The way to Highway Journey Round Oahu

A bright blue sky over the island of Oahu, Hawaii
Posted: 8/3/20 | August third, 2020

I didn’t know a lot about Oahu earlier than I visited. Everybody advised me it was value it for Pearl Harbor however to spend the remainder of my time elsewhere in Hawaii. Maui and Kauai have been the place the motion was, they mentioned.

However Oahu was dwelling to Honolulu’s worldwide airport from which I used to be catching an onward flight to Taiwan. Since I had restricted time, going to a number of islands wasn’t possible.

Fortuitously, after spending a full week on Oahu, I can say this: everybody was fallacious.

Possibly they only let their preconceived notions get the higher of them.

Or perhaps they only didn’t give the place an opportunity.

However, regardless of the cause, I’m right here to let you know that Oahu has some magic to it. Positive, it’s fairly developed, has horrible site visitors, and big crowds. And yeah, perhaps it’s not as “uncooked” as the opposite islands (I assume that’s why individuals like them).

However there are many spots in Oahu the place you may reside that Hawaiian dream

I spent every week round-tripping the island (which, given how small it’s, turned out to be fairly simple). My plan was easy: sit on a seashore so long as I might, eat my physique weight in poke (diced uncooked fish, pronounced “po-keh”), and hike.

Alongside the way in which, I additionally binged on shrimp, drank the most effective piña colada of my life, and took notes so you are able to do even higher once you go to!

Driving Oahu: A Highway-Journey Itinerary

Driving on the highway in Oahu, Hawaii surrounded by forests and jungle
First, a tip: for those who’re driving round Oahu, go counterclockwise from Honolulu, since a lot of the meals vans you’ll wish to cease at are on the ocean aspect of the freeway as you go up the east coast. So stepping into that route simply makes it simpler to drag off the street and check out all of the meals vans that line the freeway (and there are lots). There’s additionally extra to do on the east aspect of Oahu, so it’s greatest to begin there.

That mentioned, I really don’t suppose a standard street journey is the most effective thought. Oahu is smaller than you suppose — you may drive finish to finish in below two hours — so every thing listed under can actually be accomplished as a day journey from one base or one other, which is able to prevent packing and unpacking, as properly shifting from place to position too typically (particularly because the east and west coasts don’t have loads of inexpensive lodging).

Base your self on the North Shore for a few days after which in Honolulu (within the south) for a few days (or vice versa).

Day 1: Honolulu to Kailua (28 miles)

The skyline of Honolulu, Hawaii surrounded by lush forests and jungles
Choose up your rental automobile, head out of Honolulu (you’ll be again later), and begin off at Hunauma Bay in southeast Oahu. You possibly can spend a number of hours there snorkeling and enjoyable on the seashore earlier than heading to the close by Halona Blowhole Lookout for the view and Makapu‘u Level (Oahu’s easternmost level) for a brief hike. There are additionally loads of seashores, meals vans, quick hikes, and viewpoints alongside the way in which to Kailua, the place you’ll wish to keep the night time.

The place to Eat:

  • Teddy’s Greater Burgers
  • Any of the meals vans on the way in which north
  • Buzz’s Steakhouse (for dinner)

The place to Keep:
Airbnb is the most suitable choice, since there aren’t many resorts or hostels in Kailua. Guide early although, as there isn’t lots to select from.

Day 2: Kailua to Haleiwa (50 miles)

The beautiful coast of Kailua in Hawaii surrounded by water
Begin your morning with the well-known Lanikai Pillbox hike simply south of Kailua, the place you will get sweeping views of the ocean and the cities and seashores on this aspect of the island. The hike is brief (it solely takes about 20-30 minutes) however steep, so put on applicable footwear.

When you’ve got a while within the morning, Kailua and Lanikai seashores are each stunning (they’re proper subsequent to one another and on the way in which from the pillbox hike). Not lots of people, white sand, blue water. They’re heaven.

As you allow this space to go north, go to the Ho‘oamaluhia Botanical Backyard (it’s free!), which can also be dwelling to a lake crammed with tropical vegetation.

Afterward, drive up the east coast towards the North Shore. Alongside the way in which, you may cease on the Kualoa Ranch, the place many motion pictures have been filmed. In the event you do a tour, I recommend the 90-minute Hollywood Film Websites Tour (which incorporates scenes from Jurassic Park!), as you don’t want way more time than that to see the ranch. (It’s costly, although, so for those who’re on a finances, I’d skip it.)

As you retain going north, you’ll discover a ton of seashores and hikes (there are many indicators for every thing). I actually loved the Hau’ula Loop Path particularly, which is about 10 miles north of Kualoa. It’s a extremely overgrown path, so that you’ll really feel such as you’re very a lot within the jungle (that means you’ll additionally must convey bug spray). And like most hikes right here, there’s a scenic viewpoint!

Then drive across the northern tip of Oahu to Haleiwa, your base of operations whereas on the North Shore.

The place to Eat Alongside the Means:

  • Kalapawai Café and Deli
  • Contemporary Catch Kaneohe
  • Shrimp Shack
  • Seven Brothers
  • Ken’s Contemporary Fish
  • Fumi’s Shrimp

The place to Keep:
Airbnb is once more the most suitable choice, as there aren’t many resorts or hostels in Hal‘eiwa. Guide early right here too.

Days 3 & 4: North Shore (Base: Haleiwa)

A beautiful soft sunset on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii
This was my favourite a part of Oahu. It was Hawaii the way in which you think about it must be: lots quieter, much less touristy, and fewer developed. And it had that entire “hippie vibe” going for it. Everybody up right here was way more laid again than down south.

You possibly can study to surf right here (two-hour classes start at simply $80 USD) or hike the Ka‘ena Level Path (west of Haleiwa) and/or the ’Ehukai Pillbox (east of Haleiwa). The latter is fairly muddy, so convey applicable footwear.

Haleiwa itself is a sleepy little vacationer city with a bunch of eating places, retailers, and parks. There’s not a lot to do within the city itself than eat and window store.

In the event you do only one hike, although, I positively suggest the Ka‘ena Level Path, which was the most effective experiences I had. It’s a scenic two-hour coastal stroll to the northwestern tip of Oahu, the place you can see a protected organic space with seals and native birds. On the tip, you may see all the way in which down the west aspect of the island — a magical view. Carry sunscreen and water, as the entire path is uncovered to the solar.

The place to Eat:

  • Ted’s Bakery
  • Dawn Shack
  • Hale‘iwa Joe’s
  • Matsumoto Shave Ice
  • Ray’s Kiawe
  • Kono’s
  • Jenny’s Shrimp Truck
  • Giovanni’s Shrimp


Day 5: Dole Plantation, Oahu’s West Aspect, Honolulu (60 miles)

The rugged coast of Waianae on the west coast of Oahu, Hawaii
Head south (inland) and cease on the Dole Plantation. Whereas it’s tremendous tacky and touristy (I imply, so many ineffective souvenirs!), it does have a cool maze, and there’s a prepare journey by the farm that, whereas whitewashing loads of unhealthy matters, was an attention-grabbing have a look at the significance of the pineapple to Oahu. For a basic overview geared to your common vacationer, it was surprisingly informative.

Afterward, proceed south towards Honolulu after which head west on the H1 street to the west coast for some abandoned native seashores, akin to Ma’ili, Ewa, Makua, or Yokohama. Cease at Countryside Café for some unbelievable diner meals. The parts are fairly giant, so you may share them.

Then head again into Honolulu, as there’s not loads of lodging alongside the west coast. In the event you do wish to keep longer, you’ll discover some listings on Airbnb and for those who e-book far upfront. In any other case, there are a number of resorts in Kapolei for those who don’t wish to drive all the way in which to Honolulu.

Days 6 & 7: Honolulu

I really preferred Honolulu lots (the primary seashore space of Waikiki is a vacationer lure although.) Whereas downtown is a bit bland, different neighborhoods are crammed with superior shops, breweries, bars, eating places, and artwork galleries. Be sure you try the “hip” Kaka‘ako a part of city specifically.

Take into account happening a hike on Diamond Head, a volcanic cone on the east aspect of city. It presents an unbelievable view of town, although it’s one of many extra widespread trails within the space so for those who aren’t there early sufficient to beat the crowds you’ll principally be strolling in a slow-moving line up the mountain. If you’re quick on time, skip it.

Different Matters to Do:

  • A free strolling tour with Hawaii Free Excursions (name forward, since they solely run once they have bookings).
  • Pearl Harbor – It is a should. It’s not even up for debate. You need to go.
  • Iolani Palace, the previous royal residence of Hawaii’s monarchs.
  • Soak within the solar on Waikiki Seaside or different close by seashores, akin to Ala Moana, which is widespread with locals.

There’s additionally an Islamic artwork museum, which is meant to be nice, however I didn’t make it there.

The place to Eat:

  • The Pig and the Girl
  • Mei Sum Dim Sum
  • Shirokiya Japan Village Stroll
  • Rainbow Drive-In
  • Leonard’s Bakey
  • Ono Seafood
  • Hula Canine

The place to Keep:

  • The Seaside – This hostel is true on the seashore, consists of free breakfast, and has loads of house to loosen up and meet different vacationers.
  • Polynesian Hostel Seaside Membership Waikiki – The lodging right here is fundamental, however the employees are tremendous pleasant and useful, they usually arrange plenty of occasions.
  • Waikiki Beachside Hostel – A enjoyable, social hostel that hosts reside music. Breakfast is included too.

Moreover, head to the Royal Hawaiian Resort for the most effective piña colada of your life. It’s not low cost ($15 USD a pop), however it’s sooo good! Each one in every of my pals who didn’t order one acquired it as their second drink. (Enjoyable truth: My grandfather was stationed in Oahu throughout WWII and went again to Oahu typically. The Royal Hawaiian was his favourite lodge. It’s fairly cool that it’s nonetheless there!)

Common prices

How a lot do matters value on Oahu? Listed here are some typical costs (in USD):

  • Airbnb – $100+/night time for a one-bedroom or studio
  • Resort – $175–250/night time for a mid-range boutique lodge
  • Hostel dorm – $27
  • Automotive rental – as little as $20/day, plus insurance coverage
  • Gasoline – $3–3.50/gallon
  • Poke bowl – $12–15
  • Takeout meal – $10–14
  • Sit-down meal at a flowery restaurant (with drinks) – $50+
  • Native lunch – $15
  • McDonalds – $6 for a price meal
  • Groceries – $75 for one individual for every week
  • Beer (at a restaurant) – $8–10 ($2–Three on the Japanese Stroll!)
  • Piña colada – $10-15
  • Espresso – $5
  • Surfboard rental – $25/day
  • Snorkel gear rental – $15/day
  • Scuba dive costs – $125


Finances Ideas

Oahu is fairly costly. Most every thing must be imported, so if it might’t be grown close by or caught within the ocean, anticipate to pay lots. However it’s not unimaginable to save cash. Listed here are a number of methods to chop your bills:

  • Hike and benefit from the seashores. Nature is free!
  • Purchase your personal meals from supermarkets so you may cook dinner your personal meals or have picnics. Positive, there are many world-class eating places right here, however if you wish to maintain your meals prices down, you need to cook dinner some meals. The poke at supermarkets is scrumptious anyway!
  • In the event you do eat out, hit the meals vans. Most value round $10 USD for a meal — less expensive than sit-down eating places.
  • In the event you’re going to purchase alcohol, accomplish that at Japanese markets, the place you could find beer for less than $2–Three USD (in comparison with $Eight USD at bars).
  • Skip ride-sharing web sites like Getaround or Turo (the place you hire automobiles from personal homeowners). They’re normally cheaper than the large rental corporations, however on Oahu, hosts cost you an added price for dropping the automobile on the airport. I discovered the standard automobile rental corporations to be less expensive, with charges as little as $20 USD a day.
  • Get your gasoline at Hele stations. They have been constantly the most cost effective on the island.


Whereas Oahu is commonly crowded and overly industrial, there have been loads of fantastic matters to do and see. To me, the most effective elements have been the meals and the mountain climbing — with so many hikes, you possibly can spend weeks right here. My favourite a part of Oahu was the North Shore, so I like to recommend you spend a number of days there not less than. I definitely look ahead to returning!

Guide Your Journey to Hawaii: Logistical Ideas and Methods

Guide Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite serps as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned.

Guide Your Lodging
You possibly can e-book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep someplace aside from a hostel, use as they constantly return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low cost resorts. My favourite locations to remain in Oahu are:

Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions previously. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite corporations that provide the most effective service and worth are:

On the lookout for the most effective corporations to save cash with?
Try my useful resource web page for the most effective corporations to make use of once you journey! I checklist all those I take advantage of to save cash once I journey – and I feel will show you how to too!

Want an inexpensive RV to your street journey?
RVshare permits you to hire RVs from personal people throughout the nation, saving you tons of cash within the course of. It’s like Airbnb for RVs.

Need extra info on Hawaii?
Be sure you go to our sturdy vacation spot information on Hawaii for much more planning ideas!

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