I just got home from my first tropical vacation ever! This is a big deal and I'm very eager to share the photos I took with my Canon film point-and-shoot (kept things low maintenance). It was really fun to have Jenna as a travel companion -- we've been friends for over twenty years!
These are my recommendations for visiting Oahu:
1. Waikiki is jam packed with tourists. This means expensive restaurants, lots of noise, and crowded beaches. If I were to go again, I would try and find a place to stay on the North Shore.
2. Visit Hanauma Bay! As you can see from the very first photo below, it's gorgeous! It's also the sort of go-to spot for snorkelling which is fun. I got an outrageous sunburn.
3. Pearl Harbour is not nearly as interesting as you might expect. It costs a lot of money to visit and isn't very informative. It's good if you're into memorials. I found that touring the USS Missouri on the other side of the army base gave a much more in-depth look into America's experiences in WWII.
4. Rent a car and explore the island. This freedom of mobility was a lot of fun and far more relaxed than taking a bus.
5. Try different beaches every day. When we were driving around the island we were amazed at how many great beaches there were. Sandy Beach Park was a favourite. We stumbled upon it right as the sun set. Maybe it was just our timing, but it seemed to have the biggest waves and a plenty of great surfers to watch.
Other places we visited: Dole Pineapple Plantation, Fruit Bowl Crater, Diamond Head Lookout, Mormon Temple, Polynesian Cultural Centre, and North Shore.
We missed Lanikai Beach because we got lost. Learn from my mistake and buy a real road map.