When you think of Hawaii you think of white sandy beaches and bright blue sea, with the luscious green mountains towering in the background. The island of Oahu is the epitome of this description and is a popular choice for visitors to Hawaii. But what do you do when you get there? This guide to an adults only Oahu vacation will give you some ideas of how to make the most of your trip.
An Adults Only Oahu Vacation
Visiting Hawaii is at the top of our list for our next vacation, but it has competition from another destination – a South-Western US Road Trip. Both are very different types of experiences and we are having trouble deciding which vacation to take!
My good friend Sam visited Oahu, Hawaii a few years ago with her family and I know I can trust her for giving me the low-down on what to expect from a Hawaiian vacation. Sam and her husband are Disney Vacation Club Members – as are we; and like them, we too would stay at Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa when visiting Oahu.
Sam is also a blogger (go pay her blog Memories & Mayhem a visit!), so since she has lots of great knowledge to share about planning a Hawaiian vacation, I asked her to write a post for me about an adults only Oahu trip. (Why adults only? Well, it would be just my husband Steve and myself going on this tropical adventure!)
Not only will her knowledge help us in our decision making, but it will also give you lots of great ideas for an adults-only trip to Oahu!
So no matter what the weather is like outside, mix yourself a Blue Hawaiian cocktail, sit back and read all about the things that Oahu has to offer!
Facts About Oahu, Hawaii
- The state capital of Hawaii is Honolulu and is found on Oahu. Honolulu airport will likely be your first taste of the island.
- Oahu means ‘the gathering place’ in Hawaiian – the locals are so friendly it’s easy to see why it gets that name.
- Oahu is 44 miles long and 30 miles wide, making it the 3rd largest of the Hawaiian Islands.
- The average temperature in Oahu is 70º – 85ºF (21º-29ºC) during the summer months and slightly cooler in the winter, but still warm. It rains often in Oahu, but these are generally short sharp showers. The rain almost always brings rainbows, giving Oahu the nickname of ‘The Rainbow State’
Stroll down the main street of Halei’wa wandering in and out of the boutiques and art galleries. The North Shore epitomizes the slow pace that is island life.
To cool down visit Matsumoto for some of its world famous shave ice.
Make sure you drive a bit further round the island to visit Ted’s Bakery for the best pie you will ever eat! Or for something a little more savory head to the world famous shrimp trucks.
Waikiki is probably the liveliest area on the island and somewhere you definitely want to visit on your trip. Why not take a surfing lesson while you’re there – you can book them on the beach, or just find a spot and soak up some rays and watch the pros.
There are numerous bars, restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance of the beach, plus a great selection of designer shops and boutiques. Stay late to see a free fireworks show from the Hilton Hawaiian Village on a Friday evening.
Tour the naval base that was the target of Japanese bombers in WWII. Take time to catch the boat over the USS Arizona Memorial to pay your respects. There is plenty to see in the main entrance area but be sure to catch the bus round to the USS Missouri and to the Air Museum.
1300 tickets are given out for free every day, but during busy times it is recommended that you reserve your tickets online at https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/233338.
Test your energy levels on your vacation by hiking to the top of Diamond Head Crater. Situated at the end of Honolulu, Diamond Head is a 300,000-year-old crater that gives stunning views over Honolulu and the ocean.
For the most part the hike is fairly easy-going, however, there is some uneven ground and to reach the summit there are 99 very steep steps that need to be climbed.
Due to the heat in Hawaii it is advisable to climb Diamond Head earlier in the day. Make sure that you carry water with you as there are no water fountains or places to purchase refreshments once you start the climb.
Foodies will love Kapahulu! A little area just 5 minutes drive from Waikiki, Kapahulu is a local neighbourhood that is packed with restaurants serving every type of food imaginable.
Here you will find Leonard’s Bakery, famous for its malasadas. The little Portuguese donuts without a hole are made continuously throughout the day at the bakery.
Kapahulu is also the place to find vintage Hawaiian shirts, but expect to pay thousands for some of them! (If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, head to the Swap Meet at the Aloha Stadium, where you’ll also find a variety of local craft items for sale).
See A Luau
You can’t visit Hawaii and not see a Luau! There are many to choose between, but two of the most popular are the one at Paradise Cove in Kapolei and the Ali’I Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Watch the sunset
What could be more romantic on an adults only Oahu vacation than watching the sunset together? Hawaii gives you the most beautiful sunsets, so head to the coastline and find a spot to watch it from.
As soon as you step out into the 4000 acre, Private Nature Reserve, you’ll feel like you’ve been there before. That’s because it’s the setting for so many of the blockbuster films that you know and love. The most famous being the Jurassic Park films.
There are numerous activities available at Kualoa Ranch. With everything from ATV tours, zip-lining and horseback riding to air-conditioned minibus tours, there’s something to suit everyone.
The beauty of the ranch is breathtaking and with so much to explore you may find yourself heading back for a second visit.
Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is on the North Shore and is Oahu’s no. 1 paid attraction.
There are 6 villages representing the Polynesian Islands, with opportunities to learn about the cultures in each of the villages. The Islands are located around a lagoon that hosts a colourful daily canoe pageant.
Oahu off the beaten track
If you want to do something a little more off the beaten track then Oahu has some exciting opportunities for you including:
- Hiking trails
- Botanical Gardens
- Byodo In Temple
- Blow Hole
Where can I snorkel in Hawaii?
Hanauma Bay is probably the most well known snorkeling spot on Oahu, and the one that most tourists are likely to visit. The bay is actually a nature preserve, so the number of guests allowed to visit each day is limited.
At the entrance there is a small visitor centre and all guests are asked to watch a safety briefing before making their way down to the beach. It is quite a steep walk down to Hanauma Bay and there is a tram available for those that would prefer to use it.
Other places where you can snorkel include:
- Kuilima Cove
- Kahe Point Beach Park
- Sharks Cove
- Kaena Point State Park
Wherever you choose to snorkel it is vital that you heed any warnings and take the correct safety precautions. Be mindful not to damage the coral by standing on it or breaking pieces off.
Is it safe to visit Oahu?
Oahu feels very safe – crime rates on the island are very low. Although it is sensible to undertake the same precautions that you would take anywhere in the world – don’t leave valuables on display for example.
Is it expensive to visit Oahu?
Yes and no. Flights to Oahu from the UK can be expensive depending on the time of year that you wish to travel. Items on the island are slightly more expensive than on mainland America, however we didn’t feel that they were excessive compared to other states we have visited. Accommodation ranges from AirBnBs to 5 star luxury hotels, so there is something to suit all budgets.
With so much to see and do, you’ll never be bored during your adults only Oahu vacation. It can be as relaxing or action-packed as you choose, but one thing’s for certain – you will never be as relaxed as when you’re on island time!