My 3 Perfect Days in Oahu, Hawaii

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Aloha! After living here for six years, this is *my* current 3 Perfect Days in Oahu. You may have your own! Feel free to leave a comment to add your favorite thing in Oahu. I’m always looking for new places and activities to fall in love with. Note: all bolded destinations are hyperlinked so you can click on those for more info, reviews, and advice etc.

morning coffee cruise- click to watch a video

Morning: Morning Coffee Cruise on the Vida Mia
This is one of my all time favorite boat rides. You get to see all of Waikiki from the boat and then the boat turns around at Diamond Head. Everyone I’ve recommended for this has always seen dolphins! Also, if you’re into the star power of this boat: This was the boat that was filmed in the first season of White Lotus.

Jess and Magnus at Kailua Beach

Afternoon: Relaxing Beach Day in Kailua: Lanikai Beach or Kailua Beach
Drive the Pali highway to Kailua and take in the amazing views of the windward coast, so named for the strong winds! Be sure to stop at the Pali lookout and hold onto your hat. Once you reach Kailua town there are plenty of places to pick up a sandwich or salad, and head over to your beach of preference. Lanikai may be a bit challenging for parking, but the beach is world class. Kailua is also amazing, and a great walking beach if that’s your thing.

After your beach time, take a different route back -HWY 72. From the road, see scenic Makapu’u Beach (see: lighthouse from highway) and visit some breathtaking lookouts (pull off the road- near the end). Lookouts to look out for: Makapuu lookout, Halona Blowhole, Lanai lookout. Halona beach was in the movie From Here to Eternity.

hula at House Without a Key

Evening: Dinner and Hula at House Without a Key
I’m sharing my FAVORITE dinner spot with you- so you are super lucky! Order a meal, sit right on the ocean and see world class hula, every evening from 6- 8 pm. They do not take reservations, and do give first preference to hotel guests, but if you feel lucky, try your luck: Be aloha. Give aloha. Let the magic unfold. That’s what I do.

Morning: Diamond Head Crater Hike
Eat a snack at your hotel then head over to Diamond Head Crater for a sweet, fairly easy, hike.
Fantastic views! The earlier the better, to avoid overheating and too many crowds. Bring water.

Afternoon: Brunch/lunch at the Hau Tree, Kaimana Hotel, and then explore Waikiki.
Known for their Eggs Benedicts, and the famed hau tree – the tree you, which will see from the beachfront dining- this is a lovely place to enjoy the beach-y atmosphere and old school style Waikiki. Also: They validate parking with your meal, $5 for up to 3 hours. Since parking in Waikiki is at a $premium$, DO THIS, and then after your meal, use the hotel bathroom to change into your swimsuit. You can jump into San Souci Beach, right there, or you can walk the walkway through Waikiki and take your pick of any of the beaches you happen upon. Really, a no brainer!

If you’re not in the mood to swim, why not take a peek at the awesome seahorses at the Waikiki Aquarium -right next door to the Kaimana Hotel. Then, rent a Biki Bike and bike thru Waikiki, all the way to Magic Island?
Or you can shop. There’s always shopping in Waikiki; Ala Moana outdoor mall is beautiful and can frankly be overwhelming, while International Marketplace is beautiful and outdoors, too, without being overly intimidating.

Evening: Choose from one of Waikiki’s many restaurants.Just look around you!

Shangri-la

Morning: Breakfast at the Waoli Kitchen, and Manoa Falls Waterfall Hike
You will fall in love with the rainforest vibes and the yummy breakfast food at the Waoli Kitchen and Bakery, which is also a beautiful entry point into the lush Manoa Valley. Nearby, you need to hike to the Manoa Falls waterfall, a modest hike which has been recently repaved so it is not such a muddy experience (as in past).

Afternoon: Truly there are so many fun options – take your pick!
Chocolate farm tour at 21 Degrees
Visit goats and eat goat ice cream and cheese at Sweet Land Farm
Mermaid caves in Waianae (if you are feeling adventurous)
Take a forest bathing walk in the rainforest, with Forest Bathing Hawaii
Visit Doris Duke’s home and artwork at Shangri-la (MUST book in advance!)

If you are in a garden mood:
Foster Botanical Gardens
Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
Wahiawa Gardens

Ho?omaluhia Botanical Garden

Heiau/Healing Temples:
Byodo-In Temple – non-denomination Buddhist temple
Aiea Heiau Hawaiian Keaiwa Heiau (mysterious healing temple)
Ulupo Heiau in Kailua- also Hawaiian.
*Look for Heaiu, sacred Hawaiian healing sites, all over Hawaii.

Evening: Depending on what your day has been like:
For seafood with a view: Upstairs at Pier 38
For upscale light food in a quiet environment: Veranda at the Kahala
For a fun and different kind of Tiki Bar experience on the outskirts of town, La Mariana
For a very special romantic dinner on the water, 53 By the Sea





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