Our Lists of the Top 5 Things to Do in Oahu | Ola Properties

Best of Oahu – Top 5 Things to Do in Oahu

Looking for things to do on Oahu? Whether you're looking for relaxation or adventure, Oahu activities range from surfing to spas and everything in between. Be sure to experience authentic Hawaiian culture with our amazing restaurants on the island or get a local's perspective on sights and history with a guided tour.

See Our Picks for the Top 5 Oahu Local Restaurants

Known for its Pan-Asian cuisine and fresh seafood, there’s no shortage of excellent restaurant options on Oahu. From fancy meals along the waterfront to convenient eats in Waikiki, there are meal options for every budget. But to eat like a real foodie, you’ll have to venture a little further than the well-traveled tourist hotspots. Without the pretention that you’ll often find in highly touristed areas, these top 5 Oahu local restaurants provide the chance to eat like a local, and trust us, your taste buds will thank you!

Matsumoto Shave Ice

Serving up Hawaii’s favorite treat for a hot day, Matsumoto Shave Ice has been a mainstay on Oahu’s North Shore for 70 years. Though there are benches that line the doorway, the line of customers waiting to indulge in this local favorite treat usually extends far beyond the seating area. Those with the willingness to wait are rewarded with what many claim is the best shave ice on Oahu. Tropical flavors such as pineapple, passion fruit, lychee, and papaya are available. To eat it like a local, order your flavor of choice served over a scoop of vanilla ice cream and topped with condensed milk and mochi.

Helena’s Hawaiian Food

This family owned and operated restaurant is a great place to try authentic Hawaiian dishes. Plan to arrive before hunger truly sets in, as you’ll likely see the line before you spot this small, unpretentious local restaurant in Honolulu. Order ala carte for a variety of options or select one of the set menus, which come with a side of poi or rice. One of the most popular dishes is the kalua pig and pipikaula short ribs with two scoops of rice. If you’re traveling with a large family or group, ordering several ala carte items to share is also a great option!

Rainbow Drive-In

A neon rainbow arches its way over the sign at Rainbow Drive-In, where local comfort food is served up in large portions. What began as a small eatery serving up 50-cent chili and rice plates, $1 BBQ beef plates, 25-cent hamburgers and 14-cent fries in 1961 has now become a well-loved eatery that has been featured on shows such as Diners, Drive Ins and Dives and Hawaii 5-0. Though it has branched out to several locations on Oahu, its simplicity and good eats have remained the same. This is the iconic place to dive in to Hawaii’s love of plate lunches, which usually are accompanied by two scoops of white rice and a scoop of Hawaii-style macaroni salad. A popular order here is the mix plate, which comes with an assortment of BBQ beef, chicken, and mahi mahi. If you have yet to try the popular loco moco dish, this is a good place to do so. A Hawaii favorite, the loco moco consists of hamburger patties placed on a bed of rice and topped with two fried eggs and smothered in gravy.

Liliha Bakery

With three locations on Oahu, Liliha Bakery offers the chance to start the day off with some of the best sweet treats around. Established over 70 years ago, this bakery is most well-known for its pastries, though they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The coco puffs are the most loved item at Liliha Bakery and are a must-try. These cream puffs filled with chocolate pudding and topped with a cool macadamia nut chantilly frosting are finger-licking good. While you can order a single coco puff, we highly recommend you order by the half dozen or dozen, as you’ll likely be back for more! Their bakery menu is extensive, with countless treats to satisfy that sweet tooth craving. Liliha also serves up omelets, lunch and dinner plates, burgers, and sandwiches.

Fresh Catch Poke Co.

While poke may be slowly gaining ground in other parts of the country, it has long been a staple of Native Hawaiian cuisine. Poke (pronounced poh-keh) is comprised of cubed raw ahi tuna, sea salt, seaweed, and limu, with nearly endless variations adding to these base ingredients. Fresh Catch is a great place to try this favorite local dish. Fresh Catch prides itself on using only fish obtained from sustainable, eco-friendly partners and fresh, locally grown produce as much as possible. Order from the counter at this local eatery, where many of the options can be viewed in the adjacent deli case. The most popular item here is the poke bowl, of which there are about a dozen choices as well as a build-your-own option. If this is your first time trying poke, try the basic Aloha Bowl, or kick the spice up a notch with the Hawaii 5-0 Bowl.

While a vacation in Hawaii calls for five-star meals along the oceanfront, it also offers the chance to eat at Oahu’s lesser-known eateries that serve up some of the best food on the island. Be sure to expand your palate by dining at these top 5 Oahu local restaurants! Contact us to learn more and book your next stay today!

Top 5 Late Night Hangout Spots to Enjoy the Oahu Nightlife

Of all the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu is hands down the place you’ll find the liveliest nightlife scene. Whether you want to satisfy that late-night midnight sweet tooth craving or dance until the early morning hours, Oahu’s late night hangout spots have you covered. Most of the bustling Oahu nightlife scene can be found in Honolulu and Waikiki, although you’ll find an assortment of options in other areas of the island as well. Spend the days hitting world class white sand beaches and the evenings dancing or dining at these top five late night hangout spots on Oahu!

Yanagi Sushi

For a late-night meal, head to Yanagi Sushi, which stays open until 1am every evening with the exception of Sundays, when they close at 10pm. Yanagi offers traditional sushi using fresh, locally caught ahi tuna as well as other fresh local fish. This casual eatery is a great option for a late-night meal to avoid heading to a fast food chain. For orders placed after 9pm, they offer a late-night specials menu featuring a variety of appetizers, rolls, and combination plates. Their spicy tuna roll is a favorite, paired with a Kirin Ichiban draft beer. They also offer both hot and cold Japanese sake, as well as Korean soju.

Liliha Bakery

Open until 10pm on most evenings, Liliha Bakery is a great place to go when the post-dinner sweet tooth craving hits. This Oahu mainstay has been serving sweet treats to island residents and visitors for over 70 years. All of their baked goods are made from scratch using the same time-honored methods and local ingredients. With over 100 baked goods to choose from, there’s something for every taste at Liliha. However, they are most known for their coco puffs, chocolate cream puffs covered in their famous homemade Chantilly frosting and sold by the single, half dozen, or dozen. Their bakery menu is packed full of options that include danishes, cupcakes, muffins, rolls, scones, donuts, cookies, mochi, bread, cakes, pies, and a plethora of other pastries. Grab a late-night dessert and some extras to go to be enjoyed for breakfast the following morning!

Yard House

With over 100 beer options on tap, Yard House is a destination for all beer aficionados. Enjoy your brew from inside the dining room or at an outdoor table but be prepared for a wait at this popular Honolulu nightlife spot. In addition to the many beer options on tap, you’ll also find additional beverage options such as seltzers on tap, cocktails, margaritas, spirits, and wine, among others. Yard House also boasts a full dining menu featuring tacos, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, steaks, and seafood dishes. Try an order of poke nachos with your brew, a local favorite that consists of raw ahi tuna, crispy wontons, avocado, serranos, white truffle sauce, sweet soy ginger sauce, sriracha aïoli, cilantro, green onions, nori, and sesame seeds atop a bed of crunchy chips.

Moani Island Bistro & Bar

For a hot spot away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, try Moani Island Bistro & Bar, located in the west side town of Kapolei. They offer live music every night until 8pm, though their hours extend beyond the last notes that are played until 11pm on weeknights and 12pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Moani offers a variety of cocktails, included those with a tropical flair such as the lilikoi mule, a twist on the traditional Moscow mule that includes lilikoi syrup. Keep the party going with one of their 51 oz cocktail bowls, or order beer by the pitcher, bucket, or glass. In addition to drinks, Moani Island Bistro & Bar offers a full dining menu with appetizers and local style plates with an Asian fusion theme.

Buho Cantina

Situated in the heart of Waikiki and open until 12am nightly, Buho Cantina offers a late-night spot with the ultimate view. Gather with friends or make some new ones in the chic lounge areas of this rooftop setting, backed by the twinkling lights of the city skyline. If you come early enough, you’ll catch a fabulous sunset from the rooftop, and on Friday’s the skyline lights up with a fireworks display over Waikiki. Buho Cantina puts on frequent special events that keep the atmosphere lively, such as the Cinco de Buho on the 5th of every month where there’s live music, dancing, and food and drink specials. In addition to signature margaritas and other great drinks, Buho Cantina offers a full menu featuring Mexican cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients. Feast on fresh seafood or Mexican plates as you dine and drink the evening away along the fabulous skyline of Waikiki!

Still in search of accommodations for your Oahu vacation to enjoy the Oahu nightlife? Our Oahu vacation rentals offer the perfect island getaway, while still providing easy access to top Oahu late night hangouts. Book your accommodations online today!

Top 5 Local Oahu Shops to Visit

Hawaii may be known as a top beach destination, but when it comes to shopping, the island of Oahu also more than delivers. Oahu is home to the largest outdoor shopping mall in the world, countless surf shops, local boutiques, farmers markets, and many of the big box stores you’d find elsewhere in the country. Whether you want to shop handmade goods or worldwide luxury brands, you’ll find it all on Oahu. The island also has its share of shops geared toward tourists, filled with resort wear, souvenirs, and home décor that allow you to bring a piece of the island back home. But if you want to step outside the tourist bubble and shop like a local, add these top 5 local-only Oahu shops to your shopping day itinerary!


If any big box store needs to make the local shopping list, it’s Ross. This store is a local favorite not only for its low prices, but also because it carries a lot of popular surf brands at a fraction of the regular cost. In fact, the store is so popular here there are an astounding 15 Ross locations just on the island of Oahu. Though some shoppers may think twice about going to a big box store, you may want to reconsider. Many of the big box stores located in the Hawaiian Islands offer a wide variety of relevant beachwear and products that wouldn’t normally be found in locations elsewhere, all at budget friendly prices.

Local Motion

In the 70s, a local Oahu surfboard shaper began creating original boardshorts, t-shirts, and aloha shirts. Today that small enterprise has grown into Local Motion, with six stores spread across Oahu and Maui. Representative of Hawaii’s surf culture, Local Motion’s signature style with a palm tree logo can be spotted on locals throughout the islands. This store offers t-shirts, hoodies, tanks, and hats, among other clothing and accessories. For visitors to Hawaii, the apparel at Local Motion can double as casual wear and memorabilia from your island vacation!

Hawaiian Island Creations

Another surf shop that began as a small enterprise on Oahu’s windward shore, Hawaiian Island Creations now encompasses 14 stores spread across three islands. HIC offers surfboards and surf accessories such as leashes and wax. You’ll also likely spot the HIC logo on clothing worn by locals around the island. HIC offers casual wear such as tanks, t-shirts, and hoodies for both men and women. In addition, Hawaiian Island Creations partners with other brands such as Billabong, Dakine, Havaianas, Hurley, Hydro Flask, O’Neill, and Quiksilver, among others, to offer a wide variety of additional products. Casual wear, swimwear, and accessories can all be found at Hawaiian Island Creations, one of the best surf Oahu shops!

Ala Moana Center

As the largest open-air shopping mall in the world, Ala Moana Center is a popular draw for all those who love to shop. This mall boasts well over 300 stores and restaurants, so no matter if you’re looking for new beachwear or the latest trends for your dinner out, you’ll have no trouble finding it at Ala Moana Center. While it’s true that Ala Moana is frequented by residents and visitors alike, there are a handful of stores within the center that are most frequently visited by locals. Splash Hawaii is a favorite for beachwear, especially the Honey Girl bikini line geared toward paddlers and surfers. Surf shops in Oahu such as T&C Surf Designs, Local Motion, and Rip Curl are also popular with locals for their beachwear and surf-inspired casual wear.

KCC Farmer’s Market

Eat fresh and eat local when you shop at some of Oahu’s best farmer’s markets located around the island. A trip to the farmer’s market will reveal where many locals get their fresh fruits and vegetables, among other products, in order to support local growers and artisans. At the KCC Farmer’s Market, you’ll find much more than simply a few tables offering the local farmer’s produce. With over 70 vendors offering a variety of products, you’ll want to take your time browsing the tables at this well-rounded market. Aside from produce, you’ll find items such as locally harvested honey, sausage, coffee, salsa, seasonings, jams, breads, organic sunscreen, and plants, among many other items. And if you come hungry, you can enjoy freshly prepared foods such as smoothies, desserts, breakfast items, and musubi right onsite! Great for bringing back home as gifts or for treating yourself, you’ll find many unique locally made items at KCC Farmer’s Market. The market is located at Kapiolani Community College and free parking is available.

Visit these Oahu Shops Today!

From beachwear for the next day’s outing to gifts perfect for bringing home, you’ll find a variety of items worth splurging on in these top 5 local only shops in Oahu! Contact us to learn more and book your next stay today!

Top 5 Local Only Oahu Breweries

Spend your vacation days in Hawaii beach hopping by day and unwinding in the evening with a cold, locally made brew. For an island that is relatively small in size, Oahu boasts a surprising number of local breweries. From small batch brews to more well-known labels, Oahu has something for every beer fan. Be sure to add these top five local only Oahu breweries to the itinerary for a true taste of the islands!

Hana Koa Brewing Company

Located in the Kaka’ako area of Honolulu, this brewery is easily accessible when spending a day exploring downtown. Owned by a young couple who combined their passion for beer and brewing into what has now become the Hana Koa Brewing Company, this lesser-known brewery in Oahu is well worth a stop. Hana Koa Brewing Company boasts a dozen brews on tap, many with tropical inspiration such as Beach Bum, Chill Vibes Only, and Feels Like Summer. A more recent unique brew is the Cookie Monster, which combines cookie dough, sandwich cookies, and pastry chef gel to add a mystical blue hue to this 9% alcohol brew. Taste test your way through Hana Koa with a flight of the week, which features 5 oz pours of four of their brews, or create your own flight ala carte. Hana Koa Brewing Company also offers wine, cocktails, and a full dining menu featuring shared plates, burgers, items from the land and sea, and daily specials.

Waikiki Brewing Company

As the third largest craft beer producer in the state of Hawaii, Waikiki Brewing Company is well-loved for good reason. It has earned national accolades at various beer festivals and has established itself in the Oahu community as a company who sources locally. Now with multiple locations, their flagship site is in the heart of Waikiki, still owning the title of the sole brewery in the district. Waikiki Brewing Company offers around a dozen beers on tap, with nine being their core brews and the others a rotation of limited releases. They also offer cocktails, spirits, and a full dining menu. The black strap molasses porter and skinny jeans IPA are two core favorites. And if hunger strikes, their dining menu includes a variety of pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, local plates, and meat from the smoker.

Inu Island Ales

Off the beaten tourist paths of Honolulu and Waikiki, Inu Island Ales is located in the town of Kaneohe. This under-the-radar Oahu brewery is a local favorite for its unique brews and island style. The Hawaiian word Inu (pronounced Ē-nu) means drink, and it’s here you’ll find the perfect drink to kick off your afternoon or to end your evening. Be sure to plan your visit Wednesday through Sunday, as they are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. In true local style, you’ll find a scattering of stools and white board menus on the interior of Inu Island Ales. Unique brews line the menu, such as the plum jelly belly sandwich, which includes plums, marshmallow, and peanuts.

Aloha Beer Company

Serving up craft brews in a festive aloha glass with a pineapple icon, Aloha Beer Company is a local favorite. You’ll find two locations in Honolulu – one downtown and the other in the Kaka’ako area. The Kaka’ako brewery boasts and outdoor beer garden and about ten beers on tap. Order a flight for a taste of several of their top brews or pick your favorite and go with a half pint or pint. Their Waimanalo farmhouse ale and hop lei IPA are two favorites. Aloha Beer Company also offers a variety of cocktails and wine, as well as a full dining menu. Their menu features a variety of pizzas, salads, wings, and fries. The Japanese curry fries are a local favorite, topped with Japanese curry, homemade kimchi, and scallions, and pair perfectly with an ice-cold brew.

Beer Lab Hawaii

This brewery in Oahu has three locations on the island and focuses on small batch brews. What began as a home brewing hobby between three friends has quickly become a local favorite brewery on Oahu. Their brewery and tasting room is located in Waipio, with additional taprooms in Moi’ilili and Pearlridge. Located in an industrial area, Beer Lab Hawaii’s Waipio brewery is off the beaten path, making it a great hidden gem. The taproom boasts up to 15 rotating beers in a 4oz taster, half pint, or pint. Crowlers and growlers (32oz and 64oz) are also available to go. Be sure to get a crowler of kombucha to be enjoyed the following morning!

Enjoy easy access to the top five local only breweries on Oahu from these Oahu vacation rentals. From these Hawaii vacation homes, it’s easy to enjoy all the best of the island, from world class beaches to top notch drinking and dining venues. Contact us at Ola Properties to learn more!

Top 5 Oahu Brunch Restaurants

Get a leisurely start to your day without worrying you’ll miss the most important meal. Oahu’s brunch spots are plentiful, so whether you want to spend those early morning hours getting caught up on sleep or squeezing in a dawn surf session, an indulgent brunch awaits whenever you’re ready. From indulgences such as Hawaiian sweet bread French toast to bottomless glasses of mimosas, these top five Oahu brunch restaurants have got you covered. Be sure to bring your appetite and add these top dining locations to the itinerary!

My Café

Situated on the island’s sunny west side, My Café is a good option for those staying at the desirable Ko Olina resort or heading to the nearby peaceful beach lagoons. This casual eatery serves brunch daily until 2pm and is known for their excellent pancakes. With flavor options such as cookie butta luva, chocolate taro haupia, and lilikoi, you may find yourself struggling to make a decision. This is where the pancake flight comes in, which comes with three small stacks of their best flavors. Waffles, local style plates, bagels, omelets, and scrambles round out their menu for plenty of options.

Moke’s Bread & Breakfast

For pancake lovers, grabbing brunch at Moke’s Bread & Breakfast is a must. They are well known for their delicious stack of lilikoi pancakes, topped with their homemade passion fruit sauce. Their stuffed hash browns are another indulgent favorite, with the ingredients of an omelet minus the egg all stuffed inside a hash brown and smothered with melted cheese. A popular local style breakfast in Hawaii is the loco moco, which consists of a hamburger patty and sunny egg smothered with gravy and placed atop a bed of rice. Moke’s offers a couple of spins on the loco moco, one with a thick ribeye replacing the hamburger patty and the other with the addition of a creamy scoop of chili and cheese. This eatery is located in the east coast town of Kailua, so it’s perfect for a day when you’re exploring further afield.

Over Easy

You’ll have plenty of time to make it brunch at Over Easy, which serves until 1pm on Wednesday through Friday and until 1:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. While they don’t accept reservations, you can call ahead up to 30 minutes prior to your arrival to get your name on the list and lessen the wait at this popular Kailua brunch place in honolulu. They are known for their finger-licking good French toast, made on sweet bread from the Big Island’s Punalu‘u Bake Shop, crusted in Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal, and drizzled with an orange crème fraiche. Their Kailua eggs are another favorite dish, made with Portuguese sausage and rice topped with sunny eggs and smothered in bacon cabbage broth. Sip a cup of coffee made with locally roasted beans or take it up a notch with a lilikoi mimosa.

Koko Head Café

This Honolulu eatery specializes in brunch, serving it all day from 8am-2pm Wednesday-Friday and Saturday & Sunday from 7-2:30pm. The famed Chef Lee Anne Wong, from Top Chef, is the master of the kitchen here, serving up dishes with unique local and Asian fusion twists. Try the breakfast bibimbop, made with bacon Portuguese sausage, ham, kimchi, shiitake mushrooms, choy, carrots, sprouts, and a sunny egg over crispy garlic rice. And adding a spin on a Hawaii favorite, the loco moco, this café offers the Koko moco, served with tempura kimchi and their signature garlic rice. Koko Head Café is an excellent option for those who like to start their day with a drink that offers a little extra kick. They offer a dozen brunch cocktails as well as a handful of specialty coffees and locally sourced, freshly squeezed fruit juices.

Goofy Café & Dine

This hip little café with shiplap walls and large windows letting the sunshine stream in is an ideal place to start the day. Named for the goofy stance in surfboarding when surfers put their right foot forward, it has a fun beach house vibe. They boast an all-day brunch, and you may have to wait for a table at this intimate eatery, but it’s well worth it. Their French toast offers a sweet start to the day, made with Big Island sweet bread, topped with tropical fruits such as papaya, pineapple, and banana, and drizzled with honey. The kalua pork eggs benedict offers a local spin on a brunch classic, topping a poached egg with their homemade hollandaise sauce made with lilikoi butter and Hawaiian pulled pork, and serving it alongside Okinawan purple sweet potatoes. Sip an iced coffee with your meal or try one of their tropical fruit mimosas.

Enjoy the leisurely pace of island life from these Oahu vacation rentals before heading out to one of the top five Oahu brunch spots! Contact us at Ola Properties for more information.

Top 5 Oahu Fancy Restaurants

Spend your tropical vacation days soaking up the sun and your evenings taste testing your way through Oahu’s top notch dining scene. From hidden local eateries to fine dining on the oceanfront, there’s something for every foodie on Oahu on your next vacation. Plan to leave the beachwear behind and slip into something more refined for at least one evening out on Oahu. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply relishing in every moment of the vacation, a night of fine dining on Oahu is a special way to treat that special someone. For a memorable evening out, consider adding one of these top five Oahu fancy restaurants to your dining itinerary!


Dine along the beachfront with the ocean, Diamond Head, and the Waikiki skyline offering breathtaking sights over a four-course dinner menu at Azure. The dress code is resort wear at this fine dining locale, situated within The Royal Hawaiian Resort. While the menu changes with the seasons, you can expect to begin your four-course meal with an asparagus salad, accented with ingredients such as almonds, mint, and ricotta. For the second course, enjoy the creamy poached scallops before moving on to a waygu strip loin garnished with truffled cream corn and pickled garlic. Top the meal off with a slice of honey cake, the perfect sweet end to the evening.

Chef Chai

Snag a table on the outdoor patio or in the modern interior of Chef Chai, which is known for their upscale Asian fusion dishes. From features in Travel & Leisure to his own cooking shows “Dining Out with Chai” and “Chai’s Choices,” Chef Chai is a well-known name on the dining scene. New and innovative uses of spices and ingredients create a fusion of flavors in his signature dishes. A great option for those trying out Chef Chai for the first time is to order from the Tasting Menu, which provides an appetizer, main course, and dessert at a set price. Start your meal with the fresh ahi tartar with avocado mousse in mini waffles cones. Moving on to the main course, the grilled filet mignon is a favorite. Top the evening off with a slice of shredded coconut cheesecake with Tahitian vanilla crème anglaise. The wine list at Chef Chai is extensive, with options to order by the glass or bottle.

Hy’s Steak House

A mainstay in Waikiki, Hy’s Steak House has been serving upscale meals to residents and visitors alike for more than 40 years. The steaks at Hy’s are dry-aged and trimmed onsite before being cooked over Hawaiian kiawe wood, making them some of the very best around. In addition to their fine dining dinners, Hy’s Steak House is also known for the amazing brunch they offer on holidays. The tableside preparation is top-notch at Hy’s, where skilled waiters prepare Caesar salad, warm spinach salad, and flambe desserts such as bananas foster and cherries jubilee all within the intimacy of your table. Start your meal out with an order of oysters rockefeller, prepared with double smoked bacon and caramelized onions. When it comes to entrees, the Oahu fancy restaurant’s name says it all – Hy’s is known for their excellent steaks. Choose among cuts such as delmonico, ribeye, porterhouse, filet mignon, and New York strip, turning it into surf n’ turf with an added lobster tail or king crab legs. Toast to a special occasion with wine by the glass or bottle and be prepared to be wowed with dessert. You can’t go wrong with any of their flambe desserts, but the bananas foster is especially decadent.


The name Roy Yamaguchi is now known the world over, and his fancy restaurants in Oahu can’t be overlooked for a fine dining experience on Oahu. The island boasts three Roy’s locations, including one in Hawaii Kai, Waikiki, and Ko Olina. Known for his Hawaii inspired cuisine, Roy’s is a great place to get a taste of the islands. Opt for the al fresco prix fixe menu, which boasts three courses that are an idea mix of items from the land and sea, as well as a decadent dessert.

53 by the Sea

Situated right along the oceanfront, 53 by the Sea lives up to its name by offering stunning views over the sea as you dine. Soak in views of the famed Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head as you feast on dishes made with fresh local ingredients and locally caught seafood. The gentle tunes of live piano music create an atmospheric backdrop for your meal at 53 by the Sea. Start your meal with an order of crab cakes, served with Japanese pickled vegetable relish and caper aioli. Mains include a selection of items from the land and sea. For the seafood lover, the pan seared ahi steak is a favorite, served with stir fried vegetables, watercress relish, and truffle sauce. Let your conversation linger over drinks with a specialty cocktail or wine by the glass or bottle.

Enjoy the upscale home base of the highly desirable Ko Olina vacation rentals in sunny west Oahu, where you’ll enjoy easy access to Oahu’s best fine dining restaurants! Contact us to learn more today!

Top 5 Oahu Sightseeing Spots for a Gorgeous View

Oahu may be home to the sizeable city of Honolulu, but it offers much more than a cityscape when it comes to views. Though the juxtaposition of skyscrapers and white sand beaches certainly does have its own appeal, you’ll also find rugged coastlines, offshore islands, and lush plant life that make Oahu a true paradise. Whether you’re searching for a romantic spot for a picnic or you simply want to capture the vast beauty of the island, be sure to check out these top 5 Oahu sightseeing spots for a gorgeous view!

Diamond Head National Monument

Contemplate the island’s city life from a bird’s eye view at the peak of Diamond Head. Diamond Head National Monument stands at the east end of Waikiki as a backdrop to the Waikiki and Honolulu skyline. While you can certainly admire it from afar, the real views are from the crater’s summit, which is a 0.8-mile journey from the trailhead. Though short in distance, the challenge comes with 560 feet of elevation gain. A variety of pavement and natural surfaces lead to the top, where you can take in historic aspects of the area such as the military bunkers and Fire Control Station that served the original purpose of the trail. Today, however, people make the trek to soak in panoramic views from the top, where views extend down the shoreline from Koko Head to Wai‘anae. During winter months, keep your eyes trained on the water to catch a bird’s eye view of the whales that migrate to Hawaii’s warm waters!

Hanauma Bay Lookout

Hanauma Bay is mostly known for its title as the top snorkeling spot on Oahu. And while there are amazing views to be had from the beachfront, the views from above are even more spectacular. Especially if you already plan to snorkel at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, be sure to include the short hike to Hanauma Bay Lookout at the top of this popular place to see in Oahu! This lookout provides an excellent bird’s eye view of the bay, where crystal clear waters allow viewers to get a great look at the vast reef that makes this such an excellent snorkeling destination.

Kaneohe Sandbar

Located off the eastern side of the island, the Kaneohe Sandbar is a great place to take in scenic views from offshore. The sandbar is located in the middle of the large Kaneohe Bay and is best accessed at low tide when the sand is completely exposed. Surrounded by crystal clear aqua waters and with views of the Ko’olau Mountains in the background, the Kaneohe Sandbar offers both gorgeous views and a fun water adventure. The sandbar is located a few hundred yards offshore and requires a boat or kayak to reach. Bring along food, drinks, and plenty of sunscreen, and plan to spend a few hours floating, playing volleyball, or soaking up the sun at the Kaneohe Sandbar! Captain Bob’s offers a boat tour that includes the sandbar or rent kayaks for a DIY excursion.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

The often-photographed road into Ho’omaluahia Botanical Garden is just a glimpse of what is to come. With thick palms lining the roadside, sheer mist-covered mountain spires in the distance, and a road that seems to disappear into the landscape, the entrance of this place to see in Oahu itself is breathtaking. The Hawaiian name Ho’omaluhia means peaceful refuge, and that’s exactly what you’ll find on these 400 acres. The gardens themselves are organized around geographical regions, such as plantings from Melanesia, Hawaii, and Polynesia, among others from around the world. Admission is free, and while you’ll have to do some exploring on foot to truly appreciate the beauty of each garden, it is also possible to complete a driving tour through part of the grounds.

Lanikai Beach

Oahu’s east coast is home to what has been named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The water that kisses the shoreline at Lanikai Beach is impossibly turquoise blue and crystal clear, and with offshore islands dotting the horizon, the views here are stunning. Not only great for enjoying the views, Lanikai Beach is a good place to spend the day swimming and soaking up the sun. The water here is usually calm, making it a good beach destination for families. The small Mokulua Islands sit just offshore, both of which are uninhabited seabird sanctuaries. If you want to do more than simply admire the island’s from afar, they can also be reached by kayak. Neighboring Kailua Beach offers many of the same views and is an easier starting point for kayaking. North Mokulua Island has several white sandy beaches that are accessible to the public. If that seems like too much of an effort, lazing along the shores of Lanikai Beach and soaking in the views is still a great way to spend the day!

Enjoy Oahu Sightseeing Today!

From the mountains to the sea, be sure explore these top 5 Oahu sightseeing spots for a gorgeous view on Oahu during your Hawaii getaway! Contact us to learn more and book your next stay today!

Top 5 Oahu Tourist Attractions and Hot Spots

Vacationing on an island means you never have to travel far before you come upon another top spot of interest. On Oahu, where the terrain and sights range from a bustling cosmopolitan city to world class white sand beaches, the variety is even greater. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, water sports, or simply lounging on some of the world’s best beaches, Oahu more than delivers. While you’re sure to discover many hidden gems and personal favorites along the way, be sure to add these top 5 Oahu tourist attractions and hot spots on Oahu to your travel bucket list!

Diamond Head State Monument

A broad crater that sits near the eastern edge of Waikiki’s coastline, it’s hard to miss Diamond Head’s forbidding form as you lounge on the beaches of Waikiki. Best experienced close up, Diamond Head State Monument makes a great destination for a day hike with scenic views. The trail to the summit was originally used as part of Oahu’s coastal defense system, and the Fire Control Station and military bunkers still stand as evidence to this area’s long history. Today, locals and visitors use Diamond Head as a leisurely, albeit challenging, hiking route. While the ascent is just 0.8 miles, you’ll gain 560 feet between the distance of the trailhead and the summit. Some concrete has been added to the trail to prevent erosion. Make your way over switchbacks and up steep staircases before reaching the summit, where you can catch your breath near the navigational lighthouse that dates back to 1917. Then, reap the rewards of stunning views across the ocean and along the shoreline extending from Koko Head to Wai‘anae. During winter months, this is also a great spot to catch sight of whales from a bird’s eye view.

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Pearl Harbor is one of the most recognized Oahu tourism sites in Hawaii, especially for Americans. Today a white memorial building with a flag flying high is situated in the middle of the harbor, which was once the site of the bombing that entered the United States into World War II. A free shuttle boat service is offered to visitors to and from the memorial site. The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is also free, and offers exhibit galleries, outdoor exhibits, and an audio tour that offer visitors a deeper insight into the events of the Pacific War. For history buffs, this is a must-see sight on Oahu!

Polynesian Cultural Center

Embrace the richness of Hawaii’s culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Here, visitors not only get to enjoy hands-on experiences with the arts, crafts, music, and dance of Hawaii, but also of the other areas that make up Polynesia, such as Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), and Fiji. The whole family will become immersed in hands-on experiences as you travel from village to village, experiencing authentic daily life from long ago. End the visit with a spectacular luau, complete with a feast of traditional Hawaiian food, music, and dancing!

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Carving a notch out of the southeast corner of the island, Hanauma Bay is an Oahu tourism hotspot for viewing the island’s vast marine life. As a protected marine life conservation area and underwater park situated in a natural environment, this is an ideal location for observing the beauty of Oahu’s underwater world. The bay has a vast reef system that makes it the best spot on Oahu for snorkeling. With sandy entrance points as well as reef that is located both near to shore and in deep waters, Hanauma Bay works well for both beginning and advanced snorkelers. Before entering, visitors watch a mandatory 9-minute video to learn about the marine life and preservation of the bay, so that everyone can do their part in keeping this place pristine. Be sure to bring reef-safe sunscreen and make an advance reservation in order to secure your day of underwater fun at Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve!

Lanikai Beach

Situated along the island’s east coast, Lanikai Beach has been named not only the most beautiful beach on Oahu, but also one of the best in the world. In Hawaiian, Lanikai is translated to “heavenly ocean”, and it’s easy to see why upon arrival. Unlike many other Hawaii beaches, the waters at Lanikai stay shallow for a good distance before descending into the deeper ocean, giving the water that clear, aqua blue hue that is what beach postcards are made of. Without the presence of reef to attract marine life, it may be best to leave the snorkeling gear at home, but the calm waters here make it a great place for families and for a day of swimming and relaxing along the shoreline. If you’re unable to secure parking at Lanikai, don’t despair. Lanikai neighbors Kailua Beach Park, which offers much of the same beach experience and views!

Check Out These Oahu Tourist Attractions Today!

Experience the rich history, culture, and of course, world class white sand beaches when you visit these top 5 Oahu tourist attractions and hot spots on Oahu! Contact us to learn more and book your next stay today!

Top 5 Oahu Wildlife Watching Spots

From spotting the nēnē goose, the official state bird of Hawaii, to watching dolphins and whales play in the waters surrounding the island, Oahu is an excellent location for wildlife enthusiasts. Whether you’re lounging along the beach, hiking a challenging trail, or relaxing aboard a luxury boat, there are a wide range of wildlife viewing opportunities for visitors to Hawaii. It may come as no surprise that some of the very best wildlife watching spots happen to be located under the water, but there’s plenty to see even for those who prefer to keep their feet on dry land. On your island vacation, be sure to add these top five Oahu wildlife watching spots to your itinerary!

James Campbell National Oahu Wildlife Refuge

Situated along Oahu’s north shore, the James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge is one of the few natural wetland areas that still exist on the island. The refuge was begun in order to provide additional habitats for endangered waterbirds, migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, seabirds, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, and threatened Hawaiian green sea turtles. Catch sight of the pueo (the Hawaiian short-eared owl), as well as other native and migratory birds on a bird walk through the refuge.

Waimea Wall

This underwater location is one of the island’s top scuba diving spots. Located on the island’s north shore, you’ll descend into water that is 25 to 60 feet deep to explore this underwater playground. Once you’ve introduced yourself to the underwater world, you’ll spot Honolulu wildlife such as whitetip reef sharks, eagle rays, lobster, and a variety of shellfish. A well-established outfitter to scuba dive at Waimea Wall is Island Divers Hawaii, who also offers other scuba excursions around the island. On some of the other scuba diving expeditions you can expect to encounter wildlife such as spotted puffer fish, moray eels, triggerfish, fantail filefish, manta rays, moorish idols, green turtles, spotted eagle rays, octopi, and unicorn fish, among many others.

Sea Life Park Hawaii

Enjoy up close and personal dolphin and shark encounters at Sea Life Park Hawaii! Shows, hands-on experience, and educational talks all work together to provide the complete animal experience. Observe reef sharks in the pool and watch baby sharks being fed or take in a breathtaking dolphin show at the Dolphin Lagoon. For those who have always dreamed of swimming alongside dolphins, those dreams can come true at Sea Life Park Hawaii! Opportunities to engage in playtime with sea lions and touch small creatures in the touch pool such as sea stars, urchins, and baby sea turtles are also available. Hawaiian waters are filled with these fascinating sea creatures, and Sea Life Park Hawaii provides the opportunity to view them from a closer vantage point!

Hanauma Nature Preserve

What was formerly used by Hawaiian royalty as a site for fishing and recreation is now a protected marine life conservation area ideal for observing some of Hawaii’s many tropical fish and marine life species that call these waters home. The first stop will be the marine education center, where a mandatory 9-minute video educates visitors on the marine life, preservation, and safety rules for the park. Reservations to visit the park are required in order to protect this pristine marine ecosystem from overuse. The bay is a top snorkeling destination on the islands and provides an excellent environment for snorkelers of all ability levels. A sandy entry and a vast coral reef near the shore is excellent for beginners, while more advanced snorkelers can venture out into deeper waters. Enjoy some underwater Oahu wildlife watching from the pristine waters of Hanauma Nature Preserve!

Dolphin & Whale Watching Boat Excursion

Though you may be lucky enough to spot a passing dolphin or whale spout from the shoreline, these sightings are few and far between. To get a chance to observe these playful creatures up close in their natural habitat, the best option is to embark on a dolphin or whale watching boat excursion. Ko Olina Ocean Adventures is a top outfitter that offers excursions from the island’s southwest shore. Their sail and snorkel adventure whisks you away from shore on a beautiful catamaran, where you can literally sail off into the sunset. Hawaiian spinner dolphins can often be seen leaping and playing right alongside the boat. During whale watching season, which falls during the months of December through March, Alaska humpback whales can often be spotted. Many boat excursions also include a stop at a coral reef, where you can snorkel from the boat alongside tropical reef fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Still in search of Oahu accommodations? At Ola Properties, we offer upscale Oahu vacation rentals along the island’s sunny west coast. Enjoy easy access to the top Honolulu wildlife watching spots on Oahu from your home base in Ko Olina or Makaha. Contact us today to learn more!

Top 5 Under the Radar Attractions on Oahu

It’s hardly a visit to Oahu, Hawaii if you haven’t wandered the cosmopolitan streets of Waikiki, admired the outline of Diamond Head in the distance, or contemplated our nation’s history at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. And while all of these must-see Oahu attractions are popular for good reason, there’s also something to be said about the less-touristed sites on the island. From quieter white sand beaches far from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki to trails that meander along the scenic coastline, there is so much more to Oahu than what can be seen in the downtown Honolulu and Waikiki areas. Venture beyond the city’s limits to see some of the top 5 Oahu off-the-beaten-path attractions, where you’ll quickly fall in love with the more authentic side of Hawaii!

North Shore

On the opposite side of the island than Waikiki and Honolulu, Oahu’s North Shore offers a completely different vibe. Here, Oahu’s surf culture is apparent in small surf towns and beaches that are known the world over for their perfect surfing waves. Especially during the winter months when the swell here is world-class, surfers flock from all over to participate in big wave surfing competitions. Whether you’re watching the action from the shoreline in the winter or enjoying a swim during the calmer summer months, North Shore beaches such as Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach are well worth a visit. The nearby town of Haleiwa offers surf shops, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants in a charming, laid-back setting.

Laniakea Beach

Situated between the surf town of Haleiwa and the surf beaches of Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay, Laniakea Beach is often overlooked on the way from one site to another. This beautiful stretch of coastline is one of the best spots on Oahu to observe giant green sea turtles (honu) basking in the sand, earning it the nickname Turtle Beach. While Hawaii law mandates that you keep a distance between yourself and sea turtles, even observing them from a few meters away reveals the size and beauty of these treasured sea creatures. Laniakea Beach is one of the best things to do in Oahu and the ideal location for capturing those sea turtle photos!

Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

Oahu is an island of contrasts, with both big-city skyscrapers and remote, rugged trails. If you’ve brought along your hiking shoes, one of the most beautiful trails to embark on is the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail, tucked along with the island’s easternmost point. At only 2 miles roundtrip, this trail delivers big in views while at the same time not requiring an entire day to conquer. Soak in views of the coastline, Koko Head, Koko Crater, and the Makapu’u Lighthouse as you make your way down the trail, part of which hugs the edge of a seaside cliff. With little shade along the route, be sure to bring a hat, plenty of water, and a camera to capture stunning views of the historic lighthouse and vast rugged coastline.

Ko Olina Lagoons

Along the island’s southwestern coastline lies a string of four picture-perfect beaches all strung together by a paved oceanfront path. The Ko Olina Lagoons offer a luxurious beach experience with upscale shops and restaurants located nearby. Lagoon 4 offers ample parking, while Lagoons 1-3 are most frequently used by guests at the highly desirable Ko Olina vacation rentals. With rock barriers that protect these beaches from larger ocean waves, the Ko Olina Lagoons are ideal for swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the paved paths or simply soak up the ambiance of these picture-perfect crescent white sand beaches!

Yokohama Bay

Oahu’s population and popularity as a beach destination mean that you’ll be sharing the beach with other beachgoers more often than not. But if you do desire a chance at securing an entire beach to yourself, Yokohama Bay is your best bet. Also known as Keawa’ula Beach, this stunning stretch of shoreline requires some effort to reach but is well worth the trek. Situated at the far northern end of Farrington Highway on the island’s west coast, you’ll find Yokohama Bay just before the road dead-ends into Ka’ena Point State Park, which marks the furthest you can drive along this rugged shoreline. The beach itself is a wide swath of golden sand with a dramatic mountain backdrop, and there’s no development to mar the scene as far as the eye can see. There are no amenities here, and its untouched nature is what gives it appeal. Bring along everything you’ll need for a day of fun and the sun, and be sure to stay for sunset, which is particularly magnificent from this west-facing beach.

Visit These Oahu Off the Beaten Path Attractions Today!

On your Hawaii vacation, be sure to venture off the beaten path to explore these top 5 Oahu off-the-beaten-path attractions! Contact us to learn more and book your next stay today!