Honolulu is a little piece of paradise. Even saying the name “Ho-no-lu-lu” brings a smile to those who say it. Located on Oahu’s south shore, it’s Hawaii’s largest city and the heartbeat of the island chain. Here you can immerse yourself in the history of Pearl Harbor, bask in the beauty of Waikiki beach, and witness the impressive Diamond Head volcano. To help you navigate through this tropical Eden, we narrowed down some of our favorite activities to inspire your Hawaiian vacation planning.
Live Like a Local
Get back to nature by visiting one of Honolulu’s oldest ancestors, the famous banyan tree at the Turtle Bay Resort. The tree is a celebrity in its own right, having been featured in Lost and The Hunger Games. When you’re ready for a bite to eat you can find the island’s best underground poke spot hidden inside a run-down-looking mini-mart, Kahuku Superette. If you’re a fan of Drunk History, you’ll appreciate the Home of the Brave Brewseum which highlights WWII history alongside delicious craft beer.
Hawaii is the ultimate adventure destination, so you won’t be short on any outdoor activities during your stay. Overcome your aquatic fears when you swim with the sharks at One Ocean Diving or during a North Shore surf lesson at Hans Hedemann Surf School. Then, have a rugged off-road experience riding ATVs in Oahu’s untouched Ka’a’awa Valley, the same backdrop as Jurassic Park!
No Hawaiian vacation is complete without experiencing a traditional luau. At the Polynesian Cultural Center you can get the full experience, including underground-cooked pork that melts in your mouth, mesmerizing hula dancers, and daring fire spinners that defy the elements. If you’re visiting Oahu between October to March, you’ll be among the lucky spectators that flock to the North Shore to see some of the greatest surfers in the world tackle 40-foot waves. Afterwards, you can head up the road to Waimea Valley where you can walk through a 150-acre botanical garden to a 45-foot waterfall that will take your breath away.
For the freshest fish in town, you can head straight to Take’s Fish Market. Take’s owner, Taketoshi Gibo, is an expert in all things fish, so you know he only offers the best of the best, served in the form of chirashi and sashimi. Libby Manapua Shop serves a local favorite: sticky buns filled with your choice of pork, chicken, and black sugar. Buns come in a signature pink box that you’ll see people toting around the North Shore.
An Authentic North Shore Experience
The Turtle Bay Resort is where people come to soak in the best of the North Shore. Here you’ll experience the harmony that comes with being on the edge of the most powerful waves in the world, as well as the most tranquil bays on the island. Each day you’ll have the option to quench your thirst for adventure with resort activities like horseback riding and stand up paddleboarding, or you can pamper yourself with some spa R&R that will make you feel like Hawaiian royalty.