5 Reasons You Should Visit Oahu
I love the famous cities of the world. I admit it! I am a TOURIST. I read so many articles about how to avoid the tourist traps, but when I travel I WANT to see them. After all they are what made these places famous in the first place. Sometimes they can be disappointing but if I don’t go to them I always regret it. Most travel agents will tell you to go to Maui or Kauai. As for me I will recommend Waikiki every time. It’s a great place to go for your vacation. There is so much to see and do there. You’ll find Live Hawaiian entertainment, shopping, oceanfront dining, art galleries, surf lessons, Iolani Palace and the famous Waikiki Beach all within walking distance of your hotel.
Must see sights around the island include:
- Pearl Harbor (which frequently sells out, I highly recommend getting your tickets in advance at http://www.recreation.gov) & National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific-Punchbowl
- Iolani Palace & Queen Emma Summer Palace & Bishop Museum
- Hanauma Bay & Diamond Crater
- North Shore, Hale’Iwa and the famous beaches-Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach
- The Polynesian Culture Center-an all day experience and luau.
Hanauma Bay is just like it looks in the postcards. Snorkel equipment can be rented there and they sell fish food to feed them. Be sure to look for Hawaii’s state fish, Humuhumunukunukuapuaa.
It’s a little chilling when the big ones come right up and brush against your legs, but everyone should be a tourist and go there at least once. Honolulu has a great zoo and SeaLife park, Famous Diamond Head, a dormant volcano that was used as a WWII lookout is now a state park, amazing banyan trees, a safe swimming beach and surf lessons.
I loved the International Marketplace right in downtown Honolulu, but it has been torn down and is being replaced with high end stores. Queen Emma’s family owned the property and sold it to fund medical facilities for the Hawaiian residents. So it’s a good thing, but I will miss it.
I always allow time for souvenir hunting. My husband buys a new hat & t-shirts from each place we visit and my mission is to find a Christmas Santa Ornament for my collection that depicts the destination. One of my favorites is Santa surfing on a stingray from Grand Cayman. The popular area around Lewers street has been transformed into The Waikiki Beachwalk with shops, dining, hotels, island style entertainment and cultural events, adding to the excitement of downtown Waikiki. Relaxing at one of the open air restaurants is a great way to enjoy Hawaiian sunsets. I can almost guarantee a great photo opportunity.
My cousin, Kathy, lives in Mililani, on Oahu and she is always up for a “trip” to the city when we visit. Her husband Keith is a good sport and comes along for the ride, but, I’m sure he would rather be in North Shore catching minnows to go fishing at Kaena Point. He took my husband along one night to “catch bait” (Hawaiian style) and as Keith waded in the waist deep water with a flashlight and net, Don walked along the shore. He tried to step over a rock on the beach and when it moved he realized it was a sea turtle. We all had a good laugh about that and it still makes a good story.
The next day we all went fishing at Kaena Point and caught some very colorful fish that the locals call “aquarium fish.” On our way to the fishing hole we walked thru the Albatross nesting area. They make their nests under the vegetation which makes it necessary to have a designated path for tourists so that the nests don’t get disturbed.
North Shore is another great reason to visit Oahu. You can swim with the sea turtles in their natural environment, just keep your distance and don’t try to touch them. Volunteers are standing by to ensure that they are not disturbed by tourists. Haleiwa is a quaint little town, renowned for its legendary beaches and the Triple Crown Of Surfing competition. Here you will find Hawaiian shops and cafes. Try Matsumoto’s with ice cream in the bottom. As with all tourist traps, the lines can be long so bring some patience with you. This area too is undergoing much needed redevelopment, creating enough space for 21 businesses. It’ll be a mix — shopping, restaurants, and they’ve made a conscious effort to make sure they’re locally based. 110 parking spaces are being added to the area behind the shops.
A great, uncrowded place to snorkel is Shark’s Cove. It’s a giant tide pool perfect for swimming. Experienced divers come here to explore the popular cave dives.
Further up the road you’ll find the world-renowned beaches of Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and of course Waimea Bay. Then there is the ultimate tourist trap, the Polynesian Culture Center, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The villages, the canoe pageant, the cultural demonstrations and entertainment were all very interesting. I would go back there in a heartbeat.
I could go on about Oahu, Waikiki and Honolulu, but don’t take my word for it. Be a TOURIST , go to Oahu for your next vacation, you’ll be glad you did.