Have you vacationed in the state of Hawaii yet? The sun, the beaches, the lush greenery, the food...
What are you waiting for? It is an stunning location to visit for beautiful scenery, culture, and food.
We've visited several times now and I want to share some of the tips for what to do and where to go that we enjoy the most.
For those that haven't been, it can be confusing as to where to go and what to do.
So to clear up some confusion, the island is called Oahu.
Honolulu is the capital.
Waikiki is the tourist area where most of the hotels, timeshare resorts, and shops are.
For example, we usually do a timeshare exchange to vacation on the island of Oahu rather than stay in a hotel.
Now that we got that geography out of the way, here are some tips on what to do and see.
North Shore - Try something new and get out of the touristy area for the day and take a bus to drive up north on the island.
You'll get to see the mountains and hillsides of the island and the ocean.
Most people picture Honolulu as either a giant beach or a big city.
If you stay in Waikiki, that's about all you see.
And for all you "Lost" fans, the North Shore is where they filmed quite a bit of the show.
Grab a bite to eat in one of the small eateries near the beach.
During the Winter (from November to February), this is the prime surfing season and this area becomes the host to pro tournaments.
The waves can be 20 feet high! Luau - Yes, the dancing, the leis, the fire-throwing and more; Just like you saw on the "Brady Bunch" show.
We enjoyed Germaine's Luau.
We have been before and we look forward to doing it again.
It's more than a show but a step back in time to see the island culture and fellow Americans, the Hawaiians.
The kids will love the show, how can they not? The food on the other hand...
you might want to pack some snacks for the kids, just in case.
Our kids weren't big on the pig or poi.
Pearl Harbor and Arizona Memorial - I highly recommend this but unfortunately many visitors won't be able to see it.
You must see this historic site marking the sneak attack by the Japanese on America in World War II.
This is a must see; A beautiful memorial to those heroes we lost during that fight.
USS Arizona is a battleship used during that battle.
My tip, plan this day in advance and get your tix online.
There will most certainly be a line when you show up.
Don't procrastinate, it'll book up on you and your vacation will be over.
I have heard this from other people.
Don't visit Hawaii and miss this.
And when you get tix, get there early.
Diamond Head - This is the famous view from Waikiki Beach and former site of volcanic activity.
Don't worry, you can hike it.
The view from the top is fantastic.
Be sure to bring comfortable shoes, not sandals, and sun protection for the hike.
The higher you go, the sun gets stronger and hotter.
After the hike there's a "Shave Ice" truck waiting for the over-heated hikers so be sure to bring some cash.
This is by far not the best Shave Ice but it sure did taste delicious after a long, hot hike.
If you want a great Shave Ice recommendation it is Waiola Store (named after the street it's on).
He blends the ice in a very unique manner that makes the Shave Ice have a creamy flavor to it.
I don't know how they do it! Waikiki Beach - Ok, time to hit this area but be sure to come by at night.
Make sure you stop into the many art galleries so you can see what the local artists are up to.
I love this area in the evening.
It is so alive with the the energy and artists (spray paint art, charcoal artists, oil painters and more) on the street.
And enjoy the human statues.
Aiea Loop Trail - A great scenic hike in the middle of the island at the Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area is a secret gem.
It covers more than four and a half miles of trail.
Take in views of Diamond Head, the Waianae Range, Pearl Harbor, and, if you have a bit of luck you just might see Honolulu.
Duke's Restaurant: OK, time to eat.
Duke's is near and dear to me.
I love this place.
I have always found the service to be as wonderful as the food.
On our first years ago staying in a timeshare exchange, we ate at Duke's on the advice of the concierge.
It's got the best location sitting right on the beach.
It's a great atmosphere, wonderful fresh seafood, and really good.
The fish is always so fresh and they make it different ways and the waiters always have nice suggestions on how to get the fish prepared.
How about the Tuna with Wasabi? Even if you go for an appetizer and some drinks, you'll love it.
Sweet Home Waimanalo - Another great foodie tip.
Located on the east side of the island, you can stop in and feast on some amazing fish tacos; Also offering great BBQ, cold drinks and smoothies.
The area might seem strange since it's farm country but don't overlook it.
It's an entirely different feel of the island.
You'll love it.
See you in paradise.
Aloha, my friends!