We spent our first two nights on Oahu on the North Shore and it was incredible. It was just so relaxing and beautiful that just felt Hawaiian. Then we headed back across the island to spend four nights on Waikiki Beach and it could not have been more different then the North Shore. The way I would describe Waikiki Beach is, it is the Las Vegas of Hawaii. If you have ever been to Las Vegas you would totally understand why. haha
Waikiki Beach is super touristy, full of chain restaurants and touristy spots. We enjoyed our time here, but it was our least favourite place of the four areas we stayed in Hawaii. The older I get the more I want to be off the beaten path and experience what the locals experience when I travel. My idea of an ideal vacation these days is a practically empty but beautiful beach, great hiking, amazing local restaurants and craft breweries and zero crowds. There are lots of things to do, see and experience on Waikiki Beach and while they are crowded and touristy, still fun experiences.
Where We Stayed
Accommodations on Waikiki Beach are pricy! We decided to share a rental at the Wyndham Beach Walk Waikiki with Bruce’s sister, husband and niece. We found the rental on VRBO (this is the exact one). It had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a full kitchen. It was located one block from Waikiki Beach and right in the middle of tons of bars, restaurants and things to do. We did not need a car rental here, the public transportation here is excellent and when we needed to go anywhere we either took the bus or Uber. I would recommend staying here for sure, it had everything we needed.
Things To Do
Hike Diamond Head
One of the first things we did in Honolulu was hike Diamond Head. We took an uber to Diamond Head Park and paid our entrance fee. These are the last washrooms before the hike so keep that in mind. We hike regularly but in the heat we found it a tough hike, it is basically straight up. But the view at the end is totally worth it. You can see almost all of Honolulu.
Visit Pearl Harbor
I can’t stress this enough, book tickets in advance. Tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbour are free and released online 60 days in advance. I dropped the ball and missed the tickets online. We had to line up first thing in the day for our tickets at around 8am and our tickets weren’t until 1:00pm. Pearl Harbor is near nothing so we had time to kill. We toured the Museum and the USS Bowfin while we waited but the Memorial is what we were there to see. It was totally worth the wait, I learned a ton and it just felt like you better understood a part of history by being there.
Snorkelling in Hanauma Bay
We had a rental car and went to a luau the day we went to Hanauma Bay. This is a little outside Honolulu so I am not sure how you would get there by public transit but it is worth the trip. The snorkelling was amazing and the beach is gorgeous. There is an entrance fee for the park but it wasn’t very much. There is a trolly that takes you back and forth to the beach if you want but we walked and took pictures along the way. Totally worth the trip this beach is way nicer then Waikiki.
We had a blast on the bar bike tour. We visited three bars, the first was just okay but the second two were awesome: Honolulu Beer Works and The Brewseum. The bike aspect was super fun to drive around Honolulu but if it’s not your thing I suggest checking out those bars if you are in the area.
Run Waikiki Beach
I am a runner so I love to run while I travel and explore a new place by foot. Waikiki Beach is super flat, I ran along the beach boardwalk and there is a sidewalk along most of it so that you can avoid the sand. I went early one morning to avoid crowds.
Places To Eat
Heavenly was within walking distance of our condo and it was the best breakfast we had on the entire trip. We cooked our breakfast at home most days but made a special trip to try this place. I had the kalua pig eggs benny, the greens on the side with blue potatoes were amazing. Bruce had the loco moco and loved it. It had a local surfer vibe and great coffee. Highly recommend this place!
Italian in Hawaii, who knew!?! This was attached to our condo so we ate here one night and had an excellent meal. I had the carbonara and enjoyed every bite.
This was a chain restaurant but was still quite good. I had the jalapeno bacon burger and it was so good but I was a bit annoyed that there was no side. What is a burger without its best friend fries!? If you love fruity beer like I do try the pineapple mana, it’s strong but tastes like vacation.
We had a great time in Honolulu on Waikiki Beach! Next we were off to Maui.
Have you visited the North Shore? What was your favourite thing you did?