Disney’s Aulani offers everything you can possibly want in a Hawaiian vacation--sun, sand, ocean, slides, Dole Whip, pool games with Goofy, the list can go on and on. But if you are like my family, we are explorers and we believe that ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE! So here are some fun and exciting things to do outside of Aulani.
Travel Down the North Shore
The North Shore of Oahu offers visitors a piece of the laid-back style of Hawaii that is away from the hustle and bustle of the resorts and Downtown Waikiki. Here you will find some of the BEST places to surf, eat, and shop local crafts and goods all while allowing you to walk around in your swimsuit and flip flops and not look out of place.
The North Shore is also home to our FAVORITE macadamia nut stand that has so many different flavors of nuts that I didn’t even know existed! It also has handmade crafts and other goodies like lotion and locally made sunscreen to help keep you tan on your trip!
The last gem of the North Shore is an eatery called Giovanni’s White Shrimp Truck which serves the most delicious and well-made shrimp I have ever had!!! My family and I just love this little eatery on the side of the road that is literally a big white truck so you can’t miss it!
Giovanni’s is famous for their garlic shrimp scampi and their SUPER spicy shrimp plates (these shrimp are so hot that they warn you when you order how hot they are and remind you that you can’t get a refund of your money if you can’t take the heat so if you order this puppies be prepare to feel the heat!!) The garlic shrimp scampi is served with a yummy buttery sauce and all the garlic flavor that you could wish for. The best part is licking your fingers after you’re done! All their plates are served with two scoops of white rice, lemon wedges, and a use mountain of shrimp which usually we share among 2 people. So if you like shrimp, DO NOT pass up the opportunity to eat at Giovanni’s! You can thank me later!
Polynesian Cultural Center
For a real taste of Hawaii and the wonderful culture of its sister islands, head over the Polynesian Culture Center on the North Shore for a full day of fun, song, dance, activities, crafts, shows, and aloha spirit! This full day includes different pavilions (kind of like the World Showcase at EPCOT) from all the Polynesian Islands like Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, Tonga, and others that have shows and activities that display the spirit and traditions of the islands they are from. At the end of the day, there is a luau you can pay for with yummy food and great entertainment. Also at night, an amazing stage show takes place telling the story of the islands titled “Ha Breath of Life.” After a day of aloha spirit this is definitely the icing on the cake!
International Marketplace at Waikiki Beach
If you want a place for really good shopping from high-end stores, go check out the International Marketplace. It used to be a big flea market for Hawaiian tourist trinkets and souvenirs but now it has transformed into a big mall with stores like Louis Vuitton, J. Crew, Tiffany & Co, and many other less pricey stores. And it’s just a walk down from Waikiki Beach!
If you are looking for the quintessential Hawaiian beach experience with the surfing, beach volleyball, and party atmosphere, head to Waikiki Beach which is about 20 mins from Disney’s Aulani into downtown. Waikiki Beach is famous for having the best surfing on Oahu and next to the North Shore is definitely true! All up and down the beach are surfing lessons and rentals for sale to get your cowabunga on as well as great eateries like Cheeseburger in Paradise, which is a family favorite of ours! This delicious eatery are only available in Hawaii and feature the best burgers on the island!
If you head down to the beach and forgot a beach necessity back at the resort, head to an ABC Store for ALL (literally all) of your needs from sunscreen, beach mats, towels, snacks, and medicine. ABC Stores are all over the islands of Hawaii and are our one-stop shop for all the little needs we might need! So if you want a good beach day, go down to Waikiki and get your tan on!
Pearl Harbor in Pearl City
During our Disney Aulani trip, we didn’t get the chance to go to the Pearl Harbor Memorial but I have been with my family in some of our other Hawaiian vacations and this place is definitely worth mentioning as a place to go! Pearl Harbor Memorial and Museum tells the story of the attack on the base by the Japanese during World War II with the artifacts decorating the walls. The Memorial rests right on top of the USS Arizona where the men who lost their lives there on December 7, 1941 are still entombed. You take a boat out to the memorial to look at the shallow sunken boat and remember the men and women who had lost their lives that tragic day. It is a very respectful and solemn place that is rich with the history of our past and teaches us about the sacrifices of war and the triumph of victory. Definitely a place to go to cross off your bucket list and to witness the aftermath of one of America’s most infamous days.
So as you can see, there is lots to do outside of Aulani that still keep the spirit of aloha in its activities and let you explore all that Oahu has to offer! If you have any specific questions about any of these places, leave a comment below!