38 Essential Oahu Travel Tips For First Timers: What You Need To Know

The Aloha spirit, ideal temperatures year-round, amazing beaches, and incredible natural scenery– it’s no wonder Hawaii is known as paradise. If you’ve committed to vacationing in Hawaii, chances are you’re planning on checking out Oahu.

If you’re looking for recommendations on things to do in Oahu or just searching for general tips to make your first time in Hawaii better, I am here to help. Being from California, situated so close to the islands, I’ve been to the Hawaiian Islands a total of 10 times thus far.

I absolutely love the island of Oahu for its liveliness, good food, adventurous opportunities, and general lack of mosquitos (for the most part). And I’m sure you will too!

This post reveals my top Oahu travel tips for first-timers. I hope this post prepares you well and helps you make the most of your trip while saving you some money as well.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more for any of your purchases, but the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep the content coming to you. Thanks!


OAHU IN A NUTSHELL

Here’s a quick overview of all the useful info you need to plan an awesome trip!

When To Go: December through March (peak season). September to November or April to June (off-season, for equally pleasant weather and fewer crowds).

Nearest Airport: Honolulu International Airport (HNL)

Where To StayThe Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club – it’s cute and retro, has no resort fee, AND free parking! Or we recommend Hampton Inn & Suites Oahu/Kapolei – not directly in Waikiki, but has no resort fees, free parking, AND free breakfast!

How to Get Around: You will need a car. We recommend using Rentalcars.com to find the best deal. Book early because rental cars in Hawaii go like hotcakes!

Must-Do’s: Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center, spend a whole day exploring the North Shore, and be touristy by experiencing a luau — Paradise Cove Luau is by far one of the most famous luaus on the island!

Before You Go: Pack your snorkel gear to avoid having to rent! And remember to pack a rain jacket — Oahu’s weather can be unpredictable, and rain is possible at any time of the year. Oh yeah, pack a beach bag too!


OAHU TRAVEL TIPS: WHEN TO VISIT OAHU

1. It’s always a good time to go to Hawaii.

Honestly, I’d argue that it’s always a good time to go to Hawaii. It’s actually warm and sunny year-round, though there might be rain in the forecast some days. In the summer, the weather in Hawaii is warm, dry, and hot. In the winter, it’s warm and slightly more humid.

During the winter months (December to February), people flock to the islands to escape the cold of their hometowns and to get a bit of sun instead. Peak season runs from December to April. Throughout the rest of the year, things slow down a bit with a second spike during the summer months.

Having said that, the “best time to visit” is between April to May and September to November when getting there is a bit cheaper and the temperatures aren’t quite as hot or humid.

2. Oahu during the summer is EXPENSIVE.

Avoid peak season (aka summer when all the kids are off from school) when hotel rooms and flights will be at their most expensive.

Instead, keep an eye out for cheaper flights and discounted hotel rooms in late January, February, May, September, and October.

Struggles of Solo Travel - www.travelswithelle.com

BONUS TIP: Got more flexibility on how long you can stay? Consider island-hopping.

Once you’re within Hawaii, getting from island to island is relatively cheap.

The cost of Hawaii interisland flights can vary depending on a variety of factors such as the time of year, demand, and availability. However, compared to flights between the mainland United States and Hawaii, interisland flights tend to be way cheaper.

In general, you can find interisland flights for as low as $50 one way, but prices can go up during peak travel seasons. Additionally, prices can vary between different airlines and airports, so it’s a good idea to compare prices from multiple sources before booking your interisland flight in Hawaii.


CAR RENTALS TIPS IN OAHU

3. It’s possible to see about 10-15 percent of the island without a car.

The Bus and the trolley system are pretty good for getting around Waikiki–and you can get around the rest of Honolulu–but it’s not so good for any other part of the island, really.

If you plan on just being on Oahu for just two or three days, then I would recommend not renting a car and instead just getting by via public transportation.

This is because the hotels and resorts in the Waikiki area tend to charge a lot for parking. And by a lot I mean like $25-50 per night! You’re better off just getting by on foot or via bus/trolley.

4. If you want to see the rest of Oahu, I highly recommend renting a car.

If you plan on exploring parts of the island outside of Waikiki, a car is absolutely necessary and you will not regret the decision of renting one. Even if you are staying in Waikiki, without a car, you’ll be pretty much confined to that area.

That will make for one heck of a mediocre vacation in Hawaii because the best parts of Oahu are outside of the Honolulu area!

We typically like to rent from Hertz if they have a promo going on. Their Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program is awesome (and completely free to join). You’ll get counter-free pickup at select locations, and even mobile alerts with your exact rental car and its location before you arrive. Check out rental car pricing and availability here.

Otherwise, Rentalcars.com is our go-to these days! They’re the world’s largest online car rental service and help you compare prices of all the rental car companies out there.

5. Be practical with the car rental.

Everyone dreams of driving a convertible or a jeep with the top down in Hawaii which is great and all, but remember that the weather is tropical and rain can come down at any moment.

Always check the weather before you head out. If you’ve rented a convertible, be sure to put the hood back on before leaving your car for prolonged periods of time.

Hawaii Car Rental Tips
The convertible we were forced to take because there were no other rentals left!

6. It’ll be hard to rely solely on rideshare.

Uber, Lyft, and taxis are available in Hawaii, but these options will be more expensive than renting a car, especially if you plan to move around a lot.

Since cell phone service could be limited in the more rural areas, rideshare transportation may not be the most reliable option here.

7. Consider alternatives to big car rental companies.

If car rental prices are through the roof due to seasonality or car shortages (such as during COVID), consider renting a car through Turo.

Hawaii Car Rental Tips

TIPS ON WHERE TO STAY IN OAHU

8. Waikiki is central, but comes with extra costs.

Staying in Honolulu/Waikiki can be a good idea for first-timers, as it puts you close to plenty of introductory things to do, places to eat and shop, and tourist attractions.

While it is convenient and close to a lot of restaurants, bars, and shopping, there are some drawbacks.

First off, because of how compact and populated this area is, street parking is hard to come by.

Do note that a lot of the hotels and resorts here charge both resort fees and parking fees. These fees range anywhere from $20-50 per night for parking and $15-35 per night for the resort fee.

So if you’ve found a hotel you like, be sure to check for these ‘hidden’ fees!

9. If you’re on a budget, look for a hotel with no pesky resort fees.

I’m a huge hater of resort fees. Because why are they even there when I’m already paying to stay??

Many hours of research later–here are a few hotels that I’ve found to be the most budget-friendly in the Waikiki area, after accounting for all the added fees:

10. Other parts of Oahu feel more authentic.

If you’d rather get off the beaten path a little, I would actually recommend staying in a VRBO vacation rental or hotel on any part of the island other than Waikiki. While Waikiki is beautiful, it is also very developed, meaning it’ll have more of an impersonal city feel.

Other parts of Oahu are way more scenic!

My favorite part of the island to stay is in Kailua, located on the East Shore. Lanikai Beach, named one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, is located on the Eastern part of the island, too.

If you ask me, the best lodging/transportation combination: Rent a car + rent a vacation home/private room in a neighborhood with driveway parking or street parking outside of Waikiki. Free parking ultimately means more money to spend on other parts of your vacation!

Oahu Hawaii: Top Tips For First Timers - www.travelswithelle.com
A massive Airbnb in the hills on one of our group trips to Oahu, an amazing experience!

11. It’s a lot harder to find Airbnb’s on Oahu these days.

Airbnbs are almost a thing of the past on Oahu due to the new law where owners can potentially face an initial $10,000 fine if caught renting their unit illegally, plus more fines thereafter!

All guests are to book short-term rentals for a minimum of 90 days in residential areas like the East Shore and North Shore. That leaves mostly hotels and resorts for us travelers!

12. Plan ahead, especially if you have a specific hotel/resort in mind.

Oahu is a popular tourist destination, especially during peak season, so it is important to plan ahead.

Hotspots like The Royal Hawaiian, The Kahala Hotel & Resort, and Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club book up quite fast, especially during peak season.

Make hotel reservations as soon as you can, book activities in advance, and check the weather forecast before you go!


WHAT TO PACK FOR OAHU, HAWAII

While this is not an exhaustive list, these are things that I think you absolutely cannot forget to bring. For a more comprehensive packing list, check out my Hawaii packing list here!

13. Be prepared for rain and bring a lightweight rain jacket.

While Oahu is generally sunny, it can rain at any time.

The weather is quite variable depending on what part of the island you’re on. Depending on when you go, one side of the island can be sunny while the other side sees fog and rain. Nights sometimes get cold, as do hiking summits.

Better than an umbrella and a separate jacket/cardigan, go with a lightweight rain jacket to cover all your bases!

14. Sunscreen is a must. The reef-safe kind.

Even if you don’t normally wear sunscreen outdoors, I implore you to wear sunscreen, especially during your first few days in Hawaii. If you do burn easily make sure to also pack some aloe vera gel.

Even if it’s overcast and cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors. If you plan on snorkeling near the reefs, choose a coral reef-safe brand, as traditional sunscreen contains chemicals that damage and even kill the precious reefs. Here are a few travel-sized biodegradable sunscreens you can easily buy online:

15. Don’t forget the bug spray.

Parakito Mosquito Repellent
We are shocked at how well this brand of insect repellent works!

When packing for Hawaii (any island), you’ll want to pack some travel-sized mosquito repellent. Our current favorite right now is PARA’KITO — ALL of their products are made using only natural essential oils, yet work so well to deter the bugs.

While mosquitos don’t hang around Waikiki, they can be found in the more lush and rugged areas of the island (hikes, waterfalls, parks, etc).

And while mosquitos exist year-round, the peak season for mosquito activity is during the warmer months, running from March through early November.

Repellent may not be as necessary on Oahu compared to some of the other less developed islands, but it’s always good to have in tropical settings.

As an alternative to using mosquito repellent on your skin, you can also get some mosquito repellent wristbands (we’ve tested these in Thailand, and they actually work SO well), mosquito repellent clips, or wear long-sleeved tops and loose linen pants.

16. Bring hiking boots / water shoes if you plan to do outdoor activities.

There is a lot of walking and hiking to be done on Oahu, so bring comfortable shoes. Flip-flops are fine for the beach, but you will need sturdy shoes for hiking and exploring.

If you have one that serves as both water and land, even better. Having some sort of protection from the many rocky shores as well as decent traction on muddy trails and wet rocks on hikes is very crucial for outdoor adventures in Hawaii.

17. A waterproof phone case to capture all the fun.

If you plan on doing a bunch of adventurous activities (ziplining, skydiving, kayaking, paddling, ATV-ing) and/or want some underwater footage when surfing or snorkeling, you should definitely go with the waterproof GoPro.

Too expensive? The next best thing is a waterproof phone housing for your cell phone!

While most new phones are waterproof to some extent these days, they aren’t meant to stay submerged for prolonged periods of time without protection. With an actual heavy-duty waterproof phone case, you’ll have peace of mind bringing your phone with you when participating in water activities.

On our last trips to Hawaii, we forgot to bring our waterproof phone cases and our GoPro camera. We totally missed out on a bunch of awesome underwater photo ops during two snorkeling trips!

These phone cases provide excellent waterproof performance housing for underwater photos and videos. They’ve been tested more than a thousand times, and the case enables you to dive to 50ft/15m of depth in water for 60 minutes without leaks.

18. A sand-free beach mat.

There are actually beach mats that are quick-drying, waterproof, and sand-proof, making setting up on the beach super, super easy.

This beach mat is all those things, plus it has sand anchor pockets and 6 ground stakes so that your beach mat is wind-resistant even when you’re not laying on it!

Read More: What To Pack For A Week In Hawaii: 60 Essential Things To Bring


TOP FIVE POPULAR TOURS IN OAHU


THINGS TO DO IN OAHU: ESSENTIAL TIPS

19. Tips for ziplining in Oahu

You must have closed-toed shoes (strapped-on sandals will not do). Don’t forget to pack them!

These are some good spots to zipline in Oahu:

20. Tips for snorkeling in Oahu

The main (and arguably the best) snorkeling venue on Oahu is Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. As of late, the entrance fees have gotten really crazy. You may want to head to Kiona Beach Park instead because snorkeling here is free.

Avoid touching the coral reef with your body parts. If you don’t you might get cut up on the reef. Highly recommend carrying some bandaids with you just in case.

Your normal sunscreen can really damage the reefs. You’ll need to buy special sunscreen, which can be purchased onsite at larger snorkel areas.

Bring your own snorkel gear if you already own this. It’ll save you money on rentals, which average $15-25 per person for the combo of mask and fins. If not, consider investing in a snorkel set you can call your own.

If your snorkel mask starts fogging up, ask the staff to apply some of their anti-fog spray. Otherwise, spit directly into your mask, wait a few seconds, and rinse it out. No more fogging!

Bring water shoes if you’re not using fins. These are good for getting wet, and providing protection from the rocky shores. All the best snorkel spots are in rocky, coral-filled areas which means you can really scratch up the soles of your feet if you’re not careful!

Trust me, I’m speaking from experience. It’ll be best to bring along a first aid kit too!

snorkeling in kona hawaii - travels with elle

Below are two great snorkeling tours if you’d rather not worry about the logistics of buying snorkel gear and finding a good snorkeling spot on your own.

West Oahu: Eco-Friendly Snorkel Sail with Dolphins (Best Seller)

Holo Holo Charters Na Pali Coast Snorkel and Sail Tour Review - TravelsWithElle

On this best-selling eco-friendly snorkel and sail tour, you’ll set sail along the turquoise waters of Hawaii’s coast heading towards the Ko’olina coast. While on board, keep your eyes peeled for the spinner dolphins who like to jump and play in the waves of the boat.

As you set sail, you’ll be treated to a tasty continental breakfast, and later on to a picnic lunch as well.

During the snorkeling session, jump in for a snorkel adventure of a lifetime. You’ll get an up-close and personal view of the colorful fishes, corals, and underwater creatures.

Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki (Best Seller)

Share the waters with green sea turtles, tropical fish, and more on this unforgettable 2-hour snorkel excursion from Waikiki.

Under the careful guidance of your expert tour guide, you’ll be able to discover the vibrant sea life of Turtle Canyons (only accessible by boat). You’ll be snorkeling at a site where Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles congregate above the reef at a “Turtle Cleaning Station”.

Above water, wildlife sightings may include spinner dolphins, flying fish, and even humpback whales (in winter months).

All the necessary snorkeling gear is provided. Complimentary refreshments are also provided on the boat.

Don’t forget your GoPro or underwater phone housing for this one!

21. Tips for Hiking on Oahu

For an easy and relatively short sunrise hike, do the Lanikai Pillbox hike or the Diamond Head hike. It is very early but amazing. Definitely bring water.

Other hikes for first-timers include Makapu’u Lighthouse was a pretty good hike for any level of hiking experience. If you feel daring, there’s a more advanced hike down to a natural pool when you get nearer to the top.

Koko Head is a very popular one for the more athletic bunch and will definitely give you sore, wobbly legs by the end of it. I’ve also seen the sunrise from here, which is also pretty spectacular.

Oahu Hawaii: Top Tips For First Timers - www.travelswithelle.com
Koko Head at sunrise. Don’t forget a headlamp or flashlight!

Read More: 6 Best Hikes In Oahu For Every Type of Traveler

22. Tips on Beaches on Oahu

Bring coverups to protect you from the sun, because the sun is strong in Hawaii. Having said that, sunscreen is a must.

The best calm beaches for wading, swimming, chilling out: Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach (East Shore). Or any cove that’s protected from ocean swells.

Oahu, Hawaii - www.travelswithelle.com

The best beaches for surfing: anywhere on the North Shore, really!

Pro Tip: When traveling with children, avoid beaching at the North Shore. Even if you’re just looking for a calm beach to relax at, avoid beaching at the North Shore. Waves tend to be prime for surfing, which means impossible for swimming and lounging. Unless you like to sit on the sand and watch the waves crash vigorously. Also, definitely avoid Sandy’s Beach if you’re looking to swim.

If you’re just learning how to surf, practicing around the Waikiki beaches is good.

Oahu Hawaii: Top Tips For First Timers - www.travelswithelle.com

The best areas for snorkeling: On the southside, the best areas for marine life are Hanauma Bay (admission required) or Kiona Beach Park (free). On the North Shore, there are so many more options including Kuilima Cove (great even in the winter!).

Read More: 9 Best Snorkeling Spots In Oahu, Hawaii


FINDING FREE THINGS TO DO IN OAHU

23. Oahu is an outdoor lover’s paradise–free things to do are everywhere.

For the most part, beaching and hiking are your best bet for enjoying Hawaii without dipping into your pocket, especially since Hawaii is known for its abundance of beautiful beaches and lush tropical greenery.

Oahu has some amazing hiking trails, including the famous Diamond Head and Koko Head hikes. Here are a few of my favorite hikes on Oahu. For all hikes, bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen and comfortable shoes.

If you’re in search of other things to do, see if there are any festivals and events going on that week you’ll be visiting.

Read More: 30 Fun and Free Family Activities In Oahu

24. You can easily busy yourself with lots of free stuff to do in the touristy areas.

The Royal Hawaiian Center offers free cultural programming for both visitors and locals. Classes and demonstrations include things like hula dancing, lei making, ukulele, Hawaiian massage, Hawaiian quilting and more.

Another option is to walk around Waikiki. It’s a long stretch of beach, eating, and shopping but it’s very, very busy. If visiting Hawaii for the first time, you should definitely visit the Waikiki area.

Window shopping opportunities are endless. Aside from the Royal Hawaiian Center, there’s also the Coconut Marketplace, Ala Moana Center, Waikiki Beach Walk, and even Luxury Row. It’s fun, there’s always something going on!

Looking for nature instead? The 1.5 to 2-ish hour walk from Waikiki to the lookout on Diamond Head is well worth it.

With all that said, do allocate some time to check out other areas with more charm and culture, such as Kailua and the North Shore.

25. Take an entire day to explore the North Shore.

North Shore Haleiwa Oahu

The North Shore of Oahu is a surfer’s paradise and a beautiful place to explore. One of the main reasons why this area is so cool is because of how undeveloped it is compared to places like Honolulu and Waikiki!

Check out the famous Banzai Pipeline (best in the winter), go on a shark dive, visit a coffee plantation, experience the best snorkeling on the island (in the summer), or simply relax on the beach.

Read more: Oahu’s North Shore: 10 Stops For A Perfect Day Trip Itinerary


DISCOUNTS ON PAID ATTRACTIONS IN OAHU

26. Consider a Go City Oahu attraction pass.

The Go City Oahu Pass is a digital attraction pass that provides easy access and discounted admission to some of the island’s most popular activities, tours, and excursions.

With the Go City All-Inclusive Pass, you can experience the very best of Oahu for one flat fee! You’ll ultimately save far more money compared to buying separate tickets to attractions/tours.

DEAL ALERT: For a limited time, use the above link + the promo code AFFGOALL for an additional 5% off your Go City pass. This code is valid for any Go City pass in any destination!

Oahu Hawaii: Top Tips For First Timers - www.travelswithelle.com

27. Visit Pearl Harbor if you like history.

Pearl Harbor is a must-see attraction on Oahu for US history lovers. Naturally, it gets pretty crowded at times. Book your tickets in advance and plan to spend a few hours there.

Pearl Harbor is probably going to take a full morning due to there being frequent lines, so take this into consideration when planning out your day.

28. When picking a luau, consider The Polynesian Cultural Center as your first choice.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is Hawaii’s #1 paid attraction and is considered a must-do for both travelers and Hawaii locals. Situated on the famous North Shore of Oahu, PCC is essentially a cultural park that brings to life the spirit of Polynesia through its six Polynesian villages.

For the same price as some other luau’s that only come with dinner, packages at the Polynesian Cultural Center include admission to the park with demonstrations and activities, a luau dinner, and a 1.5-hour cultural show at the end (with firing dancing and everything).

The only downside of this luau compared to others is that it’s alcohol-free (due to PCC’s religious association). If you’re looking for a luau with drinks included, the second best option on the island is the Paradise Cove Luau, the second most attended luau on the island!

DEAL ALERT: Save 10% on select Polynesian Cultural Center packages when you book at least 10 days in advance!

Read More: Polynesian Cultural Center: Worth The Money? My Honest Review

29. Grab yourself a coupon book when walking around Waikiki.

Oahu's Best Coupons - Oahu Travel Tips

When walking around Waikiki’s popular streets, keep an eye out for newspaper containers on the sidewalk. Some of them contain the latest coupon books!

And these coupons are good. They’re not just the touristy stuff either!

I tend to avoid all the touristy things except for luaus (because I love a good buffet of fresh fruits and taro rolls), but here are a few that I found useful:

  • Iyasume (yummy rice ball stand) – 10% off
  • Poke Fix Hawaii – 10% off
  • Guava Smoked Local Hawaiian BBQ – 15% off
  • Waikiki Food Hall Co. – 10% off all vendors
  • Ginza Bairin – 10% off the first visit, 15% off the second visit
  • Ice Monster Hawaii – 15% off

10-15% off might not seem like much when it rolls off the tongue, but when you’re talking about larger families or groups with lots of mouths to feed, it definitely helps!


WHAT TO EAT IN OAHU

30. Try the local food.

Alicia's Market on Oahu
Alicia’s Market on Oahu

You don’t have to spend a fortune in order to have a good meal in Hawaii. Pupus and tiki cocktails are fine every once in a while, but it’s not what real people eat.

Be very open to eating at lunch trucks, it’s part of the culture there! Remember to carry some cash with you, as some of the food trucks in the North Shore are cash only.

Steer clear of restaurants in tourist-heavy areas like Waikiki and instead do as the locals do. Get some plate lunches. There are so many quick grab-and-go type markets that sell snacks, poke, and hot foods such as lau lau, kalua pork, Hawaiian BBQ meats, beef stew, grilled salmon/mahi-mahi, and more.

Even their fast food is good (Zippy’s or Rainbow Drive-In). You must try the chili rice, and this is someone who really doesn’t enjoy traditional chili… must!

Oahu Hawaii: Top Tips For First Timers - www.travelswithelle.com

31. Short on time? Plate lunches and poke bowls are the way to go.

Head to one of the many Foodland supermarkets around the island and pick up some beach picnic foods. Perfectly delicious prepared foods, including many varieties of poke, are available at reduced prices in supermarkets throughout the islands.

For some truly amazing poke, some of my favorite spots as of 2023 are Poke for the People, Ono Seafood, Fresh Catch Kapahulu, and Alicia’s Market.

The fish honestly does not get much better than what you can get on the Hawaiian islands!

Oahu Hawaii: Top Tips For First Timers - www.travelswithelle.com

32. On the North Shore, don’t miss the garlic shrimp plates.

When on Oahu, you’re going to come across garlic shrimp. Most of these are dotted along the North Shore. All the more reason to hop in your car for a day trip around the island!

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck or Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp in the North Shore are great options for first-timers.

33. Cool down with some shave ice.

Are you even in Hawaii if you’re not eating shave ice? For dessert any time of the day, get yourself some Hawaiian shave ice.

Waiola, Matsumoto and Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha are three of the most popular options. Be sure to get extra toppings such as mochi/rice balls, condensed milk, or ice cream.

As of late, there’s now an Ululani’s on Oahu! This is hands-down my favorite shave ice spot on ALLLL the islands. Their ice consistency is superior to all–yes, I said it!

Oahu, Hawaii - www.travelswithelle.com

34. Keep an eye out for local food events.

If you’re in Honolulu the last Friday of the month, don’t miss the Eat the Street food truck gathering. Held from 5 to 10 p.m. at 1011 Ala Moana Blvd.

There’s also the Waikiki Spam Jam that takes place annually in the month of April!


SHOPPING FOR SOUVENIRS IN OAHU

If you’re looking to save money, bypass the malls in Waikiki and tourist-centric surf shops and instead, shop like a local.

35. Check out the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet on Saturdays. 

Open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is bargain central for cheap souvenirs and Hawaiian shirts.

You can nab some unique, locally made items to bring home if you happen to be in Honolulu on the third Saturday of the summer months. Honolulu Night Market is a great place to stock up on clothing and jewelry crafted by local designers, as well as to enjoy art, entertainment, and food.

36. Pick up souvenirs at the superstores.

Walmart and Don Quijote are two great places to pick up discounted souvenirs like chocolate-covered mac nuts, Kona coffee, shortbread cookies, li hing candies, aloha shirts, lotions, tote bags, etc.

37. You can even get edible souvenirs at the regular grocery store.

Looking for other unique souvenirs to bring home? How about some cans of specially-flavored Spam? Hawaiians consume the most Spam out of any US state – more than 7 million tins a year.

You can find so many varieties and flavors of this stuff at the local grocery store, it’s no joke!

You’ll also find Hawaiian candies, nuts, cookies, and more at places like Foodland.

Oahu, Hawaii - www.travelswithelle.com
Prepare yourself for out-of-this-world scenery!

38. Lastly, be respectful of the island’s nature, locals, and traditions.

Oahu is home to some amazing natural wonders, including the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail. Be respectful of nature and follow the rules to help preserve these beautiful places for future generations.

Oahu is also home to people who’ve lived there for generations. Please remember that you’re just visiting, so don’t be entitled or disrespectful to those who are sharing their home with you.

No one needs more Instagram influencers ruining sacred places on the island, thanks!


I hope our Oahu tips for first-timers will help you plan a better, more enriching vacation! Wishing you safe and happy travels!

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AUTHOR

Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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