It was my last day in Hawaii, and I fully intended to fill it up. My flight wouldn't leave until 11 p.m. from Honolulu, so I made sure to schedule in as much as I could. If, like me, you're going to be sticking around for a full day before departing, here's what I recommend:
1. Get active: There's no excuse not to be outside, no matter which of the five islands you're on. The weather is beautiful, and there's so much to do. I took a four-hour guided kayak tour ($119, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) with Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks. As I've said before, nothing compares to kayaking out on the ocean, especially in Hawaii. You've got the incredible cliffs on one side and the open ocean all around you. We paddled to the Mokulua Islands, where the guides, Nick and Drew, walked us around and told us about the indigenous birds and plants. We even climbed over rocks to get to a secluded tide pool called "The Queen's Bath" (see photo above). It was quite a sight. We took a break to have lunch on the beach, then got a chance to go snorkeling and surf kayaking. It was great fun.
If you're looking for other options, Kailua Sailboards & Kayaks also offers two-hour and six-hour kayaking tours, as well as windsurfing and stand-up paddling. Check out their website here for details.
2. Eat some shrimp: There are shrimp trucks along King Kamehameha Highway around the North Shore, and they're a great place to stop and grab a bite after you've been out working up an appetite. They may look a little sketchy, but, trust me, they're well worth a pit stop.
3. Take a drive: H-3, or Kamehameha Highway, is the best drive in Oahu. You can pick it up from "town" (that's what the locals call Waikiki) by taking H-1, which veers off into H-2. Just follow the signs to the North Shore, and you'll eventually get on King Kam, which will take you through an incredibly scenic drive with stunning views of valleys, mountains, and, of course, the ocean. You'll pass by all the hot surfer spots, including Pipeline, and you can easily stop, park by the ocean, and take your board right on in. This area is the home of big-wave surfing, so make sure you're comfortable enough on your board before tackling those wild waves, especially in winter, when the swells are greatest.
The most popular annual Ironman event will take place at Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii Saturday, October 10. Outside Online'sAileen Torres will be covering the big day, and she's also writing anaccompanying blog, "Hawaii Adventure," for tips on what to doand where to stay if you're planning to visit.