Favorite non Aulani thing to do

Discussion in 'Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa' started by DisFan84, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. DisFan84

    DisFan84 Mouseketeer

    Aug 8, 2012
    Me again!

    I'm looking for your recommendations for things to do outside of Aulani. We've decided to rent a car, so we want to take advantage of things to see and do at least a couple days out of the seven we'll be there for. We'll have our 4.5 year old as well.

    Whether it's a restaurant/food cart or to grab a snack- luau that's not Aulani's or anything that is your go to or favorite thing to do outside of the resort.

    Thank you!
  2. OKWJan

    OKWJan Mouseketeer

    Nov 28, 2003
    We loved to eat at Haleiwa Joes in Haleiwa. The town is a quaint little shopping town on the way to the North Shore, and there are also some great food trucks there. Dole Plantation is interesting, and Ted's Bakery on the North Shore is good. My husband is an explorer so we went all around the island. Pali lookout is awesome. Waimea Falls is pretty, but we had a bad experience there (someone drowned..I think they have put in new safety guidelines since we were there) so I am leery.
  3. Avatar


  4. vikequeen

    vikequeen Mouseketeer

    Aug 4, 2015
    we like Kono's bombers on the northshore. Driving there and visiting that part of the island is worth it (we usually hit it on our way back from zip lining, but that doesn't sound like a good fit for you). Visit to pearl harbor. My kids were slightly older than yours when we went, but they appreciated it far more than I thought they would. Dole Plantation is really a tourist trap, but my kids still enjoy it. The maze there was fun. We also liked Waimea falls. Went about 2-3 years ago. It gets very busy -- we were there when it opened and that was fantastic. Its beautiful and an easy walk. They had life jackets available. My kids swam. Adults did not. water is very cold there. It was much more accesible than hiking Diamond Head. Also lovely and worth doing but a much more demanding hike.
    nkereina likes this.
  5. adamak

    adamak DIS Veteran

    Aug 7, 2000
    North Shore. Love the drive through the middle of the island. We went all the way towards the end of highway (westward) where they filmed LOST. We were the only one on the beach almost every time. Except that one time LOST was filming their final season. I was a big fan so you can imagine my excitement.
    Sepo likes this.
  6. cgattis

    cgattis DIS Veteran

    Jan 1, 2009
    We tremendously enjoyed Hanauma Bay. Not sure exactly how to manage that with a little one, unless maybe one of those boogie boards or floats with the viewing window.

    Kualoa Ranch has some cool offerings; if we do Oahu again, we’ll probably give it a try. There’s both a zoo and aquarium (I believe), so that might be a good trip combined with one of the Diamond Head overlooks (but not the actual hike with a small child).
  7. Riburn3

    Riburn3 Earning My Ears

    Sep 4, 2018
    I have a 3 year old and she loved the Dole Plantation. She loved it when she was 2 as well, so if wanting to do something the little one will enjoy, it's a fun little detour. Even as an adult, my wife and I, and the friends we have travelled with all enjoyed it.

    As for my favorite thing to do, it's head up to the north shore, first stopping at Motsumoto's Shaved Ice along the way to Turtle Bay. Once at Turtle Bay, typically have dinner on the outdoor patio while the sun sets with a fruity adult beverage in hand. After nearly a dozen trips to Hawaii, this is one thing that we never miss.
  8. Princess_K

    Princess_K DIS Veteran

    May 18, 2008
    Lanikai Beach is my absolute favorite spot on Oahu!
    GusGus16 and Amw1064 like this.
  9. andy117

    andy117 Earning My Ears DVC Gold

    Jan 27, 2009
    The drive to the North Shore is worth it. Sunset Beach and Pipeline are both tremendous. Just watch the waves, it can be very rough out there.
    PlutoFan10 likes this.
  10. Amw1064

    Amw1064 DIS Veteran

    Jan 29, 2012
    Certainly the prettiest!
  11. Princess KP

    Princess KP DIS Veteran

    Oct 4, 2011
    Another vote for Lanikai Beach! Then dinner at Rainbow Drive-In and dessert at Leonard’s.
  12. happymommy

    happymommy DIS Veteran

    Jan 8, 2006
    Teach your child how to snorkel now! My kids learned young. Youngest was a fish! That way you can enjoy the water at Ko Olina!

    We LOVE Sushi Bay in Kapolei, just a short drive. We go there all the time.

    If you're in Kailua, we love Willow Tree (we used to live in Kailua, and my husband is Korean).

    The swap meet at the stadium is fun for inexpensive things. Go EARLY! It gets hot. Bring water. Then we always get lunch on the way back in Pearl City. Jin Ro (I think it's called) had good Korean bbq.

    We don't go back to Lani Kai much, as parking is a huge bear, and the beach has eroded so much over the last 20 years.

    My kids last summer enjoyed the temple up near there. Forget the name. We went twice (I was there for over a month last summer).

    Disclaimer: I own at the Marriott Ko Olina, own 2 weeks in a 2 bedroom, so locked off to have 4 weeks. 2 in studio with youngest then 2 in one bedroom all of us.

    Waikiki can be a fun day. Sunday brunch somewhere like the Halekulani or Moana.
  13. Lisa Skier

    Lisa Skier DisneyFan

    Sep 24, 2018
    Being a bit of a smart alek, visit my mom who lives right up the road :)
    DisFan84 and Sepo like this.
  14. mixmastertoy

    mixmastertoy "Disney Christmas Decorating Master"

    May 27, 2011
    Go to the Mermaid Caves. Google Mermaid Caves Oahu ... its right by you.
  15. dmetcalfrn

    dmetcalfrn Mouseketeer

    Jun 18, 2012
    Kualoa Ranch!! Movie tour was awesome! Jurassic Park, Lost, Hawaii Five-O, 50 First Dates, etc.
  16. mrswillson

    mrswillson the duck's biggest fan

    Nov 2, 2016
    Take a beach day, but get there by driving through Haleiwa and North Shore over to Laie Beach Park (on the northeastern part of the island). The view from this beach is absolutely breathtaking and the most beautiful on the island, and what adds to the charm are the old pier posts that jut up from the waves. It's unlike anything else I've ever seen anywhere.

    As a plus, the Polynesian Cultural Center is minutes from the beach and offers a wide range of activities and a whole village of things to see and do!
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  17. spacecanada

    spacecanada DIS Veteran

    Jan 25, 2011
    Kualoa Ranch and North Shore are always on our list. There's a nice beach park nearby Kualoa Rancha that is great for picnics and catching some sun.

    Surfing is also always on our list, as well. Whether we take lessons or just grab a rental somewhere, it's refreshing to not need a wetsuit to catch some waves.
  18. Papalaxpunk

    Papalaxpunk Earning My Ears

    Oct 16, 2018
    We agree Kualoa Ranch Raptor ATV Tour was outstanding. Was the favorite activity for everyone aged 9 - 40+ in our group. Beautiful lanscape and a unique activity that was fun for all. Highly recommended. We did the 2 hour as we heard the 1 hour was a little short for some and we thought the 2 hour was just right. Have fun!
  19. khnanrsn

    khnanrsn Earning My Ears

    Nov 5, 2018
    We loved driving to the North Shore and wandering around Haleiwa. One of the best meals we had on our entire trip was at the the food trucks there. Highly recommend Giovannis! We still talk about their shrimp a month later...
    DisFan84 likes this.
  20. nkereina

    nkereina Last chance to lose your keys.

    Feb 11, 2009
    With a kid, I would also recommend Kualoa Ranch. We love the North Shore (Kono's is amazing!), but I don't remember a lot of things that would be appealing to kids. You could do a Ranch tour in the morning, and then spend the afternoon at Kailua Beach which was the most gorgeous beach we saw while in Hawaii!
    DisFan84 likes this.
  21. DisneyPiPhi

    DisneyPiPhi DIS Veteran

    May 1, 2008
    My absolute favorite thing on Oahu was the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. We spent something like 3 hours in the Hawaiian Hall there, combing all three floors to learn about Hawaiian history and culture. The Polynesian hall, which shares all kinds of information about cultures from around the Pacific as well as Polynesian voyaging, was fascinating as well.

    Keep in mind we were a group of two adults, so your experience would be different with kids. But, if you want to learn a LOT about the history and culture of the islands, I can highly recommend the Bishop Museum.

    We also had fun exploring the North Shore, visiting Haleiwa, taking a surfing lesson, and hiking Diamond Head. I can recommend all of that, too! We ran out of time for snorkeling in Hanauma bay, but it's #1 on my list of things to do when we return with DD in tow someday.
    DisFan84 likes this.

Share This Page