Visiting Hawaii is a dream trip for many people. Some wait quite awhile to be able to take a trip to the Aloha state. There are plenty of articles out there that talk about the things to do in Hawaii. Although Hawaiian Islands are made up a several islands (Oahu, Maui, Kauai, etc.), this article will tell you what NOT to do in Hawaii–specially the Hawaiian island of Oahu so you can have that perfect Hawaiian vacation.
My husband recently graduated with his Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration, so we knew we had to go somewhere absolutely amazing to celebrate!
After looking into several options, we decided to jump all over the cheap airfares from a Southwest Airlines sale and head to the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii! This was our first time in Hawaii and in order to satisfy our FOMO we decided to spend an entire week there.
Additional Hawaii Info– Top Ten Unforgettable Experiences in Oahu PLUS one secret that no one will tell you about (Hint- it has to do with a beach and sea turtles)
What NOT To Do In Hawaii- Biggest Rookie Mistake
Our flight was going to land in Honolulu, so we started researching places to stay around the area. We learned about the Waikiki area, where we were told, most visitors end up staying.
Waikiki is close to the airport, plenty of hotel options, and beautiful beaches. We were tempted to book a hotel there for the entire week but after doing some more research, we learned that we would be missing out on so much if we did that!
So, what’s the rookie mistake to avoid when visiting Oahu, Hawaii? Staying put in Waikiki (and only swimming at the Waikiki Beach). Now while we did love our little visit to the Waikiki area, we are so glad that we decided to experience the island in a more authentic way and enjoy the Hawaiian culture.
What You SHOULD Do In Hawaii
Find The Perfect Place To Stay
After deciding to get off the beaten path, our next step was researching where we would stay instead. That’s when we stumbled onto Kailua Beach Properties on the east side of the island.
The east side of the island was very appealing because it was outside of the touristy part of Waikiki, was home to incredible beaches, and had a more local island vibe. After looking over several of the homes that Kailua Beach Properties had to offer, the choice was easy to stay there!
Not only do they have beach homes to choose from, they also have island-style beach cottages too! The properties range from one bedroom studios to four-bedroom homes. So whether you are traveling by yourself, your babe, or your entire family, they have an option for you!
Just a few of the great amenities that we enjoyed while staying with Kailua Beach Properties were the fast wifi, in-home kitchen, washing and drying machines, and cable. They even have beach chairs and toys for your disposal. In addition, Kailua Beach Properties is a family-run business where customer service is a priority!
They are just a phone call away in order to help with anything that you need. Their warm hospitality will have you feeling like family. Their properties are located RIGHT NEXT to the beach. Seriously.
We walked barefoot from our cottage to the beach everyday and loved that we were able to come back for meals so it lightened the items that we needed to carry to the beach each time.
Looking to island hop and visit Maui while in Hawaii? Check out where you stay in Maui while visiting!
Visit Lesser-Known Beaches-
Kailua Beach is located right next to the properties while Lainkai Beach was just a short 10 minute walk. We would recommend walking to both of these beaches because parking is limited and fills up quickly in the small parking lot.
These have to be the most family-friendly beaches that we experienced during our trip. Beautiful stretches of soft sand are unmarred by rocks. Which makes it easy to get in without any water shoes on.
It was relatively quiet and had plenty of space to spread out. We personally liked Kailua Beach a little better, but Lankai was a quick walk to get to when we wanted a change of scenery. Additionally, we loved getting to play in the bigger waves on the beaches at north shore!
We also loved being able to find this secret sea turtle beach! Our hope in Hawaii was either finding a place to swim with sea turtles or see the Hawaiian monk seal, and by visiting this beach, we were able to check off one of those items from out list!
Lastly, don’t miss finding beaches that have coral reefs nearby. That is a priceless experience to be able to snorkel in a Hawaiian coral reef.
Find Some Hiking Trails-
Another great reason of getting off the beaten path is being able to experience amazing hiking trails! There were so many to choose from but with our limited time we decided to hike the Lainkai Pillbox Trail (5 minutes from Kailua Beach Properties) and the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail (20 minute drive).
The Lainkai Pillbox Trail is consistently ranked as one of the top hikes when visiting Oahu so we knew that we had to check it out. Start early in the morning or go late at night, do not attempt this hike during the day because it gets so hot! The Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is a relatively short hike that is family friendly with its’ paved path.
Part of what makes Hawaii so unique is all its’ natural wonders. A lot of these natural wonders formed due to volcanoes. In fact, Oahu was formed by two Hawaii volcanoes. You now can also hike to incredible volcano vent called Diamond head in Oahu! Get an early start because the trail fills up fast.
Visit a Botanical Garden-
The east side also has so many amazing botanical gardens to visit like the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens! A short 20 minute drive from Kailua Beach Properties will bring you to this magical place.
I always tell people that this national park took my breath away, but honestly, this botanical garden had the same effect on me!
You’ll also want to drive the Kamehameha Highway where you’ll find less-visited beaches along with locals gems like this swing! Kailua Beach Properties has a whole list of other things to see/do that you should check out!
Rent a Car-
Steve and I are so incredibly glad that we decided to rent a car while in Hawaii!
Additional Reading- Complete Guide to Renting A Jeep in Hawaii [Pros & Cons + Best Deals]
While Waikiki is great, we recommend staying on the east side of the island to be avoid the crowds and get a more authentic Hawaii experience!
A big thank you to Kailua Beach Properties for hosting us. All opinions remain our own.
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