Adventures in Oahu

By Kate Riley March 25, 2013

Hi there everyone! We’re traveling back home today after a week spent in the Hawaiian Islands – three days in Oahu and four days on Maui. Spending time in Hawaii is really special and Oahu (like all the other islands) is incredibly relaxing. We tasted so much good food, we were again spoiled by all the beauty, and we had a lot of fun on this family vacation.

surfboards on fence


The afternoon we arrived we just chilled by the pool at our hotel, but the next day we were out and about, traveling north to the surfer town of Haleiwa.

On our route, we stopped at the famous Dole Plantation – it’s here you can shop for all kinds of Hawaiian handmade goods, cookies, and candies too. We even learned the “proper” way to cut a pineapple and I highly recommend a pineapple soft serve while you’re here.

dole plantation oahu

dole pineapplie plantation goods

boxes of dole pineapples

Haleiwa is a surfer town on the north shore, famous for its winter waves up to 40 feet that bring surfers from around the world.

haleiwa surfer

We stopped at a favorite surf shops and also sampled some shave ice from Matsumotos down the street (which was highly recommended by readers!).

surf and sea

surfboards in shop

There are a couple really cute shops here in Haleiwa, with island and coastal themed clothing and décor, so it makes for a great day trip.

oahu haleiwa shop

The next day we headed north east to sample some food at a place recommended by locals. It’s true, Ted’s Bakery has the BEST chocolate Haupia pie and BEST crab salad sandwich we’ve ever had.

teds bakery pies

We spent a few hours at the Polynesian Cultural Center where you see and participate in a ton of island and cultural activities. The PCC is huge and it’s pricey so you need to budget a lot of time for it to get your money’s worth but we really enjoyed it. If you can, stay for the Breath of Life show at night after the Luau, it’s fantastic!

polynesian cultural center

pcc samoa presentation

coconut tree climbers

pcc doors

  pcc waterfall


Our final day before heading to Maui was spent in downtown Waikiki and at Waikiki beach, which is always scenic and so much fun.

boats at waikiki beach


It’s tradition for us to eat at Duke’s on the beach with a view of Diamond Head and the popular surfing and sunning spot. This is another place where visitors come to learn to surf for the first time from the experts.

waikiki dukes

waikiki dukes view

waikiki umbrellas

 waikiki surf lessons


Downtown Waikiki is always hopping, there are shuttles to take you where you need to go and you can shop till you drop at the boutiques from high end to casual inexpensive island wear.

waikiki shuttle

waikiki bikini shopping

waikiki island dresses

And just like everywhere else on the islands, it seems everyone has a surfboard!

 waikiki surfers

 waikiki surfboards

During our three days and nights in Oahu we “roughed it” (ha!) at the Disney Aulani resort in Ko’Olina after I found a deal online. This place is so fantastic and it deserves its own post… you parents will love this place as much as the kids. We spent our late mornings and early afternoons exploring the island of Oahu and then the rest of the day and evening right here in Ko’Olina.

aulani from beach

Each night we watched the sunset over the lagoon, Hawaii truly is paradise.

sunset oahu

I’m flying home today and then it’s back to business as usual this week. This island getaway was exactly what I needed and I can’t wait to return again! I’ll share more pictures of the amazing Aulani resort next week…..


  1. Beautiful pictures you captured during your vacation! Such beautiful landscape and color, you could frame these! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. WOW Kate, your pictures are gorgeous – the color, the clarity – it’s like I’m right there. K
    Kate, is there somewhere (like email) that we can ask question regarding paint and design????

  3. What happened to your “Pin It” button? I would love to hang on to this as a real-life reference of where to go and what to do in Hawaii…cause you never can really trust travel sites…

  4. I JUST resturned to Houston from Honolulu yesterday! Haleiwa is my absolute favorite place on Earth! We may have very well crossed paths!

  5. Can’t wait for our trip. Since moving to California 8 years ago we have been fortunate enough to get to Maui every year. Looking forward to your next post to get some new ideas from your trip.

  6. Incredible photos! Thank you for sharing and taking us on a mini-vacation with you! I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii! :) So glad you had a great time and had a chance to relax! But so happy you’re back to blogging!

  7. what a great trip! i’m curious, what is the proper way to cut a pineapple? i never really know and just kind of wing it haha…

  8. I am SO jealous. It has been quite a while since I was able to visit Oahu (or any other island for that matter) and I’m in need of a Hawaiian fix! Thanks so much for sharing your pictures!

  9. oh this is really making me want June to hurry up!! (we go to Maui in June) This will be my first time to Hawaii and im now pretty sure it wont be my last. Thanks for sharing with us!

  10. Pictures from Hawaii never disappoint and yours are no exception. Thanks for sharing. I love the Dole photo the best. I made a salad this weekend and it is nice to see where it comes from :)


  11. I love seeing all the familiar places on Oahu. We lived there for 3 years. I hope the army sends us back some day. It was nice to see the pictures of the finished Disney resort. We actually lived in Ko Olina, but they had not finished building it when we left.

  12. I have an aunt & uncle that live on the North Shore of Oahu just outside of Haleiwa. They are sooo doggone lucky! I’ve been to visit them twice and this post is making me want to go back again. But it’s a long way from my current home in south Florida! I visited the big island last time out but have never been to Maui. Looking forward to your next post.

  13. Beautiful photos!! I thought you stayed in Ko’Olina from your instagram pics. I’ve stayed at both Marriotts in Ko’Olina for work and I loved both of them.. the JW Marriott is a little more for adults, while the vacation club is more family friendly. I get out to Hawaii once in a while for work… such a wonderful place to visit. I love the food there. Everything comes with rice instead of fries too. Love it.

  14. I went to Hawaii for a friend’s wedding two years ago and I am still dreaming of going back someday! You are making me jealous with these photos. We loved the PCC and the North Shore when we went.

  15. We stayed at Aulani in December (also got a great deal, it’s quite expensive otherwise), and all of us (adults and children alike) LOVED it. There is alot to do at the resort, and the scenery is fantastic. The kids loved the Disney characters (just Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Stitch, and Chip and Dale), they have Auntie’s Beach house which has activities for the kids all day, so parents can enjoy a drink on the beach (haha), the food is great, and there are all kinds of activities throughout the day for families to enjoy. We will go back for sure! Glad you had a great time!

  16. Will you post the proper way to cut a pineapple? I was in Hawaii with my family when I was 16 and went to the Dole Plantation, but have forgotten the procedure. It has been a few hundred years, lol. Loved all the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Thanks for sharing! I love Hawaii and these pictures bring back great memories. Glad you explored other parts of Oahu besides Waikiki – it really is so beautiful there. :)

  18. Hi Kate! I’m a long-time reader who rarely comments but I wanted to say thank you for a beautiful dose of Hawai’i this morning! My husband is in the military and we were fortunate enough to be stationed there on Oahu for two years. In fact, we lived directly behind the Dole Plantation, and loved hanging out in Haleiwa for sunsets! :) Ko’olina was our favorite hidden gem, the lagoons were fantastic for our son. It’s not such a hidden gem anymore with the new Disney resort though! :) I may be a midwestern girl at heart, but there will always be a little bit of the islands in me now as well. Sounds like you had a fabulous time, thanks for sharing!

  19. Aloha!
    Great photos! Makes us miss Hawaii so very much. We lived there for 8-1/2 years! Glad to hear that you had such a great time. We loved every bit of time we were blessed to be there.
    Missing the sand beneath our feet.
    Mahalo for sharing these great photos with us.

  20. Love your pix-lots of memories stirred up from our Hawaiian wedding/honeymoon in 2010 :)
    We married on the beach at Waimanalo Bay; honeymooned in Waikiki. All the island are simply magical.
    Thanks for sharing today!

  21. Aloha Kate,
    So glad you had a great trip to Oahu. My husband, three daughters, and I have been lucky enough to get to live here for 6 years now on Hickam AFB. Our time here is dwindling as we are awaiting official orders to Germany. As excited as we are about the move, we are feeling very saddened to leave the island. It is an amazing place. Thanks for sharing your post with us about your trip.

  22. Have never been to Hawaii but it’s at the top of my bucket list! Glad you had fun. Looks gorgeous!

  23. Would you mind sharing the restaurants you went to while on Oahu? We are leaving today for Oahu and I would like to know what some great places are! We are going for 10 days, so need lots of ideas! We have been to Oahu before, but only for 2 days and did not have great meals while we were there.

    • Hi Karen – we ate at the resort for dinner but off campus for lunch – both Teds and Dukes were so great – check trip advisor – that’s what we did for Maui and discovered a few great places!


  24. I totally agree with you. The pics are amazing. My husband and I can’t wait to go back. Thanks for sharing you beautiful vacay with us.

  25. My family and I lived on O’ahu for 3 years (we are a military family who was blessed to be stationed there). It was wonderful seeing your photos, they brought back so many terrific memories there. I wish I had captured more with photos but was always caught up in the fun and beauty. Thank you so much for sharing! It sure brightened my snowy spring day!

  26. YUMMMMY! My darling hubby is from Hawaii and still has lots of family there. We’re going in May…. I have to say when he took me for the first time I was not excited… I really didn’t want to go…….until……..I stepped off the plane. So beautiful and everything smells deee.lish. He’s from Kailua, Oahu, so that’s where we always spend most of our time.


  27. Everything looks so gorgeous! I’m so jealous as I look outside my window at the cold wet snow that’s falling here. It’s so great to get a get-away from all the hectic schedules and stress of home! Glad you had a great time and loved the pictures!

  28. Just beautiful. We are going to Hawaii for two weeks at the end of June. We went on our honeymoon too, but that was twenty years ago and we can’t wait to get back. Glad you had a wonderful vacation.

  29. Thank you for the post! I miss it soo much and can’t wait to get back! We did the same islands!

  30. Oh how I have always wanted to visit Hawaii!!!!! One day it will happen (all the way from Australia!)

  31. Great pics!!! Hubby and I will be heading to Maui and the Big Island in May (for our 4 year wedding anniversary .. we were married in Kauai). Hey, is that YOU on the surfboard learning to cruise it?

  32. Been once and I become instantly envious anytime I see photos. It’s truly a magical place. Looks like you had a great time!

  33. My husband stopped in Hawaii for a few days with a Carrier on his way home from deployment a few years ago! I wanted to meet him so badly there, but unfortunately he wouldn’t have too much down time. I love the idea of vacationing on Hawaii and can’t wait for our opportunity to go! LOVE all of your pictures- golly it just looks like heaven!

  34. Hey I was on Oahu last week too! So fun to see the pictures you posted that look so much like my pictures! I even checked the background of your beach photos and half expected to see myself there!

  35. We just moved from Hawaii last July to Wahington state. I miss it every single day! Glad to see your picks and many memories come back from seeing them.

  36. We visited Oahu and Maui a few years ago when my husband’s company hosted their annual conference at a resort on Maui. My college roommate lives in Oahu, so we got to spend some time with her and stay at her apartment, so we were in a residential area rather than Waikiki like most of the tourists. It was great to tour the island with a local and see it from a different perspective.

    We’re huge fans of the show “Lost” (which was still airing at that time), so our favorite part of the trip was a tour of the filming locations. It was an amazing way to see parts of the entire island, too.

    We have so many places on our wish list of places to visit, so I know we won’t get back to Hawaii for a long time, but we loved it all!

  37. Hi there,
    My name is Jane and I’m with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Oahu to share on our site and I came across your post…If you’re open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon!

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