Examples of Things to See Driving on Oahu
If you have a day to spend, have a rental car and want to see as much of the island of Oahu as possible, you might want to try out this travel itinerary. It might be a little ambitious; so it’ll be important to get an early start. But if somehow you don’t, get behind schedule or get stuck in traffic, you can make up some or all of the time by leaving some stops off your travel agenda. So here are our recommendations on things to see driving on Oahu.
Start your day bright and early by arriving at the Arizona Memorial when it opens at 7:00 am. As it is one of the most visited attractions and most historic in all of Hawaii, you can easily spend a couple of hours and more at the memorial. Plus, there’s the famous battleship, USS Missouri, on display on nearby Ford Island and a World War II submarine, the USS Bowfin, that you can also visit. Without doubt, this has to be one of best things to see driving on Oahu.
After Pearl Harbor, head past the town of Wahiawa to the Dole Plantation complex. Here, you can sample all sorts of pineapple related treats from fresh squeezed juice to frozen treats, candies and preserves as well as get a glimpse of the wide range of pineapples that have been grown in the 50th State. The plantation also claims to have the world’s largest maze as well as a pineapple train ride.
Matsumoto Shave Ice
Continuing your drive north, head out to the historic town of Haleiwa and stop by the Matsumoto Shave Ice store for one of the Aloha State’s most iconic treats, shave ice. Unlike frozen ice treats served at convenience stores on the US mainland, shave ice is uniquely different because the ice used in this confection is shaved, not chopped or ground. This might arguably be Hawaii’s most famous stop for shave ice; so don’t pass up this opportunity to try it here.
North Shore Surf Spots
Continue along Kamehameha Highway and you’ll drive by world famous surf spots such as the Banzai Pipeline, Chun’s Reef, Laniakea and Sunset Beach. During the summer when the surf is down, you can also stop by picturesque Waimea Bay where you can relax on a large sandy beach and even enjoy a nice swim. If you have time, you can visit nearby Waimea Valley to see its beautiful botanical gardens and waterfall directly across Waimea Bay.
Kahuku Food Trucks
You might now be working up your appetite as you continue your drive to the town of Kahuku. As you approach the town, you can see some lunch trucks on both sides of the highway. Here, you can stop by for a late lunch or early dinner. These mobile roadside food establishments might just serve some of the best cuisine ever served by a food truck. Of course, they’ll all feature locally grown Kahuku shrimp. In the next town of Laie, there’s the world famous Polynesian Cultural Center. But unless this your last stop, you’ll probably won’t have time to fully enjoy what the center has to offer.
As you head towards the town of Kaneohe, you will see the hat shaped islet of Mokoli’i, popularly known to most local residents as Chinaman’s Hat. Stop to take a picture here. There’s a popular park and white sand beach fronting Chinaman’s Hat as well as the Kualoa Ranch where, if you have some time, you can do horseback riding, zip-lining, go on ATV expeditions and visit locations where a number major motion pictures were filmed.
If it’s not too late, stop by the Pali Lookout for a panorama of the windward side of the island. Coming from the windward side, the road to the lookout will be a few miles past the tunnels. To avoid theft, be sure not to leave your valuables in your car when you head out to the lookout. This area not only affords the best views of windward Oahu. But it was also the site of a historic 1795 battle. Here, King Kamehameha’s army defeated the warriors of Oahu in his goal of unifying the Hawaiian Islands under his rule. It’s definitely one of the things to see driving on Oahu.