We stayed at the Outrigger Reef Hotel in Honolulu. They have two hotels in Honolulu. We chose this hotel because it was close to everything, but tucked away just enough from the center of the city. We chose not to rent a car for the whole stay due to the 40 dollars in parking nightly. We loved this hotels accommodations especially the Reef bar and restaurant. Since then we have learned that its more budget friendly to rent a condo that includes parking.
We arrived at the Honolulu airport picked up our luggage and arranged for an Uber driver to our hotel. We knew the buses, shuttles, and ride sharing could get us by in a less expensive way. We did rent a car for two nights to explore everything that Oahu has to offer.
The duke statue is an icon to the area, and has lays placed on him. This beach has great landscaping, flowers, and the oldest tree on the island, the Banyan Tree. We found a great spot for enjoying the beach in Honolulu down by Fort Derussy, and it is open to everyone.
Diamond Head Hike
This hike is great for people of all ages. The trail takes to the edge of a 300,000 year old crater. It is an old post for the US military that has views of Honolulu and the Pacific ocean. There are some steep stairs at the top, but there are benches and places to stop to take a break. There are a lot of switch backs and railings. You do not have to be an expert to take on this hike. You want to get there early (by 9am) to beat the rush and the heat. The latest they let you in is 4:30 since the park closes at 6. It takes about two hours round trip.
Koko Head Hike
We have done many hikes in different places and this was one of my favorites. Koko head is a crater like Diamond head. This hike is .7 of a mile straight up hill. As you can see in the picture below it gets more steep as you get to the top. It last erupted over 30,000 years ago. This is the ultimate stair master at 1,048 old railway ties (stairs). Most people take two hours on this hike.
This is the ultimate snorkeling destination on Oahu and the beach is breathtaking. It was declared a protected marine life conservation area with paved trails and marine education center. It is open from 6am-6pm everyday besides Tuesday.
Haleiwa one of the best surfing areas in the country. They have many competitions on the north shore. Bonzai pipeline is one of the deadliest waves in the world, and is well known to the surfers in this area. Parking is hard to come by and you may have a bit of a walk. Also, there are many places that sell shaved ice so come hungry.
This plantation is over 3 acres of pineapples. If you choose they will teach you how to best cut a pineapple. They have 2.5 miles of paths. They have the pineapple express train tour, and have the worlds largest maze. Personally, our favorite part was the pineapple ice cream for purchase.
This is the famous naval base that got attacked by Japanese forces December 7th of 1941. This can be an 8 hour event if you chose to do every tour. They have tours of the USS Missouri battleship, USS Arizona Memorial, Pacific Aviation Museum, and the USS Bowfin Submarine. If you want to do it all they have many packages to chose from on visitpearlharbor.org. We spent 4 hours and felt that we saw all that we could take in for the day.
This Palace is open from 9am-4pm in downtown Honolulu. This palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the kingdom of Hawaii until they were overthrown in 1893. It was restored and open to the public as a muesum in 1978. This is a great way to spend a rainy day. They offer guided and self-led tours
This is an out and back trail that features a bamboo forest and a 150 foot waterfall making it the tallest in Hawaii. Parking for this hike was in the Paradise parking lot that charges a fee if you arrive after 7am. If you can find a spot you can park in the residential area nearby with a little extra walking to get there (1/4 mile). This was a hike that can be done by people of all ages, but can be slippery since it rains frequently there.
Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
At 1,186 feet this lookout offers scenic views of the windward coast of Oahu. This is a windy spot so hold on to your hat. Pali means cliff and this was the site of the battle of Nuuanu where many soldiers were forced off the cliff to their death.
Located in Downtown Honolulu this is a spot for shopping and markets. We happened to get to experience it during Chinese new year. They had a dragon dance competition which is often seen in festive celebrations.