Collected by Christopher Wallace , AFAR Contributor
129 Paoakalani Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
With its shiny black surfaces and gray-on-gray color scheme, this sleek little hotel set back on a busy Waikiki corner would be at home in any major city. Only here, the front desk clerk cheerfully hands out beach towels and boogie boards. Despite...
2335 Kalakaua Ave #116, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
The vibe in Waikiki is the most frenetic of all the spots in the islands, but there is an escape. The scene at the current iteration of the classic Hawaiian hangout, Duke's, is a step back even by Oahu standards. Best approached via the beach to...
1525 Bernice St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
The largest museum in Hawaii studies and preserves the history of the islands and the Pacific—for those interested in local culture, it's a must. The Victorian building originally housed family heirlooms from Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop,...
48-377 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA
Sometimes the strangest and perhaps scariest looking places make for the best food joints. The Waikane Store, located in Kaneohe on your way to the North Shore, may look like a shanty but behind that green exterior is perhaps the best mochiko...
47-200 Kahekili Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA
Every time I drove by the Valley of the Temples, I was curious about what lay beyond the sign for the memorial park. One day, when driving around the Island, I drove in and saw the beautiful cemetery grounds nestled under the Koolau Mountains. The...
Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
If there is one geological formation that represents the island of Oahu, and perhaps the entire state of Hawaii, it is Diamond Head. This crater, formed about 300,000 years ago, prominently sits right next to Waikiki and makes its way into many...
2310 Kūhiō Ave #124, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
When Marukame Udon opened its first restaurant outside of Japan in Waikiki it was an instant hit. Years later their delicious udon, tempura, and musubi are still in high demand. As you wait, watch the cooks sheeting and cutting the fresh dough...
3660 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA
For a special evening out, or just to enjoy a well prepared and elegantly presented meal, book reservations at 3660 On The Rise. The Euro-Island fusion restaurant blends the flavors of Europe and Asia on an exquisite menu. Every dish comes out of...
100 Hanauma Bay Rd, Honolulu, HI 96825, USA
We learned about this hard-to-find, stunning "spitting cave" in our guidebook, Oahu Revealed. Accessed via a semi-hidden public access walkway (there's a sign) in the dead end at the end of Lumahai Road, the short but steep trail leads down to a...
49-227 Kamehameha Hwy # A, Kaneohe, HI 96744, USA
For one of the best tours in Hawaii, I send my friends and family to Tropical Farms. The talented, laid back, and comical tour guides provide an entertaining history of the Hawaiian Islands through the fruits that grow on the Islands - including...
67-250 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712, USA
There are a lot of great places to eat in the North Shore town of Haleiwa but Kono's is by far my favorite. Their menu ranges from banana macadamia nut waffles to breakfast sliders (the biscuits are delicious!) to wraps to Kalua Pig in a variety...
Kailua, HI 96734, USA
Lanikai Beach is no secret to the locals, or to tourists, as it is consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world, and it's arguably the best beach on the island of Oahu. Chances are that if you're visiting Hawaii then you're probably on...
Tantalus, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
A few minutes drive takes you to a place that feels worlds away from Waikiki and Honolulu, the scenic drive surrounded with draped greenery has frequent pullout views of Diamond Head and downtown Honolulu along with stunning ocean views. To start...
Kaihalulu Beach, Hana, HI 96713, USA
This was the end of the Hana Highway in Maui. Our guidebook told of a red sand beach, but it specifically left out information on how to get there, in an effort to keep people from spoiling it. Before our trip, I printed out some instructions from...
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