My daughter Allie just flew back home from a college internship in Sydney, Australia where she had a 24 hour layover in Honolulu. She had never visited Hawaii and wanted to make the most of her time there, so she booked an inexpensive Airbnb a few blocks from Waikiki Beach and took off on her solo adventure of this pacific paradise. Here are her suggestions for a fun-filled day in Honolulu on a time crunch.
Start The Day With Breakfast At Island Vintage Coffee
The Original Acai Smoothie Bowl and Hawaiian Honey Latte at this Waikiki coffee shop are a great way to fuel up for a marathon day. Serving up outstanding gourmet Kona coffee with a tropical flair, Island Vintage is Located in the Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki’s premiere shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. With 110 distinctive shops, 30 unique restaurants, live bands, and complimentary hula lessons, one could easily spend the whole day here. For those seeking a bit more adrenaline to ward off the dreaded jet lag, however, read Allie’s next suggestion (and the highlight of her time in Honolulu).
Take a Magnum Helicopter Tour
Grab the Groupon deal for Magnum Helicopter’s adventure tour, a one hour ultimate wind-in-your hair experience that showcases the highlights of Oahu, including historic Honolulu Harbor, the world-renowned Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, the North Shore’s gorgeous Hanauma Bay, and the spectacular Kaawa Valley (above) where Jurassic Park and a host of other major motion pictures have filmed. Up to 4 guests are allowed per copter for your choice of a “doors on or off” experience. My daughter can attest to the thrilling rush of flying in an open cockpit. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her.
Hit Duke’s Beachfront Bar At The Outrigger Hotel
All that wind can make a girl hungry, so head to Duke’s for a cocktail and the best coconut shrimp of your life! Named after surf legend Duke Kahanamoku who, in 1929, rode a monster wave for over a mile at Waikiki, Duke’s is the place to go for the quintessential Waikiki Beach experience. Gaze out at the iconic Diamond Head and the breaking waves while finishing up with a slice of hula pie, a macadamia nut ice cream confection piled high over a chocolate cookie crust and topped with fudge and whipped cream.
Alternatively, head to Waikiki Yokocho, a unique food destination offering the one-of-a-kind yokocho or “food alley” experience so popular in Japan. Designed to replicate traditional Japanese food alleys crammed with restaurants all competing to offer the most delectable cultural nibbles, the Japanese Food Hall is a feast for the senses. Allie tried the macha parfait (below) and loved it!
Chill and Play on Waikiki Beach
As the activities of the morning and the jet lag begin to set in, head to the beach for an afternoon of vitamin D. World-famous Waikiki Beach on the south shore of Honolulu was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty and it’s easy to see why. With its dramatic setting and abundance of 5-star hotels, plethora of dining and shopping options, and all manner of water sports, Waikiki Beach offers something for everyone. People from all over the world come to experience the breathtaking beauty of these legendary waters. It’s the perfect place to rest and rejuvenate as well as take a surf lesson, rent an outrigger canoe, boogie board, or take a sailboat cruise around the bay.
Sip On A Mai Tai At The Royal Hawaiian
Wind down your day with a cocktail at the legendary Mai Tai Bar at Waikiki’s elegant Royal Hawaiian Resort. Known as the “pink palace of the Pacific”, the Royal Hawaiian was built in 1927 in a striking Spanish-Moorish style that ushered in a new era of luxurious resort travel to Hawaii. Listen to live tropical music, watch the sunset, and sip a pretty umbrella drink on the most coveted spot on Waikiki Beach before heading to the airport…