Hawaii is a unique tropical oasis compared to the rest of the US states and it’s a bucket list destination for most travelers. Although Hawaii is composed of multiple islands – each offering its own sights and vibe, I am focusing on Oahu and more specifically the Waikiki beach area of Honolulu. HNL airport is the most easily accessible (and usually most affordable) to fly into with non-stops from various airports around the country, even on the east coast!
Here I am going to share with you the perfect itinerary for a long weekend on Oahu – you can easily fly from here to other islands to extend your trip as well!
Your Weekend in Waikiki
Where to stay:
Luxury – The Royal Hawaiian
Moderate- Hilton Hawaiian Village
Mid-Range- Aston Waikiki Beach
Budget/Backpacking- The Beach Waikiki Boutique Hostel (both private and shared room options)
Friday: Arrive in Honolulu!
Most flights from the mainland will arrive in the afternoon or later so the 1st day is a good time for low-key activities. If you arrive early enough, head to Waikiki beach for an hour or 2! Thursdays and Fridays there’s also an amazing luau dinner experience at the Hilton Waikiki Village, get your tickets in advance so you can head there afterward.
The Waikiki Starlight Luau opens at 5 PM and includes a dinner feast of Hawaiian specialties with live Polynesian music, dancing, and fire performances. You don’t have to be staying at this hotel to enjoy the luau either but you do need to get your tickets ahead of time which you can do HERE. If you are flying on a schedule that doesn’t land you in Honolulu until much later at night then I would recommend flying in on a Thursday night so you can enjoy the beach and luau on Friday.
Saturday: Diamond Head & Beach
On your first full day on the island, I recommend waking up early to hike Diamond Head. This package HERE is the easiest way to do so. Offering round trip transportation and including the entrance fee, bottled water, and maps for you to head out with, makes it simple. No need to find parking (which fills up quickly during the busy season) or anything else.
Afterward, grab some lunch at Poke Bar to try a Hawaiian specialty- if you like sushi you’ll love Poke! If you don’t like sushi or don’t eat fish/seafood then try one of their vegetarian options. Afterward, head to Waikiki beach once again- after all the amazing beaches are one of the reasons we love Hawaii! Then you can catch an amazing sunset yoga experience right there on the beach.
The classes fall from 5:45-6:30 depending on the time of year/sunset time. It’s a lovely way to enjoy the ocean, stretch from your morning hike, and wind down in a peaceful setting before dinner. For dinner tonight head to the Hula Grill Waikiki if you want to continue enjoying the fresh delicious seafood of Hawaii try the Panko and Sesame Crusted Ahi or the Crab Topped Macadamia Nut Mahi Mahi.
Sunday: Surfing Lesson
After breakfast try a surfing lesson! Hawaii is known for its surf so this is a must-do activity but to take it to the next level book this Waikiki Surf Photography experience. Learn to surf and get amazing photos in the process!
You’ll for sure work up an appetite so afterward head to Island Vintage Coffee fuel up with an acai bowl and follow with a traditional shaved ice for a real Hawaiian treat. Next, partake in another must-do experience in Hawaii- a helicopter ride. You can also reverse these activities if you prefer to do one or the other in the AM/PM.
For dinner tonight head to Momosan! Hawaii is home to some of the best Asian cuisine available in the US and Momosan offers amazing Japanese ramen that you don’t want to miss!
Monday: North Shore Foodie Tour
After some active days with hiking, yoga, and surfing today, it’s time to leave Waikiki for a bit and head to the famed North Shore for a foodie tour! This tour includes stops at the Dole Plantation, Greenworld Coffee Farm, a local food truck (North Shore is known for their food trucks!) plus a macadamia nut stop and an acai bowl stop!
In addition, you’ll also stop at one of North Shore’s famous beaches. Once you get back to Waikiki if you’re hungry enough for dinner and some Hawaiian brews head to the Maui Brewing Co. Try the Bikini Blonde Fish and Chips followed with an adult float – their house-brewed coconut porter topped with vanilla ice cream.
Tuesday: Today ends your long weekend in Honolulu!
If you aren’t ready to head home yet, here are some other activities worth checking out on Oahu: The Polynesian Cultural Center, Pearl Harbor, Snorkeling or Scuba Diving, Whale watching (during winter season), Stargazing, Golfing, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding, and Jungle/waterfall hiking.
You can also take a short flight to Maui, Kauai, or The Big Island to extend your trip!
Head to the Wildbum website to grab a guide for any of the other islands and start island hopping!