Eat, Drink & Sun in Hawaii

Although I was there for work, I did get to have some fun while in Hawaii for two weeks.  I stated near the Honolulu airport at a hotel I would not recommend, but it was close to all the rental car places.  Getting a rental car is something I would recommend if planning a trip to Hawaii.  It wasn’t necessarily easy to get around, but having a rental car gets you away from the mega-tourist places and lets you explore some of the beautiful off the beaten path places.  The locals are rather friendly drivers, everyone on the island seems in no big hurry to get or do anything.  That is true everywhere except from 7-10am trying to get downtown Honolulu.  Try to avoid that time, its rated as the top worst traffic jams in America.  But back to the fun stuff, here is my top list of things to do and see while in Oahu, hopefully I can plan a trip back and do more than one or two of them!!

1.  Go Surfing!
I had an absolute blast learning to surf.  It was my first time on the board and taking a surf lesson was definitely worth it.  My friend and I used the Waikiki Beach Services in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach.  Our teacher took us out to a sand bar with waist high water and we caught some easy waves.  Waikiki as well as White Plains Beach are known for easy beginner waves.

2.  Remember Their Sacrifice
You can spend a couple hours at the Pearl Harbor Museum.  You can take a tour of a submarine, the USS Bowfin, watch a movie and take a ferry boat ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial, as well go across the bay to Ford Island to see the USS Missouri Battleship and another memorial.  It’s better to get their early because the tickets to see the movie and the USS Arizona Memorial are free but given out first come first serve.

USS Bowfin
Ferry ride to USS Arizona Memorial
USS Missouri Battleship

3.  Try some local joints!
I really enjoyed the Koa Pancake House for their breakfast and lunch plates.  You can get some interesting local stuff like banana pancakes and Portuguese sausage or even mahi mahi for breakfast!  Also, the plate lunch is popular in Hawaii, usually rice and some sort of meat or fish.  I had a plate lunch with spicy tuna and a side salad from Ninja Sushi.  Very good and fresh.  Check out Dixie Grill for some great BBQ, crab and drinks, especially their signature 34oz Mai Tai’s!

Breakfast of champions
Plate Lunch
Screamin’ Mai Tai
4.  Find authentic Shave Ice
Not to be confused by “shaved ice”, Hawaiian shave ice is fluffier than traditional snow cones and very good! There are options to get sweet beans or ice cream at the bottom of your ice, I went with ice cream and it was delicious!  The syrup comes in tropical flavors like pineapple, coconut, mango and guava and is perfect on a sunny day.

5.  Enjoy a drink on Waikiki Beach
Although a tourist hot-spot, Waikiki Beach is picturesque and a fun time.  There are many restaurants to choose from as well as high end shopping up and down the main drag.  Duke’s Grill, named after the Father of Surfing, is a classic place to grab a fruity drink and enjoy a meal overlooking the water.


6. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
I didn’t get to make it in the water, but I have it on good authority that Hanauma Bayis the place to be.  It has great snorkeling where you can see turtles and lots of fish.

7.  Drive the coast
We took a drive around Oahu on Hwy 72, stopping at Halona Blow Hole first.  There is a place to pull over and people stand by the rail watching the waves crash under this rock formation.  When two waves crash against the rocks close together, water is forced through a small hole, spraying water just like a whale would.  It is fun to watch and take in the sun.  Also we stopped at another scenic overlook further down Hwy 72 to take in the beautiful views.

Looking out to Sea Life Park (where 50 First Dates Adam Sandler’s character worked at)
Blow hole rock
Look out positions carved up the mountain, Marines would hid in their to protect the land during WWII

8. Visit a Japanese Temple

Take an hour or two and visit the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park to see a Japanese cemetery and temple.   The Byodo-in Temple is a replica of the 950 year old temple in Japan.  You can even take off your shoes and go in the temple and see the Buddha.
Ringing the gong
Feeding the swan
I’m sure there are other fun things to do on Oahu, but these are a few of the places I hit.  Can’t wait to go back!!

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