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My Oahu Top Five

Oahu, Hawaii has so much to offer any visitors that it's hard to narrow down a list of recommendations to just five. Even as I type these up more keep coming to mind (like going to a luau or visiting some tropical gardens), but this list is a good starting point for anyone planning their own visit to the island. Most of these are places I've had the pleasure of enjoying many times through the years, first when my family lived in Hawaii and subsequently on our infrequent visits back. This was my first visit back to Oahu since 2012, but I hope my next visit won't be so long in coming (despite the epic plane journey to get there from Ireland!). One of the best things about Hawaii is how consistent the weather and temperature is throughout the year--there's really never a bad time to visit. Superdry Frieda sunglasses, cami tie top, and lace trim shorts c/o1. Get out of Waikiki! So many people come to Oahu, Hawaii and never end up leaving Honolulu or seeing a beach outside of Waikiki, which is crazy because there's so much more of Oahu to discover. The North Shore has the famous waves in the winter and the Ko'olau Mountains are stunning! One of my favorite parts of Oahu is the East Shore, or Windward side--drive along the coast and stop every time you see something striking. These pictures were taken at Kualoa Beach Park which has views of the Ko'olau Mountains and Chinaman's Hat (Mokolii island). The beaches along the windward side are also almost never as busy as Waikiki or those on the North Shore. There's also a Macadamia Nut Farm, random seaside swings, fish ponds, and more to discover along this coast.   2. Snorkel in Hanauma Bay. Year round Haunama Bay offers some of the best snorkeling on island. The park opens at 6:00am and it is smart to plan your visit for as early as possible to avoid the crowds and subsequent parking issues. If you are staying in Honolulu you can even book a shuttle to bring you out to the Bay and back again. The Bay is filled with an incredible variety of fish and we even had a seal lounging on the beach during our visit!  Superdry Frieda sunglasses3. Visit a white sand beach. My favorite beach on island is also where we stayed--Bellows Beach. With super soft sand and turquoise waters and framed by views of islands and mountains, it's a gorgeous white sand beach that makes the long flight out well worth it. The beach is only open to the military and their families during the week, but opens up to the public on the weekend. You can even camp here. Waimanalo Beach is just down the road and always open to the public. Lanikai Beach is another good option, the name translates to "Heavenly Ocean" and this beach is often described as the most beautiful beach of Oahu.4. Eat at a food truck. Some of the best food you eat on island will be served in a styrofoam container (in my opinion). Head to Kahuku for the Food Truck Market and the famous Giovanni's Shrimp Truck. Best enjoyed with a group picking dishes from all different trucks and then sharing everything; we got pad thai, garlic shrimp, kimchi, dumplings, and loads of Hawaiian Sun to drink! Chase down one of Leonard's malasada trucks for dessert. Also worth trying is a local "plate lunch" from Kenekes or L&L Drive Inn; try a loco moco or my favorite, the teriyaki chicken. 5. Watch the fireworks on Friday at Waikiki beach. Officially these fireworks are put on by the Hilton Hawaiian and the views from the beachfront rooms at that hotel must be spectacular! But anyone can head towards the Hilton after sunset and grab a free spot of sand on Waikiki to watch the firework show--there's even a few beachfront restaurants that offer views of the beach and fireworks while you eat a late meal.  Modcloth sunnies, Superdry Alice knot dress c/o, Collectif pineapple purseIt's really hard for me to narrow down my Oahu recommendations to a concise list, but these are some of my favorite things on island and a good start to anyone planning their own visit to Oahu. Ultimately you should add in more of what sparks your interest--like chasing the big waves on North Shore or trying to spot all the wild animals you can (there are mongoose, wild chickens, peacocks, and even pigs roaming around Oahu!), or shopping in Chinatown. 

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