An older African-American woman golfer on a tropical course.

Golf and Spa Days in Honolulu

While you might prefer one over the other, Honolulu has some excellent choices for both golf and spa days. If you’re short on time or simply want the best of both in one day, plan ahead! Here’s expert author Kevin Whitton with a round-up of Honolulu golf courses and spas.

A king-sized antique bed in a brightly lit room.

Places to Stay in Honolulu

Though it’s the biggest metropolis in the middle of the Pacific, there aren’t many places to stay in Honolulu. There are a few hotels to choose from—mostly at the airport but there are a couple in Ala Moana—and a historic bed-and-breakfast or a budget YMCA/YWCA option.

Flowers grow along a path with the verdant hills of Manoa Valley visible.

Honolulu Hiking and Birding

Honolulu bird-watching is specifically tied to hiking, as the best spots to sight forest birds are along the many trails. Each location here has half a dozen route or more, usually easily combined for a longer hike and customizable by terrain, so you can have as easy or as difficult a hike as you’d like.

Mokule‘ia Beach Park is a quiet, uncrowded beach across from the Dillingham Airfield.

Beaches in Hale‘iwa, Oahu

All four of the beaches in Hale‘iwa are beach parks, which means parking (sometimes gated), facilities like restrooms, and usually grassy public areas with picnic tables and the like. Here are the amenities for each park along with which beaches are best for swimming, snorkeling, and other water activities.

You can hike to Ka‘ena Point, the western tip of the island, from the North Shore.

North Shore O‘ahu Hiking, Biking and Bird-Watching

O‘ahu’s north shore has three trails with excellent views that range from moderate to intermediate based on conditions and difficulty, and biking is similar. Bird-watchers aren’t left out with a dedicated 164 acres of prime territory with guided tours available.

Malaekahana State Recreation Area has showers, restrooms, and picnic tables, and camping is allowed with a permit on the south side of Kalanai Point.

O‘ahu Beaches from Kualoa to La‘ie

The many beaches that stretch from Kualoa to La‘ie on O‘ahu are mostly beach parks, which generally means gated parking, restrooms, other facilities such as picnic tables, and decent water sports. Expect local crowds on the weekends, but if one beach is a little too busy for your liking, it’s easy enough to move on to the next.

The historic Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu.

Your Best Day in Honolulu

While there are many neighborhoods that comprise Greater Honolulu, most of what appeals to visitors is centrally located in the downtown vicinity. Plan your Honolulu day around avoiding the daily rush-hour traffic to maximize your time.

A cone of shave ice in rainbow colors from Matsumoto's in Haleiwa.

Where to Eat in Hale‘iwa, O‘ahu

Finding something to tempt your tastebuds is no trouble in Hale‘iwa. There’s a good mix of easy standbys such as burgers, pizza, and sushi—expect those to come with a touch of local flavor—plus options for sit-down or to-go meals and quick treats.

Thinly sliced seared meats in sauce at Izakaya Nonbei in Honolulu.

Japanese & Indian Restaurants in Honolulu

Expect most of the Asian restaurants in Honolulu to be busy at mealtimes, so make reservations if you can or arrive before the crowds. Most are also fairly budget-friendly, offer delicious and unique menu items, and are not really tourist-focused, which helps contribute to their popularity with the locals.

A woman rests on a park bench in the sand at Kailua beach.

Beaches Near Kailua, O‘ahu

The beaches near Kailua, O‘ahu each have their own big draw; one is the place to go for fun in the water, another for excellent kayaking, and still another for finding your own small stretch of sand. Whenever you seek solitude, however, be prepared to go without the convenience of park facilities and easy accessibility.