Rob & Sarah see beaches, pineapple plantations, loco-mocos and more beaches in sunny Hawaii!
Highly recommend seeing the Pearl Harbor Memorial! I’m not a big museum-type person, but this is worth your time. It was very interesting and moving – so much more to appreciate than we learned in history class. The Visitor Center and the short ferry ride to the USS Arizona Memorial were fascinating and very memorable.
Tips: Reserve tickets ahead of time through recreation.gov to save waiting in line. No bags are allowed, so to save time doing the locker thing, just carry your essentials in your pocket (you can carry phones and water).
Oahu has so many great beaches! Waikiki was crowded, fun, touristy, with lots of surfers to watch. But we were thrilled to find some off-the-beaten-path beaches that were not crowded even in the middle of July. We loved Makapu’u Point on the southeast end of the island – very scenic, clean, and uncrowded. We also loved the Waianae beaches on the west coast. Many of these beaches have bathhouses and lifeguards, but we were so pleasantly surprised that they weren’t crowded.
The Dole Plantation is in the middle of the island and interesting for a short visit. You can see the pineapple gardens and there is a giant garden maze. There is also a train ride through their plantation farms for a fee. This is home of the famous Dole whip pineapple soft serve ice cream and we enjoyed it. Only downside is that it’s pretty touristy and overpriced.
Polynesian cultural center
This is advertised everywhere as a huge tourist attraction. Skip it – we found it to be a complete dud. Too expensive, not much to see and just a tourist trap, in our opinion.
Rainbow Drive-In is a long-time Honolulu favorite – been open in Waikiki for over 50 years. Very casual – outside seating only. But they have the best loco-moco (a hamburger patty on rice, topped with a fried egg and brown gravy)! Also have great pork. Limited on-site parking.
We actually went to Hi Steaks twice! Small, casual, counter-service, grill located at the entrance to a grocery store. Steak orders very good. Garlic butter dipping sauce is the best. Tables let you watch people walking by. Very friendly staff.
South Shore Grill
South Shore Grill is a casual spot in Honolulu, and we enjoyed great seafood burritos. They’re also known for their fish tacos. It’s street parking only.
Spinners Cafe is located on the west shore. Great loco- moco (a hamburger patty on rice, topped with a fried egg and brown gravy)! Great seafood. Casual – lots of locals.
Maui Mike’s Fire-Roasted Chicken
Maui Mike’s Fire-Roasted Chicken is located near the Dole Pineapple Plantation . Very casual. All the chicken is wonderful. It’s all-natural, slow-cooked chicken.
Aqua Pacific Monarch
We enjoyed our stay at Aqua Pacific Monarch. It is a short 2 block walk from Waikiki Beach, and cheaper than the “name-brand” hotels. Beach towels and chairs were available. There was a good kitchenette with utensils and a spacious room with sitting area. Parking was a challenge, but workable. Very friendly and helpful staff.
There was lots of people and activity in Waikiki, so I would recommend it. But we also enjoyed the less crowded beaches. If you want nightlife and energy – Waikiki is great, but if you want low-key, look elsewhere.
I highly recommend a rental car to explore the whole island. It’s really the only way to easily get around, and we loved finding the off the beaten track restaurants and beaches. There is a public bus system that goes to some of the major spots on the island, but we didn’t try it.
Other Travel Guides you Might Like:
San Jose del Cabo, Mexico – Beaches and Margaritas: Destination San Jose del Cabo
Huatulco, Mexico – Relax in the Charm of Secrets Huatulco
Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA – Beaches and Lobsters: Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Havana & Cienfuegos, Cuba – Guide to Travel to Cuba: Culture, Art & Mojitos
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