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Insights & Stories

Getaway Oahu: Enjoy the Gathering Place

Reading time: 5 Minutes

September 16th, 2021

Due to ongoing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, please be sure to check the latest Hawaii state and county guidelinesCDC travel guidelines, as well as company cancellation policies before booking any travel, activities, or accommodations.

If you need an easy getaway on a neighboring Hawaiian island, the answer may be a staycation on Oahu. Spending time in Hawaii's "Big City" means a chance to get in some shopping (including at outlet stores), eat Pacific Rim cuisine, and check out tasty hole-in-the-wall food joints. You can also see a variety of museums and concerts, and take in any number of cultural experiences.

You might spend your time in bustling Waikiki, once a playground of Hawaiian royalty. Or you may choose to stay in one of the island's laidback beach towns such as Haleiwa, where you can cool off with shave ice and watch the big surf, or check out nearby Kahuku where you can have lunch at iconic shrimp trucks. Whether you want to golf or hike, play in the ocean, or take your kids to the water park or Aulani®, A Disney® Resort, there's a lot to enjoy on Oahu.

Although we are still experiencing some travel uncertainties due to the pandemic, when it's safe to travel again, exploring Oahu's huge variety of adventures could be a great way to spend a week—or three.

As we continue to think forward about our future travels, wouldn't it be amazing to have your future flight to the Gathering Place covered just by making the same purchases you do every day?

Now through December 31, 2021, use your contactless debit card from Bank of Hawaii on any purchase you make and be entered to win up to 1 Million Hawaiian Airlines® HawaiianMiles®! Every purchase offers one entry into the Bank of Hawaii 5 Million HawaiianMiles Giveaway (every contactless purchase receives double entry). Each month, ten winners will receive 100,000 HawaiianMiles. Plus, one lucky grand prize winner will receive 1 Million HawaiianMiles.

Just tap to pay, and you could be one step closer to your future staycation.

Where to Stay

For relaxed, low-key accommodations, check out Breakers Hotel with its nostalgic charm. The hotel is on a street called Beach Walk, a rare, tucked-away area with a sense of quiet in otherwise busy Waikiki. It's a short, palm-shaded stroll from the hotel to Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki's main shopping drag, which offers plenty of restaurants, shops, and entertainment possibilities. The long-standing hotel is made up of six low-rise buildings set around a pool and deck.

The hotel is home to a Japanese restaurant, the Wasabi Bistro. And every unit has a small but fully equipped kitchenette in case you want to prepare some of your own meals. Rooms vary in size from studio up to a garden suite that comes with a sitting room and bedroom and can sleep up to five. Some units sport lanai, all open to the cool trade winds if you're looking for a break from air conditioning. The hotel has free Wi-Fi and offers a limited number of free parking spaces that are available first-come, first-served.

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Where to Eat

As Hawaii's most populated island, Oahu is packed with some of the state's best food—with more can't-miss eateries than you could visit in a dozen vacations. Whatever you're in the mood for—whether it's a traditional Hawaiian feasticonic malasadas, fresher-than-fresh ahi poke, rich tonkatsu ramenstreet-style tacosIsland-style brunch, or refreshing shave ice—you'll find it. In fact, there are so many options that choosing your next meal can be overwhelming.

If you're looking for a one-stop shop that will please the whole family—check out Ohana Hale Marketplace, in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Kakaako. It's an indoor collection of shops and food stands where you'll find everything from local snacks and desserts to Thai curries and even upscale omakase sushi.

Another great place to explore a diverse range of food options is in Honolulu's Chinatown. Sure, you'll find Chinese staples such as char siu, roast duck and pork and dim sum, but you'll also find one of the island's best smashburgers, a hearty pho French dip sandwichlocally made ice cream with flavors that include soursop and tom kha, a lobster roll to die for, and Burmese cuisine you won't soon forget.

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Where to Adventure

Oahu is a great island for getting your hiking shoes out. A fairly easy and quickly rewarding hike can be found with the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail. At the top of this three-mile, roundtrip jaunt, you'll find panoramic views of the shoreline in both directions, as well as the inside of Koko Crater. Humpback whales can often be spotted during the November through May whale season, and on a clear day, you can spot Molokai and Lanai in the distance. Give yourself a couple of hours for this hike, and be sure to take water and sun protection.

If you're more in the mood for jumping in the ocean than gazing at it from afar, head to Lanikai Beach. Lanikai Beach has consistently been regarded as one of the nation's most dazzling beaches by visitors from around the world. It's also a prime spot for laidback relaxation and water play, even for local residents. The half-mile stretch of white sand beach alongside glassy, turquoise waters is located in a residential area in Kailua, on the Windward side of the island.

Where to Shop

Eye-opening improvements have brought a flurry of novelty shops to Honolulu's south shore. Kakaako, in particular, has been remodeled into quite a trendy district that includes an 85,000-square-foot retail and restaurant complex by Kamehameha Schools called SALT. While on your Oahu vacation, check out the pedestrian-oriented city block, named for the paakai (salt) ponds that once made up the area.

Now, the area is filled with modern, open-air spaces and eclectic shops such as Hungry Ear Records and Lonohana Estate ChocolateMorning Brew coffee house, Hank's Haute Dogs and loads more.

Discover our full list of must-see places to stay, eat, adventure and shop below!


The individuals and owners of any trademarks, logos, brands or other designations of origin shown, named or mentioned herein did not sponsor, endorse or preview this article.

No purchase or transaction necessary to enter. Open to legal residents of the state of Hawaii, 18 or older. Starts 12:00:01 am September 1, 2021 and ends 11:59:59 pm December 31, 2021. Odds of winning depend upon number of eligible entries. Approximate retail value of an individual prize ranges from $3,000 to $30,000. For complete rules and eligibility, visit boh.com/5millionmilesrules Sponsor: Bank of Hawaii, Inc.

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