4 days, 3 nights: How to Adventure (and relax) in O’ahu, Hawaii
Recommended for first time O’ahu travelers!
Hawaii was a place that was on my mind for a while but the travel time from New York City (my home base) was pretty intimidating. Luckily, we were in Los Angeles and that commute was a lot easier to say YES… to just four days. Therefore, the second question was…which island? It was a tough decision between O’ahu and Kauai (which has the most stunning landscapes) but ultimately we wanted a slightly more relaxing time than our usual go-go-go adventures. By no means am I an expert on Hawaii or eeeven O’ahu but we got a lot done in the shortest amount of time, and it was pretty awesome! As I mentioned in one of my Instagram posts, this trip was such a nice balance of adventures (hikes, drives, sunsets) but also beautiful beaches and lounging by our gorgeous resort. I’ll take you through the highlights day by day. Let’s Go!
Day 1: Arrive in O’ahu
When we got to Honolulu, the first thing we did was rent a Jeep. I always dreamed of spending time cruising around a beautiful island with the car roof off (my hair blowing in the wind, and such) and this rental made that a reality. I definitely recommend spending the few extra dollars and upgrading! You should budget around $150 (4 days).
After a 20 minute car ride, we were at Waikiki Beach as well as our home for the next few days - Alohilani Resort. Our room was the Premier Ocean Front. We loved the clean aesthetic of the room, the super comfortable bed, but mostly importantly - the ocean view! The pool area, along with the cabanas, was one of my favorite parts and I so wish to teleport myself there right now.
I also loved the location of the hotel because it was so lively and close to everything. After a long day of hikes, I was happy to have a ton of restaurant options extremely nearby. We ate at Morimoto Asia, one of Alohilani’s restaurants and really enjoyed it!
The hardest decision we had to make everyday: POOL or BEACH?
You can book your room here.
After we got settled in, we drove to check out a super pretty spot: Halona Beach Cove aka Cockroach Cove and it was a lovely spot to spend a few hours. Here is a drone shot by @mblockk for your viewing pleasure!
Halona Beach Cove
for a fun afternoon.
Day 2: Fly high over O’ahu
One of the highlights of the day was our 1.5 hour helicopter flight with Paradise Helicopters. Not only was it the most beautiful, fun and scenic way to spend an afternoon, but we got to fly with the doors off! The flight offers a scenic landing in a remote location of the pilots choosing which was super awesome. Kai, our pilot, was extremely experienced and I felt super safe throughout.
Here are just some of the spots you’ll see flying with the Precise MD500 Magnum PI replica helicopter:
Kaliuwa‘a (Sacred Falls)
Lē‘ahi (Diamond Head)
Low level flight off the shores of Waikīkī
Day 3: Overcome the Olomana Peaks
A trail that I will never forget in my life. Located in Kailua, approximately 20-25 minutes away from Waikiki Beach, the Olomana trail is super strenuous but the views are absolutely worth it. There are 3 peaks but Peak 1 and 2 have the best views. In my honest opinion, this hike was TOUGH. It required rock climbing, countless types of ropes to get you from one rock to another AND it was so steep — almost the whole way through. If you made it to Peak 1, do yourself the favor and trek forward to reach Peak 2. The hardest part (although we didn’t do it) is from Peak 2 to Peak 3 but multiple locals had told us that the view on Peak 3 comes no where close to that of its counterparts.
Things to remember:
1) There is no parking by the trailhead and you will get towed if you park nearby. You have to park your car on Auloa Road which is approximately a 15-20 minute road walk to the start of the trail.
Once you see the golf course entrance, continue walking straight until you see this sign. Take a sharp left!
2) You NEED hiking shoes. It will get muddy and you will get extremely dirty (especially if its been raining).
3) Start early and catch sunrise. We started the hike at 6:30/7 and we weren’t down until 12:30—absolutely exhausted, btw.
4) You will be using your hands and your upper strength… a lot.
5) People have died on his hike. Take a buddy with you and be mindful of the changing weather.
All in all, I highly recommend it!
Day 4: Find your perfect beach
Don’t worry, there are plenty to choose from! One of our favorites was a spot near (not quite) Waimānalo Beach. It’s a little off the beaten path with little to no crowds. I was really interested in checking out Lanikai Beach as well, but didn’t quite get to it… this time!
Feel free to reach out with any questions regarding this trip!