Planning a trip to Hawaii

The island of Oahu is the most popular tourist destination in Hawaii and Waikiki is the most popular place to stay on Oahu. Waikiki makes a great place to base your Hawaiian vacation due to the many hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, and of course the world famous Waikiki beach. When you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist area, Waikiki is just a short distance from rainforests, hiking trails, historic sites, scenic lookouts, and secluded beaches. There are many transportation options from Waikiki including rental cars, cabs, tour buses, and public transportation on "theBus". Below is a list of things to do in Hawaii, divided into sections that can be done in one day from Waikiki. The one day itineraries below assume a relaxed pace. If you want to see and do more in the time you have, there are notes about where 2 days of activities can be combined into one.

Day 1: Waikiki

Waikiki, on the south shore of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, is a district of the city Honolulu and home to one of the most famous beaches in the world. Waikiki hosts numerous hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, and 1.5 miles of beaches. Everything in Waikiki is within walking distance, or you can take "theBus". You could spend your entire vacation in Waikiki (but don't, there are too many other cool things to see and do on the island).

Hanauma Bay

Day 2: Snorkle at Hanauma Bay

Hanauma bay nature preserve is one of the most popular tourist destinations on Oahu. The curved bay protects the beach from the waves and the coral attracts all kinds of colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, and other sea life making this one of the best snorkeling spots in Hawaii. Beginning snorklers can stay in shallow, protected water and still see amazing fish. You can see fish in places that are only waist deep. Lifeguards are on duty. More advanced snorkelers and scuba divers can move into deeper waters. There is a large sandy beach, picnic areas, and trails with breathtaking views.

Hanauma bay is located on the southeast coast of Oahu about 10 miles east of Waikiki off route 72 (the main coastal highway). It is easily reachable by car, bus (bus #22 from Kuhio ave in Waikiki), or taxi cab. There are also tour companies that will pick up at your hotel and provide snorkel gear. Get there early. The parking lot fills up by late morning, the bay gets crowded, the lines are long, and the water is not as clear.

Hanauma bay is open from 6am-7pm in the summer and 6am-6pm in the winter. It is closed on Tuesdays. Admission cost is $7.50 per person. Parking is $1 per car. A snack bar is available, or you can bring a picnic. Snorkel gear rental is available. Locker rentals are available to store valauables. Restrooms and showers are available.

You can easily do Hanauma Bay in 1/2 day. If you want to do more on the same day, drive the rest of the south shore. See south shore details below.

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Day 3: South Shore

The South Shore of Oahu has many beaches, scenic pulloffs, and hiking trails. The best way to see the south shore is to rent a car and drive. The city bus (theBus) also travels this route, so you can get to all of these places on the theBus. Bigger surf here, especially in the summer, means some of the beaches may not be as safe for swimming. But they can be great for body boarding and boggie boarding for experience people. There are not a lot of options for lunch along the South shore. Hanauma Bay and Sea Life park both have snack bars.

Day 4: Polynesion Cultural Center

The Polynesian cultural center is a living museum highlighting the culture of the polynesian islands.

Polynesia is a large group of islands, including the Hawaiian islands, located in the Pacific ocean. The Polynesian islands include Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Easter Island, Tahiti, and French Polynesia. The people of these islands are called Polynesians.

The Polynesian cultural center can easily be an all day activity, or just a couple of hours. Choose one of more of the three main activities:

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Day 5: North Shore

The North Shore is one of the prettiest drive in Hawaii.

Day 6: Downtown Honolulu and sites just north of Honolulu

Day 7: Windward (east) Coast

Day 8: Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor, still an active navy base, houses several World War II memorials, museums, and ships. You can easily spend an entire day at Pearl Harbor, or just drop in for a few minutes and see the visitor's center and the harbor so you can say you've been there. The Pearl Harbor visitor center is about a 45 minute bus ride (bus 42 Ewa Beach) or 25 minute drive from Waikiki.

Day 9: Leeward (west) coast

Day 10: possible day to visit another island