Photo Credit: Farran Manuel in Oahu, Hawaii
How To Do Oahu, Hawaii The Outdoorsy Way
Farran Manuel spent two weeks in paradise on a couples trip to Oahu, Hawaii. For those unfamiliar with the area, Oahu is part of the Hawaiian island chain. Honolulu, the state’s capital, is located on the island of Oahu. The other major islands, Maui, Kauai, and the Island of Hawaii, are about 30 minutes to an hour away.
Most tourists who visit Oahu tend to stick to Honolulu and enjoy tanning on the beach in Waikiki, but for Farran and her girlfriend Kandace, it was their third trip to the island and they wanted to do something that would speak to their outdoorsy spirit.
If you’re planning a Hawaiian trip this summer and you don’t want to spend countless days loafing at a resort, below are some recommendations from Farran for the nature lover inside you.
Day 1: We kicked off our trip hiking Lanikai Pillbox, then relaxed on Lanikai Beach. The hike is one of the easiest on the island and offers spectacular views on clear, sunny days.
Day 2: Kandace’s only request for this trip was to go to a luau, so I put her in charge of picking one. Per a recommendation from a friend, she chose Cheif’s Luau. I would’ve likely chosen something less touristy, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.
Day 3-5: No trip to Oahu is complete without visiting the North Shore. Surfers from all over the world visit this particular region to catch waves.
After a day of cliff jumping, we grabbed dinner at North Shore Shrimp Truck, then walked over to Sunset Beach to witness God’s beautiful work. Over the next few days, we came back to do it all over again.
Day 6: A friend of mine suggested that we hike the Pink Pillboxes, so we made our way to the west side of the island for the very first time. I had no idea what to expect, but this day trip ended up opening my eyes to the best side of Oahu. After a treacherous hike (it was NO joke), we relaxed at Makaha Beach.
Day 7: We enjoyed the westside so much, we decided to go back again the next day to explore it further. Our first stop was Upper Makua Cave. The views were incredible, but the hike was brutal (straight incline). After torturing ourselves, we discovered our new favorite spot on earth – Makua Beach.
Day 8: Honolulu isn’t my forte, but I’m a sucker for colorful murals, so we made our way to the city. I hate to admit this, but I ate the best burrito of my life in Hawaii. King Street Tacos gets a Texan stamp of approval and I don’t throw that around casually. We met my cousin Chastity for drinks at Barefoot Beach Cafe, then spent the rest of the evening at the coolest craft bar on the island, Bevy.
Day 9-10: After a week and a half in paradise, we officially adapted to island life. I stopped planning our days and just went with the flow. I grew deeply fond of Makaha Beach Park, so we just relaxed there for a couple of days, napping on the beach and eating Hawaiian shave ice.
Day 11: With the end of our trip approaching, we had to get back to our itinerary. Chastity, Kandace and I spent the day driving around the island, stopping at Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, Makapu’u Lookout, Halona Blowhole and Cockroach Cove. That night, we had dinner at Kickin Kajun, then laughed our stomachs sore watching Girls Trip. My idea of the perfect day.
Day 12: Chastity’s roommate invited us to go swim with the dolphins. The pods arrive early in the morning, so we woke up at 4 am to watch the meteor shower at Ka’ena Point, then slept on the beach until sunrise. Around 9 am, a pod of dolphins was spotted heading towards us. We swam 100 yards out, then waited until they circled around to pass us. When swimming with dolphins in the wild, it’s important not to chase them. They are more likely to interact with you if you don’t interfere with them. I cannot put into words how amazing this experience was.
Side note: Research “mask squeeze” before free diving. I descended too quickly without equalizing and had a terrible experience when swimming to the ocean floor.
Day 13: I was determined to do at least one thrilling hike while in Hawaii. Despite my ambitions to conquer the infamous Stairway to Heaven, I opted for Crouching Lion instead. We weren’t entirely sure how to access the trail, so we ended up scaling the mountain. We later discovered, that there was a shorter (safer) way up, but where’s the fun is that? I expected this hike to be scarier than it actually was, but it should be hiked with caution.
Day 14: Our last day was bittersweet. We went back to Makua Beach in hopes of seeing the dolphins, but they did not swim close enough for us to interact with them. We both agreed this was the best trip we’d taken and would love to do it all over again next summer.