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Headed to Oahu soon, would love some suggestions on what to do!


Oct 25, 2017
Hey all, I'm headed to Hawaii soon with my girlfriend and I was hoping some of you may have some suggestions of what to do while we're there. We know we want to go to the north shore and eat garlic shrimp, and go snorkeling somewhere but that's it at this point. Our AirBNB is in Honolulu, but I know the island is small enough for it to not matter too much...

I'd love to hear of some cool stuff to do. We'd also prefer to not spend a ton of money, but we're definitely open to suggestions. Thanks!


Oct 27, 2017
I went there solo for two weeks a few years ago. It was a great experience.

Having a rental car is super helpful. I found a great deal through Costco Travel that beat anything else I saw. It was less than $50 a day I think. I slept in it a few times cuz I was on the cheap.

Check out Waikiki just to see it, but the beach is super busy and the mall shopping is for rich people. (Check out the big mall's little Japanese section though, it's a taste of Tokyo.) There is also a really cool little artificial lagoon to enjoy behind the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel.

Pearl Harbor and its sunken ship memorial is a good historical stop. Diamond Head is a mildly taxing hike with a great view at the end. Set out early for both, the latter to avoid midday heat. Pill Box hike is solid too, more of a forested hill climb. Bring water.

Snorkeling is fantastic. Rent a snorkel, mask, fins from a shop, I found a good one in the southeast corner of Waikiki. Then you'll have that to bust out whenever you want to. Also, the shop I went to had vision-correcting masks, so I got one close to my glasses prescription. It ended up very inexpensive for the almost two weeks I carried them around.

Hanauma Bay is a beautiful place to get your feet wet, literally. If you drive there, be aware the parking lot often fills up. You might want to go early. If the lifeguards don't stop you you can swim out past the shallow coral to see huge schools of fish in deeper water. Listen to your safety instincts but try not to dwell too much on the fact that sharks exist, it can feel freaky being all exposed in open water.

If you're feeling more adventurous on the snorkeling front look up Electric Beach, kind of an unofficial bit of beach that has pristine waters to check out. (Some big rocks at the shore though, be careful going in and out.)

Try scuba! I had a fantastic first-time experience with Captain Greg of Big Kahuna Water Sports. Super cool guy. I'll never forget, he and I had lunch afterward and at some point he was like, "Oh, did you hear? Apparently David Bowie died." That's how I found out. A blow to my soul.

On the east side of the island there is a little town (edit: it's Kailua) that has beautiful mini-islands offshore that, when it's not too windy, you can paddle a rental canoe out to. I set out too late in the morning to make the full trek out to the nicest islands, but it was still a really cool experience. Hit the water early and take a lunch!

In the north, toward the northeast, is a nice fancy hotel resort I walked right up to, enjoying its beach alongside the guests. It has a huge, free-seeming parking lot.

It can be neat to check out the sunset by driving up to a beach on the west side but be mindful that a lot of locals there aren't necessarily fond of tourists. Be ready for mosquito swarms, too.

Sample shave ice at various famous vendors. Try Hawaiian cuisine at a well-regarded hole in the wall. Try poke.

I can dig up the snorkel/canoe rental places I used if you're interested, lmk. They were both very good.

Infodump over.
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Oct 28, 2017
Staples Center
Get harassed by a local.

Seriously though, do have respect for the people who live here. Hawaii is awesome but the majority of locals (IE actual Hawaiians) are completely swept under the rug by tourists.
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Oct 25, 2017
Respect the aina, brah. That’s all we want.

If you’re driving, always shaka. We may get pissed off if you cut us off, but if you 🤙🏽, it’s all gucci.

Lastly, be careful of the local aunties. They’re the ones you don’t want to piss off the most haha


Oct 25, 2017
I would suggest renting out of the city, like around North Shore if possible. I just found the city to be too many people for a beach vacation.

I would suggest getting udon from Marukame Udon, but make sure to go in the morning because the wait time becomes long around lunch. That's only if you are in the area (which is tourist heavy).
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Blue Skies

Mar 27, 2019
Go to “Fresh Catch” they have one in Kaneohe and one in Kaimuki by the university.

Do Koko head

Don’t try to get on base at Hickman or Pearl, you’re gonna make people late to work lol.

West side is pretty boring, if you're strapped for time you can avoid going there.

Don’t spend tooo much time in Waikiki

Also, Kailua is awesome. Go there


Oct 25, 2017
Some additions:

We're in the middle of an epic heat wave right now, El Nino has warmed up the oceans which hampers the ability of the trade winds to cool things off. So be warned that it gets freakingly hot and humid during the days, and you should keep hydrated.

Honolulu traffic can go bad at a moment's notice, making that leisurely ~50 minute drive to Haleiwa a grueling 2-hour slog. Keep an eye out on traffic reports.

The actual water portion of the Pearl Harbor Memorial is closed right now due to damage from a boat collision, but the facilities on-shore, which includes the fabulous Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, is open.


Oct 27, 2017
I would suggest renting out of the city, like around North Shore if possible. I just found the city to be too many people for a beach vacation.

I would suggest getting udon from Marukame Udon, but make sure to go in the morning because the wait time becomes long around lunch. That's only if you are in the area (which is tourist heavy).
marukame has a downtown location that's bigger and never crowded


Nov 12, 2017
Hike at Diamond Head. Try and get there early. I forget what it's called, but there's also a submarine tour that I somewhat enjoyed.


343 Industries
Oct 25, 2017
Eat plate lunches to save money, eat like a king and have leftovers. If you have to do something touristy do a food tour.