• Stephanie Joy

Oahu...there is more to do than just lying on the beach!

Updated: Jul 10, 2018

Of course the beaches are totally gorgeous, but if you never leave your hotel and go beyond the beach, you are missing so much of the fun, exciting beauty that is Oahu!

"Under the Sea"

Submarine Scooter at Island Watersports Hawaii

377 Keahole Street, Building E, Suite 208-B (2nd Floor), Honolulu, Hawaii


OMG, y'all...this is so much fun! We nicknamed these little motorized underwater scooters "Scooty Puff Jr" after something similar we saw on "Futurama" and this was truly one of the best activities we have ever done in Hawaii. The scooters are tethered to the boat so you can't drift off into the open ocean and each person underwater has a guide there along side them to help them if they need it. Being under water and not having to worry about a snorkel or dive mask is a great thing for someone not certified as a SCUBA diver, but wants that fish eye view of live under the sea. When it's not your turn on the scooter, you are free to snorkel and there are so many colorful fish and sea turtles around that it's hard to not be impressed with the beauty of life under the sea.

I have to admit that their website is very confusing when it comes to booking your trip...they have one for $99 which is a 2 hour trip with 20 minutes on the undersea scooter. Then just beneath it there is a similar listing advertising "2 Hour Sub Eco-Scooter & Scenic Turtle Watching Adventure" which is the exact same thing, but advertises that you get to go snorkeling and turtle watching, but you still get to do that on the cheaper trip. like you are on the exact same ship, but you get refreshments? For $100 more a person, I better get champagne served by George Clooney.

When I booked our trip, I booked the one for $99 and we got to go snorkeling (as did everyone on the trip) and we paid half the cost. Don't overpaid or get suckered in. Also, check Groupon, as they have run specials before. If you have questions, just email them at islandwatersportshi@gmail.com They are very professional, have a definite interest in safety and I would recommend them highly!

Climbworks Ziplining at Keana Farms on the North Shore

1 Enos Rd. Kahuku, Oahu, HI 96731


Ziplining is a blast and the view from the top can't be beat, BUT if you're out of shape or have issues climbing lots of stairs, this is not for you. Yes, they tell you on the website that you must not have had recent surgeries, etc...but as a former smoker (and I was a smoker when we did this last year) you are going to do a lot of stair climbing and if you get winded easily, like many smokers do, you're not going to find this as fun as someone in better shape.

It's not cheap and if it weren't for the fact that it was Jason't birthday when we went, this would have been a bit put of our price range. It was $169, plus tax (per person!) and that also doesn't include the tip you really should give your guides. They are with you for 3 hours, so for a family of 3, $50 is reasonable. So you're looking at $500+for 3 hours worth of activity. I'll leave that up to you to decide if you think it's worth it!

Holokai Catamaran

Outrigger Reef Resort Beach 2169 Kalia Rd Honolulu Hi


I'm going to keep this short and simple. We've gone on this same Sunset Catamaran Cruise on 6 different occasions. Although this is considered to be a "booze crusie" because they have an open bar during the cruise, it IS family friendly! My daughter has gone twice at age 10 and 13 and had a great time! Just to cover the highlights:

  • Two hour sunset cruise

  • Open Bar with beer, wine, champagne and the most super tasty Rum Punch!!

  • Great music, nice people of all ages and nationalities on board. A great way to meet new people!

  • Super helpful, saftey oriented staff

  • Picturesque views of the Waikiki Beach hotels and the Honolulu Skyline as the sun goes down!

  • Only $55 per person

Kualoa Ranch

49-560 Kamehameha Highway Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744


You've seen Kualoa Ranch more than you probably realized...ever see Jurassic Park/World? Godzilla? LOST? 50 First Dates? Hawaii 5-0....it has been in so many movies and tv shows because the landscape is just so lush, they can make Kualoa Ranch look like so many different places. It is private property, so it is only open to the public via tours, but we've had so much fun on the tours we've taken there.

Horseback riding for the 1 hour tour starts at 84.95 per person with 2 hours for $129.95. We decided to do the 2 hour tour as it took us back deeper into the valley, but we warned, that means an increased chance of rain when you are back in the tropical rainforesty area. And you can wear plastic ponchos, because you risk spooking the horses.

Yep, you guessed it, we got soaked, but we had fun. Sarah's horse seemingly skipped breakfast and kept pulling off the the side of the trail to eat grasses. Mine had an issue with authority and didn't pay attention to a single instruction I gave him and utterly scared the bejebus out of me when he took off at a quickly paced trot all the sudden. Did I mention I am not a horse person at all? LOL...I am sure my horse was talking to the other horses on the trail saying 'Hey, watch me scare the crap out of this lady!".

And then when we got back to the stables, my horse had me cracking up. As we were waiting to get off on the platform, my horse decided it was time to relieve himself. It was like sounded like the rush of a swollen river...My god, it was like Hoover Dam was opened. I looked down and there was horse pee EVERYWHERE. We were in a lake of it....but at least it wasn't poop!

We've done horseback riding with Sarah, ATV riding when it was just Jason and I, and when we were staying at the Sugar Mill Beach House across the street, we say they were having a local neighborhood potluck and the public was invited. We enjoyed Hawaiian music and some of the local women doing hula dancing, I made a huge fresh fruit salad to share and we enjoyed a plethora of local food and met some really nice people!

They have plenty of tours to choose from: A movie set/filming location tour; ATV tours; Catamaran Tours; and Ziplining, too. It's a great place to visit and I recommend it to everyone who goes to Oahu!

Dole Pineapple Plantation

64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy, Wahiawa, HI


"There's always money in the Pineapple Stand!"

I remember going to the Dole Plantation on a school trip, earning about pineapples and how they were grown. I couldn't wait to take Sarah back there. Plus you can't go to Hawaii without getting a Dole Whip! Delicious frozen pineappley goodness!!!

They have a HUGE gift shop where you can buy anything and everything pineapple related. You can get tickets for the "Pineapple Express" train ride that takes you through the pineapple fields (yeah, I'm sure a lot of 420 friendly people may be disappointed when they find out it is just a tour!) and you can also walk the grounds and buy tickets for the Dole Plantation’s giant Pineapple Garden Maze that was declared the world’s largest maze in 2008.

Maze tickets: $8 for adults, $6 kids, 4 and under are free! Train Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 kids, 4 and under are free!

Hiking the trails at Turtle Bay Resort


With over 12 miles of trails (all easy hiking) you can get away from everything and bond with natures as you walk to secluded coves, look inside a World War II pillbox bunker (with some interesting graffiti art), and sit back and relax on unspoiled beaches.

Waimea Falls Park & Botanical Gardens in Waimea Valley

59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI


Another place commonly seen in TV and in movies due to the lush tropical background, but in reality it is a popular hiking spot by Waimea Bay. It is a very low impact and per their website "The walk up the main pathway is a paved path through our world class botanical gardens and historical sites up to the waterfall area. The walk is ¾ of a mile (1207 meters) one way or 1 ½ miles (2414 meters) round trip. Although most of the path is stroller and wheelchair friendly the side trails through some of the gardens contain stairs and steeper hills. There are shuttle rides available from Hale Ho'ike to the Wailele waterfall turn around area available for purchase at the ticket booth.

The landscape truly is beautiful and it takes you back to a gorgeous waterfall...if you want to getaway and commune a little more with nature, you really should go one morning for an early walk to the waterfall. Open Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 7 days a week $16.95 per adult, $8.95 per child

Tropical Farms - The Macadamia Nut Farm Outlet

49-227 Kamehameha Hwy # A, Kaneohe, HI


Located on the Eastern "Windward" side of the island, located just south of the entrance to Kualoa Ranch, if you're in the area, look for the American Flags out front and stop in for some great Macadamia Nut samples, macadamia nut foods, and a place you can crack open your own nuts to see how hard it really it! It's a place you pop in for maybe 30 minutes as you're on your way somewhere else, but it's a great little shop to pick up some macadamia nuts for a great price and purchase other local Hawaiian made products.

Stay tuned to another post of activities and things to see around Oahu!!!

About the Joy Family

We're not a normal family. In fact, we're downright goofy, with just a touch of nerdy (well, maybe a lot of nerdy at times)...but we're fun, we care very much for one another and we LOVE to travel.

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