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Things To Do in Oahu

The best things to do in Oahu come from little known local insiders' tips

With so many things to do in Oahu, vacations can sometimes feel quite overwhelming with endless choices and so little time!  Discover the best Honolulu attractions along with helpful insider local tips, and off the beaten path destinations worth visiting!  We'll guide you to some of the simple island pleasures such as the best Hawaiian shave ice to climbing great Oahu hiking trails!

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Plan your trip ahead and purchase a GO Oahu Card that gives discounts (up to 55%) to multiple attractions & things to do in Oahu, museums and tours around the island. Activities include popular attractions such as Pearl Harbor, Oahu hikes & waterfalls, Polynesian Cultural Center, Dole Plantation, and great luaus!

Things to do in OahuThis picture was taken at the Makapu'u Tidepools, located below the Makapu'u lighthouse.

I’ve had the privilege of growing up on Oahu Hawaii, and exploring some of the very best things to do on Oahu.  But the best part is that I’m still discovering new amazing experiences today on this rich and exciting island! 

Oahu Beaches

Best Island Outdoor Activities

Oahu Waterfalls

If you are feeling adventurous and excited to explore things to do in Oahu’s outdoor natural wonders, then you might want to check out some of the best active things to do in Oahu. Discover accessible Oahu waterfalls, like Waimea Falls or Lulumahu Falls in the picture.

Also check out our beautifully challenging Oahu golf courses, dreamy Oahu beaches worth sinking your toes in, and fun Oahu hiking trails no matter if you more or less prefer to stroll or are looking to try to reach the summit of some of Oahu's ridges.

Experience Kualoa Ranch on the Windward Side

Kualoa Ranch

Head to the Hawaii's slice of Hollywood, where parts of hit movies were filmed such as Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, and popular TV shows like Lost, and Hawaii Five-O.

Kualoa Ranch is a 4000 acre playground park that attracts lots of visitors daily, not only to see dramatic filming areas, but also to engage in many outdoor activities.   Spend a day exploring the grounds, riding ATV’s, horseback riding, kayaking to a secret island, zipping across the jungle on a wild zipline tour, and lots of other entertaining options!

Attend a Hawaiian Luau!

Paradise Luau

Today the larger luaus have become major productions that have organized some incredible shows, including special tiki torch lighting ceremonies, grand hula   performances, Kalua Pork preparations, some fun audience participation, an elaborate meal, and of course some poi to make the luau memorable!

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The most popular luaus on the island are... 

Polynesian Cultural CenterParadise Cove, and Germain's Luau

Also check out one of Oahu's newest productions, "The Diamond Head Luau", and unique settings such the as the Big Kahuna Luau in Tantalus hillside.  Check out more on the different Hawaiian luaus, including discounted prices through the Oahu Go Card.

Book now - pricing & details on the different Hawaiian luaus - including Paradise Cove, Germain's Luau, and Polynesian Cultural Center.

Party Bike Bar Tour

Oahu Party Bike Tour

Whoever heard of peddling your way to the bars!  Join 14 others who are on the same mission, making their way on a 15 seater party bike.  Your pub bike crawl takes place in the new Kaka’ako area, just outside Waikiki, visiting 3 popular local bars, including popular spots like Hibiscus Club and Honolulu Beerworks. 

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The joint bike ride itself is worth the experience itself! 

Sign up and get ready for a memorable experience!  Reserve your spot!

Playing in the Water

Hanauma Bay

The ocean offers so many things to do in Oahu, and there is absolutely no way to avoid dipping into the warm Pacific ocean during your vacation in Oahu.

Beyond frolicking in the waves, try snorkeling Oahu 's shallow reefs in favorite spots like Hanauma Bay and other less popular (and therefore less crowded) spots around the island.

If you are certified and would like to explore a little further into the deep blue Pacific, try submerging a little deeper for some exciting scuba diving in Hawaii 's share of amazing marine life, getting up close and personal with larger fish and intriguing shipwrecks in the deeper waters.

Hawaiian Surfing

Wanna try some Hawaiian surfing?  There are some great south swells near Waikiki that'll keep the beginner (including Walls, Publics & Canoes) and intermediate (including  Kaisers & Bowls, Ala Moana and Diamond  Head) surfers entertained.

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Book your surf lesson now!  Choose a 2 hour private lesson or group lesson

If that leaves you wanting, take a drive out to the west side to surf Makaha.  Or if you're bold enough, make the journey to North Shore, and depending on the surf conditions, you may either brave a few waves, or just be content to be a spectator and leave the towering waves for the surf pros.

Shark Cage Dive

Oahu Shark Cage Dive

Experience a thrill of a life time with a shark cage dive!  That’s right…view sharks in their natural habitat, as they circle around your protective cage with curiosity. If your lucky, you will encounter as many as 30 sharks in one dive!

This is a thrilling experience that requires no scuba license, but maybe not for the faint of heart. You can also just take it all in from the boat…you decide.

If You Want to Shop 'Til You Drop

Shopping on Oahu

Does Shopping on Oahu capture your interest?

I know of a few Hawaiian specialty shops, and some better quality Oahu shopping areas that will keep your wallet busy! 

Make sure to check out the popular Aloha Stadium Swap Meet that is a Honolulu Attraction in itself, and also the fascinating outdoor, 4-story Ala Moana Shopping Center!

Explore the North Shore Countryside

Oahu North Shore

Take a day trip out to the famous North Shore, and discover the many things to do in Oahu!  Stop for some Huli Huli Chicken smoking on the side of the roadway.  Also watch winter waves pounding on the North Shore beaches, hike inland through Waimea Falls Park to discover a roaring Oahu waterfall

Also make sure to slow down in old town Haleiwa to slurp down a Hawaiian shave ice while checking out great local art in several art galleries and shops.

Want more...?  Discover the Kahuku Shrimp Farms, Kim Taylor Reece Gallery, and the Polynesian Cultureal Center that's worth a day to itself.

You will feel like you have transported to different island, when you arrive in Oahu’s North Shore countryside!  It is the perfect antidote to Waikiki.

Things to do in Oahu for Keikis (Kids)

In addition to visiting Oahu Beaches, heading out to the North Shore, and trekking to some fun Oahu waterfalls, you might also want to consider other friendly places to visit in Oahu, such as snorkeling Hanauma Bay Oahu, visiting Pearl Harbor, and engaging in an Oahu luau adventure at the Polynesian Cultural Center

The Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium are also great little adventures in Waikiki worth checking out for the family.

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Plan ahead and get an Oahu GO Card that gives discounts (up to 55%) to multiple attractions, museums and tours around the island, including Hanauma Bay...

Save up to 55% on Top Oahu Attractions!

Honolulu Attractions

Bishop Museum

Honolulu is the largest city on Oahu, and offers lots of things to do in Oahu.  It makes up 80% of the local population and also incorporates the most popular tourist destination known as Waikiki.  

It just so happens that some of the best Oahu attractions are located throughout Honolulu.  Take a moment to check out the best Honolulu Attractions that are worthy of a visit, including Iolani Palace, the Bishop Museum, and visiting Pearl Harbor.

Hawaiian Culture

Don’t forget to mix a little Hawaiian Culture into your trip.  The Hawaiian people take great pride in many old traditions and customs that make up a large part of Hawaiian culture.  An island style and way of life that still exists today in Hawaiian music, food, language, dance, arts, and local family life!  There are two ways to experience Hawaiian culture.

Iolani Palace

You can witness it through museums such as the historic Iolani Palace which is the only palace in existence within the United States, the Bishop Museum which houses a great collection of Hawaiian historical artifacts, or the popular Polynesian Cultural Center where you can find fantastic array of Polynesian cultural and historical exhibits. 

The second way, and in my opinion, equally important and often more enjoyable, is to partake in the local culture through Hawaiian music, whether attending one of the many live music venues, or learning to strum an ukulele, attending a Hawaiian luau (you may not be lucky enough to be invited to an authentic luau, but the luau shows done for tourists are a good substitute to experience a Hawaiian ceremony complete with hula and fire dances, food, and music), getting to know the colorful locals and listening to them speak pidgin' English or if you're lucky, the real Hawaiian language.  The best part for me is the food!

Hawaiian food goes from yummy authentic Hawaiian staples that include kahlua pork, lau lau, poi, lomi lomi salmon, etc, to the mouth-watering fusion foods created by Oahu's renowned chefs who take the diverse population of Oahu and blend flavors and ingredients together to create some of the most "onolicous"  eats you'll ever have.  I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!

Aloha & Enjoy!!