In addition to the e-mails I get that say “Hey Kait, I’m coming to Hawaii! What do you recommend?”, I also get quite a few e-mails saying “Hey Kait! I’m coming BACK to Hawaii and I want some ideas of what to do outside the typical clichés of luau, hikes, etc.” Today I’m sharing some typical Oahu clichés and what you can do instead. This insider guide to Oahu is meant to inspire some activities that are a little bit beyond the luau, hikes and sights that are typically recommended for first timers. So whether this is your first trip to Oahu or you’re back for your annual stay, this insider’s guide to Honolulu and beyond is for you!
An Insider’s Guide To Oahu
Just as a note, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the clichés…in fact, I love most of them! But for those that are looking for a bit more of an insider’s peek at island life (or have already checked the box for the often recommended sites and food) – this post is for you 🙂
Cliché: Wearing fake flower leis
Instead: Go to Chinatown and peruse through the fresh flower shops
Cliché: Mai Tai Catamaran Cruise
Instead: Make friends with locals and be part of the crew on Friday night sailboat races. Pro tip: take beer and/or wine
Instead: Picnic at the beach. Bring some real Hawaiian food and chow down as the sun sets! Take note of all the best places to watch the sunset on Oahu first 🙂
Cliché: ABC Alohawear
Instead: Hit up Roberta Oaks, Kahala, Tori Richard, Sig on Smith, etc. and see what local designers are making!
Cliché: Hike Diamond Head
Instead: Check out some of the other amazing hikes on the island. If you need any ideas, be sure to check out my post on popular Oahu hikes.
Cliché: Banzai Pipeline
Instead: Drive Kamehameha Highway all the way up through La’ie and check out some of the lesser known North Shore beaches.
Cliché: Drinks at your swanky resort in Waikiki
Instead: Peruse downtown Honolulu for a fun local bar. I highly recommend Livestock Tavern, Mahina + Sun’s + Haleiwa Beach House (Haleiwa).
Cliché: Visiting resort shops in Waikiki for souvenirs
Instead: Check out the Swap Meet or stores in Chinatown for locally made wares to take home!
Cliché: Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
Instead: Head out to the west side and find Electric Beach. You can almost always spot turtles out there, but be careful of currents.
Cliché: Visit Pearl Harbor
Instead: Instead of just viewing the USS Arizona Memorial, go through the Pacific Aviation Museum, board the USS Missouri, tour the Bowfin submarine and stroll through the historical museums on site.
These are just a few ideas to get any potential visitors inspired! Have you visited Oahu and gone “off the beaten path”? If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Best Brunch Places On Oahu or the Ultimate Hotel Guide to Oahu.