guinness Book of World Record's BIGGEST MAZE, and don't forget to try the Dole Whip!!! You can spend as little as 30 minutes here, or as much as 3 hours. There's a Farmer's Market on weekends with fresh fruit from North Shore, too.

  • 4. Haleiwa
    Haleiwa, Oahu

    Continue North and follow your signs to Historic Haleiwa Town. When you see the wooden McDonalds on your left, pull into the parking lot on your right and make sure you don't miss out on Giovanni's Shrimp Shack. Their Shrimp Scampi is TO DIE FOR. You can get a plate big enough to split between 2 people for $13.00. Don't let the fact that it's served out of a van scare you - it's amazing!!!! Continue along the same way you were going and stop for dessert at Matsumoto's Shaved Ice!! Highly recommended is the Ice-Cream in the bottom and Condensed Milk topping. You won't be sorry!! You can now continue along the same road - stop at any surf shops and beaches that you see along the way. Don't miss the Bonzai Pipeline or Sunset Beach, and if you're lucky enough to be there in the winter the waves are HUGE and definitely worth taking some photos. You can continue on Kamehameha Hwy and you will see several points of interest you can stop at if you so wish -- BYU Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center, Crouching Lion Inn -- Depending on how much time you have, you can choose your stops. I don't find any other stops necessary, and I find Polynesian Cultural Center a little too hokey for my tastes. If you're looking for a great restaurant (as opposed to food from a van) stop at Haleiwa Joe's.

  • 5. Kualoa Ranch & Activity Club
    Kualoa Hawaii, Kaaawa, Oahu

    Continuing on Kamehameha Hwy you will eventually hit Kualoa Ranch. This is where Lost is filmed, and the place where lots of other movies have been filmed in part - Jurassic Park, King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, Pearl Harbor.... the movie tour on the bus is 1 hour and well worth it. You will be speechless when you see how gorgeous the mountains are, and the view from the "bunker museum" is astounding!! There are also horseback riding tours, ATV tours, and a gift shop with a restaurant available. You might want to call ahead for tour times and reservations, as the tours can book up fast, or the ranch is sometimes closed to activities for tour groups or filming.