Daydreaming of distant tropical sands, warm emerald waters, rustling palms, majestic green mountains – with you somewhere and everywhere in this postcard-perfect landscape? After 18 months of coronavirus lockdowns and severe travel restrictions, who among us isn’t? The good news: Early last month, Hawaii officially lifted COVID-19 beforeTravel Test Restrictions For travelers fully hunkered down, so an escape to Hawaii’s iconic island of pleasure, Oahu, is ideally possible once again. There’s no better place than Oahu to enjoy serious sunshine and fun in paradise—here are our five best outdoor trips to prove it.
Each of them individually is worth a visit. Better yet, tackle all five to make up for all those tough months of daydreaming. Yes, you are really out now.
If you’re looking for a reason to get out of the city and soak up the sun in paradise, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 5 outdoor excursions on Oahu, all of which are worth the trip on their own—but if you can handle each one while you’re there, you’ll not only come home fully active, but you’ll also get some epic photos and videos to make even more Adventurous travelers blush.
1. Snorkel at Shark’s Cove
world famous Hanuma Bay It is home to some of the best diving and snorkeling activities on Oahu, as well as some of the densest crowds of tourists.
Escape those hordes in complete secrecy – Shark’s Cove. Located on the north shore of Oahu, Shark’s Cove is cheaper (read: free), absolutely gorgeous, and the perfect place for savvy adventure travelers to spend a day on the island’s outer coast. And don’t let the name fool you. There are no sharks here.
Park your car along the highway or in the small dirt area on the beachside, pull out your gear, and dive into a tropical bay teeming with thousands of brightly colored benign fish – including the Hawaiian state fish (and the unofficial tongue twister), Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.
Swim a child away to record close encounters with a hono (green sea turtle).
Please respect the reef by not standing or sitting on any part of it; Wearing reef-safe sunscreen; and maintaining a safe and respectful distance from wildlife (without feeding them).
delicious tip: Eat a snack from the icon Giovanni Shrimp TruckIt is parked along the Kamehameha Expressway in Haleiwa.
2. High Diamond Head
If your idea of having a good time is to crush your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, you’ll want to get diamond head Height.
On the way from downtown Waikiki, you don’t need to practice for the distinctive walk around the Diamond Head State Monument. It’s a doable 1.6-mile round trip with just 560 feet of altitude.
At a moderate pace, it will take about two hours to get up and down. But you are in Hawaii. take your time. immerse yourself in it. Bring water, snacks, and comfy shoes – and definitely a camera for one of the most unbeatable panoramas at the top.
The path to the summit of Leʻahi (the Hawaiian name for the Diamond Head crater) was built in 1908, which makes you appreciate the geographic importance of this volcanic crater, as well as the historical military role this vantage point gave to American defenses.
If you can move yourself up and down the trail before noon, you’ll make the conversation at lunch one for the books, guaranteed.
3. Surf Waikiki
What Hawaii vacation would be complete without some surfing?
This is where modern surfing took off. The legendary Waterman, Duke of Kahanamoku, invited the famous Oahu Breakers into his office. All levels of surfers come for either the brutal waves of winter that hit the North Shore to the cute barrels of Waikiki. Go for the latter if you are new to surfing. Waikiki’s long, shallow, sandy features are perfect for mellow rolling waves that are indulgent and sexy.
Rent a board from any of the many vendors set right on the sand if you want to go on your own. Or sign up for some surfing lessons from several schools up and down the beach.
My favorite surf school in town is Ohana Surf . Project, located on the other side of the Honolulu Zoo. Their instructors have been known to get you afloat, as well as filming your entire session for some epic Instagram posts and teaching moments.
Advanced surfers can head to more challenging spots within walking distance of the main stretch – with names (Bowls, Kaisers, Diamond Head) that will be familiar to surfers near and far.
4. Waimea rock jump
Waimea Bay It is where surfers from all over the planet flock every winter to see if they have what it takes to ride some of the biggest breaks on Earth. The world-famous big surf spot is located on the north shore of Oahu at the mouth of the Waimea River.
We’re talking about waves that can be several stories high (on mild days) – and even bigger when the ocean feels like them. But don’t be afraid. During the summer, it is usually as flat as the lake here. In other words, ideal conditions for swimming, buoyancy and rock jumping.
Waimea Bay’s famous boulder is about the best entry-level rock jump you can find here, with several locations to choose your entry point from.
An easy climb straight out of the sand drops you anywhere from six to 15 feet from the surface of the water, with plenty of clearance as you hit the ocean. From here, you can soak up the warm, calm waters and enjoy the rest of the show: a constant stream of gravity-testing local kids of all ages line up on top of the rock to showcase their epic jumping skills.
A word to the wise: Get there early. Small parking lots fill up quickly — with an excess of parking spaces along the highway.
5. Explore the reefs at Bonzai Pipeline
We mentioned that the North Shore is nicely flat during the summer months. What better time for non-professional surfers to test-ride one of the deadliest surf spots on the planet and live to tell the tale?
More people died (or came close to it) on board Bonzai Pipeline More than just another great surfing magnet on the planet.
What makes this spot so deadly? During a swell-rich winter, the waves have just as much power as a freight train. Besides curling over a shallow, sharp reef, this water is a recipe for danger.
This is exactly why a dip in the reef during the light summer is such a great experience for surfers of all levels who likely won’t throw their hat in the ring when the pipeline wakes up later in the year. The coral toes, the dark holes, and the utterly treacherous nature of this spot is stunning – and safer to watch this season.
As legendary director Bruce Brown said, “In the holes [at Pipeline], you find pieces of skateboards… teeth… things like that. “
For fans of surf culture, now is the time to see it up close without getting penalized.
Where to stay on Oahu: White Sands Hotel
While there is no shortage of hotels in touristy Waikiki, White Sands It is one of the real hidden gems in the area. Off the main boardwalk – but only a block from the beach – classic Hawaiian charm quietly inhabits this small throwback hotel, which looks unassuming from the outside.
Inside, it’s a tropical oasis, transporting guests back to the ’60s, complete with vintage décor like rotary phones, vending machines (yes, they have Hawaiian-style playing cards) and rope-swinging seats at the poolside bar accompanied by the endless-back soundtrack.
Each room is uniquely furnished with eclectic old-school furnishings while providing modern amenities. On an island that can get pricey, White Sands Hotel offers great affordable options for both couples and families, while providing suites for a complete luxury experience. Yet a welcome throwback to Eternal Oahu.
Where to eat on Oahu: FIT
Listing the best places to eat in Honolulu guarantees his own article. Our “Best Restaurant” nomination goes to girls. A little off the main drag in Chinatown, a short $10 ride will take you to one of the most creative, unique and generally must-visit restaurants in the area.
With modern, contemporary décor and a laid-back dining scene that made us feel very comfortable (during COVID protocols at the time), this restaurant from Honolulu-born owner and chef Robin Maye neatly calls itself a “seasonal new American neighborhood eatery with local roots and a global outlook—where technology meets technology.” Classic with island flavors and ingredients at their best.”
Menu signatures include Coconut Kaua’i shrimp (with curry leaves, lemon and black pepper), linguitini carbonara (with bacon and Portuguese sausage), and Korean Kaua’i Ranch steak.
One of our favorite evening dishes is the appetizer of grilled carrots with Cinchok Aioli and Snack Chips. Trust us, you must try these carrots. For drinks, they offer a great selection of craft beers and several craft cocktails worth writing about – from Ma’i’i Tai and Noho Mule #3 to (the evening’s winner) Spicy Kitty (Tito’s, Yuzuri, and Hawaiian chili brew Olio Sakarom). , shichimi seasoning, roasted shiso, and club soda) served in a glass that’s worth ordering on its own.
Editor’s note: Check all local CDC guidelines before traveling, as restrictions change constantly with the global pandemic
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