Oahu is one of my favorite islands simply because I know it well. Living on the island gives you an insider’s perspective and allows you to find little spots and special views that as a visitor you might overlook, when you are pressed for time or have only a few days.
Photo Credit Craighton Miller
Punch Bowl is a wonderful place to visit to honor our veterans. The view from Punch Bowl is simply beautiful. You are on a volcanic crater overlooking the city of Honolulu and the island. If you are lucky enough to visit on a holiday such as Veteran’s Day or Memorial Day make a point to visit, but come early. There are terrific ceremonies, fly over’s, musical presentations and a deep feeling of honoring those who’ve served and those who’ve given their lives in service. I was fortunate to visit during one of the above ceremonies and I treasure my memories of that visit to Punch Bowl National Cemetery.
When preparing for your visit, please note that Punch Bowl National Cemetery is open from 8 am to 5 pm Sept 30th thru March 1 and 8am to 6:30 pm March 2 thru Sept 29. Driving directions can be found on the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific Veterans Affairs website.
This Hawaii State Park remains another treasured memory of my time on Oahu. Diamond Head State Park is a moderate hike with many switch backs and many steep steps. There is a little portion of the hike that goes through a small tunnel so a flash light is helpful. Wear walking shoes and bring water and sunscreen. The official website states that you should give yourself 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the hike. Consider bring binoculars, especially in the winter as Whales migrate to Hawaii during the winter and there is a possibility of seeing them from the summit of the crater.
Visitors to Diamond Head can enter the park from 6am to 6pm, but the last entry to the trail up the crater is at 4:30 pm. Within the park you will find restrooms, vendors and sometimes food trucks. If you want packable snacks for your hike I suggest bringing them along. Entrance into the park is $5 per car. Pedestrians enter for $1.
Photo Credit: Jefferyw Flickr
One of my favorite discoveries on Oahu was Liliha Bakery. They make, hands down the best cream puffs (called coco puffs). In fact, they are so popular that they sell between 4,800 and 7,200 EVERY DAY! It’s an insane number of cream puffs, but they are fantastic. When I was a teacher on Oahu our staff often ordered desserts from Liliha Bakery. They are located at 515 Kuakini St. In addition to desserts and pastries they also have a diner. The hours are from 6am Tuesdays, 24 hours a day through 8 pm on Sunday. Liliha is closed all day on Mondays.
Ono Hawaiian Foods
This little gem is an island tradition. Ono Hawaiian Foods is located at 726 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu. A friend recommended this restaurant to me 15 years ago, long before I lived there. Ono Hawaiian Foods is still going strong today and continues to be a local favorite. This is where you will find Hawaiian dishes such as Kalua Pig and Haupia, which is a coconut based pudding dessert. They only accept CASH and offer street (metered) parking.
Oahu offers many island delights, these are a few of mine. Stop back again to discover more about the islands.