What to See Outside of Honolulu Hawaii in One Day

What to See Outside of Honolulu Hawaii in One Day

Honolulu is beautiful, but there is more to see on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. So, what can you see outside of Honolulu in one day?

A lot! I went on a private tour with friends that live just outside Honolulu and I was surprised at how different the coastline is.

Hawaiian Island of Oahu

I got to Honolulu by cruise ship as it was the second port of call on the Hawaii and French Polynesia cruise. The cruise terminal is in the city centre so it is easy to get to Ala Moana Beach and Waikiki.

Ala Moana Beach

My friends took me on a short loop tour that started at Ala Moana Beach. It is a lovely beach and so close to all the city high risers, such a contrast and it is only a short 10-minute (depending on traffic) drive from the cruise ship terminal.


We then drove through Waikiki. Waikiki is full of high-end stores and hotels and has a long sandy beach. The perfect place to shop, relax on the beach or for a cocktail!

Diamond Head

Then we headed up to Diamond Head which is full of multi-million-dollar homes with sea views. Popped into the Kahala Hilton to see the dolphins and stingrays.

Koko Head

We continued the Kalanianaole highway toward Koko Head, to see the blowhole. The coastline changed into a more rustic feel as it was rocky with crashing waves. It was so different from Honolulu Bay and Waikiki.


Then to more stunning viewpoints of Makapuu viewing lot above Makapuu beach known for body surfing (without a board!) and Waimanalo known for pristine beaches used by the locals.



In Kailua was a gorgeous beach called Kailua beach. I dipped my toes in the water and then had lunch at Buzz Steak House. The food was fantastic, I had a fish burger and it was delicious.

I went to my friend’s home and had a refreshing glass of POG which is Passion Fruit, Orange, and Guava juice. You must try it while in Hawaii, it is so good!

While driving around the scenery was beautiful with green mountains and lots of trees and we saw areas where they filmed Jurassic Park.

Then it was back to the ship and I managed it see more than the Ala Moana mall!

What to Wear

It is always warm in Honolulu so shorts and t-shirt and flip-flops combo is always good and this is what I wore on the day I was there. Also, sunglasses and a hat.

Essential Info

  • Weather: Year-round 20*C – 31*C
  • Language: English and Hawaiian
  • Currency: US Dollars
  • Recommendations: Wear sunscreen and insect repellent. Bring your camera or smartphone and portable phone charger and a selfie stick! Drink lots of water, so bring your own water bottle to refill.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about what to see outside of Honolulu in Hawaii, please share on Facebook and Pinterest so your friends and family can read too. Sharing is caring!

Have you been to Honolulu? What would you recommend doing?

Happy Travels


  1. November 11, 2017 / 10:25 pm

    I’ve been to Oahu, too. Yes, the coastline is very different, like you said. There are rougher areas for surfing and then the smooth shallow waters – amazing. I was surprised how much there was to see besides the coastline like a farm where they explained us when which people migrated to Hawaii (I knew of course about the Japanese and the Chines, but didn’t know before that there was so much Portuguese migration). Then there is this big pineapple farm with the pineapple shaped maze – did you get there? That’s so much fun. Anyway, Oahu was really nice and interesting.

    • November 12, 2017 / 10:15 pm

      I didn’t know there was a pineapple shaped maze! I am going to get my friends to take me there next time! Thank you for the tip!

  2. November 11, 2017 / 10:56 pm

    I am hitting up the city and Hawaii next summer for the first time (going for two week stay) and cant wait to get out there. Found this post very very useful. Cant wait to see the amazing landscapes. Loving the photos here. :)

  3. November 12, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    We used to live on Oahu and absolutely loved it! Many people argue that it is too much of a “big city” for vacationers but we argue that there is so much to see and do for everyone! The Koko Head hike is a steep and sweaty climb but with amazing views at the top. And Makapu’u Tide Pools are perfect for an afternoon soak! Hope you get more time on the beautiful island on your next visit!

    • November 12, 2017 / 10:18 pm

      What a lovely place to of lived! You must miss it! I cannot wait to go back and see more.

  4. November 13, 2017 / 4:02 am

    How wonderful to have locals to hang with while you were in port. I love the city and getting out of it too. POG is just the best and I can’t seem to make it as well at home.

    • November 13, 2017 / 10:03 pm

      It made the day very enjoyable and trying POG for the first time was a treat!

  5. November 13, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    The views from those rocky cliffs are outstanding. Nothing beats having friends who live in the area and know all the best places to take you! Great read

    • November 13, 2017 / 10:04 pm

      Thank you! The views were amazing, I can’t wait to go back!

  6. November 14, 2017 / 12:28 am

    This post is for certified beach bums like me! Never been to but sure wish can visit Hawaii someday!

  7. November 14, 2017 / 1:33 am

    I’ve heard Honolulu was the place to skip but these spots outside of the area seem like great places to visit, especially Lailua beach- gorgeous beach. wow! Great pics and tips where to go thanks for sharing.

    • November 14, 2017 / 11:36 pm

      Honolulu is beautiful, but another city. Outside was beautiful and I could not believe how different it was!

  8. November 14, 2017 / 1:36 pm

    This looks absolutely divine! I’ve always wanted to visit Hawaii and now even more so. It looks so picturesque and tranquil. I could get used to those views!

  9. November 14, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    Great recommendations! Diamond Head was one of my favorite activities on Oahu. The view from the top with the city and ocean at your feet is absolutely breathtaking!

  10. December 9, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    I was lucky to have a friend living there too, and it made such a difference! We took a road trip up to the north shore which was awesome even though the weather wasn’t great that day. My favourite was the Makapuu trail because it was so easy yet the views were astounding!! And I also loved Ala Moana beach!

    • December 11, 2017 / 11:46 am

      It does! So much easier to see the sites. The view are so beautiful 💙🌴

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