Oahu in November- talk to me, Dopers!

Some friends and I have decided to to take a 4 night trip to Oahu in November. Oahu wouldn’t have been my first choices- I’ve been there a few times and, dangit, I want to see volcanoes!!!- but one member of the group has to be in Waikiki for the AMA conference that week, so Oahu it is! Because I’ve been to Oahu before, I’ve done all the touristy stuff: the Cultural Center, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki- but I’m looking for some off the beaten path fun to have.

We’ve rented a house right on the beach in Waimanalo (the Windward coast), but we will have a car and are happy to travel for awesomeness. I don’t think any of us are big on organized tour group activities, but if a tour is just mind blowingly awesome, I’m sure we can make an exception.

Snorkeling is high on the list for our group, but also just pretty beaches and nature to explore.

So, help me, Dopers! I’ve been reading all over the web and have some ideas, but I’d love to hear about your experiences. And not just activities/sights, but also restaurants.

I’m going to Hawaii for 2 weeks on honeymoon at the beginning of July, so I am also interested in this topic.

Here’s a thread from a while back on the same subject.


For snorkelling, you will definitely want to hit Hanauma Bay. But here’s the thing: get there early - like before 10am. There is a decent sized parking lot at the top, but it fills up quick. The bay is THE snorkelling spot on Oahu, and is well known.
A good 90% of the people will snorkel (or stand and put their face in the water) on the beach side of the break. If you are comfortable with snorkelling with a bit of chop and surge, then venture to the ocean side of the break. It can be a little tricky crossing over, and especially coming back if there is some tide (so be careful). But the snorkelling is much better on the other side. Way better visibility, and of course, far fewer people. It was on the “far” side of the break that I snorkelled with my first turtle !

Not sure if they are still around, but Keo’s just east of the main drag in Waikiki was a great Thai restaurant.

Since you have a car, take the drive up the windward side to the northern tip. This is where (in the right season), the huge waves come in (in the offseason, it looks like a swimming pool, though ;-). Even if the big waves aren’t hitting, the beaches are really nice, and tend to be less crowded.

Though touristy, if you haven’t done it, you might do the hike up Diamond Head. You will need a small flashlight for one (short) section. Great views from the top, and when the planes come past into Honolulu, it seems like you could reach out and touch them.

We plan on going there anyway, but in several other threads on this board, folks are saying Hanauma Bay is awful. I guess you can’t please everybody!