Life moves fast. Not minute by minute in the present, but rather when you look back and wonder where the days, weeks, months have gone. I think each of us is a little guilty of running the Rat Race, failing to appreciate fully the little moments and things around us. That's where traveling for pleasure saves us, takes us away from schedules and deadlines. No where have I found this escape to be more true than in Hawaii. Something about a tropical paradise isolated and unspoiled reminded me why I love this life, this planet, and most of all the precious time I have here.
Oahu is one of those magical contradictions that has it all. Uninhabited stretches of densely forested mountains on the east shore juxtaposed against a bustling metropolis of Honolulu in the south. You can sweetly sway away into the late hours on Waikiki, Mai Tai in hand and Ukulele music mixing with rolling waves singing in your ear. The next morning you can be a short drive from a beach where stray coconuts and a local surfer or two are your only companions. My advice. Rent a car, leave at least a day or two completely free, keep your phone back at the hotel every now and then. It's going to be liberating. It's going to be life changing. It's going to be unforgettable.
I want you to see and do the best of the best. You really can't go wrong in Oahu. The Aloha Spirit is real (aka locals are totally cool and welcoming on this Island), the weather is always good (yes even in rainy season when we went, the rain showers are short and everyone still swims in them), there are a million things to see and do (seriously the nature here is to die for but they have waterparks, museums, shopping, dining, and more). I've spent a few weeks here over the years and I'm going to be straight with you and tell you what to hit and what to miss. First thing. Go. To. Waikiki. Seriously. Everyone is going to tell you its touristy, crowded, and not "really Hawaii". They are right but they are also being elitist. It is ICONIC. Elvis hung out here. They put serious money into some stunning infinity pools and bars that are going to take your breath away. Huge catamarans beach up to take eager travelers out on sea to see dolphins and sunsets. You're going to love it here. Go to the Royal Hawaiian. Hit the new bakery, learn to surf right outside and maybe hear a story about the legendary Duke Kahanamoku who has a name sake restaurant here (helloooo Hula Pie). Good grab a souviner now. They have postcards that will make any friend or family member left behind long to join you in Polynesian paradise. They have amazing things carved from the sacred Koa wood that grows on the Island. Finally catch a sunset here. They set and rise over the water on this side of the island and it's going to burn a stunning orange glow into your memories long after you sailed (flown) away from this beautiful place.
Next, get adventurous. My fiancé had two firsts on Oahu. ATVing and Zip lining. I'm going to reccomend two different places for these. For ATVing (or any "offroading" or horseback riding) go to Kualoa Ranch. This is going to be a mecca for movie buffs, think Jurassic Park and 50 First Dates were filmed here. The guides are really laid back and have jokes for days. The trails are varied, fun and the views unbeatable. *Note* Tip your guide for everything and anything in Hawaii. It's crazy expensive to live here and the hospitality industry deals with an insane amount of people and things. For Zip lining go to CLIMBWorks on the North Shore. It's got the biggest, longest ziplines here and they are really well kept and safe. The guides are equally awesome, and incredibly strong, which yes IS important because they may have to come out and pull you to the next landing spot if you don't make it on your own because of wind or weight. Book excursions in advance so you can get a time slot you want!
Now that you've mastered land, you need to get in the sea. You won't master this one, even the locals know that no man can control the sea. But you can enjoy its splendor. Surf the waves or snorkel the depths; and well everyone knows "it's better down where it's wetter, under the sea". All Disney jokes aside the best snorkel spots can depend on time of year but you won't have to worry about seasonal tide and currents in Hanauma Bay. You'll be guaranteed calm waters and plenty of fish here in this protected volcano crater. Its world famous for a reason. It's close to Honolulu and all the tour busses go here. So parking can be rough and waters can be full of kids in floats that have no clue what they are doing. If the family-friendly scene isn't your thing go North good traveler and hit up 'Skarks Cove'. It's rocky and a more a summer spot but you are going to see way more of a variety of sealife. This spot is more for experienced snorkelers. I was almost bitten by an Eel and pulled out by a large wave here one year so respect the sea and keep the kiddies at Hanauma. There are SO many tours for snorkeling on Oahu but save your money in this regard, unless you want to go far out in open water you don't need someone to take you snorkeling.
This trip was special for personal reasons, but any trip to Hawaii is going to be memorable. I hope you can use these tips and pick some really remarkable places to see and things to do while visiting Oahu. If you would like a piece of the Islands for yourself, or just want to give a timely reminder for someone to savor each second of every day you can pick up my watch from this post at https://www.jordwatches.com/series/cora/koa-and-rose-gold/#michelleashleyhoughton. It's a lovely piece that is resposnsible and ecofriendly while outfitting you in effortless (no battery needed!) style. You can even enter my giveaway at https://www.woodwatches.com/g/michelleashleyhoughton