I’m back from Hawaii and I’m slowly adjusting to my normal routine. Not sure why I think I should be sipping Mai Tai’s while listening to ocean waves instead of being on work calls, ha! Seriously though, I’m happy to be home but Hawaii has my heart forever. Here are a few must-see places in Honolulu:

Beaches – Turtle Bay, Sandy, Waimea Falls, North Shore, and Waikiki

I highly recommend checking out as many beaches as possible while in Hawaii. It’s a sight to see and it’s truly breathtaking. My top 3 would have to be Sandy beach, Waimea Falls, and Waikiki beach. The water is absolutely stunning!

Surfing – Waikiki Beach or North Shore

My coworkers had mentioned that Hawaii had some of the best beaches for surfing but I didn’t really get it until I arrived in Oahu. I didn’t catch in any waves but I watched all of the cool kids surf the waves from my balcony view.

Visit Diamondhead Mountain
The views are spectacular and they offer fresh pineapple smoothies along with local treats. The cost to hike Diamondhead is $5 per person and there’s a parking fee of $10 (credit card only). We didn’t make the trip up the mountain but we did walk from our hotel to the base. That counts right, lol! I highly recommend arriving early to avoid the crowds. We made it around 8:30 am and the lines were long.

Shopping – Kalakaua Avenue and Ala Moana Center
I shopped my heart out! The designer deals were hard to pass up. I was amazed to find that Hawaii offers 10-20% discounts and a lower sales tax, 4.5% (average) on luxury goods. Each store varies in price but if you’re willing to hunt and make a few trips to the mall you can really win on designer pieces.

Shopping suggestion – have a list of items that you’re looking for beforehand. While you’re waiting in line a sales associate will pre-look and let you know if they have the item in stock. If the item is not available have the associate keep an eye out for daily deliveries. Depending on the item it’s bound to come in at some point.

All Day Tour

The best way to see the entire island in a day is with a tour. We found this amazing option on Groupon and it was very affordable, under $85 per person. In a day, we went all around the island and explored some of the most sought-after beaches in the world. We even stopped by a lovely farm with fresh fruits and checked out a Macadamian Nut farm! Bonus tip – call the company directly before purchasing on Groupon and they’ll likely honor the Groupon price. This cuts the middle man out and gives the business an opportunity to make more money.

Hotel and Accommodations

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach and it was the perfect location. Located on Kalakaua Ave within walking distance to some of the best restaurants and shopping on the island.

Here’s a list of the restaurants we visited during our stay:

Hy’s Steakhouse – treat yourself
Maui Brewing Co.- great for happy hour
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Mai Tai bar – known for their Mai Tai’s
Basalt – great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
Cheeseburger paradise – nice for happy hour, portions are small but the drinks are strong
Egg’s n Things – the best breakfast but get there early (you can order take out on the weekends)
Fumi’s Seafood or Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – located on the North shore. Get there early to beat the lines.
Le’ahi – for the drinks and vibes (live music)
Duke’s – on the beach with live music nightly

My first trip to Hawaii was delightful and I’ll definitely be going back. I’m glad we picked a more lively island, Oahu. Honolulu was the perfect city to visit a nice combination of beach, relaxation, and shopping… Some of my favorite things! Have you been to Hawaii yet?! Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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