This week Melissa from The Family Voyage is sharing 5 things to do on Ohau. I have always wanted to visit Hawaii and I hope to tick some of these off one day!
Our family spent five weeks on the Hawaiian island of Oahu last year and we were blown away by just how much there is to do! There’s so much more to Oahu than lounging on Waikiki beach or shopping in Honolulu (though there’s nothing wrong with those either!).
Check out these five can’t-miss things to do on Oahu:
Somewhere Free: Pearl Harbour National Memorial
Yes, the hanging out on the beach is one of the best free things to do on Oahu. But that’s a little too obvious isn’t it?
Take a break from the beach one day to pay tribute to the fallen heroes at the Pearl Harbour National Memorial. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour marked a critical turning point in World War II and changed the course of history for the entire planet.
Regardless of your nationality, entry is free to the complex housing two fascinating exhibits, a big-screen movie explaining “a day that will live in infamy” and a boat cruise to the USS Arizona Memorial in the middle of the water. You can optionally reserve your tickets online in advance for just $1 each, which we’d recommend as USS Arizona just reopened after a lengthy closure for repairs.
If you want to explore the history of that fateful day, there are several other Pearl Harbour sites to consider adding to your visit (though they are privately run and require paid tickets): the Mighty Mo’ battleship, the Pearl Harbour Aviation Museum and the USS Bowfin submarine. Find out more about visiting Pearl Harbour with kids.
Somewhere For The Whole Day: Polynesian Cultural Center
For over 1500 years, the Hawaiian islands have been inhabited by Polynesians who traveled by canoe from other islands of the “blue continent”. Today many of those native Hawaiians as well as Polynesians from other countries keep their cultural traditions alive and share them with visitors at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore of Oahu.
At PCC you’ll learn Polynesian dances, taste traditional foods, try your hand at weaving and much more as you explore the distinct heritages of the Hawaii, Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji and Aotearoa (New Zealand). After spending the entire day in the villages, you can enjoy either the luau or a restaurant buffet and then the stunning evening show, Hā: Breath of Life.
To make the most of your day, we recommend arriving around 11:30 and eating lunch at the Hukilau Marketplace (either your own picnic lunch or food you purchase from the food trucks). The gates to PCC open at noon and your day will be packed until the show finishes at 9pm!
Somewhere Outdoors: Diamond Head
If you only do one hike on Oahu, go to the top of Diamond Head. There are options that are less crowded and cliché, but there’s a good reason why Diamond Head is considered one of the best easy hikes on Oahu: the view.
You’ll see the gorgeous deep blue water stretching hundreds of miles, the urban skyline of Honolulu and the lush green mountains that split the island down the middle. The hike itself is very manageable, but we do recommend closed-toe shoes or hiking sandals.
Somewhere To Eat: Kahuku Farms
Kahuku Farms is off the radar and out of the way, but that’s part of why we love it so much. The farm sits all the way at the north end of Oahu, near Kahuku Point. Kahuku is a small family operation with an admirable focus on sustainable farming methods and producing gorgeous fruits and vegetables for consumption at their in-house cafe and elsewhere in Hawaii.
There are too many great options on the menu to list them all (we should know, as we kept going back during our extended stay!). Don’t miss the smoothies made with their home-grown fruits or the farm pizza served with the freshest salad you’ve ever eaten.
If you’re a real foodie, treat yourself to the Grand Tour! One of the farm owners will take you all over the property teaching you about their crops, farming methods and even the commercial aspect of food production. It was an eye-opener for us! If all that wasn’t enough, the huge lawn is perfect for a game of tag and yet another reason why Kahuku Farms makes our list of the best things to do on Oahu with kids.
Somewhere For A Rainy Day: Bishop Museum
Last but not least, one of our kids’ favourite places to go on Oahu: The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. The Bishop Museum is Hawaii’s official museum of natural and cultural history. Unlike so many natural history museums that try to cover everything that happens anywhere on Earth, the Bishop Museum is distinctively Hawaiian.
You can’t miss the planetarium show, which teaches visitors all about way-finding – the history, the future and even how to do it yourself. It’s an interactive presentation more than just a video. The new science pavilion does an excellent job teaching about the geologic and environmental processes that form and shape the Hawaiian islands (and their oceanic neighbours). There are also great displays and games to learn about the flora and fauna of the islands and how they coexist.
The fantastic main building showcases artefacts of native Hawaiian religion and culture while also showing the connections between different Polynesian societies. There are many opportunities for interactivity and so many ways to wait out the inevitable afternoon rain showers of Hawaii.
If you’re a member of your local science museum, you’ll enjoy free admission to the Bishop Museum (and a discount on the planetarium) by presenting your card. If you don’t have a membership, you can also get in at a discount with the Go Oahu card.
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