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One Day in Oahu

by Angelique Platas

Jul 24, 2019

Mikhail Dudarev | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / North America

Of all the islands of Hawai’i, it can be difficult choosing where to start for your family vacation. Whether your family is decided on Oahu, also known as the Heart of Hawai’i, as your home away from home, is or looking to island hop with the stunning isle on your list, here’s a quick guide to one day on Oahu’s shores — just be sure to get an early start.


First things first, and a convenient distance from Honolulu International Airport, make a point to stop at Pearl Harbor upon arrival, or even on your way out, if time permits. The National Memorial, USS Arizona will be undergoing repairs through early fall, but Battle Ship Row is open for business. A quick stop for a bit of history is always a must-check off of some family member’s lists.


Now that you’ve had a brief history lesson, you can check another local must-do off your list: hitting the beach! One such stop is not only a must, but is a natural wonder making Oahu so special, and it’s known as Diamond Head. This dormant volcano offers surrounding scenic hikes and walking trails, with stunning views overlooking the ocean and cliff-lined beaches below. Talk a walk with the kids and earn your restful day on the nearby beach.


Kahana Valley Mountain Range.

Kahana Valley Mountain Range. Photo: Artur Spirin | Dreamstime.com


While in Oahu, even for a day, rugged hiking trails with stunning vistas should be a mainstay. Look out from scenic plateaus over lagoon-lined beaches and the island’s natural beauty will have your family feeling transported to a set of a film — literally. For the movie lovers in the group, head to Jurassic Valley of Kualoa Private Nature Reserve and see something truly unique. The adventurous travelers in your group can zip line, mountain bike, take to the jungle on Jeep tours, ride ATVs or on horseback, or get out on the water in kayaks and splash around 4-wheel drive vehicles. This reserve has it all, even beloved film sites and homegrown, farm-to-table tours for foodie families.


Between the beaches of Hanauma Bay, Lanikai Beach, Waimea Bay, Waikiki Beach, Sunset Beach and lagoons of Ko Olina, you’ll have a busy lineup of sand and surf. This versatile island lets travelers challenge themselves through nature activities, like climbing at Koko Head.


For some time off your feet and enjoying the local flora and fauna, hop on Pineapple Express train rides at the Dole Plantation.


Whatever you choose or have time to see and do, remember to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful fruits of the island … and have some Dole Whip.


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