Top 22 Things to Do in Oahu in 4 Days!
A 4 day Guide to the Best Eats and Things to Do in Oahu!
Hey Guys! I recently went to Oahu for 4 days. I chose to go in September at the end of peak tourist season. I highly recommend doing so because it'll be less crowded. To begin, I will share my itinerary then do a full break down of the 22 things we did and how to do them including how to reserve. Here is the link to my reel.
Oahu Itinerary (For a summarization, keep scrolling for in depth.)
Monday Land at 2 pm (HONOLULU DAY)
- Waikiki beach, Ala Moana beach
- LUNCH: LILIHA BAKERY 10 pm OG closer to kukui, HI 96817 808.531.1651 Monday ~ Sunday: 6 am~10 pm firstname.lastname@example.org
- Kukui convenice store for Best musubi (closes at 5) (1255 Nuuanu Ave, Honolulu)
- Diamond Head Need Reservation
- Leonards Bakery
- Skipped Dinner since we were full and ate Tropical Vintage Shave Ice
Tuesday (NORTH SHORE DAY)
- Waimea Falls - 9 am opens need pass 25 pp 1-2 hrs ( need to bring student ID for discount)
- Sharks Cove 1 hr- snorkeling
- LUNCH RYS POKE SHACK 11:30 and North Shore- Giovannis Shrimp 10:30- 5 pm
- Teds Bakery Closes at 6:30
- GREEN WORLD COFFEE farm
- Dole Plantation- 5:30 quick stop
- Laniakea beach 1 hr- Sunset Beach (turtles), snorkeling
- DINNER: at Helenas closes at 7:30
- Tropical Vintage Shave Ice
- Hanauma Bay tour 6 am - 12 pm ( 1 pm)They will pick us up at 5:45 am - bring extra 50 bucks (Snorkel Adventures https://hanaumabaysnorkel.com/)
- LUNCH: We ate at Mitsuwa on Waikiki but originally planned for Ono Seafood
- Lulumahu Falls 2 hours (need pass) Paid for permit
- Lanikaai pill box hike - 30 min hike - Did not do this.
- Lanikai beach at Sunset
- Dinner at KIMCHEE one- near Lanikai beach
- LUNCH: Yummy Huli Huli
- Tropical MAcadamia Farms quick stop
- 11:30 get to Kualoa Ranch for Jurassic Adventure Tour
- Poi Factory for Icecream and Poi
- Valley of the temples 3 pm close at 5 pm, 5 dollar entrance fee.
- Dinner at Pig and Lady Resy 7:30 reserved
We rented a car from Turo since we planned to drive all over the Island but if you plan to stay near Waikiki, There's lots of public transportation within Honolulu.
Snorkel Advice and Reef Safe Advice:
I personally bought a snorkel and life vest on Amazon before I went to Oahu. Snorkel rentals are expensive imo. Personally, I got the full face snorkel set but I heard some rumors that it makes people light headed and pass out and can be linked to deaths if not properly made. I noticed I got super light headed and dizzy while snorkeling so I would advise doing research on the best set for you. Any time you snorkel, It's absolute crucial you wear reef safe sunblock, Lots of stores in Waikiki will label a sunblock Reef safe but if you look at the ingredients, it's not actually reef safe. We went to safeway and found reef safe sunscreen but alternatively you can go to Target.
We stayed at Surfjack Hotel! It was in Waikiki, No hidden fees, and free parking at the Hyatt Centric. It's so hard to find free parking and no hidden fees in Oahu in my opinion.
Now without further ado, here are my 22 things to do in Oahu!
1. Liliha Bakery
@lilihabakery Go to the OG location and try their Loco Moco and coco puffs. The loco moco here was delicious! The meat was tender and the gravy was savory. I recommend trying their buttery rolls with Jam too. We got the coco puff togo and they were delish.
2. Hiking up Diamond Head State Park!
We made a reservation online for 5 per person and paid for parking too for 10 dollars. It's a 1-2 hr hike round trip hike near Honolulu. It's moderately hard hike but totally doable with plenty of water. It's mainly uphill and you get neat views at the top! There are some dark tunnels if you're not a fan of that. Wear sunscreen too. Here is where you can reserve.
3. Trying the Best Spam Musubi in Honolulu
Kukui convenience store for musubi, it closes at 5. Located at 1255 Nuuanu Ave, Honolulu near Liliha bakery if you want to pair them together. They make the musubi fresh every few minutes-hr so the rice is always warm and soft and the spam is hot. It's delicious and a local told me it's the best in town. I think he may be right! Unassuming hidden gem, street parking nearby.
4. Leonards Bakery
@leonardsbakeryhawaii for Masaladas. I recommend the Vanilla, macadamia nut or chocolate one. The line wasn't too long and they had multiple locations.
5. Visit Waimea Falls
Costs 25 for an adult. It's a beautiful garden hike to a swimmable waterfall located in North Shore. The waterfall isn't swimmable depending on rain or dry seasons. It's pretty hot and humid so dress cool and expect at least 1-2 hours here. You can buy tickets here, with a student discount if you bring an ID.
6. Sharks Cove Snorkeling
Great shallow calm waters that are great for snorkeling! Apparently in Winter time it's dangerous though. The water isn't too deep so it's a good spot for kids. There's lots of fish but not too many coral unfortunately. We parked at the Foodland across the street. Wear your reef safe sunscreen! (NORTH SHORE)
7. Seeing wild Honu at Laniakea Beach
Great spot for snorkeling but expect more turbulent water and less fish. Lots of Sea turtles. Remember that it's against the law to touch the turtles and they recommend 6-10 ft from the turtles. There's free street parking.
8. Trying Dole Whip at Dole Plantation Farm
Quick easy stop on your way back to Waikiki. There's a food truck outside if you don't want to wait inside. I wanted the famous dole whip in a pineapple but it was enough for 5 people. Instead we got the Soft serve!
9. Authentic Hawaiian food at Helenas
@helenashawaiianfoood for traditional Hawaiian eats like poi and lau lau. Their signature dishes are Pipikaula Style short ribs and Lomi salmon. I recommend their Lau Lau too! It closes early so go here for lunch or early dinner.
10. Try the best shave ice ever at Island Vintage Shave Ice
I spoke to locals from Oahu and although located in a touristy area, @islandvintageshaveice makes phenomenal shave Ice! We got the heavenly lilikoi with extra mochi and it's ranked one of the best things I've ever eaten. The syrups are all made from real fruit and not too sweet, the sweet frozen yoghurt is divine and we love their soft mochi, We went twice during our short stay. The line moves really fast.
11. Visit Hanuama Bay
Hanauma Bay is arguably one of the most beautiful beach formations i've ever seen. They are a state park and the recent decline of the wildlife and reef in the Bay has led to more regulations. They are only open Wednesday- Sunday and have a reservation system to get in. Timed entry and you can only book certain days in advance. I'll link the website here. We personally just did a snorkel adventure tour to drive us there and pick up from our hotel. I recommend going for the earliest drop off time. Although they limit visitors, it gets crowded fast and honestly the wildlife starts to thin out as it gets crowded. Here is the website on reserving a visit to Hanauma. It's a mandatory video you have to watch to enter. Here is the snorkel Tour we did, It was a convenient and I hear finding parking at the bay and buying tickets are a nightmare so I'm happy we booked a tour, you have to bring cash to pay for the actual ticket to enter- 25 per person! There is food concessions on site and a small shuttle that takes you from the top to the Bay. The snorkel tour was 5-6 hours long so I recommend bringing some snacks!
12. Try the best poke ever at Rys Poke Shack
@ryspokeshack was actually featured on Netflix's Street Food series. Ry's wife cuts the tuna fresh every morning and they have different unique styles of Poke you can order. The owner was so friendly and I told him I came all the way from Austin to try his famous Poke. I recommend the Lao style ! Go early as they do sell out.
13. Try Garlic Shrimp
North Shore is a haven for garlic Shrimp. We tried Giovannis but there’s tons in North shore. I went to @giovannisshrimptruck and got the scampi style. The rice was pretty bad but the shrimp wasn't too bad. It's cash only though. I hear Fumi's is great and I saw a line.
14. Visit Lulumahu Falls!
Probably one of the most confusing yet fun hikes i've ever done. This hike is private property and a 1-2 hr hike. Follow the pink tape. You need a pass online for 2.5 dollars per person, you can purchase here, Our hotel printed it out for us, one for your car and one for you to carry. I recommend taking a left out of the bamboo forest then a right at the fork in the road. It's a really muddy trail but there's a beautiful waterfall waiting for you at the end that you can stand under! It's very easy to get lost. Don't leave any valuables in the car here. Bring bug spray, dress on loose comfy clothes as it's hot and humid. Bring lots of water.
15. Sunset at Lanikai Beach.
One of the most beautiful beaches, near Lulumahu Falls. There is free neighborhood parking for the beach. Nearby in the lanikai pill box hike but it was too late for us to go and parking was a pain to get there. This is hands down the most beautiful beach i've ever seen.
16. Try Korean Hawaiian food at Kimchee 1
If you choose to go to Lanikai beach, I recommend going here and trying the inventor of meat Jun. The menu is overwhelming but i recommend the 3 meats plate with chicken katsu, meat jun and kalbi!
17. Try Huli Huli Chicken
If you visit the west side of Oahu, there's a plethora of Huli Huli Stalls at the side of the road. We stopped by Yummy huli huli near Kualoa ranch and it was delicious! Seriously the roasted rotisserie chicken was to die for and we got a fresh pineapple juice. I highly recommend going to this spot.
18. Go on a tour at Kualoa Ranch
This is a must for all visitors of Oahu, @kualoaranch ! We did the jurassic Adventure tour for about 125 per person. Here is their website. Beautiful ranch where many movies were filmed including King Kong, Jurassic Park, and more! You can also book the movie tour which is much cheaper. There's also Bike tours and ATV tours but I loved our tour guide Sunshine! I would bring some water with you on this tour as it's 1-2 hours.
19. Icecream at Waiahole Poi Factory
An easy stop on your way from Kualoa Ranch to Waikiki, @waiaholepoifactory is a must! I recommend the sweet lady icecream with a poi cake.
20. Visit Valley of the 3 Temples
It costs 5 dollars to enter. I would visit the ByodoIn temple! it’s beautiful and looks serene. You can pay extra to feed the koi. There was even a black swan on site.
21. Buy souvenirs at Costco for cheap.
Not exaggerating but Costco has the best prices for souvenirs. You can get a box of 12 full sized boxes of hawaiian chocolate for only 30 bucks when it's usually 15 a box. There's also hawaiian shirts!
22. Eat at Pig and the Lady
We made a reservation to @pigandthelady . They made the most amazing pho, seriously it was life changing. I recommend their soft serve as well.