One of the greatest opportunities during a vacation to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, is the chance to explore the beautiful island of O’ahu. From the beaches to tropical rainforests and a bustling metropolitan city, this island of Hawai’i has something for everyone. A highlight of my visit to Aulani was driving along the coast with a stop for Hawaiian shave ice, a hike to Waimea Falls and a beachside lunch. Today, I wanted share five fantastic destinations on O’ahu that are not to be missed during your Aulani vacation!
1. North Shore - Stretching for more than seven miles along the O’ahu coast, the North Shore attracts surfers from around the world. If you are hoping to see some big waves, I recommend visiting the North Shore between November – February. However, if you have any new surfers in your ‘ohana, the waves in May – September are more tranquil and perfect for beginners. After a day along the shore, stop by the town of Haleiwa to pick up a delicious meal from a shrimp truck and save room for Hawaiian shave ice for dessert!
2. Waimea Falls - Waimea Valley is a living example of a traditional Hawaiian ahupua’a (land division that extends from the mountain to the shore.) If you want to visit this legendary location, I strongly recommend the excursion available through the Aulani tour desk. This exclusive adventure includes transportation from the resort and a guided tour of Waimea Valley by a local expert. Learn more here.
3. Waikiki - Known in Hawaiian as “spouting waters,” Waikiki is O’ahu’s main hotel and resort area, featuring world-class shopping, dining and entertainment! Your keiki will have a blast exploring the Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. You can also learn how to surf along the shores that legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku grew up surfing. At night, Waikiki turns into a bustling and energetic hot spot, ready for anyone looking to dance the night away.
4. Pearl Harbor – Exploring Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial is at the top of my must-do list for anyone visiting O’ahu, and Aulani offers a fantastic excursion to explore this historic harbor. Transportation to Pearl Harbor, as well as access to the Navy vessel that transports you to the USS Arizona Memorial is included. Learn more here.
5. Diamond Head – One of most iconic monuments on the Hawaiian islands is Diamond Head, located just a few miles from Waikiki. This crater was named by 19th century British sailors who thought they discovered diamonds along the slopes. Unfortunately, these rocks turned out to be calcite crystals with very little (if any) value! While a little strenuous, the hike to the top of Diamond Head offers one of the most breathtaking views of the island.
Where is your favorite place to explore on the island of O’ahu? Leave your answer in the comments below!