Favorite non Aulani thing to do

DisFan84

Mouseketeer
Joined
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!
 

OKWJan

Mouseketeer
Joined
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.
 

vikequeen

Mouseketeer
Joined
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.
 
  • adamak

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    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.
     

    cgattis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    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).
     

    Riburn3

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    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.
     
  • andy117

    Earning My Ears
    DVC Gold
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2009
    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!
    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.
     

    happymommy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    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.
     
  • mrswillson

    the duck's biggest fan
    Joined
    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:

    spacecanada

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    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.
     

    Papalaxpunk

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 16, 2018
    Kualoa Ranch!! Movie tour was awesome! Jurassic Park, Lost, Hawaii Five-O, 50 First Dates, etc.
    https://www.kualoa.com/
    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!
     

    nkereina

    Last chance to lose your keys.
    Joined
    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!
     

    DisneyPiPhi

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    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.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News

    Top