Beyond Aulani

Pearl Harbor

Although Aulani-A Disney Resort & Spa could easily be a full destination, if you’re there for a while, or if you’ve never been to ‘Oahu, you might want to spend some time checking out some of the other parts of the island. One way to do this is to book an excursion at the tour desk in the lobby of Aulani. They offer many excursions, including flights to the other islands for the day. I did a couple of these excursions and just wished I had more time for others as there are so many good ones to choose that it is hard to just choose a couple.

One day we went on a catamaran excursion on a beautiful new catamaran that holds about 80 people—it was large! We only sailed out a short time before we saw some sea turtles and a pod of dolphins that enjoyed swimming along beside us. We docked so that people could snorkel and swim in the beautiful clear water, then lunch was served before we headed back in. They offer soft drinks, juice and alcohol.

Catamaran

Catamaran

Catamaran bar

Catamaran bar

Catamaran wind power

Catamaran wind power

Catamaran view

Catamaran view

Catamaran view

Catamaran view

Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Sea turtle

Sea turtle

Dolphins

Dolphins

Wonderful taro rolls for lunch

Wonderful taro rolls for lunch

I also did the Pearl Harbor excursion, mainly because I couldn’t get tickets online for the day I could go, plus I didn’t want to worry about driving. It was a great choice and also only a few hours, which left the afternoon for something else. The shuttle picks you up at the resort then heads to Pearl Harbor. You get there early enough to check out the museums and if you want, for a small charge you can also tour a submarine. You then take the boat out to the USS Arizona Memorial where you can spend plenty of time before the boat ride back. The price is reasonable and if you can’t get tickets online, or don’t want to wait once there, this is a great way to go.

Pearl Harbor memorial plaque

Pearl Harbor memorial plaque

Boat out to USS Arizona

Boat out to USS Arizona

USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona

USS Arizona

Leaking oil

Still Leaking oil

USS Arizona anchor

USS Arizona anchor

USS Bowfin submarine

USS Bowfin submarine

Triple bunks

Triple bunks

Bunks above torpedoes

Bunks above torpedoes

Tordedoes

Torpedoes

Submarine galley

Submarine galley

Submarine dining room

Submarine dining room

Submarine

Submarine

Submarine

Submarine

Submarine deck

Submarine deck

Submarine deck gun

Submarine deck gun

With the Alamo Car Rental desk right at Aulani, it’s easy to rent a car for a day or two so you can tour around the island, which is only 112 miles around (44 miles long and 30 miles wide), so you can easily do this in just one day. There is a lot to see in ‘Oahu, so I’ll cover just a few fun things to do here.

Cloud covered mountain top

Cloud covered mountain top

Kualoa Regional Park

Kualoa Regional Park

Hawaii view

Hawaii view

Wind power

Wind power

The Aloha Swap Meet is held on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday (except when there are games) at the Aloha Stadium, and is the place to go for just about anything you can imagine. This is a great place to pick up some souvenirs, many things that you won’t find anywhere else, as well as luggage if you bought too much. Admission is only $1 for anyone over the age of 11.

Aloha Stadium

Aloha Stadium

Flea market at Aloha Stadium

Flea market at Aloha Stadium

Just about everyone has heard of the North Shore, and this is a great opportunity to go watch some of the great surfers that ride the waves at this location.

Surfing on the North Shore

Surfing on the North Shore

Around this area you’ll also find many food trucks, and some of the best food on the island. I had heard a lot about Ted’s Bakery, so I was determined that I was going to eat there. It was almost missed, though, as this is pretty much an unmarked building and probably meant for mostly locals due to this. We finally found it, and had one of the best meals during our stay. The garlic shrimp were large, and you needed plenty of napkins, but so worth it, but then the best part came at the end in the form of a chocolate haupia pie. I learned that haupia is like a coconut custard, layered on the chocolate—wow is all I can say! Yes, I will be back there!

Food trucks

Food trucks

Ted's Bakery

Ted’s Bakery

Ted's Bakery

Ted’s Bakery

Garlic shrimp and chocolate haupia pie

Garlic shrimp and chocolate haupia pie

et your ukulele and tacos at one stop

Get your ukulele and tacos at one stop

A visit to Hawaii isn’t complete without a visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Although no longer the working plantation it once was it’s a great way to see pineapple plants and a large variety of other plants and trees, shop for souvenirs, try fresh pineapple as well as enjoy a Dole Whip! There’s a train tour through the pineapple fields, a garden and a maze, so plenty to do there while you learn about pineapple.

Dole Plantation

Dole Plantation

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Rainbow Eucalyptus

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express

Pineapple field

Pineapple field

Pineapple field

Pineapple field

Pineapple field

Pineapple field

Pineapple harvester

Pineapple harvester

Pineapple faqs

Pineapple faqs

We're a Dole Whip!

We’re a Dole Whip!

There’s plenty of shopping in the Waikiki area or you can enjoy the famous Waikiki Beach. Not far from this is the Honolulu Zoo and Diamond Head. If you have some time you can hike up Diamond Head to get a nice view of Honolulu.

Honolulu

Honolulu

Diamond Head

Diamond Head

During your travels, another local favorite is Leonard’s Malasada’s, which you can either get at their bakery, or at their truck which is located in a shopping center parking lot. The line will be long, but it goes fast, and these are served hot and fresh, so worth the wait!

Leonard's malasadas truck

Leonard’s malasadas truck

Leonard's malasadas choices

Leonard’s malasadas choices

Leonard's malasadas

Leonard’s malasadas

Leonard's malasadas

Leonard’s malasadas

Always wanted to go to a luau? One of the best on the island is just a couple of blocks from Aulani. Paradise Cove offers a few shows prior to the actual luau, so be sure to go early. They offer several packages, but there aren’t any bad seats.

Calling everyone to the Shower of Flowers

Calling everyone to the Shower of Flowers

Tree climber

Tree climber

Shower of Flowers

Shower of Flowers

Hukilau

Hukilau

Paradise Cove dancers

Paradise Cove dancers

Buffet

Buffet

Uncovering the kalua pig

Uncovering the kalua pig

Beautiful sunset

Beautiful sunset

Salads

Salads

Entrees

Entrees

Desserts

Desserts

Paradise Cove dancers

Paradise Cove dancers

There’s plenty to do if you stay at Aulani but it’s also fun to take a day to explore this beautiful island. For information on Aulani, check out the other blogson Aulani rooms and amenities and also on dining options.  Aloha!

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Deb Chambers

About Deb Chambers

Debbie didn’t make her first trip to Walt Disney World until 1990, but she’s made up for it since then! She and her husband even bought a house that’s just nine miles from Animal Kingdom. Debbie is a graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge and has completed Graduate ourses at Disneyland and Walt Disney World. She has cruised several times on the Disney Cruise Line, has also sailed various other cruise lines and is an Master Cruise Counselor (MCC). She is certified with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess cruise lines as well as is Universal, Las Vegas and several destination specialist programs. She has also taken a training class with the Sandals chain in Jamaica. She’s traveled a good deal of the US and Europe, including an Adventures by Disney trip to Costa Rica. Debbie¹s love for people and travel make this the perfect job for her.

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