Two weeks really gives you time to discover Oahu. After you check out the highlights mentioned above, visit historic Chinatown, relax on the beaches of the North Shore, take fabulous hikes, explore the waters surrounding the island, browse the art galleries and museums, go shopping, relax in spas, or take time to find unique experiences on the island.
Day 1: Waikiki Beach
Lather up with sunscreen, put on your sunglasses and a hat, and plop down on the most famous beach in the world. If you have kids in tow, or if an hour in Hawaii's intense sun is all you can handle, consider checking out Hawaii's water world by dropping by the Waikiki Aquarium, or take the children to the Honolulu Zoo. For insight into Waikiki's past, take the Waikiki Historic Trail, a 2-mile trail marked with bronzed surf boards. Try to see the sunset on your first day -- just sit anywhere on Waikiki Beach; if you'd like a liquid libation, all the hotels on the beach can accommodate you -- and then get an early dinner.
Day 2: Pearl Harbor
Most likely you'll be awake early, so take advantage of it: Drive or take a tour bus to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Entry is free. The best time to go is early in the morning; by the afternoon, the lines are 2 hours long. Next, stop by the USS Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, and the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. Plan a dinner in Honolulu or surrounding areas.
Day 3: The Polynesian Cultural Center
You might want to sleep late today. Around or after noon, head for the Polynesian Cultural Center, in Laie. Allow at least 2 hours (if not the entire afternoon) to tour this mini-glimpse of the Pacific, where you'll walk through various "villages" filled with interactive activities, entertainment, and cultural events. Continue to dinner at Haleiwa Joes to avoid heavy traffic over the Pali back to Waikiki.
Day 4: Hanauma Bay & Sea Life Park
If it's not Tuesday (when the park is closed), head out in the a.m. for spectacular snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. You could spend the entire day here, but remember that Hawaii's sun is intense, and you don't want a sunburn to ruin your vacation. After a couple of hours, wander down the coast to Sea Life Park. If you have kids, this is a must-stop. Otherwise, you can continue "beach-hopping" along the coastline with stops at Sandy Beach, Makapuu Point and Makapuu Beach Park, and Waimanalo Beach, before turning back to take the Pali Highway. Be sure to stop at the Pali Lookout on your way back to Waikiki.
Day 5: Honolulu
Head to downtown Honolulu for a historic hike around the old town, and try to visit: Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church and the Hawaiian Missions Historic Site and Archives. For a bird's-eye view of where you've been and the whole of Honolulu, go to the top of Aloha Tower, at Aloha Tower Marketplace. Stop for lunch either at the Aloha Tower Marketplace or at one of the nearby restaurants. Spend the afternoon at the Bishop Museum to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture. Plan dinner outside of Waikiki.
Day 6: Kailua Beach Park
Travel over the Pali Highway to the Windward side of the island, to spend a day at Kailua Beach Park. This is the perfect beach for relaxing or snorkeling or trying something different such as kayaking or windsurfing. You can spend the entire day here, take an afternoon hike at Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens, or venture to another beach park such as Kahana Bay or Malaekahana Bay State Recreation Area.
Day 7: Waikiki
Get up early and climb Diamond Head. Shoppers can then head to Waikiki for the Ala Moana Shopping Center, the DFS Galleria, and the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center; bargain hunters should make the 45-minute drive out to the Waikele Premium Outlets.
Day 8: Chinatown
See a different side of Hawaii by walking the streets of Honolulu's Chinatown. Plan to at least have lunch in this exotic part of Oahu. Then, spend the afternoon exploring the fabulous mansion (filled with Islamic Art) of heiress Doris Duke. You'll get the shuttle (pre-book a tour) from the Honolulu Museum of Art.
Day 9: The North Shore
Get up early, drive across Oahu, and have breakfast at Cafe Haleiwa with the surfers. Then, depending on what you want to do and what the weather is like, here are some choices for a day at the beach: In the summer, when the waves are flat, Waimea Beach Park is great for swimming, snorkeling, and bodysurfing; in the winter, watch surfers take on huge 30-foot waves. If you want to go snorkeling or diving, Pupukea Beach Park is excellent. On your way home, return to Haleiwa and stop at the shrimp trucks for a cheap and delicious meal.
Day 10: Manoa & Diamond Head
Spend the day hiking, either into the rainforest or up to the top of an old volcano. Serious hikers might check out the Makiki-Manoa series of trails. Of course, after all that exercise, you might want to plan a massage in the afternoon at one of Hawaii's best spas. You'll deserve it.
Day 11: On the Water
See Hawaii from a different angle -- get out on the water for a day. Even if you think you get seasick, take the lunch cruise on Navatek I. It's designed with stabilizers to guarantee that you won't get green around the gills. You can enjoy a great lunch and whale-watching in season as you cruise off Waikiki.
Day 12: Your choice
Today's the day to circle back and do what you haven't before. It's possible that you didn't get to all of the sights in and around Pearl Harbor, so you may want to return for that. Or have a day at the beach:that's a big reason why you came to Hawaii in the first place, right?
Day 13: Art
Today will be a feast for the senses at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Eat lunch there. Then head to the galleries of Honolulu to get a feel for the contemporary art scene. We're particularly fond of the Gallery at Ward Center.
Day 14: A sweet ending
Finish your stay on the island with a fascinating, bean-to-bar chocolate tour. And then head back to your hotel to pack....and dream of your next visit.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.