Oahu. From the most epic beaches to the coolest bars, here’s the short-sweet list of all the best things to eat, drink, see, and do in Hawaii’s ultimate “Gathering Place.”

Taste Homestyle Hawaiian Cuisine

Hit up the family-run Highway Inn known for its Kalua Pig Combo, oven-smoked pork wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over kiawe (mesquite) wood. If you’re pressed for time, grab a plate lunch and enjoy it on the beach, local style.

Start Your Day Drinking Kona Coffee

Grown on the slopes of two volcanoes on Hawaii’s Big Island, the complex aroma of 100% Kona coffee makes an exceptional cup of java. Navigate to the Honolulu Coffee Experience Center where you’ll witness them roasting beans on-site and pick up a bag to bring home.

Have Drinks Looking At A Volcano

The Deck, a hidden find on the third-floor terrace of the Queen Kapiolani Hotel has an unbeatable, unobstructed view of Diamond Head. Go between 2-5 pm and drink your way through their happy hour offer, make sure to order a Coconut Hiwa by a local brewer, Maui Brewing Company.

See Oahu From Above

Let the pilots at Rainbow Helicopters take you on an unforgettable 30-minute flight (Path to Pali passage) circling over Waikiki Beach with gorgeous close-ups of Hanauma Bay, and Diamond Head, ending with a flyover of the USS Arizona Memorial.

Snorkel With Supersized Fish (or Turtle)

Hands down the best snorkeling spot on Oahu is Hanauma Bay (open Wed-Sun, till 4pm), once the recreational area of Hawaii’s royalty. Reservations are hard to get but if you log on two days in advance at 7 am you’ll snag a spot. The best place to swim with moray eels, parrotfish, and surgeonfish is towards the beach’s left side; you can’t miss them.

Learn About Ancient Hawaii

If you don’t chance upon an uncle to talk story, the Bishop Museum has an extensive collection of Polynesian cultural artifacts including a giant whale skeleton made (and reassembled) with real whale bones on the third floor that gives more insight into Hawaiian legends and beliefs.

Spend A Day Windward Side

Don’t wait till the last day to head to the lush Windward side of the island. Hike the Lanikai Pillbox Trail (Kaiwa Ridge) to take in the view of Lanikai beach and its stunning azure-hued water, or you can rent a kayak from Kailua Beach Adventures and paddle out to The Mokes (weather permitting). Just don’t forget to spend some time on Lanikai beach itself to laze on its fine white sand.

Hike Up An Ancient Crater

Formed 300,000 years ago, the majestic Diamond Head, a saucer-shaped crater promises a summit selfie with the backdrop of the coastline from Koko Head to Wai‘anae once you conquer the 0.8-mile hike to the top. Just don’t forget to make a reservation.

Enjoy A Sunset On The Water

If surfing and stand-up paddling aren’t your thing, take a sunset cruise. The options from Kewalo Basin Harbor are plentiful but Kamoauli, a one-of-a-kind, 44-foot long double-hulled Polynesian canoe offers an immersive Hawaiian history and cultural experience while onboard.

The island of Oahu is a truly unique destination. An island formed from volcanic activity some four million years ago, today, it is a cosmopolitan city set against beautiful white sand beaches and flanked by the dramatic mountain ranges of the Ko’olau and Wai’anae mountains. A place that’s all about the sun, surf, sand, and respecting the aina (Hawaiian for land and sea), it’s populated by a mix of Asian, European, and Polynesian ethnicities which contributes greatly to the island’s customs, culture, food, and even language. The second largest of the Hawaiian islands, here’s a quick 10/10 guide to getting the most out of your time there.