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One Day in Oahu

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Only a day to explore paradise? No worries! Here’s how to make the most of your time on Oahu.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveler
  • Thrifty Traveler
  • Like a Local

8 Places

5 City Tips

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8 Places

Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Military Bases & Facilities

Bishop Museum

Specialty Museums

Nuuanu Pali Lookout

Lookouts, Valleys

Lanikai Beach

Beaches

Haleiwa

Destinations

Matsumoto Shave Ice

Restaurants

Sunset Beach Park

Beaches

Waikiki

Chris O's City Tips

  • Swim with caution and learn as much about local conditions as possible before hitting the beach.
  • This itinerary assumes that you have access to a car, that you’re starting your day early in Honolulu, and are planning to stay out late!
  • Honolulu traffic can be a nightmare. Expect delays during normal rush hour times and weekend nights.
  • Staying in Honolulu? "TheBus" is an easy and affordable way to get around town, and much of the island of Oahu.
  • A little "aloha spirit" goes a long way anywhere — especially in Hawaii.
  • Save
    Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
    Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Military Bases & Facilities
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument 'preserves and interprets the stories of the Pacific War.' This hugely popular complex includes the USS Arizona Memorial and Visitor Center, the USS Utah Memorial, and the USS Oklahoma Memorial, which commemorates the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, and the events leading up to American engagement in World War II.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center has an average of 2,000 first-come/first-serve tickets available each day. Tickets are free but limited.
    • The Visitor Center opens at 7am. If you arrive early enough to secure your own tickets, you may have a few hours to wait before your tour.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 351 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Pearl Harbor Tour 09/25/2018
    • Great history lesson 09/25/2018
    • Pearl Harbor / WW II Valor in the Pacific National Monument
    Address:
    1 Arizona Memorial Place
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96818-3103
    Phone:
    808-422-3300
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Bishop Museum
    Specialty Museums
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    To discover the distinctive history, arts and culture of the Hawaiian people, there is no better place to visit than the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the designated State Museum of Natural and Cultural History for Hawaii. Whether you’re working on a PhD in Polynesian Studies, or simply looking for a rainy day activity on your vacation, the Bishop Museum is designed to entertain and enlighten. It’s a must-see attraction for any visitor to Hawaii.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • To make the most of your visit to the museum, have a look at its membership options. It may come out just as affordable, and grant you access to things not otherwise on offer.
    • Closed on Tuesdays and on December 25th.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 351 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Quickly learn about hawaii with these tips 09/23/2018
    • Not amazing but not terrible... 09/17/2018
    • Bishop Museum
    Address:
    1525 Bernice St
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817-2704
    Phone:
    +1 808-843-7654
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Nuuanu Pali Lookout
    Lookouts, Valleys
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    Hit the road for an island cruise that starts with a drive up to this scenic lookout point. You'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Koolau cliffs and the lush windward side of Oahu.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Nuuanu Pali is high up on the windward side of Oahu. Be prepared for strong gusts!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #67 of 578 things to do in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Phenomenal views & mean winds.! 09/16/2018
    • The view of a lifetime 09/14/2018
    • Nuuanu Pali Lookout
    Phone:
    +1 859-327-2317
    Other:
  • Save
    Lanikai Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    If there’s time to add this to your itinerary, you won’t be disappointed! In fact, true beach lovers may wish to forgo several other Oahu must-sees, and simply enjoy lazing the day away here at Lanikai. Not just one of Hawaii’s best beaches but often listed as one of the best on the planet, it is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. With an offshore reef keeping the tides calm, it’s also a smart choice for families with small children.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Early birds to Lanikai get to see a spectacular sunrise (and don’t have to worry as much about parking).
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 42 things to do in Kailua
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very pretty, but watch out for jellyfish 09/24/2018
    • Daughters Wedding Weekend. 09/24/2018
    • Lanikai Beach
  • Save
    Haleiwa
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    Head to the famous North Shore and visit Haweiwa, a small town famous for its big waves. It’s a great place to soak up the laid back atmosphere for which Hawaii is so widely known, plus it offers the perfect opportunity to taste some 'ono grinds' from a local food truck, or do a bit of souvenir shopping.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Assuming little or no traffic, Haleiwa is less than a 45 minute drive from Honolulu International Airport, and makes a smart alternative base to Waikiki and the big resorts.
    • Myriad outdoor activities are available year round in the Haleiwa area.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    • Haleiwa
  • Save
    Matsumoto Shave Ice
    Restaurants (Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    Shave ice is a Hawaiian institution and a delicious way to cool down on a hot sunny day. Some argue there’s better shave ice than Matsumoto’s, but this spot is the oldest continually-run shave ice shop on the island.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Potential flavor combinations are infinite. Try the "house" combo of lemon, pineapple and coconut, and strongly consider adding some adzuki beans to your order!
    • For comparative tastings, try the shave ice from nearby competitor, Aoki.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #140 of 2,965 restaurants in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Ice Ice Baby 09/21/2018
    • Hawaii tradition 09/17/2018
    • Matsumoto Shave Ice
    Address:
    66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
    Haleiwa, Oahu, HI 96712-1411
    Phone:
    +1 808-637-4827
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Sunset Beach Park
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    Whether you’re among the adept who brave the giant waves or those more likely to consider surfing a spectator sport, you can’t help but be amazed by this epic destination on the famous North Shore of Oahu. And, as you might expect, the sunsets seen from here are lovely — time your itinerary to make the most out of Mother Nature’s spectacular evening show!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Like a Local
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Come in the winter to see the really big waves!
    • Only very experienced surfers should attempt to ride the waves here.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 66 things to do in Haleiwa
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful Sunsets! 09/21/2018
    • Beautiful beach 09/20/2018
    • Sunset Beach Park
    Address:
    59-104 Kamehameha Hwy
    Haleiwa, Oahu, HI 96712-9728
    Other:
  • Save
    Waikiki
    See more photos
    Chris O Says:

    Head to Waikiki for a night on the town to remember. Even with all hotels and urban build-up, the natural beauty and cozy charm of this world-renowned crescent of sand cannot be denied. There’s a reason Waikiki is such an incredibly popular tourist destination: it’s an awesome beach with gentle waves, a scenic backdrop and a wealth of attractions in close proximity. Have fun.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Luxury Traveler
    • Thrifty Traveler
    • Hidden Gems
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • For the more popular restaurants, shows and luaus, it’s best to make a reservation in advance.
    • Waikiki is hardly a hidden gem. So if you want desert island solitude, you may prefer to steer clear.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    • Waikiki
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