One Day in Oahu: Our One Day Layover in Honolulu

Written By Sammi  |  Hawaii  |  0 Comments

If you scored a flight itinerary that included a stopover in Honolulu, here is our post on how we spent our one day Oahu as a stopover. We hope it gives you an idea of what to do during your own long layover.

I found this specific flight itinerary from Scott’s Cheap Flights, a flight subscription service for last minute deals and cheap flights. They sent one out for LAX – Seoul, South Korea which stopped over in Honolulu for one day, allowing us to visit one more destination during our trip.

If you can, we HIGHLY recommend spending more time in Hawaii! The year before this stopover, we spent 1 week in Oahu and Maui which made us very excited to spend one day in Honolulu on our way to South Korea.

Where We Stayed For Our One Day Layover in Honolulu

Since we only had one day in Oahu, we wanted to be in Honolulu, specifically Waikiki. We had already visited Waikiki before but wanted to visit again for our one day layover in Honolulu.

I found a licensed Airbnb in Honolulu only 2 blocks from the beach and the main strip for $145 USD a night. It was an apartment in a condo tower with one parking space included, one bathroom, kitchen, living room, small balcony and two beds. It was super easy to check in and the condo was clean, comfortable and a in great location. This Airbnb is close to the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach. The Airbnb listing is called Royal Kuhio, Free parking, pool,2beds,Waikiki.

In case you want to splurge on a nice hotel, you have a ton of options to choose from. Check out Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach ResortThe Royal HawaiianMoana Surfrider Westin ResortSheraton Princess Kaiulani or Alohilani Resort.

Our One Day Layover in Honolulu Itinerary

We flew from LAX to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines, landing at 2 PM. We traveled with carry on only so we called an Uber and got to our Airbnb around 3 PM. After we dropped off our luggage, we headed to Ahi Assassins for a late lunch. It’s one of our favorite poke places in Waikiki and I had been dreaming to go back ever since our first trip there!

*Unfortunately it seems Ahi Assasins is no longer in Waikiki 🙁 but there are ton of other great poke places like Maguro Brothers and Poke Bar.*

After lunch, we headed to the beach to watch the sunset and the surfers. As it was the beginning of November, the waves weren’t very big but there were still a few people out there taking lessons and picking off the surfable waves.

Waikiki beach

The sun set around 7 PM so we were able to get several hours of daylight on our first day.

After sunset, we walked around on the main strip in downtown sampling Hawaii cookies and went shopping for surf gear. We weren’t very hungry since we had a huge late lunch, so we walked all the way down south to have drinks and snacks at Barefoot Beach Cafe. They had live music which was super nice and I got to fill my craving for a Hawaiian shaved ice.

waikiki hawaii


We spent the rest of the night wandering the main strip. We had a long flight the next day (11 hours) to South Korea so we wanted to make sure everything in order.

Extra planning tip: Other ideas to do that night are a sunset cruise, luau show, live music at the bars, night scuba diving and Honolulu Zoo night tours.

Day 2

Our flight was in the late afternoon and we had to check out at 11 AM. As we had the morning free, we woke up early to surf. We surfed for 1 hour, came back to the apartment to shower and pack, then we checked out at 11 AM. Afterwards, we had a quick lunch at Kalo Hawaiian Food by Chai’s, close to our Airbnb and called an Uber to go to the airport.

Waikiki Surfboard Rental

The surf board rental shop we rented from was right on the beach near the Duke Paoa Kahanamoku Statue where the public showers are. We paid $45 USD for 1 hour, 2 long boards and a locker rental. Their boards were fine for an hour of surfing and the locker rental was convenient. The stand was for Dive Oahu and Surf.

*If you don’t know how to surf, we highly recommend taking a surf lesson! There are SO many surf schools along the main strip. Talk to any of them to set up your lesson the first day.*

Tips For a One Day Layover in Honolulu/Oahu

And that’s how we spent our one day layover in Honolulu (22 hours in Waikiki to be exact). We had lots of time to walk around downtown Waikiki, surf, eat and go shopping. It was the perfect stopover before we headed to South Korea.

Here are some things to consider if you also have a similar one day layover in Honolulu.

  • Find a place close to the beach. You’re only there for a day so don’t pick a place far away if you’re not renting a car. Our Airbnb was a 10 minute walk to the beach and main strip and surrounded by restaurants.
  • Rent a car if you want to stay in another part of Oahu. This is important to maximize your time.
  • Travel with carry on only. This will cut down on time waiting for your luggage at baggage claim or avoid any trouble with delayed flights or lost luggage.
  • Get travel insurance! Especially now that travel has opened up after COVID, flight delays and cancellations are not uncommon. In case your flight is cancelled, delayed or changed, get covered in case you lose any bookings or your luggage on the layover.
  • As our flight was international, we arrived at the airport 2.5 hours early. From Waikiki, it is about a 20 minute drive to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (airport code HNL) but we did run into some traffic. Make sure you leave early enough.