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!
We'll guide you to some of the simple island pleasures such as the best Hawaiian shave ice to climbing great Oahu hiking trails and trekking through tropical jungles to get to some amazing Oahu waterfalls! Whether you're headed to the North Shore, taking a trip to Kailua Town, or hanging out in Waikiki, we've got it covered for you!
Who doesn't like the beach? Relaxing, beachcombing and playing are great ways spend the day at the beach!
There are some dreamy Oahu beaches with white powder sand to sink your toes in, and warm aqua blue waters to jump into. Consider spending your day doing absolutely nothing but relaxing under swaying palm trees and reading your book or taking a nap.
On the days when you feel like exploring, you can choose from several 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, in search of the ultimate panoramic views.
If you are feeling adventurous and excited to explore things to do in Oahu, you are in for a treat!
This island’s outdoor natural wonders present some of the best active Oahu adventures. Discover accessible Oahu waterfalls, like Waimea Falls or Lulumahu Falls in the picture.
Head to Hawaii's slice of Hollywood, where scenes 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 4,000 acre park that attracts hundreds of visitors daily. When it comes to things to do in Oahu, not only can you see dramatic landscape where movies were filmed, but also to engage in many exciting outdoor activities.
Spend a day exploring the vast grounds, riding ATVs, horseback riding, kayaking to a secret island, ziplining across the jungle, and a multitude of other equally entertaining options!
- sponsored -
Today's more popular luaus have become major productions that deliver a taste of the islands for visitors of all ages. Luaus are considered the #1 things to do in Oahu.
The rituals include special tiki torch lighting ceremonies, grand hula performances, roasted Kalua pig preparations, the requisite audience participation, intense fire dances, all topped with an elaborate buffet of delectable island treats that include Hawaiian poke, tropical fruits, and a taste of the mysterious purple poi. All make a memorable Hawaiian feast for the uninitiated or veterans alike!
Take a stroll through Oahu's enchanting botanical gardens, where nature's artistry unfolds in vibrant displays of tropical landscapes. Each garden on the island tells a unique story, blending exotic flora with the rich cultural heritage of Hawaii. From the serene paths of the Foster Botanical Garden to the breathtaking landscapes of the Waimea Valley, these green sanctuaries offer a tranquil escape into the heart of Oahu's natural gardens.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the diverse ecosystems, discovering rare plant species and the delicate balance of tropical ecology. Whether you're a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Oahu's botanical gardens promise an unforgettable exploration of the island's natural beauty.
Sometimes referred to as the Diamond Head Farmers Market for its location, the KCC Farmers Market is one of the best on the island. There are dozens of farmer markets on the island, but we like this one for the layout and local merchants that participate.
Fresh local fruits and flowers are in abundance and easy to find in this market, along with other neat finds. Take note that this farmers market only takes place for a few hours on Tuesdays and hungry, as there are some amazing dishes and treats being cooked on site by popup restaurants and entrepreneur.
If you’re lucky, Pig and the Lady (rated as one of the best Oahu restaurants) will be on site. Also don’t pass up on an Ono Pop, which are unique local fruit Popsicles…they are delicious!
Some of these Waikiki surf spots include Walls, Publics, and Canoes. Intermediate surfers can sharpen their skills near by at surf breaks like Kaisers, Bowls, Ala Moana, and Diamond Head.
If you're looking for much larger waves...take a drive out to the west side to surf Makaha and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Or if you're bold enough, make the journey to the North Shore during the wintertime, and you'll know in a quick moment if you have what it takes or content on being a spectator, and leave the towering waves for the surf pros.
Learning how to surf in Waikiki is like learning how to ride a bike. With a little guidance and persistence you will be standing up surfing in no time. Lessons start from shore, reviewing some of the mechanics and safety.
Now the fun begins as you paddle out on a longboard with you guide beside you in search of waves and riding them back to shore. It’s an amazing feeling hard to put into words!
If that leaves you wanting more and you are a pretty good surfer, take a drive out to the west side to surf Makaha, or journey up to North Shore to the big wave beaches. Depending on the surf conditions, you may either brave a few waves, or just be content to be a spectator on the beach and leave the towering waves for the surf pros.
The ocean offers so many things to do in Oahu, and there are a few protected reef spots around the island that are home to an abundant of tropical fish and marine life that also provides some ideal snorkeling in Oahu experiences.
shallow reefs in favorite spots like Hanauma Bay or other
less popular (and therefore less crowded) spots around the island.
If you would like to explore a little
deeper into the Pacific, try submerging in some exciting scuba
diving in Hawaii tours that offer an opportunity to experience amazing marine life, getting up close and personal with larger fish and
intriguing shipwrecks in the deeper waters.
Take a ride on an unforgettable catamaran dolphin watching and snorkeling tour along the beautiful West Coast of Oahu. Snorkel along some beautiful Hawaiian reefs that are home to an array of tropical fish.
This 3-hour adventure offers an unique opportunity to witness Hawaii's incredible marine life, including wild dolphins, green sea turtles, and Hawaiian monk seals. You will board a spacious 42-passenger double-hulled catamaran, which provides a more stable ride as you take in the breathtaking views of the ocean and the mountains.
Explore Oahu from below…100 feet below the surface! The Atlantis Submarine Ride will take you beyond Waikiki’s outer reefs where you travel along the bottom of the ocean to view sunken boats and old crashed planes that have become a part of the underwater seascape.
There's ample viewing space within the 64-passenger submarine to see much of the local marine life that you may encounter, including schools of colorful fish, green sea turtles, dolphins, and reef sharks.
Don’t miss out on this fun and adventurous sea expedition... See availability and book now…
Take a stroll and play around in Waikiki. Discover some of the best things to do in Waikiki. Did you know there are two dozen statues and plaques around Waikiki honoring some of Hawaii’s heroes and monarchy?
Make sure to stroll through Kapiolani Park and check out one of the oldest aquariums in America, and the aging War Memorial Natatorium.
Visit some of Waikiki’s oldest and most renowned hotels like the Moana Surfrider, even if you’re not staying there. And check out the new Waikiki International Market Place, and many other new and old additions to this unique Hawaii beach city.
Take a day trip to the famous North Shore, and experience laidback country life with so many things to do in Oahu! Stop for some scrumptious grilled Huli Huli Chicken on the roadside along the way.
If tropical fruit is more what you're craving, step on your brakes to stop at the few fruit stands on the side of the road for some guavas, rambutans, mangoes, papayas, and pineapples, but make sure you make a donation as some of the stands are unattended and rely on the honor system.
One of the main attractions of the North Shore are the legendary winter "big" waves that pound the North
Shore beaches at Waimea and Sunset Beach. Surf contests are quite a treat to watch with international and local contestants. If hiking and waterfalls are more your thing, you can take an easy hike inland through Waimea
Falls Park and a botanical garden to discover a
Keep driving deeper into the countryside and discover the expansive Turtle Bay Resort, the Kahuku Shrimp Farms serving up garlic shrimp, and the entertaining Polynesian Cultural Center that's
worth a day in itself!
You will feel like you have been transported to a different island when you arrive in Oahu’s North Shore! The laidback countryside is the perfect antidote to busy Waikiki. One of the best ways to see the country side and many of its attractions is through an Oahu Circle Island Tour.
Does Shopping on Oahu capture your interest? There is a plethora of Hawaiian specialty shops, and world class Oahu shopping malls that will keep your wallet busy!
Kailua Town on the Windward side has lots of fun boutique shops to explore.
There are lots of fun-filled island activities to explore for kids and the whole family. Some great Oahu kid activities like the Waikiki Aquarium & Honolulu Zoo are right in town, but other fun discoveries are still close by or worth a ride out to the North Shore!
See which beaches are kid friendly, museums that were designed for fun, and other great adventures worth exploring!
Honolulu is the
largest city on Oahu, and it offers an endless list of things to do. The city also makes up
80% of the local
population and 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 the stunning Pali Lookout, the Honolulu Museum of Art, and the history at Pearl Harbor.
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.
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
where you can find fantastic array of Polynesian cultural and
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, or attending a Hawaiian luau.
You may not be lucky enough to be invited to an authentic luau, but the luaus produced for tourists are a good substitute to experience a Hawaiian ceremony complete with hula and fire dances, food, and music.
It is a fascinating experiencing 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!