After spending 7 nights on Hawaii’s Big Island, we decided to spend our final night in Waikiki on the Island of Oahu. It’s a considerable contrast from some other parts of Hawaii – it’s the walkable urban Hawaii, with good restaurants, shopping, nightlife, street performers, and of course beaches, with aspects for everybody to like.
At only 9 miles from the Honolulu airport, it is an easy place to visit. When the boys were toddlers, we rented an apartment a few blocks from the beach and stayed a week. This time around, with a very quick one night visit, we decided to get a hotel across the street from the beach with great ocean views.
As it turns out, we probably should have spent a little more time here, but it did give us a flavor of the area.
If you are planning a short stay on Oahu where all you want to see is Waikiki Beach, there is no need to rent a car. Our plane arrived just before noon and we used the Uber app to get 2 cars – we had previously learned the hard way that an Uber XL is way too small for 6 passengers plus bags!
Twenty minutes later, we were at our hotel. It was too early to check in, so we dropped our bags at the front desk and went out to find lunch.
For lunch, one of our kids really liked the name “Cheeseburgers in Paradise,” so our lunch was decided upon. A little pricy for hamburgers, but it was tasty and we had some views of the water.
From here, we decided to split up. It was slightly unfortunate that we couldn’t check into our hotel room and change into beach clothes, but we still had fun. Jeremy and the boys took a fast paced walk to see all they could see in Waikiki, while my parents and I took a slower saunter where we stopped in a few gift shops to try and find Hawaiian shirts.
By 3pm, we were able to check into our hotel. While the location was awesome, the rooms were fairly standard and were showing some negative effects of the salty air. That said, great view and proximity to the beach covered any deficiencies.
Heading out again, the boys decided to check out the beach with my parents while Jeremy and I took a walk together. It was a fun afternoon. If we had another day, we would consider sites like Pearl Harbor or real beach time.
Having failed to make dinner reservations, all of our top choice restaurants ended up being unavailable. Eventually we settled on an Italian place where I tried the flying fish roe and calamari spaghetti. Sounded better than it tasted, but the ambiance was nice and was a good choice for a last dinner of a Hawaiian vacation.
After dinner, Jeremy and I decided to go take another walk and enjoyed seeing the street performers.
Morning Walk, and Attempts to Surf
We had an 11am flight back to the mainland in the morning. Calculating back from there, we planned to leave for the airport at 9am.
Our son asked (many times) in the evening if it was possible to go surfing early in the morning. He does know how to surf, so we researched options and found a place that opened at 7am. The hope was that maybe he could get a 1.5 hours in and catch a few waves, and then clean up before the flight. We knew things would have to line up for that to work. In practice, we ran into the caveats of “Hawaii time.”
When we showed up at 7am, the employees were milling around doing nothing, but told us that they had a “staff meeting” and probably wouldn’t start giving out boards for at least a half hour. We realized at that point that it would be cutting things too close – which was too bad! In any case, keep this in mind when making carefully synchronized plans on the islands,
So, we decided to go to McDonald’s and ate breakfast on the beach. After waiting for our food , we enjoyed watching the waves.
If you have the opportunity to visit Waikiki, you will really want to spend more time there than we did. Still, it was a fun vacation and we were glad that we had seen a variety of places in Hawaii.
Next up: A Day in Grand Canyon National Park!
Keep reading our travel blog for some more posts from this Hawaii Trip: