This gorgeous and diverse Hawaiian island is the most perfect place too slow down, eat, relax—basically, do a lot of nothing, in the best way possible. (When you’re not following our Oahu shopping guide, of course.)
This famous local chef’s upscale Honolulu restaurant is fancy (there’s a dress code) and features prices to match, but treat yourself—the innovative Hawaiian cuisine and inventive drinks are that good, and you are on vacation, after all!
1875 S. King St., 808-949-2526, alanwongs.com
The Beet Box Cafe
Walk to the back of Celestial Natural Foods store to find this funky little organic North Shore café serving delicious (and huge) vegetarian burritos, fresh juices and egg scrambles.
66-443 Kamehameha Hwy, 808.637.3000, thebeetboxcafe.com
BYO to this hip new downtown Honolulu Asian-fusion restaurant (expect a corkage fee), and bring a friend—the roasted beet salad, shrimp dumplings and tempura tacos are best shared.
50 N Hotel St, 808-531-1888, luckybelly.com
Famous for their Omakase, this small sushi restaurant is arguably Hawaii’s best.
1417 S King St, 808-947-3800
The Modern Hotel
Less classic beachside luxury and more, well, modern, this new hotel located in urban Honolulu features stylish, minimalist design, airy rooms, a cool bar scene and Morimoto restaurant.
1775 Ala Moana Blvd., 808-943-5800, themodernhonolulu.com
Impeccable service, insane views…waterfalls! This upscale hotel is classic Hawaiian luxe at its finest.
2199 Kalia Rd, 808-926-8004, halekulani.com
It’s kinda why you’re here, right? Find all locations listed here.
Ala Moana Bay
Escape the hecticness of Waikiki at this expansive, pristine stretch of beach, which is just a ten-minute drive away.
You know that big final competition scene in Blue Crush—with the monster waves and all those really important surfer people? Well, that takes place here.
Also known as “Turtle Beach,” this cove is arguably the best spot on the island to watch native sea turtles hanging out.
Picture the prettiest beach you’ve ever seen—then multiply it by a hundred. That’ll kind of give you an idea of how mind-blowingly beautiful this Winward Coast spot is.
Beloved by the world’s most expert surfers for waves that reach up to thirty feet during the winter, this North Shore spot is way calmer during the summer, when the water is crystal clear water and perfect for swimming.
Located on the Leeward (west) coast, this pretty, curved beach features turquoise waters dotted with dolphins.
Diamond Head Trail
For a mere dollar, take this beautiful, postcard-perfect two-hour hike to the summit of Diamond Head crater. Then have zero guilt about being a lazy-ass beach bum for the rest of the day.
Diamond Head Road at 18th Ave, hawaiistateparks.org
Rent a Car
Oahu’s diverse beauty is sometimes best seen from the roads, which trace the coasts, duck inward through lush, mountainous patches (think of the landscapes from Lost and Jurassic Park, which were both filmed here) and past local landmarks like Pearl Harbor and, further north, the Dole Pineapple foundation.
Enterprise Car Rental, 94-1299 Ka Uka Blvd., 808-676-9495, enterprise.com
Get off the Island!
You’re too close to Kauai, Lanai and Maui (my favorite neighboring Hawaiian islands) to miss visiting at least one of them. Flights are super short, and—if booked enough in advance—super cheap.
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