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Hawaii Travel Guide - 13 Tips for a FANTASTIC Trip to Oahu

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Hawaii yes it's part of the United

States but it feels worlds apart from

anywhere else in the country an

impossibly beautiful string of volcanic

islands in the North Pacific every time

I visit Hawaii I make a promise to

myself that I will live here someday

aptly named The Gathering Place the

island of Oahu is Hawaii's most populous

and developed island my mother grew up

here and I spent every summer of my

childhood here so I feel like I know

this island like the back of my hand if

my hand were one of the most beautiful

places on earth

which it isn't so come with me as I show

you the best beaches best island grub

local secrets advice on avoiding the

crowds money-saving tips and more

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tip number one beaches if you're like

most people this is why you come to

Hawaii and well you may think Oahu is

only about crowds Honolulu traffic and

shopping it is home to some of Hawaii's

most beautiful beaches first up my

favorite beach on the island on the

rugged majestic eastern coast of Oahu

also known as the windward side lies

Waimanalo Beach Park far from the

madding crowd of Waikiki this Beach

offers miles of white sand turquoise

waters and calm enough waves year-round

to relax and enjoy the refreshing North

Pacific the best part about this Beach

no crowds compared to Waikiki it's

practically empty

bit of a warning if you see signs

warning against jellyfish take them

seriously now the signs don't actually

mean that there are jellyfish present in

the water that day so the best way to

check is just inspect the beach if you

see lots of little bubble things with

long blueish purple-ish tails stay the

hell out of the water

these are called Portuguese Man O'War

and they want you up if you ignore this

and do go in the water anyway make sure

you have a jar of urine at the ready

just in case this is Gatorade oh it's

not all joking aside rubbing sand and

seawater and the stings and then

treating them to the vinegar is actually

what works best

next up Lanikai Beach arguably the most

beautiful beach on the island powdery

sand leads to aquamarine water won't

just offshore a few small islands rise

above the horizon it is truly

picturesque they only drawback is that

it gets kind of crowded and parking can

be tricky continuing our tour of the

windward side up the coast aways is the

incredible Kahana Bay Beach Park this

Crescent Beach just south of Honolulu is

where dreams are born when my sister and

I first arrived here as kids I turned to

her and said Meg this is where I'm gonna

get married and she knew I meant it

didn't happen in the end as evident by

my tinder profile

but the beach is still just as alluring

and poetic camping is also available and

you can hike to the top of lion head for

some spectacular views moving along to

the north shore we arrive at Waimea Bay

this is the spot where big wave surfing

was invented and it's still the site of

the annual surfing competition every

winter but during the summer months the

waves disappear almost completely making

this one of the best swimming beaches on

the island it's a perfect place to relax

backflip off a rock and try to remember

everything you did last night in your

Waikiki bender again part knee here can

be a pain in the ass you'll likely need

to Park up the hill and walk down to the

beach next just down the road from

Waimea Bay lies Sunset Beach another

surfer Haven try your hand at one of the

great pipelines in the world

or during the summer months just stare

out at the beautiful beach and chill

next up ma Caputo Beach an awesome

little beach sandwich by cliffs on

either side this is a fantastic spot for

body surfing and boogie boarding be

aware the waves here are almost always

large so only go in if you're a

competent swimmer

moving along to the Honolulu area my

first Beach recommendation is more of a

local spot the Ala Moana Beach Park it's

beautiful it's not crowded the water is

calm clear wave free due to a reef that

stretches across the entire protected

Lagoon

it's a great place to swim have a picnic

and it's only about a 10 minute walk

from Waikiki and finally of course we

hit quite possibly the most famous beach

in the world Waikiki though not my

favorite Beach on Oahu on any trip to

Honolulu

you just have to include it and if you

could look past the seas of tourists

this is actually a spectacular beach

with long stretches of white sand clear

waters great for beginner surfers but

the peak of Diamond Head rising grandly

in the background tip number two getting

around and where to stay unless you plan

on spending your entire vacation in

central Waikiki which is very walkable

the only real way to get around the

wahoo is by car there are public buses

but car rentals are reasonably

affordable I get a car on Priceline for

around $40

day just be prepared to deal with the

Honolulu traffic once you get outside

the city the traffic does subside as for

places to stay Hawaii is not cheap

beautiful Oceanside resorts will cost

you anywhere from three to seven hundred

dollars but there are some great budget

options to be found it may take some

digging around and your typical hotel

laps as an example I paid about a

hundred and fifty a night for the

charming coconut Waikiki there's also

the condo rental option like the verb

own or however the hell you say that

before

Airbnb I've seen rates on condo rentals

for as cheap as about 80 bucks and if

those are still too expensive there's

always the hostel route my two favorites

are the seaside Hawaiian hostel and the

beach Waikiki boutique hostel

tip number three where to eat and if you

stick to the more local spots you will

be rewarded with food you will be

dreaming about long after your Hawaiian

vacation ends first up the malasadas at

Leonard's bakery I travel the world

eating incredible things and this is the

perfect example of making food a

priority malasadas are basically

Portuguese doughnuts but to merely call

them a doughnut would be akin to calling

a Rembrandt of finger painting perfect

puffy pieces of dough are fried to order

then sprinkled with a little sugar and

that's it resplendent in their

simplicity chewy light fluffy sweet but

not too sweet and piping hot there are

many options some stuffed with different

flavors of cream but I always stick with

the original why mess with perfection

order them fresh and eat them right

there in the parking lot they are best

eaten right away if you have enough room

after malasadas try the sweet Pao Dolce

bread stuffed to a spicy Portuguese

sausage they're just plain brilliant now

what do you say have I overhyped this

place enough great

moving along Helen is Hawaiian food if

there is one more do not miss this

restaurant on my list this is it this

little James Beard Award winning

restaurant is probably the best example

of traditional Hawaiian food you can

find I recommend getting menu D for a

little taste of everything the salmon is

fresh and delicious the kalua pork is

the stuff of legends and the short ribs

are the best I've ever had

maybe one of the best things I've ever

add anywhere this place is just special

another special place Giovani shrimp

truck located in Kahuku on the North

Shore of Oahu this is my sister's

favorite place to eat in the world and I

can't blame her

a simple roadside seafood dive this food

truck is so good it will change your

friggin religion to shrimp

eating ism they only have four things on

the menu but I come for the shrimp

scampi a dozen unpeeled prawns sauteed

with mounds of freshly chopped garlic

and lemon butter then piled high on

white rice with even more garlic this

plate of shrimp would be very high on my

consideration for my last meal the North

Shore is littered with shrimp trucks but

Giovanni's is my favorite up next Kono's

places like Kono's remind me of why

Abajo is truly a foodie paradise there

are three locations in Honolulu Kailua

and holla Eva and they have some of the

best kalua pork on the island my

favorite thing on the menu is the

old-school pig sandwich delicious kalua

pork piled on perfect bread and

smothered in an insane tangy guava

barbecue sauce the breakfast burritos

are also amazing and don't forget to try

one of their delicious milkshakes my

favorite thing about this restaurant if

you're willing to get their logo

tattooed on your body you get half off

meals for life only in Hawaii the next

restaurant is the pig and the lady

located in the super charming Chinatown

this is some of the best Vietnamese food

I've had anywhere including Vietnam the

thigh is incredible but I come for the

bond me French Dip twelve-hour melts in

your mouth

roasted brisket on an equally crispy and

soft roll with a basil chimichurri sauce

and a little bowl of foie Anshu for

dipping I dare you to find a better

sandwich in the country up next the

ubiquitous plate lunch one of Hawaii's

most famous food offerings a plate of

meat rice and mac salad there are

probably hundreds of spots dotting the

island but my absolute favorite place is

Diamond Head market in

there Mac potato salad is a work of art

and their ginger wasabi salmon plate is

what keeps me coming back year after

year order from the window pull up a

little piece of picnic table and chow

down under the shadow of Diamond Head

crater also the market next door makes

utterly delicious desserts another

Hawaiian staple poke a and I have a few

favorite spots ahi assassins is a

hole-in-the-wall joint on the second

floor of what looks to be an apartment

complex that serves up fish so fresh I

literally watched them bring it in and

carve it up next Ono seafood another

simple little joint there is nothing

simple about the delicious flavor packed

into there poke a there will be a line

for this place but it is worth it

another amazing spot is called maguro

brothers in the kick-out leak a market

in Chinatown their pokey is simple

beyond flavorful and perfect lastly and

this may surprise you the pokey at the

grocery store food land is shockingly

fresh and delicious and finally no trip

to Hawaii would be complete without

indulging in some shave ice also

remember it's shave ice not shaved ice

don't be that tourist first

Matsumoto's and Haleiwa this place is by

far the most famous shave ice shop in

hawaii is it delicious absolutely is it

the best in the island no but if you're

already on the north shore Matsumoto's

is still an excellent place to get your

shave ice fix just know you may be

waiting in a Disneyland size line to get

it next coconuts shave ice and the

Hawaii Kai Marina strip balls it's my

second favorite shave ice spot in the

island the shave ice here is delicious

plus it's frequented by Obama and if

it's good enough for him it's good

enough for me finally

viola shave ice this is far and away the

best shave ice of Oahu the texture of

the snow is so light and fluffy melts in

your mouth and the flavored syrups are

sweet and delicious

I know Matsumoto gets all the glory but

this is pure sugary heaven

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tip number four hit the flea market and

aloha stadium this is one of the coolest

things you can do on Oahu every

Wednesday Saturday and Sunday outside

the Aloha Stadium the largest open-air

market in Hawaii springs up with over

400 stalls this is the perfect place to

do all your souvenir shopping get

beautifully handcrafted art clothes

crafts and even book tours at a

significantly lower cost than what

you'll pay at the shops of Waikiki tip

number five go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay

this one comes with a caveat large

crowds have changed this place into a

major tourist attraction however it's

still one of the best places on the

island to see the local marine life a

good tip the park is closed on Tuesdays

so if you want the clearest water show

up first thing in the morning on

Wednesday also parking can be almost

impossible so either get there before

the park opens at 6:00 a.m. or wait

until the afternoon when it clears up a

bit the busiest time is around 8 a.m. if

you want the snorkel experience without

the frills shark's Cove and the North

Shore is another great spot and if

you're into snorkeling tip number 6 take

it a step further and go scuba diving

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a Wahoo has some excellent diving

particularly its rec times like the

fantastic world war two course airplane

that was ditched in the ocean in 1946

also diving gives you a great chance to

see these beauties up close and personal

majestic and beautiful the Hawaiian sea

turtles never cease to thrill me just

look at that cute log I my favorite dive

shop on the island is reef pirate divers

they limit their dives to six divers

they go out early in the morning before

the other dive shop see of the sights to

yourself and the staff is knowledgeable

and awesome that was crash he has better

abs than I do

and if you're not certified to dive what

are you waiting for nothing better in

the world I could scuba-dive every day

of my life and it would not be a wasted

life just remember there are two kinds

of divers those who pee in their

wetsuits and those who lie about it tip

number seven take a hike

oh ah who has some wonderful hikes with

stunning views here are my four

favorites first the hike to the top of

the iconic Diamond Head Peak is one of

the easiest and certainly the most

popular the views from the top are

amazing but it can get congested with

tourists so I recommend going after 4

p.m.

note the last hike is at 4:30 next the

hike to the Makapuu lighthouse we used

to do this hike as kids when it was just

a little dirt trail then Obama did it

and they were like ooh maybe we should

make this a thing so now it's actually

like an official paved the path it's a

very easy hike for all ages really more

of an uphill walk and the view at the

top is one of my favorites on the island

third the Lanikai pillbox hike this hike

offers breathtaking views of the famous

lanikai beach the first part is a bit of

a scramble but then it levels off to a

moderately easy Ridgeline to the top

this hike is best done at dawn or dusk

of which I have no footage because

that's not what I felt it hey it was I

say not as I do

lastly for the aerobic ly incline they

hike to the top of Koko Head crater is

probably my favorite on the island you

climb up a set of derelict railroad

tracks that used to carry supplies to

the top of the mountain

this hike is by far the most strenuous

of the bunch ah this hike good for the

lungs bad for the breathing

I just got stopped by some people on the

road that said I'm only a quarter boy

there but the view from the top of

Hanauma Bay and Honolulu are absolutely

worth the 27,000 steps to the top it

still feels like 27,000 there is one

slightly scary spot if you're afraid of

heights like I am where you have to

traverse a stretch of train tracks that

are open to a drop-off below but there

is an easy way around but I challenge

you to do it I did and I was totally

fine tip number eight get blown away at

the pali lookout if you want these epic

views without the effort of the hike

this is the spot for you just off the

pali highway between Honolulu and Kailua

the overlook grants spectacular views of

the windward side of the water it said

the King Kamehameha through his enemies

off the top of this lookout to die over

a thousand feet below and while I would

advise against following in his

footsteps mostly for moral and legal

reasons the trade winds that the lookout

can get so strong on some days you can

actually lean into the wind and let it

hold almost all of your weight it's a

pretty awesome experience tip number

nine visit historic Pearl Harbor the

infamous site of the attack of Pearl

Harbor in 1941 that led to the entry of

the United States and a world war two

this is a must-see when visiting a walk

a fascinating piece of history

it is a sobering and powerful experience

they have a monument built over the

water directly above the USS Arizona

which still lies on the ocean floor like

a ghost ship look down at the sunken

battleship remember the sailors and

soldiers who lost their lives that day

and let yourself feel whatever it is you

feel also make sure to visit the USS

Missouri or mighty moe famous for the

surrender of the Japanese that

effectively ended World War two this is

a captivating piece of history that is

not to be missed

tip number 10 have fun at the halona

blowhole located on the southeastern

shore of oahu the blowhole is a natural

lava tube carved in the lava rocks of

the shore when the waves hit the shore

water is forced up through the lava tube

to an opening

rocks on the surface and the viewers are

greeted with a spray of water that can

reach heights of over thirty feet in the

air think of it as a tiny Old Faithful

but with a better backdrop also right

next to the blowhole is one of my

favorites slightly secret beaches on the

island just head down the steps to the

right of the parking lot as you're

facing it to be greeted by a gorgeous

Cove famous as the beach scene in From

Here to Eternity tip number 11 check out

the beautiful Waimea Valley and Falls

anyone who's seen the TV show Lost will

recognize this waterfall tucked away in

a beautiful park just inland from the

famous Waimea Bay this park is quite

touristy and sixteen dollars to boot but

an undeniably beautiful spot to see some

of Hawaii's colorful foliage plus you

can actually swim in the Falls albeit

with the requirement of wearing a life

jacket so touristy yes but still a blast

definitely tip number 12

rent a car get out of Honolulu drive

around the island and experience the

many wonderful neighborhoods that make

up a wahoo

make sure to hit Kailua a charming town

with shops and restaurants don't miss

the farmers market every Thursday

evening it's super local neighborhoodie

family-friendly and just an all-around

great way to spend an evening

another great neighborhood is con ele

morre whirl and framed by lush jagged

mountains a must-see is the gorgeous

peaceful and totally free botanical

gardens and the incredible valley of the

temples as you mind your way northward

you can stop by the Kualoa ranch famous

as the backdrop for many shows and

movies including Jurassic Park and you

can kayak out to Macaulay Island locally

known as Chinaman's hat finally explore

a wahoos North Shore make sure to stop

in Kahuku for the best fresh fruit on

the island the Kahuku papayas are my

particular favorite and end your drive

in the historic town of Haleiwa a

surfers haven during winter but a

charming town year-round to me these

towns truly represent what Oahu is this

is where you feel the local vibe and as

much as Honolulu has changed over the

years the windward side and the North

Shore have still largely retained their

relaxed and a local feel and finally of

course we come back to Waikiki packed

with tourists and luxury brand stores

this is admittedly not my favorite part

of the island

that being said Waikiki

he is certainly not without its charms

there's the wonderful local art display

along the fence outside the zoo on

Saturdays and Sundays the daily Street

Market on Dukes Lane the lagoon in front

of the Hilton the Ala Wai canal is one

of the more beautiful fixtures of any

city in the country and Waikiki Beach

itself while incredibly busy is

undeniably picturesque it's also a fun

place to experience some vibrant

nightlife

taking some excellent street performing

have a mai tai or seven and shop til you

drop just please don't make this the

only part of a walker you see the island

of Oahu certainly has changed a lot

since the early 1980s but even with all

its changes every time I visit a Wahoo

it feels like coming home the island has

truly spectacular scenery pristine

beaches lush jungles and hands-down the

best food in the Hawaiian Islands come

here

relax eat play and experience the

friendly Aloha spirit of a walk

thank you so much for watching if you

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videos also like with all of these

videos I realize these are just my

personal favorite spots in Oahu so if

you have any suggestions please throw

them in the comment section I always

love to hear from you one final shout

out to Rhino Cameron gear for helping me

out with some awesome new equipment

thanks so much I'll see you soon from

somewhere else in the world