Top 5 Places in Hawaii for A Rental Car Cruise
The holiday of your lifetime in Hawaii will probably involve flights and boat rides. After a 14-hour flight journey from Singapore to Hawaii, it’s only natural to want to stretch your legs a little, while still being able to tick off attractions in good time.
Enter the simple solution - a rental car! A trusty four-wheel drive will make short work of Hawaii’s islands, making for perfect day trips. We’ve put together an itinerary that covers all the highlights of Oahu Island in the span of a day. Wipe destinations off your bucket list in broad strokes, or hang back and spend a couple of days enjoying Hawaii’s best-kept secrets - some stops on our itinerary have five-star hotels for those looking to take it slow and spiffy!
Waikiki & Diamond Head
Waikiki Beach, the face of Hawaii, is where we begin our drive. With plenty of resorts and beginner-friendly waves, it’s the perfect place to recuperate after an extended time in the air. After choosing your ride (we’ve a guide for this as well!) from the airport or at Waikiki Beach, soak in the views at Waikiki and pay a visit to its surrounding attractions! Places like Pearl Harbor, Iloani Palace, and the Ala Moana Centre set the perfect precedent to your upcoming adventure.
A must-see is the nearby Diamond Head, a 760-foot wide tuff crater that British sailors claimed to find diamonds in. (For those looking to make a windfall, the “diamonds” were just shiny calcite crystals - if you find one, it has no value other than as a souvenir.) The panoramic view of Honolulu however is worth the short journey from Waikiki Beach as you prepare to marvel at the rest of Oahu!
Our next stop takes us to Kaneohe, one of the largest residential communities in Oahu. Home to several attractions featured in top TV series like the Byodo-in Temple, as well as several spots to dine and vibe along the Windward Coast. A must-see here is Kaneohe Bay, the largest sheltered body of water in the main Hawaiian Islands, complete with its own barrier reef!
A welcome respite to the bustle of Honolulu Airport, the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, which literally translates to “to make a place of peace and tranquility”, will set your mind at ease. Wander amongst hundreds of plant and animal species unique to the islands and take in the true splendour of this archipelago - you’ll be knee-deep in its most exciting parts in no time!
The trendy beach town of Kailua lies further north, and houses the legendary Lanikai Pillboxes and Trails. Get your hiking shoes on - the repurposed World War II bunkers now serve as a vantage point to some of the greatest views over the Mokulua Islands, and the half-hour trek up will demand proper footwear! Do note that the site, although attractive, is still a mainly residential area. Therefore, amenities are few and far between - have your own refreshments ready, and clean up after yourself!
After sweating it out, remember to grab a meal here before heading to the next part of your journey. Beat the heat with Kailua’s signature shaved ice at Island Snow or The Local, which serves up delectable treats to keep moods up and temperatures down! Island Snow also has a clothing line for those who’ve made a grave mistake of packing for winter to this sunny paradise. Suns out, guns out!
We’ve included more than our fair share of tranquil beaches on this list, but Kualoa Beach is on the list for much more. A must-see here is the Ka’a’awa Valley - known as Hollywood’s “Hawaii Backlot”, this place will seem familiar to most movie buffs as over 50 Hollywood blockbusters have been filmed here, including the iconic Jurassic Park!
If you’re looking to skip some of the previous attractions, endeavor to make it here by noon for the Secret Island experience. A reservation here (which must be made in advance - seats sell out fast!) gets you unrestricted access to one of the best beaches in Hawaii, minus the crowds. The locally-run experience will also contribute to sustainability efforts in the Kualoa region - a key cog to keeping natural gems like these in peak condition! Grab your sunscreen and towel - the Island will provide the rest, and more.
Waimea Bay and Banzai Pipeline
Brace yourself, adrenaline junkies - the Banzai Pipeline is as pulsating as it is famous, and has bested many accomplished surfers. Tame its notorious tide, however, and you’ll cement your name along some of the best in the world. Alternatively, watch said surfers conquer his leviathan at the Pipeline Masters Surf Contest, held in December every year.
Two-day trippers can find solace in this area - the northernmost part of Oahu features many top-notch resorts and hotels that will have you rested up and ready for the day ahead. Check out the Turtle Bay Resort for a whole new level of opulence, with the northern views of Oahu at your command.
After taking on the waters of Waimea Bay, the next segment of your Drive-O is best enjoyed in the comfort of your trusty rental car. Expect lush forests, pristine bays, and everything else in paradise as you cruise from one icon to another - the top-notch North Shore region. Look out for Chinaman’s Hat and Kualoa Beach, both prime filming spots for their undisputed beauty.
Feeling a little peckish, or just looking to stop and smell the roses? Park at the town of Kahuku, and follow the scent to the many food trucks for a lunch you won’t forget. The North Shore sells its own unique shaved ice as well - Matsumoto does their best work complete with incredible toppings and a special cracker bowl straight from Japan. Work off the food coma with a mile of scenic strolling - or seven! Starting from Sunset Beach and ending at Haleiwa Beach Park, the aptly named 7 Mile Miracle will leave you spellbound.
Ko Olina Beach
We end off this guide short, sweet, and spectacular - the sunset at Ko Olina Beach. The resorts and activities, beachside or otherwise, are perfect for any accomplished day tripper. Even if you’re not planning to spend the night here, the sunset is more than enough - finish your wild ride on a high with the best sunset Oahu has to offer.
A day trip to Oahu (or longer, depending on how long you’ve been distracted for!) will tell you a lot about what you’d like to spend the rest of your time in Hawaii doing. Whether it’s tackling wave after wave, taking on the highest peaks, or relaxing like no one ever has, we’ve got you covered on every aspect - grab the cheapest rental cars and hotels CheapTickets.sg has to offer today, and you’ll only have to focus on the fun in Hawaii!
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