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Best of Oahu on a budget!

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Found this guide helpful

There is so much to see and do in Oahu. Depending on your preferences, you can shop, sightsee, explore or act like a local. I had a friend who lived on the windward side so she helped us find our way around and act like Kamaaina (locals), even when in Waikiki.

Good for
  • Friends
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Like a Local

15 Places

1 City Tip

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Map

15 Places

CLIMB Works Keana Farms

Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks

Kualoa Ranch

Nature & Wildlife Tours, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks, 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours, Movie & TV Tours, Horseback Riding Tours

Haleiwa Joe's At Haiku Gardens

Restaurants

Top of Waikiki

Restaurants

Waikiki Beach

Beaches

Honolulu Zoo

Zoos

Kailua Beach Park

Beaches

Paradise Cove Luau

Luaus

Ka'ena Point State Park

Geologic Formations

Buzz's Original Steak House

Restaurants

Lanikai Pillboxes

Parks, Hiking Trails

Maita'i Catamaran

Boat Tours

North Shore

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Turtle Bay Resort

Hotels

luxlisa's City Tips

  • Hotels and places in Waikiki come with a steep tourist tax and resort fees. Always drive with "aloha". Remember, you are visiting, and respect the locals and their culture.
  • CLIMB Works Keana Farms
    Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    Climb Works is a good way to see the farming history of Oahu, cruising on ziplines high above the North Shore. The staff makes you feel safe and is there to help every step of the way. The property is beautiful, and the tour both on the ATV's and the zipllnes is worth every penny.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Wear comfy clothes and sneakers. I wouldn't recommend short shorts.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Kahuku
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fantastic 03/15/2020
    • Keana Farms and CLIMBWorks 02/27/2020
    • CLIMB Works Keana Farms
    Address:
    1 Enos Rd.
    Kahuku, Oahu, HI 96731
    Phone:
    +1 808-200-7906
    Other:
  • Kualoa Ranch
    Nature & Wildlife Tours, Zipline & Aerial Adventure Parks, 4WD, ATV & Off-Road Tours, Movie & TV Tours, Horseback Riding Tours
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    Kualoa Ranch is a multi-adventure park. They film movies and TV shows here. The day we were there, they were actively filming Hawaii 5-0. We did the 2-hour ATV tour, and it was a blast! You can also tour via a special vintage bus or horseback. The ATVs are fast, and you are allowed to have fun. It's good for everyone!

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If ATV'ing - wear long pants and a bandana.. You WILL get dusty. (The gift shop sells them).
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 23 Outdoor Activities in Kaneohe
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Jurassic Adventure Tour - Best of Both Valleys 11/27/2020
    • MUST DO experience for any fan of the Jurassic Park movies! 11/12/2020
    • Kualoa Ranch
    Phone:
    +1 808-202-2246
    Price range:
    $45 - $45
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
    Other:
  • Haleiwa Joe's At Haiku Gardens
    Restaurants (American, Seafood, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    This is hands-down my favorite restaurant that isn't in Waikiki. It's where the locals go. The restaurant is simply beautiful and is mostly open air, and the happy hour specials are not to be missed. The drinks are large and strong, and the staff is super friendly. It's hip and fun without being too upscale. The parking lot will tell you it is always busy.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    Tips
    • Reservations are good. Try the mango-rita.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #41 of 3,039 restaurants in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great service. Delicious meal. Beautiful view. 10/31/2020
    • Haleiwa Joke! 09/24/2020
    • Haleiwa Joe's At Haiku Gardens
    Address:
    46-336 Haiku Rd
    Kaneohe, Oahu, HI 96744-3537
    Phone:
    +1 808-247-6671
    Price range:
    $10 - $40
    Hours:
    Sun
    9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
    Sun - Thu
    4:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    Fri - Sat
    4:30 PM - 10:00 PM
    Other:
  • Top of Waikiki
    Restaurants (Steakhouse, Seafood, Fusion)
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    This is the "touristy" restaurant that revolves - but the view is killer and the food is pretty awesome. You're going to spend money, but it is worth it. Make reservations and go at or just before sunset. You'll get panoramic 360 views of the city and Waikiki that are just spectacular. It's a very nice experience.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    Tips
    • Reservations! They validate parking.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Excellent food and service with great views 06/01/2020
    • Sky bar and revolving restaurant 03/19/2020
    • Top of Waikiki
    Address:
    2270 Kalakaua Ave
    Ste 1800
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-2519
    Phone:
    +1 808-923-3877
    Price range:
    $25 - $40
    Other:
  • Waikiki Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    This is just a must-do of Waikiki/Oahu. The beach itself is small, but it is where all the people are - and it's beautiful. (Secret tip - visit the barefoot bar at the Hale Koa - the hotel is military, but the bar is not - and the drinks are good and the cheapest in Waikiki). Also visit Duke's at the Outrigger Waikiki. Make sure to walk along the beach at sunrise or sunset for beautiful views of diamond head.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Beach Goer
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 313 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beach Time 12/01/2020
    • Beach day 11/30/2020
    • Waikiki Beach
    Address:
    Kalakaua Avenuue
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
    Other:
  • Honolulu Zoo
    Zoos
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    The Honolulu Zoo is a nice side excursion. It is smack on the edge of Waikiki beach and easy walking from all the beach hotels. If you have some spare time, I'd recommend. You can see the Nene (state bird of Hawaii) here.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #59 of 313 things to do in Honolulu
    • Very reasonable price and beautiful facility 11/13/2020
    • Playful Trumpeting Elephants and Lemurs, Few Crowds 11/06/2020
    • Honolulu Zoo
    Address:
    151 Kapahulu Ave
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815-4096
    Phone:
    +1 808-971-7171
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 4:30 PM
    Other:
  • Kailua Beach Park
    Beaches
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    Kailua is the local hotspot on the windward side of the island. The water is spectacularly blue and you can see the Mokalua islands offshore. You can rent kayaks and paddle out to them if you want. It's just a nice spot to hang out for an afternoon at the beach.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Beach Goer
    • Family
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 18 things to do in Kailua
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Awesome beach with great facilities! 11/29/2020
    • One of my favorite beaches in the world 11/25/2020
    • Kailua Beach Park
    Address:
    526 Kawailoa Road
    Kailua, Oahu, HI 96734
    Other:
  • Paradise Cove Luau
    Luaus
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    Paradise Cove is a really nice luau. You get the whole "tourist" experience at a private venue with spectacular scenery. It is just a fun night learning about the culture.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Friends
    • Couples
    Tips
    • Get the tickets with the drink packages! Just enjoy being a tourist.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 5 Concerts & Shows in Kapolei
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Luao 03/07/2020
    • Turtle Snorkeling 03/04/2020
    • Paradise Cove Luau
    Address:
    92-1089 Aliinui Dr
    Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707-2210
    Phone:
    +1 808-842-5911
    Other:
  • Ka'ena Point State Park
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    Ka'ena is a drive, and a hike at the far North end of Oahu. It is worth it for nature lovers, as it is one of the few places left to see Monk seals. The drive out takes 1-2 hours from Waikiki, and then you have to park and walk (unless you have 4WD) about 3.5 miles on foot on a bumpy trail/road. However, it is worth it once you get to the end and the private reserve. It is gorgeous and the protected species (Albatross and Monk Seals) are there!

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Beach Goer
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Don't leave valuables in the car. Wear hiking shoes and prepare to get dusty/dirty. It's a hike.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Waianae
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Quiet and Beautiful 11/29/2020
    • Tough on a hot day but worth it at the end 11/07/2020
    • Ka'ena Point State Park
    Address:
    End of Farrington Highway
    Waianae, Oahu, HI
    Phone:
    +1 808-464-0840
    Other:
  • Buzz's Original Steak House
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Seafood)
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    Buzz's is THE place to go in Kailua. The building looks like a shack, but it is amazing. The menu is served on a cutting board, and the food is incredible. This is a local gem that is a tradition.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #227 of 3,039 restaurants in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Hike. Swim. Buzz's. 10/25/2020
    • An exceptional meal! 07/29/2020
    • Buzz's Original Steak House
    Address:
    413 Kawailoa Rd
    Kailua, Oahu, HI 96734-3134
    Phone:
    +1 808-261-4661
    Price range:
    $0 - $40
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    4:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    Other:
  • Lanikai Pillboxes
    Parks, Hiking Trails
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    The pillbox hike is great for doing something the locals do, as well as seeing some sights that most people don't do. It is a hike, so be prepared. It can be steep and dirty, but if you are in moderate shape, you'll do fine. The view from the top is fantastic of the Mokes - go to the 2nd pillbox for bragging rights!

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 18 things to do in Kailua
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Uphill Hike 11/18/2020
    • Beautiful view. Great workout. 10/25/2020
    • Lanikai Pillboxes
    Address:
    382 Kaelepulu Dr
    Aalapapa Drive
    Kailua, Oahu, HI 96734-3312
    Phone:
    +1 808-261-2727
  • Maita'i Catamaran
    Boat Tours
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    When in Waikiki, make sure to take a catamaran tour - it's a great way to see Waikiki from the water, and have fun. We went out on the snorkel/cruise and had a great time. We saw sea turtles from right offshore and then on the cruise, we saw spinner dolphins. The crew are fun and make sure you are safe - and there's lots of mai tais to go around!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Beach Goer
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Do a snorkel/sail if you can! Make reservations - and don't choose the one your hotel promotes. Go by the stands on the beach! Maita'i is great.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #44 of 259 Boat Tours & Water Sports in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Top notch guest services experience 11/01/2020
    • Maitai Cruise Must Do 04/29/2020
    • Maita'i Catamaran
    Phone:
    +1 808-922-5665
    Hours:
    Tue
    10:00 AM - 7:30 PM
    Wed - Thu
    10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
    Fri
    10:00 AM - 7:30 PM
    Sat - Mon
    10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
    Other:
  • North Shore
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    The North Shore is a great place to drive through and visit. In the big wave season it's a madhouse, but in the offseason, the beach is beautiful and the shopping is fun. There's a bunch to see and do, and it's worth the drive.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Beach Goer
    • Family
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Be prepared for a long slow drive.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 566 things to do in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great Loop Trip 03/19/2020
    • Very high waves 03/17/2020
    • North Shore
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
  • Turtle Bay Resort
    Hotels
    See more photos
    luxlisa Says:

    Turtle Bay is a nice change of pace from Waikiki. The beaches aren't as nice, but the resort is beautiful and secluded on the way to the North Shore. You go there to just relax and enjoy your vacation. They have activities onsite, like horseback riding and golf and segway tours, plus surfing lessons. You can go and just hang by their pool bar during the day and enjoy the scenery of the blowholes by the bay.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Beach Goer
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Family
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Kahuku
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Priesto’s 21st 10/19/2020
    • Fabulous stay on the beautiful north shore 09/11/2020
    • Turtle Bay Resort
    Address:
    57-091 Kamehameha Highway
    Kahuku, Oahu, HI 96731-2149
    Phone:
    +1 866-475-2567
    Other:
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