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Sara Benson
Created bySara Benson
Globetrotting nomad, journalist, photographer + outdoor...

Go Green, Local Style on Oahu

Featured Guide
Eco-adventures, low-impact lodgings, locavarian eats and fave insider spots with aloha spirit on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.
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Hawai'i State Art Museum

Free! In downtown Honolulu, within a coconut's throw of the Iolani Palace, heads upstairs inside this historical building to find galleries of mixed media art -- watercolors, acrylic and oil paintings, carved wooden and stone sculptures, video, photography and more -- from island-born artists...

Ted's Bakery

Don't miss chowing down at Ted's Bakery at Sunset Beach, which is a short drive east of Haleiwa and Pipeline. This place does awesome local-style mixed-plate lunches that are huge enough for two people (or one very hungry surfer). Even better are the slices of pie, which you can get to go, like...

Ala Moana Beach Park

Waikiki beaches are where all the tourists are at. But you'll find a lot of local families here at Ala Moana Beach, near the Ala Moana Center mall. It's a short walk from Waikiki, or just hop on TheBus. Swimming here is in a deep-water channel. Sprawling grassy areas for picnicking, playing ball or...

Waiola Shave Ice

Waiola shave ice is back, baby! Why drive halfway around the island to stand in line at Matsumoto's when you can hop on a bus from Waikiki and be at this old-school neighborhood sweets shop in 10 minutes? Step up to the counter and order that passion fruit shave ice layered with ice cream, red adzuki...

Sweet Home Waimanalo

Great local spot at the edge of Waimanalo town, serving gourmet fusion and local-style plate lunches. Lots of home-baked goodies here, plus acai fruit bowls and tropical fruit smoothies. Perfect pit stop before or after a morning or afternoon at the beaches nearby....

Lanikai Juice Company

It doesn't matter whether I'm staying in Kailua at one of those shoreline beach cottages, or just kicking off my day here before driving up the Windward Coast. Lanikai Juice is always my first stop. Enormous smoothies made from often organic, island-grown fruits are delish, and so are acai bowls....

Native Books / Na Mea Hawaii

My favorite stop for made-in-Hawaii souvenirs and gifts before heading off to the airport. An independent bookstore, Native Books / Na Mea Hawaii is also a community gathering spot for author readings and talks, documentary film screenings, and arts-and-crafts, language, and cultural classes...

Side Street Inn

Not just another sports bar, this is where you'll find some of Honolulu's top chefs hanging out after hours. That's how good the food is here -- don't miss trying the kalbi short ribs. Most plates are huge, meant for sharing by groups, so bring your whole entourage and settle in to watch the game....

Malaekahana State Recreation Area

A dramatically beautiful state-run beach park on Oahu's Windward Coast, I love camping right by the beach here. You can also rent a rustic cabin, with all profits going to support the park's cooperative association. Or just stop by during the day to swim, snorkel and soak up the views of an off-shore...

Kaena Point State Park

My favorite place to get lost on Oahu's North Shore and Waianae Coasts (the park has two entrances, one on each side of the point). The 5-mile round-trip hiking trail from either entrance out to the point and back may be windy, with rough waves splashing up on the rocks, but it's also somehow...