Home United States of America Hawaii Best 3 Days in O’ahu Itinerary

Best 3 Days in O’ahu Itinerary

Best 3 Days in O’ahu Itinerary

Three days is not enough. There are too many things to do on O’ahu. Hawaii is a beautiful place for many different types of travelers. Whether you are a beach-goer or an adventurer, it has something for you. We had the opportunity to see some amazing sites, go on some great tours, and just enjoy ourselves in the water during our time on the island. Three days just was not enough.

Things to Do On O’ahu

Destination Name: O’ahu Island, Hawaii
Country: United States of America
Destination Type: Nature
How to Get There: Fly into Honolulu, Hawaii and rent a car to get around the island.
Cost: Traveling to Hawaii can be costly. Find inexpensive flights and look for an Airbnb to save on costs. Food can easily cost you a minimum of $30 a day per person. A rental car will cost you approximately $100 per day with insurance. You should know how much entertainment will cost you by researching in advance.
Duration: We went to O’ahu for three days.
Summary: In three days, we got a lot accomplished on O’ahu Island, Hawaii. There are countless things to do on O’ahu for many different types of travelers.

This was our third trip to Hawaii. It was also the trip that we would meet my parents for the first time in a year and a half. It was a great opportunity to spend some quality family time and travel an island of Hawaii that we had not yet seen in it’s entirety. With just three days on the island, we made the most of our time by renting a car.

Day One

Our parents arrived the day before us. We arrived in the early afternoon on our first day, picked up our car, and made our way to our Airbnb. By the time we were settled and ready to meet my parents who were staying just down the street in another Airbnb, it was nearly dinner time. Our first day was then just spent at a nice small restaurant that was reminiscent of the early days of my parents childhood, followed by a walk around the Waikiki area and enjoying the sunset before packing it in for the night to prepare for an early morning.

Day Two

The next morning, we woke up to the sound of raindrops before the sun had even risen. At this time, we thought our day at the beach would be cancelled. As a group decision, we pushed on and went to the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.

Snorkeling Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

A beautiful setting to do some snorkeling in the bay, and we could not have asked for better weather. It just goes to show you on the island that the weather can change at any moment despite a less than stellar forecast for the day.

The half day at Hanauma Bay left us with a lasting impression of the beauty of Hawaii. The colorful fish, clear water, lush greenery surrounding us, and soft sand all made for an incredible experience. From eels to a massive school of fish, it seemed like we had seen it all and our trip had just began. This was one of our favorite things to do on O’ahu during our stay.

Snorkeling Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

We made the most of our time at the bay, but before noon we took off before we got hit with sweltering heat. Off for lunch and then for a drive further north west up the coast before finally arriving at our next destination.

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

A beautiful stop during our short half day road trip on the island following our snorkeling adventure. There was a cost of parking, but it was a beautiful lookout of the area and a nice pit stop to stretch our legs before making our way back to Waikiki for the night.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, O'ahu, Hawaii

We actually made it to Kualoa Ranch on this day, but not in time to tag along on a tour. We walked around the tourist center and looked at souvenirs and got information to book our trip for the following day.

The snorkeling had really drained our energy for the day. After arriving in Waikiki, we grabbed dinner and a drink at a local bar and went our separate ways to grab our sleep for yet another early morning in our final day of the trip.

Day Three

On our final day, we woke up with ambitious plans to drive our way past Pearl Harbor and towards the North Shore to see as much as we could. Yet another early morning and lots of driving ahead of us.

After a couple stops at various beaches along the way, especially to try and spot some sea turtles, we made it to the beach that was recommended to us for it’s cliff diving.

Waimea Bay Beach Park

Arriving bright and early before any other cars, we had prime parking on this little stretch of beach on the North Shore. The weather was not as good as the previous day, but we did not get hit hard with rain. Our towels were set, our sunscreen was on, and the waves were pounding us trying to drag us further into the ocean.

I had never seen anything like it before. The massive swell was enough to make the lifeguards warn people not to go out into the water and place signs along the beach to warn people. We got our time in the water before this and experienced the sheer power of the waves as they crashed into us and pulled us into deeper water.

Waimea Bay Beach Park Swell

The exhausting swimming, or lack thereof, worked up our appetite. Our next goal was Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck. A must-visit eating spot on the North Shore as we were told. We drove around the North Shore, stopping to see some local shopping spots, and finally found the shrimp truck.

Shrimp Truck

Parking was scarce and took me about 15 minutes to finally have somebody pull out of their space so I could pull in. After this was another 30 to 45 minute wait to place our order and get our shrimp. Though the wait was long, the payoff was well worth it. If you enjoy shrimp, then Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck is where you need to be when you are in the North Shore. It definitely tops the food list of things to do on O’ahu.

Shrimp Truck, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

While everyone ate, I drove to our next stop. One that we passed on the way to the North Shore.

Dole Plantation, North Shore

The Dole Plantation was a good place to stretch the legs and walk around the garden and souvenir shop without having to pay. Unfortunately, with a tour booked an hour drive away we were unable to commit to a train ride around the plantation or to explore the maze. However, we were able to enjoy a pineapple float. It was highly recommendable.

Pineapples at the Dole Plantation, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

Our final stop before driving back to Waikiki was at the Kualoa Ranch once again to catch our tour. Despite a traffic jam along the way, we made it just in time as we pulled into the parking lot on the minute we were suppose to depart on the tour. The nice people at the ranch knew we were coming and waited for us patiently. Try not to show up late to a tour. You wont make friends with anyone on that tour.

Tour of Kualoa Ranch

We embarked on a movie tour of the ranch which saw the filming of movies like Jurassic Park, Jurassic World, 50 First Dates, Hawaii Five-O (not a movie), and Kong: Skull Island, among many others. It was informative and rather interesting though we would otherwise not be too interested in a paid tour like this.

Movie Tour of Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

Finally, the end to a busy day came, and we found ourselves at a nice restaurant in Waikiki to end the day. A pleasant goodbye meal to the parents as we would say our final farewells the following day early in the morning.

O’ahu is more than just beaches. There is something for every type of traveler if you look for it. There are many things to do on O’ahu. Take a look around and visit the beautiful island. Do not think that it is necessary to stay in Waikiki while you visit.

If you are looking for the right place to stay in Honolulu like we did, check out this post on where to stay in Honolulu.

diamond head hike difficulty
diamond head hike time
how to get to diamond head

If you are looking for more information on planning a trip to O’ahu or Hawaii in general, the Lonely Planet books have a lot of great information and you are able to bring it along with you on your travels. If you follow this link, we get a commission at no extra cost to you.

Waikiki Beach, in Honolulu, on the island of O’ahu is the center for beach-goers in Hawaii. The beach, sidewalks, and streets are packed with people. The hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers are just a stone throw away from the beach itself. It is really a tempting place to spend your entire trip when in Honolulu. However, it is important to remember that Hawaii is not just about the beaches. The islands have some incredible natural sites to visit while you are there. One in particular is just a walk from Waikiki Beach itself, the Diamond Head Crater hike in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Diamond Head Crater Hike

Attraction Name: Diamond Head State Monument
Where: Honolulu, Hawaii
Attraction Type: Hike / Natural Site
How to Get There: It is within walking distance of Waikiki Beach. Walk east along Kalakaua Avenue (along the beach) and make a slight left onto Monsarrat Avenue. Walk for 30 minutes along Monsarrat Avenue before approaching the trail head on your right. There will be signs along the way leading you to the trail head.
Cost: $1 USD Entrance Fee
Hours: 6:00am – 6:00pm, but the latest you can start your hike is at 4:30pm.
Duration: From the trail head to the summit takes about 45 minutes.
Summary: A short, but steep, hike of a crater that was the site for an American coastal defense. At the summit is an incredible panoramic view of the surroundings.

If you feel the urge to get away from the beach in Honolulu, but you are not willing to travel far from where you are staying, then take a short bus ride (or walk) to the Diamond Head State Monument.

Diamond Head Crater Hike, Honolulu, Hawaii

The crater was created some 300,000 years ago in a brief eruption, covering 350 acres. The trail was created in 1908 for the purpose of a coastal defense for the United States. Five batteries were built for the defense. Despite this preparation, no artillery was ever fired in wartime. Today, at the top of the crater wall, there rests a bunker and an observation station. It became a National Natural Landmark in 1968.

The View from the Bunker at Diamond Head Crater Hike, Honolulu, Hawaii

Diamond Head State Monument is a wonderful escape from the beach if your willing to go for a short, but steep, hike. The crater is massive and is easily spotted. From the Waikiki Beach, you need to walk east along Kalakaua Avenue and make a slight turn onto Monsarrat Avenue. Follow the street for about 30 minutes before reaching the trail head. You will see many signs along the way pointing you in the correct direction. The Diamond Head Crater hike is short, lasting about 45 minutes from the trail head to the summit. However, this hike should not be taken lightly. It is a 0.8 mile (1.3 kilometer) hike to the summit, climbing 560 feet (171 meters). The trail begins on a nice paved pathway, continuing onto uneven and rocky terrain, to long stairways, and a lit tunnel that extends 225 feet.

The Diamond Head Crater hike provides ample opportunity for photos. Even before the trail head, the path towards the crater offers views of the mountains further inland. These views become magnified the further you travel up the crater until you are rewarded with the incredible panoramic view of the island and ocean around you. Houses climbing up the hillsides, green mountains that receive consistent rain climbing well above the fog, a beautiful blue ocean that crawls out further than the eye can see, and the man-made buildings that populate Honolulu are all among the beauty you can witness along the hike and when you reach the summit.

Diamond Head Crater Hike

The View from Diamond Head State Monument, Honolulu, Hawaii

The View from Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii

Begin your hike early to escape the mid-day crowds. The trail opens at 6:00am and closes at 6:00pm, but the latest you can start your hike is at 4:30pm. The summit can become quite crowded, so plan to be there as early as you can. The later you leave in the day, the hotter it will be as well. Plan accordingly. You should pack enough water, a hat, and sunscreen. Bring your camera because the view at the summit is unmatched by any others. The 360 degree view of the ocean, city, mountains, and crater is incredible.

Enjoy your Diamond Head Crater hike early, and spend the remainder of the day soaking in the sun at the beach!

The Lighthouse at Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii

While on our trip to O’ahu, Hawaii, we made it our mission to find the best shrimp truck on the island. With no directions, other than it is somewhere on the North Shore, we set out to discover where the best shrimp truck was on the island. We found it at Giovanni’s Original White Shrimp Truck.

Shrimp Truck, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

Shrimp Truck

We left early in the morning on our second day in O’ahu towards the North Shore. After a morning in the Ocean surviving some massive waves, we left to find some lunch. Passing through a town with lots of storefronts and food trucks, we spotted some trucks selling shrimp and advertising that they were on Anthony Bourdain’s television show. I thought this must be good, so we parked the car and got out on foot.

Walking towards the direction of the food trucks that we saw earlier, Natalie decided to stop a kind gentleman on his scooter in the middle of the road and ask him where the best food truck was. It was extremely nice of the local to stop his scooter on the road and give us directions towards the shrimp truck he claimed to be the most famous in the area. Just down the road, keeping slightly left, past a McDonald’s and it would be on our left. Easy enough.

So, while we were still on foot, we walked around the area checking out some of the souvenir shops and working up more of an appetite. Finally, we got back to the car and drove for a few more minutes down the road to find a small parking lot with parking for twenty cars at most. Around the perimeter of the parking lot are food trucks of all types serving barbecue, beverages, and the famous shrimp truck.

Shrimp Truck, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

We had made it. But parking would not be easy. The crew got out of the car and stood in line while I waited for five or so minutes to get the next parking space that made itself available to me. I rejoined the crew waiting in line and waited for an additional twenty-five minutes while people all around on the picnic benches gorged on their shrimp.

Despite the flies, the shrimp looked delicious. Time slowly passed, but it was our turn to order and the shrimp were ready surprisingly quickly considering how long we waited in line. We took the shrimp back to the car and drove to our next destination while the crew ate their shrimp, and I was left to suffer the fifteen minute drive to the Dole Plantation with the delicious smell of shrimp filling the vehicle.

Shrimp Truck, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

We ordered the lemon butter shrimp and shrimp scampi. Each order came with a dozen jumbo shrimp and two scoops of white rice costing us $14 USD each. The price was well worth it for the delicious, juicy, and tender shrimp. The lemon butter is recommendable for anyone, and if you are a garlic lover you can order the shrimp scampi. There is also a spicy plate of shrimp for those willing to try. You can get more information on the menu from here.

The shrimp was incredible, falling out of its shell and into our mouths. The seasoning and lemon sauce was perfect matches for the shrimp. The shrimp truck is well worth the wait. When visiting the North Shore of O’ahu, be sure to check it out. If you cannot find it, be sure to ask around for directions. The locals will be happy enough to point you in the right direction. Try not to stop traffic to get the directions. Enjoy!

Shrimp Truck, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

Never have I ever seen such massive waves so close to the beach shore than I did at Waimea Bay Beach Park. On the morning we decided to visit the beach during our short trip to O’ahu, there was a large swell hitting the bay. The resulting waves became progressively larger throughout that morning. This caused the lifeguards close down the beach for the day unless you were an experienced swimmer. This is how we survived Waimea Bay Beach Park during a swell.

Waimea Bay Beach Park

Attraction: Waimea Bay Beach Park
Where: North Shore, O’ahu Island, Hawaii
Type: Beaches / Parks / Nature
How: Waimea Bay Beach Park is across from Waimea Valley. Renting a car and driving is the best way to get there. Parking is available, but try to get there early to get a spot.
Cost: There is no price for admission or parking.
Hours: Unknown.
Duration: How long do you like to stay at the beach for? We stayed there for two or three hours in the morning before getting on with our day.
Summary: Our day at the Waimea Bay Beach Park was highlighted by the incredible swell that swept away our feet at the shore of the beach. It was also a nice day to relax in the sun at the beach before moving on with the rest of the day.

We left Honolulu early in the morning on our last full day in Hawaii. Hoping to make the most of our full day, we began the morning with a proper breakfast from a fast food franchise and continued on the near one hour drive to the North Shore. With our handy GPS navigator letting us know the historical significance of each road we were driving on, there never seemed to be a dull moment on the drive north.

Our first goal of the day was to reach a beach. After asking around the previous night, we had decided to find Waimea Bay Beach Park (though we did not know that was the name of the beach at the time) where we were told that you could enjoy the beach and do some cliff jumping into the ocean. I was thrilled with the thought of doing some cliff jumping and seeing some big surf. Along our drive, we did pull over to the side of the road to see some beaches that our navigator did say there are frequent sea turtle sightings. With no luck at any of these beaches, and some short conversations with locals fishing from the shore, we continued on.

North Shore, Hawaii

North Shore, Hawaii

Finally, after driving past the entrance on the first pass, we made it to the parking lot of the Waimea Bay Beach Park. Our arrival time was around 10 a.m. The perfect time to avoid the lack of parking spaces. With just us and a few other cars parked, we were ready to enjoy the beach in relative peace. However, the ocean had some other ideas of peace.

Far from peaceful, there was a massive swell hitting the coastline on this particular day. The massive waves reaching the shoreline were knocking over people who stood in their way. We were immediately amazed by this sight, as we do not live by the ocean and have never seen waves this size before. My immediate reaction was to strap on the camera to my head and get out there. Let me provide a disclaimer at this moment: THIS IS A DANGEROUS THING TO DO. THE OCEAN IS AN UNFORGIVING AND DANGEROUS PLACE. EVEN STRONG SWIMMERS CAN BE SWEPT INTO THE OCEAN AND DROWN. EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION.

Waimea Bay Beach Park Swell

The force of the waves crashing at my legs was enough to knock me over. If it was not the waves crashing at my legs, it was the force of the waves pulling back into the ocean that dragged me along with it. This was just five feet from the beach shore that this was happening. By no stretch of the imagination was I far into the ocean when I was experiencing this. My dad at one point was knocked down and could not get up. Holding onto his leg while he was being dragged back into the ocean, he was able to stand up again. When Natalie came in to experience the waves, the power knocked the two of us over as we scrambled to get back to our feet and to the shore.

It was an incredible experience that I will save the video to describe the moments to you. It proved to us that Waimea Bay Beach Park was a great place for surf, but the fun came to an end when the lifeguards posted signs that swimmers were not allowed to go into the ocean unless they had fins and were experienced swimmers. This was probably a good thing for the safety of those at the beach that thought it looked enjoyable to try and brave the waves. Like myself.

Needless to say, nobody was cliff jumping. We enjoyed the remainder of our day on the dry beach, watching people enjoying the surf and the lifeguards giving warnings to others. The activity of surviving the swell was exhausting. The sand needed to be showered off of our bodies and dried off in the sun. Shortly afterwards, we packed up and were off to our next adventure on the North Shore. The Waimea Bay Beach Park was a beautiful place to spend a couple of hours of our morning. A good way to begin our final day in Hawaii.

Pineapples! Pineapples everywhere! If you like pineapples, this is where you need to be. Did you know pineapples grew from the ground!? To be honest, I never really thought about where they grew from, what a baby pineapple looked like, or really anything related to pineapples. I just knew that they were delicious, but if I ate too much of them, then my mouth began to hurt. However, one trip to the Dole Plantation on O’ahu, Hawaii helped me understand the pineapple and enjoy some things I never imagined.

Dole Plantation, North Shore

Attraction: Dole Plantation
Where: O’ahu, Hawaii
Type: Nature / Store
How: Thanks to our rental car, we were able to drive there on our own schedule. There are shuttles that you can take from the Waikiki area.
Cost: It is free to tour around the shop and some of the grounds. If you want more information about entering the maze and train, visit the Dole Plantation website.
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. everyday of the week.
Duration: With the lack of time we had following our shrimp truck wait, we only stayed for 45 minutes. However, with the maze, a tour, and a train ride, there is a lot to do that will keep you occupied here for hours if you are willing to pay.
Summary: With pineapples on our mind, we set out to satisfy this craving at the Dole Plantation near the North Shore of O’ahu Island, Hawaii.

We were lucky enough to rent a car on our trip to O’ahu this time around. The best way to travel is with the flexibility of a car. Being able to go anywhere you want at any time is unbeatable by any public transit system. Along with our car came a GPS unit that came in handy. Programmed into the GPS was a voice automation that informed us of the historical significance of each road we drove on. This was great for the first time we drove on that road, but the next time we found ourselves on that road or highway, we were dreading hearing the same information again and again. We could not turn off the voice, and we did not want to turn it down so we could not hear the directions. So, we left the voice on and listened to it again and again.

Now, the programmed voice did allow for some interesting information. For example, while driving the highway that the Dole Plantation is on, it provided us with some insight to the historical significance of the plantation and the symbol of the pineapple. It is a symbol of hospitality.

Pineapples at the Dole Plantation, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

Knowing we would visit the plantation on our final day of the journey, and finding ourselves on that same highway a few times before that day, we were well informed about the historical significance of the plantation. On that final day, we heard that voice talk about the Dole Plantation for the last time before experiencing it for ourselves.

Pineapples at the Dole Plantation, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

Dole Plantation

As with many of our travels, we were short on time when we turned into the parking lot at the Dole Plantation. After having waited in line for thirty minutes at the shrimp truck, everyone decided to eat on the ride to the plantation while I drove. So, when we parked the car, I began to eat my shrimp. After that, we had just thirty minutes to tour around the plantation before we had to leave to get to our scheduled tour of Kauloa Ranch. Not nearly enough time if you decide to visit the Dole Plantation.

Pineapples at the Dole Plantation, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

Pineapples at the Dole Plantation, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

We walked up and entered the crowded store. They had merchandise of all sorts to purchase including stuffed animal pineapples, magnets, cups, anything with pineapples involved in some way or another. Really, just great souvenirs and business by the Dole Plantation. Also, there were snacks and concession stands that offered pineapple flavored items.

Not knowing if we had enough time to take the train tour of the farm, we made our way to the back exit of the store to see when the next train would arrive. Unfortunately, the train ride lasted too long and was not expected to arrive for another ten minutes. However, the farm offers more than just a train ride. They have a maze and other tours available.

With the limited time we had left, we opted to purchase some pineapple ice cream floats that came in some souvenir plastic pineapple containers. We also toured the grounds just outside the store to see some pineapples in different stages of growth. It really never crossed my mind what a pineapple looks like throughout its growing stages.

Pineapples at the Dole Plantation, North Shore, O'ahu Island, Hawaii


What we saw of the plantation was beautiful. It was well worth a stop along our trip, and we only wished we had more time to take a tour of the plantation. Do not make the same mistake that we did when visiting the plantation. There is more than enough opportunity to see and experience the farm for hours.

However, if you are just wanting to save on your expenses and just want to stop in, it is a great place to walk around free of charge. The pineapple ice cream is highly recommendable as well.

As we drove further up into the mountains of O’ahu Island, we made it to our next destination of the day, Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, the last one before we made our way back to Honolulu. It was a wet, foggy mid-afternoon. We parked the car, paid the parking, and…heard hens?

Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

Attraction: Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
Where: O’ahu Island, Hawaii
Type: Nature / Scenic Viewpoint
How: It is located off of Highway 61.
Cost: $3 USD parking fee. Credit card or cash accepted.
Hours: N/A
Duration: You will be there for less than an hour to see the view and relax.
Summary: Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is a perfect place to stop during a day of long activities. Catch your breath, relax, and enjoy the view fro the mountains.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, O'ahu, Hawaii

The fog was rolling off the mountains creating a dream-like effect. It was something about the combination of this, the dampness of our surroundings, our long day coming to an end, and anticipating the incredible view that made this moment seem like a forgettable moment in our vacation. However, looking back on our moment at Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, it was hardly forgettable.

This is the unfortunate part of making the most out of your limited time traveling is cramming as much as possible into each waking hour. A typical day on our vacation to O’ahu Island included waking up at 5 or 6 a.m., driving to our first destination, seeing as much as we could, and driving off to our next destination. This repeated until we had run out of daylight and went back to Honolulu where we would stay the night.

Not to mention doing all this while fighting jet lag can be torture. By the end of the day, you are left exhausted and it takes everything in you to continue to the last destination before relaxing into your hotel room for some much-needed rest. This was even more difficult for me considering I was doing all of the driving during this vacation (I am not complaining! I would much rather be the one doing the driving).

With everyone in the vehicle sleeping, I drove the vehicle through the lush, green mountains towards Nu’uanu Pali Lookout. Anticipating a magnificent view of the coast, I was not let down. With a small break in the mountains that allows for minimal parking, Nu’uanu Pali allows you to walk to a lookout area towards a beautiful coastline of O’ahu Island. The towering, green mountains surround you and fog rolls over them. The sun struggled to break through the clouds and life from a birds-eye perspective never seemed so peaceful.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, O'ahu, Hawaii

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, O'ahu, Hawaii

Nu’uanu Pali is actually the site of a bloody battle where King Kamehameha invaded and pushed the defenders off of the cliffs to their deaths.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, O'ahu, Hawaii

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, O'ahu, Hawaii

In those few moments that we spent enjoying the view, everything slowed down. We were able to catch our breath. Something we had not been able to do since 5 a.m. that morning.

We walked our way back to the vehicle, after spending some time looking at the hens and all of the chicks. It was the end to a long first day on O’ahu Island. The car ride back home was uneventful for most in the car. Traffic had consumed the roads. I was left with the duty of getting us back to Honolulu. It was fine by me, I had Nu’uanu Pali Lookout on my mind.

The moral of this post is that you should balance your itinerary when planning your next trip. Do not schedule a full day of energy consuming activities that leave you exhausted by the end of the day and not ready for the next. Take a break in between and enjoy a landscape, sunset, lookout, or something to just relax. Traveling can be an exhausting activity in itself. Breath. Relax. Enjoy the moment before it is gone.

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, O'ahu, Hawaii

Yet again, late for while on the road. This time in a traffic jam trying to get to our tour of Kualoa Ranch on O’ahu in Hawaii. After eating at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck in North Shore, we figured we had enough time for a quick tour of the Dole Plantation. We made it to the plantation, but we were short on time and could not go on any tours.

Counting our minutes before we had to leave in order to give us enough time to make it to Kualoa Ranch, I was confident that my driving would get us there with time to spare and to make the most out of our Dole Plantation trip. What I forgot to factor into that time was the traffic.

Tour of Kualoa Ranch

Attraction: Kualoa Ranch
Where: O’ahu Island, Hawaii
Type: Tour / Nature
How: Kualoa Ranch is situated on the eastern side of O’ahu Island on Highway 83.
Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Duration: This particular tour lasted about an hour and a half. There are several other tours available including horseback, ATV, zipline, and many other things to do at Kualoa Ranch. Visit the Kualoa Ranch website for more information.
Summary: This particular tour of Kualoa ranch focused on the filming spots throughout the land. It was a fascinating look at such a beautiful property and interesting industry.

Movie Tour of Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

Tours are not really our thing. We prefer to have an open itinerary where we can experience what we want and when we want to. Though when you are traveling in groups, every decision is necessarily not up to you. Not everyone’s traveling style is the same. However, in this particular case, we were happy we followed along with the tour of Kualoa Ranch.

The day before, we visited the ranch while on the eastern side of O’ahu. This was after having visited Hanauma Bay for a morning of snorkeling. Unfortunately, we arrived around 4:30 p.m. and just as their final tour left. After looking at their souvenir shop and seeing the list of tours they had available, we went back to the Waikiki area and booked our tour later that night.

Movie Tour of Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

We chose the movie sites ranch tour and a time that fit our scheduled events for the next day. Unfortunately on that day while driving from the North Shore, we got stuck in traffic. I should have figured. It was a Saturday and we were passing a stretch of beaches. While we waited for cars to pull over on the side of the road or find parking for the beach, we counted the minutes ticking of the clock. We were not getting any closer to our destination.

After calling the friendly people at Kualoa Ranch and informing them of our situation, they were kind and let us know that we would work something out if we were late. Against all odds, we barely made it on time. We did have to make everyone wait on the bus for us for about five minutes, BUT we made it! On a side note, it is not fun to be that person that makes people wait for their tour. Try to be on time if you can.

Movie Tour of Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

The Tour of Kualoa Ranch

The tour itself brought us through the various sets and shooting locations of famous television shows and movies. We saw the location and some props that were covered from the upcoming Skull Island movie. There were shooting locations for Hawaii Five-O, 50 First Dates, Lost, Jurassic World, Jurassic Park, Godzilla, and many more.

The highlight of the tour was getting out and posing with the log from the scene in Jurassic Park when the dinosaurs are running in the field away from the T-Rex. At this point, the characters hide under a log while the dinosaurs trample over it. Though this is what people recognize the most of Kualoa Ranch, it was actually the only scene from Jurassic Park that was filmed on the ranch.

Movie Tour of Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu Island, Hawaii

The fields had the giant foot prints of Godzilla that were dug out for the movie. Though they were deep at one point, they had to be covered in with dirt in order to protect the cows from stumbling into the holes and injuring themeselves. We got to walk through a sheltered area of filming sets and props that have been left behind. While touring the area, we had a wonderful tour guide explaining to us the importance of everything we were seeing and the significance of the ranch.

It was actually interesting to discover the inexpensive cost of filming at Kualoa Ranch for production companies (in relation to the big budgets that these production companies have at their disposal when filming a movie). The tour guide claimed that it was better for the economy of Hawaii to charge this discounted price to allow for the filming crew, actors, and everyone involved in the shooting to provide more towards the economy through spending money on accommodation, food, and more while in Hawaii.


The tour was an interesting window into the filming industry and the beauty of Kualoa Ranch. The movie tour of Kualoa Ranch was well worth the time we invested into it, despite not being a major advocate of paid tours while traveling.

This goes to show the difference between traveling by yourself and in a group. You should understand that not everyone is the same type of traveler. Some people want the paid tours, while others prefer to travel at their own pace. Knowing what type of traveler you and your group members are is important to know when traveling.

This being said, if you are traveling in a group be sure to accept what each other want to do at certain times during your trip. It is a give and take relationship when traveling. Remember that what you want to do may not be what others want to do as well.

Movie Tour of Kualoa Ranch, O'ahu Island, Hawaii


  1. What a lovely visit. I think we would definitely rent a car too, so we could take in some of those spectacular views, and I HAVE to visit a Shrimp Truck, having seen them on TV

  2. Hawaii is indeed the stuff that dreams are mad of. An land of exotic islands and beaches, makes for memorable experiences. I would love to tour the ranch where movies like Jurassic Park were filmed.

Comments are closed.