– If you wanna be in the thick of it all, stay in Waikiki. You’ll be closer to more attractions/nightlife/airport. Just keep in mind Waikiki is super touristy.
– If you wanna get away, stay in Kailua. Not only is Lanikai beach one of the most gorgeous beaches on the planet (way nicer than Waikiki imo and pictured above), but Kailua is just a very chill area and not nearly as many tourists. Make sure you have a car so you can still drive out to other parts of the island (North Shore, Waimea, etc).
– You can take “the bus” to places around the island if you don’t have a car. I personally didn’t use it however. If renting a car is out of your budget, you can try Speedi Shuttle to get to/from the airport. As for having a dedicated car, try Relay Rides to rent a locals’ car for cheap.
Shaved Ice. This is kind of a big deal! I’ve been to Oahu twice and have tried a variety of different places for shaved ice all over the island, but my personal favorite has got to be Island Snow in Kailua by far. Apparently it is also President Obama’s favorite which I just found out today when looking for the link to give you guys. You might be a little confused when you first walk in because they also sell apparel. The location is very convenient because it’s in the same plaza as Kailua Beach Adventures which is where I booked some kayaks for the day. There’s probably nothing better than this amazing shaved ice after a long, hot day of kayaking!
– This brings me to my next tip. If you book with Kailua Beach Adventures, they ask you to pay an additional fee for extras like a cooler or a backrest. I think it was the backrest that we decided not to get but when we went in to pick up our rental, they asked again if we wanted to add that and we declined because we didn’t want to pay extra. The guy then told us that if we “liked” their Facebook page, they would include it for free. So keep that in mind when booking and when you go in!
Hiking. There’s tooooons of places to hike in Oahu that are all amazing. If you’re the average person and aren’t “marathon ready”, I would recommend the Pillbox hike to start off with, located in Kailua. It’s relatively short (about 45 mins one way) and the view is amazing. However it is very steep in some areas, so much so that there’s a rope to help pull yourself up on part of the trail. I’m not gonna lie, I only made it about halfway before I got too hot to go on, but I did get to see the amazing view of Kailua and the Mokes. If I could do it again, I would definitely get up early in the morning to do this hike when it’s not so hot and I would take a camel pack for water. The view that I saw was incredible so I can only imagine how much better it is all the way at the top.

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