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. On your way back, either head for the beach at Ala Moana Beach Park or embark on a shopping spree across the street at the Ala Moana Shopping Center. 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 driving down the coast road to the small town of Kailua, and eat dinner at Lucy's Grill 'n Bar 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 morning 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 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 Mission Houses Museum. 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
On your last full day on Oahu, 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
What you do today depends on how much time you have on your last day here -- and how much energy. You might just hang out in Waikiki and perhaps take a surfing lesson, ride a surfing canoe, or venture underwater in an Atlantis Submarine. For the energetic, get up early and climb Diamond Head. Art lovers should definitely check out the Honolulu Academy of Arts; the Contemporary Museum, where you should have lunch; and the Hawaii State Art Museum. Shoppers can 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. On your way to the airport, stop on Maunakea Street in Chinatown and buy a lei from one of the numerous lei makers to take back as a sweet-smelling memory of your trip.
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.
Day 9: The North Shore
Get up early, drive across Oahu, and have breakfast at Cafe Haleiwa with the surfers. Wander across the street to the Paradise Found Cafe to pick up a picnic lunch, then head out to the beach. 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 Hawaiian music as you cruise off Waikiki. Or plunge underwater with Atlantis Submarines, where you can view below the ocean blue without getting wet. Plan to eat a fish dinner in Waikiki that night.
Day 12: Honolulu's Art
Start the day at the Contemporary Museum and plan to stay for lunch at the Cafe. From there, travel into Honolulu to the Hawaii State Art Museum and then on to the Honolulu Academy of Arts. After a day of art, take in a show in Honolulu.
Day 13: Shopping
With more than 1,000 stores in Oahu, where's a shopper to begin?! Check out our suggestions for all kinds of shopping, ranging from aloha wear to great souvenirs to the best discount shopping spots on the island. You might want to take in a luau on your last night in Hawaii.
Day 14: Spas
Before you board your plane for hours of discomfort, plan for a few hours at a spa. Oahu has several world-class spas sprinkled throughout the island.
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.