Hawaii is one of the most beautiful, magical places on earth I believe everyone should experience at least ONCE in their lifetime. While it’s impossible to list everything to do in Hawaii, I’d like to share some of my favorites.
If exploring Hawaii has been on your bucket list, now is the time to jump on the opportunity and mix business with pleasure and accompany us on Oahu.
Join us for the Beauty Business Summit and stay a few extra days to indulge and play! Allow me share some of my favorite things to do to help make your visit extraordinary. Read on!
Book your ticket to the Beauty Business Summit on October 14-15, 2018 to learn valuable leadership, business and marketing education to help take your business to new heights! Then relax and spend a few extra days enjoying the islands!
I am no tour guide or excursion expert but after living here for many years, I can offer recommendations for some pretty cool places. I will also provide you with additional information if you plan on visiting Maui, Kauai, or Big Island.
It is my pleasure to help make your trip to Hawaii a visit to remember. Aloha!
Things To Do On Oahu – The Gathering Place
Favorite Eateries – Oahu
Let me first say that I am super picky when it comes to food but I’d love to share my favorite eateries with various price ranges. I like good, consistent, quality food and excellent customer service when dining out. My hubby calls me high maintenance in this department, but life is too short not to enjoy!
Azure restaurant is located inside the Royal Hawaiian Hotel where it welcomed its first guest back in 1927. This is an upscale restaurant, a little on the pricey side, but the fish is caught locally each morning and it is delicious! This would be the time to try ahi, opah, onaga, opakapaka, moi, and if you’re lucky, ono! (My personal favorite). I recommend outside seating during sunset. You will want to book reservations in advance.
If you love sushi, you are going to love eating in Hawaii! There are too many sushi places to name but a couple of favorite’s are Nobu and Sansei Waikiki and if you like omakase style, you’ll enjoy Sushi Sasabune.
Cafe Maharani is fairly casual but is the finest Indian food on island. You may have to wait for a table but it will be well worth it. Many Hawaii restaurants don’t have a liquor license and this eatery is one of them. Be sure to make a pit stop and BYOB if you want adult beverages.
Head into town and try my favorite local haunt, Murphy’s Bar and Grill. It’s your traditional Irish pub with a “Cheers” like feel to it where everyone knows your name. The food is simple, yet good. The owner’s wife makes homemade pies for the restaurant, which makes it hard to say “no” to dessert. I give in to the blueberry pie almost every time.
They also have an excellent selection of beer on tap and entertaining bartenders who have been around forever. If you go, say hello to John, Chad, or Brent.
Favorite Hiking – Oahu
When I first moved to Hawaii I had big goals to hike every single trail offered. Well, that hasn’t happened since there are many hikes I won’t do for safety reasons. I know my limits and enjoy beginner to intermediate hikes that are under 4 hours round trip.
The advanced and extreme hikers can do Haiku Stairs and Pali Notches. No free climbing for me, thank you very much. If that is your thing – be safe!
Be sure to pack sunscreen, water, and snacks!
Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail is an intermediate hike. This one starts off nice and effortless. Almost looks like it will be a nice easy stroll. Until you get to the stairs. It’s about a 4.5 mile hike and will certainly give you a great workout.
This hike is a favorite because of the scenic views along the way.. Kuliouou Ridge Trail used to be a favorite for it also has stairs but just doesn’t offer the views that Wiliwilinui does. You can see both sides of the island at the Summit and it’s worth the climb!
Hamama Falls is very easy hike. You can reach the beautiful Hamama Falls in about 45 minutes and enjoy lush greens and wild flowers along the way.
Lanikai Pillbox Trail is an easy to intermediate hike. Many people love to watch sunrise from this lookout. It can get a bit crowded on weekends but definitely worth the view! This is a fairly easy hike that goes all the way up to the backend of Koko Crater if you’re up for the journey!
One of my favorite workout hikes is Koko Crater. It’s all stairs. 1050 stairs in total to be exact. The military built bunkers at the Summit in World War II. What’s left of the old railway is stairs and they will kick your butt! I recommend doing this hike early in the morning otherwise you will be in direct sunlight which can be brutal.
Ka’ena Point hike is more of a leisurely stroll than it is a hike. You will feel like you’re in Arizona, since this is the dry side of the island but still offers incredible beauty. Ka’ena Point is the most western point of Oahu and you’ll likely spot some Hawaiian monk seal hanging out.
Favorite Non-touristy Beaches – Oahu
While the beaches in Waikiki are beautiful, you may want to hop in your car and explore some other non-touristy beaches that are usually a little more peaceful. Waimanalo beach is very local and quiet, especially in the morning, Lanikai, and Kailua Beach are two of my favorites.
Kahe Point Beach Park is in Waianae on the west side of Oahu. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Waikiki but one of the best spots for snorkeling offering incredible visibility to see marine life. The locals nicknamed Kahe Point Beach Park “Electric Beach” due to the power plant close by. Stop here for snorkeling and head over to Ka’ena Point after!
Snorkel Hanauma Bay. This is a bit closer to Waikiki but sometimes very crowded. We love going to Hanauma Bay for the hike only. No one is ever there and it offers incredible views! Now you know my secret place. This hike offers no cover though, so bring sun protection!
Another favorite activity was Kayaking to the Mokes of Lanikai. My nephew and I took off from Kailua beach and paddled to Moku Nui, a tiny island approximately a mile from Lanikai beach. We docked our kayak and found a monk seal sunbathing.
We hiked around to the other side of this tiny island to find people cliff diving! My nephew was game while I offered to hang back and take pictures! My way of getting out of jumping. Did I mention my fear of heights?
There are so many activities to do at Kualoa Ranch. This ranch spans over 4000 acres and is famous for hosting weddings, horseback riding, ATV, and more. Many movies and TV shows were filmed here!
The Polynesian Cultural Arts Center has so many different activities for the entire family. Enjoy a Luau and the Ha Breath of Life show.
If you know me, you know I am an early riser and enjoy starting my day with a magnificent sunrise. Makapu’u Point offers the best Sunrise since it’s at the most eastern point of the island. While you’re there, wade it the tide pools and take a walk up to the lighthouse trail.
Don’t leave Oahu with going to Pearl Harbor. I’ve been several times, including two private tours. It’s a time in history we want to forget but need to acknowledge. I am moved with a flood of emotions every single time I visit.
North Shore – Oahu
Get some shaved ice on the North Shore! It’s easy to find since there is usually a line of people wrapped around the building. The food truck experience is big on North Shore. Many famous restaurants start out this way. Be sure to try a Hawaiian Plate Lunch too.
Watch the Big surf at Banzai Pipeline. The biggest, most powerful waves happen around mid November and February.
Enjoy a sunset at Sunset Beach and grab dinner at Haleiwa Beach House.
Things To Do In Maui – The Valley Isle
Hands down, the most favorite thing I have done since living in Hawaii is sunrise at the Haleakala Summit and then bike down the mountain.
Now, you’ll be getting up very early in the morning to bus up to the Summit but where on earth can you see sunrise above the clouds? It was completely breathtaking. Literally. And it was COLD. Bring winter gear otherwise you won’t be able to stand outside.
There is an observation deck but you want to be outdoors when the sun comes up. Bike down the mountain, stop at the Lavender Farm, Makawao for breakfast, and finish with a dip in the ocean. No peddling required. It’s all downhill.
We had a great experience booking our sunrise/bike tour with Maui Sunriders. They will take good care of you. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and shared interesting facts about Maui. You won’t regret this tour!
Things To Do In Kauai – The Garden Isle
Kauai is my favorite island of all of the Hawaiian islands. It isn’t heavily populated and I love the local feel. It’s peaceful and a bit slower. Shops and businesses close up earlier but that’s ok with me. I always say that each island has its own pulse. It’s own vibe. The vive of Kauai soothes my soul.
I enjoy staying in Poipu so that it’s an easy drive to either side of the island. Rent a car and try not to book too many excursions so you can leave room for spontaneity.
I highly recommend doing a helicopter tour of Kauai. It’s the easiest way to take in the sights to see waterfalls that would normally take you days to hike to. Some waterfalls you can’t even get to by foot!
Nāpali Coast State Wilderness Park is stunning. I enjoyed the view from a helicopter tour as well as the boat tour. Kauai is a magical place!
You won’t want to miss Waimea Canyon State Park, also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. The mountains are colorful, complimented with waterfalls and intermittent rainbows. The canyon is 10 miles long and up to 3,600 feet in depth. Two lookouts, the Puu ka Pele and Puu hinahina, have parking and provide breathtaking views.
Take a drive out to Princeville and swim at Hanalei Bay. It’s the lush side of the island and so different from Waimea.
Things To Do In Hawaiʻi – “The Big Island”
I have had the pleasure of visiting both Hilo and Kona on The Big Island. Hilo is so beautiful and lush! Be sure to stop at Big Island Candies as you exit the airport.
I took a drive to my friend Patty Withers place, What’s Shaken Smoothie Pepeekeo. That is where I experienced my first local dragon fruit right off of the tree! What’s Shaken is a cute, down to earth local place that offers pure, wholesome, island food. Farm to table style with good vibes and positive energy. I need to get back!
Take a ride up Mauna Kea (a dormant volcano). It’s one of the only places on Earth you can drive from sea level to 13, 803 feet in roughly two hours. You can literally surf and ski in the same day. Go for it!
Kilauea Volcano is a tourist attraction right now. The volcano has been erupting since May 2018. Over 700 homes have been destroyed by lava in Leilani Estates.
Check with the Volcano National Park for hours of operation and safe tours.
I hope you enjoyed my list of favorite things to do in Hawaii!
We look forward to seeing you at the Beauty Business Summit, Hawaii 2018!
Reserve your seat here. Mahalo!