One Texan’s Musings on the Magical Island of Oahu
This past week, I was fortunate to be able to visit Hawaii for the second time. The easygoing vibe alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. But the views are spectacular too. Pictures really don't do it justice, but I'll try.
The one thing that really stands out to me about the islands are the mellow vibes. It's probably the most chill place I've ever been. The people of Oahu are welcoming and their spirit is magnetic. There is very little, if any, animosity towards anyone.
Whether you've been to Hawaii or not, I wanted to share some of the things we did on this trip, maybe offer up some pointers, and show off the magical beauty that is Hawaii.
If/when you visit, you'll definitely want to tour and pay respect to the brave souls who lost their lives protecting our country at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The tour is packed with history and memorabilia that will leave you speechless. You'll take a boat out to the sunken USS Arizona, which is still leaking oil over 81 years after the attack.
Hanauma Bay is arguably one of the best beaches on Oahu. As you can see, the water is pristine with splashes of bright turquoise, greens, and blues. You can literally spend the whole day here snorkeling, swimming, or just chilling on the beach. I will warn you though, there are a lot of coral reefs that will slice you up pretty good if you're not careful. Otherwise, this is the perfect place to hang loose and enjoy the island.
Kualoa Ranch is another must-see while visiting the island of Oahu. This place is absolutely amazing. You can go horseback riding, zip-line through the jungle, take an ATV tour, or simply kick back on one of their several guided tours. We chose the movie tour which highlighted several films made on the ranch, including "Jurassic Park", "Godzilla", "Kong", "50 First Dates", "Hawaii 5-0" and more. I have a ton of other pictures from that tour in the gallery below.
I can now say I have swam with the sharks in Hawaii. We went through North Shore Shark Adventures; they took us out about three miles from shore and threw us in a cage surrounded by sharks. What an adrenalizing experience! Peep the video below.
One of my favorite places to visit is the historic Waimea Valley which has a gorgeous botanical garden and waterfall, and offers up plenty of history on Hawaiian culture. I personally think this is one of the coolest places to visit. You can hike around the area for hours and see some of the most beautiful landscapes.
Bellows Air Force Base
I had a military friend with me on vacation and he got us onto Bellows Air Force Base, which may have the clearest waters on the island. Of course, after we swam we were told this is also a breeding area for hammerhead sharks. Oops.
Nu'uanu Pali Lookout
One of the most breathtaking views can be found at Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. Honestly, words and pictures do not do it justice. This is a view that is simply indescribable.
That is just the tip of the melting iceberg when it comes to the amazing things you can do in Oahu. We also drove around the entire island including North Shore where the Sunset and Pipeline beaches hold surfing competitions. There is so much to do in Oahu, but one thing is for sure, the vibe is the greatest thing you'll get from the island.
- Don't overpack - Seriously, I didn't wear half the stuff I brought. You'll end up just wearing shorts and a shirt 98% of the time, if not more.
- Frequent the local businesses - Not only are you keeping cash flow there on the island, but the stories and recommendations you'll get from these types of places will go far.
- Rent from Turo - Don't go with the rental car agencies or you'll wait in line for half the day. Instead, go with Turo. They have local hosts who can get you pretty much any vehicle you may want, and will shuttle you from the airport to your vehicle.