Hawaii is filled with so many treasures and memorable experiences. After many visits, here are my top 21 with a few extras mentioned at the end!
As a travel blogger and educator, I love sharing my favorite treasures on Oahu – let’s get started!
Hop in the car and off we go! Stop 1 ….
Please note you can follow this list and they will be in order of locations! Starting in the North 🚗
1. Mokuleia Army Beach
Mokuleia Army Beach is a long and sandy beach with crystal clear blue waters. Parking is limited and on one side of the road only. The remote location allows for a peaceful beach visit.
2. Paalaa Kai Bakery
Don’t let the outside detour you! Bakery specializing in malassadas, or Portuguese donuts, plus the snow puffy, an original pastry as seen above!
3. Hale’iwa North Shore
This is the cutest small town. Filled with shops, cafes, and beach vibes – perfect for a smoothie stop or yummy lunch!
4. Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay is located in Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands at the mouth of the Waimea River.
5. Shark’s Cove
Sharks Cove is one of our favorite beaches on the island to snorkel at. This kid friendly beach is a great option if you need little or no waves and shallow water. Also have no fear, water is a few inches to a few feet – the name Sharks Cove is deceiving.
6. Bonzai Pipeline
On the North Shore, the Bonzai Pipeline is one of the hottest surf locations on the island. During parts of the year, the waves can reach 15 feet and this area is used for many surf competitions!
7. Sideways Palm Trees
At a first glance, it does not look that high up, but it is definitely higher off the ground – not for the faint of heart.
8. Kaaawa Beach
This is a narrow sandy beach with shallow reef – really good for snorkeling but not great for swimming. There are a few pull off locations and it is never really crowded.
9. Kualoa Ranch
The Ranch is popular and has a variety of things to do: movie tours, a visit to Secret Island, snorkeling, zip lining, and serves as a wedding venue!
10. Chinaman’s Hat
Mokolii, also known among locals as Chinaman’s Hat. It is a popular spot for taking pictures on Oahu’s windward coast. The small island is located at the north end of Kaneohe Bay, offshore of Kualoa Regional Beach Park.
During low tide, it is possible to walk right over (but make sure you have a tide timetable with you so you know when to head back). The distance to Mokolii from Kualoa Park is about 1,477 feet (450 m). It can take up to 45 minutes to make it over there, due to the sometimes strong current and waves. Most people who go there come with a kayak, surfboard or small boat.
11. Kualoa Regional Park
Kualoa Regional Park is located at Kāneʻohe Bay, on the island of Oahu in the U.S. state of Hawaii. The park covers 153 acres across the road from the Pali-ku (cliffs) of the Koʻolau Range. The beach front is white sand and 1/3 mile offshore is the small basalt island of Mokoliʻi (or Chinaman’s Hat).
12. Windward Baptist Church
This beautiful Baptist Church sits in front of the Kualoa Mountain Range and a large pond. Huge palm trees and meticulously landscaped property.
13. Byodo- In Temple
The Byodo-In Temple is located at the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. The cost is $5.00 to get in.
14. Haiku Gardens
Haiku Gardens is a beautiful private wedding ceremony venue with a private pond and gorgeous views of the Ko’olau mountain range. Located windward side of Oahu at Haleiwa Joe’s. The open-air restaurant in this lush valley overlooks its own tropical garden and koi pond with a breathtaking view of the Ko‘olau mountain range. Open 4:30-9 PM
15. Kailua Beach Park
Located at the end of Kailua Bay, it provides sandy beach, sand dunes, and kayak rentals as well as restrooms, barbecue, and shelter house availability.
16. Kailua Beach
This is one of the prettiest sandy beaches on Oahu. The beach is one of the largest and you can rent a kayak and go out to an island.
17. Waimanalo Beach
Waimānalo Beach (the town) lies along the eastern half of Waimānalo Beach (the beach), with an overall length of nearly 5.5 mi. This beach was made famous from Magnum PI – the Anderson Estate (Robin’s Nest).
18. Lanikai Beach
It is not only described as “most beautiful” of all Oahu beaches, but Lanikai Beach ranks as one of the best beaches in the world.
There are no parking lots and parking is limited – highly recommend getting there before 9 am.
19. Dole Plantation
The Dole Plantation is a great stop on the way to the North Coast. There is a general store with Hawaiian clothes, souvenirs, pineapples, and a few fun experiences:
Pineapple Express. All aboard for two miles of pineapple fun! This fully narrated, twenty-minute train tour is an experience for the whole family. You’ll learn the story of pineapple in Hawai‘i, hear how James Drummond Dole founded his world-famous agricultural empire where Dole Plantation stands today, and travel through the stunning scenery of the island’s famous North Shore.
Plantation Garden Tour. The plants that are the source of tropical delights from coffee to exotic fruit to colorful cacao pods, used to make Waialua’s signature single-estate chocolate. Depending on the season, you’ll also be able to smell the delicate fragrance of lei flowers including plumeria, pikake, and pua kenikeni.
Pineapple Garden Maze. The maze stretches over three acres and includes nearly two and one-half miles of paths crafted from 14,000 colorful Hawaiian plants. Walk through the flora of the islands as you seek out eight secret stations that each lead you closer to the mystery at the heart of this larger-than-life labyrinth, one of only a handful of permanent botanical mazes in America.
My favorites include a hot dog and Dole Whip.
20. Leonard’s Bakery
Portuguese donuts! This is a must stop! Cinnamon Sugar and Sugar Donuts are the best! Trust me, it is worth the wait!
21. Hilton Hawaiian Village
The Hilton Hawaiian Village is perfect at sunset; filled with shops, beach areas, and lounge areas – add this to your stops in Oahu! Includes 2 ABC stores on the property 😉
There are a few places that were not open or not possible for this trip that I would suggest:
– Secret Island
– Haneuma Bay
– Lanikai Pill Box Hike
– Diamond Head Crater
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