Best Places to See in Oahu

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Hawaii, in general, is a top destination within it’s own right. But as most people know Hawaii is composed of eight different and distinct islands. I’ve only had the opportunity to visit Oahu {twice}, therefore my post is dedicated to some of sites I’ve found to be well worth a visit that are specific to this popular island. 

Most people have limited time on the island so honing in on those destinations and activities that are the best fit for you are key. Quite obviously my list is skewed to my favorite activities. If you are a regular visitor to this site you’ll know I prefer hiking, outdoor related activities. The touristy hubbub of Honolulu and Waikiki is definitely a must-see for the innate experience, but in my opinion isn’t the best that Oahu has to offer. 

So what is the best Oahu has to offer? In a very generalized way I recommend visiting the beaches and exploring the island through various trails, but in addition to that I’ve outlined some must-see destinations below! 

Makapu’u Point Lighthouse 

Located about 30 minutes from Honolulu, Makapu’u Point Lighthouse and trailhead is a magnificent way to spend a morning or afternoon. The paved trail makes for easy hiking {compared to most of the muddy off-road trails on the island} and while the climb is steep it can easily be trekked by small kids. 

While climbing the trail one doesn’t quite realize the amazing view that waits at the top. Located on the southeastern most point on Oahu, the breathtakingly gorgeous coastline is viewable below. 

Hold on to small children, sheer cliff drop-offs in some places, but the blue ocean and green landscape of Oahu are best seen from this spot. The lighthouse is not open for a visit, but take a separate short trail to get a closer view of this historic site. 

Byodo-In Temple

I went into more details about Byodo-In Temple previously with this post. But this beautiful red temple sitting in front of the spectacular backdrop of the misty green Hawaiian mountains is amazing. It’s such a peaceful and pleasant place. I think that any trip to Oahu requires a visit to Byodo-In! 

Pearl Harbor 

 

Pearl Harbor is as American the Liberty Bell and the Statue of Liberty. The name conjures images of patriotic soldiers and the ultimate glory of our victory in WWII. But Pearl Harbor is a scared place were the US was definitively attacked and, until 9/11, was the most profound site of this sort of loss. 

A visit here is moving and an important part of being an American citizen. For me it’s definitely the sort of experience that I only needed once in a lifetime, after all Pearl Harbor is literally a gravesite, but also embodies some of the innocence that was lost by our nation during this difficult time in history. Nonetheless I highly recommend a visit for all as it is so important to pay respect to this significant moment in time and the men who lost their lives. 

Hanamaulu Beach Park

 

Snorkeling is an essential part of a visit to Hawaii and Hanamaulu Beach Park is one of the best places to experience the underwater world. Rent equipment on site and take the trek down to the bay for an afternoon or full day of beach and snorkeling fun. From the shore the bay is a beautiful view and splashing in the waves is fun for kids, in general. But grab a snorkel and peer underwater for a magical world below the waves. 

Kāneʻohe & Kailua 

Experience a taste for the more local life by visiting Kāneʻohe and Kailua. The beaches are amazing, providing opportunities for more snorkeling or surfing. 

The relaxed and laid-back culture is much more evident while visiting these towns, plus the views are spectacular. Visit a local coffeehouse or grab some shaved ice and site back to soak in all the glory of Oahu. 

Have you visited Oahu? What would you recommend as a must-see site? 

 

Comments

  1. Tracie Cooper says:

    Hawaii is on our family bucket list and we love to visit the sites of Kailua. So pretty!

  2. Debbie Welchert says:

    What a wonderful and beautiful place to vacation. It looks so peaceful. My dad finally got to go there and see Pearl Harbor and he just loved it.

  3. Antoinette M says:

    Absolutely beautiful! I would love to visit someday…

  4. Sara Zielinski says:

    This looks like a great place to visit.

  5. Angela Ingles says:

    This would be a dream trip for me. I need to really start saving!

  6. I love this post. Your pictures are so beautiful. We want to see the Pearl Harbor site someday.

  7. Beautiful pictures. I’ve been there only once many years ago. My uncle lived on the North Shore.

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