We’ve got your guides to experiencing the best of Honolulu and the North Shore, but what about finding lesser known gems on O‘ahu? With affordable direct flights to Honolulu International Airport, let Island Air fly you comfortably and conveniently to the state capital. From there, rent a car and get off the beaten path with these five local approved hidden gems in O‘ahu:
The Honolulu Museum of Art throws a great party on the last Friday of every month from January-October. Each month’s party is dedicated to an art-related theme, and May’s Worldwide Voyage promises to be a fun affair, with a screening of Hōkūleʻa’s global adventure and food from StreetGrindz and EATHonolulu. Stop by on Friday May 27th between 6 and 9 p.m.
2. University of Hawai‘i Lyon Arboretum
Five miles outside of the bustle of Waikīkī, you’ll find the lush tranquility of the Lyon Arboretum. With over 7 miles of hiking trails and more than 5,000 types of tropical and sub-tropical plant life, you’ll find plenty of secluded benches to take in the park’s stunning tropical foliage and abundance of statues.
3. Waimea Valley
With its world class botanical gardens, Waimea Valley is a popular tourist destination for good reason. But the valley’s unique events lineup gives locals and tourists alike plenty of ways to enjoy the park beyond strolling through its gardens. Check out the upcoming lineup of their Summer Concert Series , featuring Mele Kulāiwi, or “songs of our native land.” You can also enjoy the park after dark at the Waimea Valley Moon Walk on May 20th and 21st.
4. Kahuku Shrimp Trucks
To eat like a local while you’re on the North Shore, be sure to stop by at least one of the shrimp trucks located in Kahuku. Along this stretch of coastline you’ll find Romi’s Kahuka Prawns and Shrimp, Giovanni’s Aloha Shrimp and Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp. Visitors rave about all three on Yelp, citing the trucks’ reasonable prices, huge portions, and butter garlic shrimp platters. It’s the locally farmed shrimp and the laid back surf vibe that makes these trucks a local favorite lunch spot. Check out which truck Honolulu magazine rated most highly here.
5. Koko Crater Trail
For a challenging and scenic hike without the crowds that Diamond Head can bring, head to the Koko Head Trail in East Honolulu. This short but steep three-quarter-mile climb will have you feeling every muscle in your legs pumping as you climb 1,000 wooden steps to the rim of Koko Crater. The unique landmark is the site of World War II supply railway. With a summit 500 feet higher than Diamond Head, some argue this is truly the best vantage point for a hike near Honolulu.