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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!  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 the best Oahu waterfalls!  Whether you're headed to the North Shore or hanging out in Waikiki, we've got it covered for you!


Things to do in Oahu
Oahu Beaches

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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!

Oahu Go Card

1.  Best Island Outdoor Activities


Oahu Waterfalls


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 things to do in Oahu. Discover accessible Oahu waterfalls, like Waimea Falls or Lulumahu Falls in the picture. 

If riding golf carts and strolling on beautiful fairways are more your thing, then you'll want to book a tee time at one of the beautifully challenging Oahu golf courses.   On the days when beachcombing and sunbathing are how you would rather spend your day, there are dreamy Oahu beaches with white powder sand to sink your toes in, just before you plunge into warm aqua blue waters, and spend 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.


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Experience Kualoa Ranch on the Windward Side

Kualoa Ranch



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, not only to 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 -


Attend a Hawaiian Luau!

Paradise Cove Luau

Today's more popular luaus have become major productions that deliver a taste of the islands for visitors of all ages.  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!

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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.


Experience Oahu from above

Waikiki Helicopter Ride

One of the most amazing experiences is taking it all in from above!  Words can't explain flying just a few hundred feet in an open-door helicopter above the coastline taking in panoramic views of Waikiki, Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, the Ko;olau Mountains, Hanauma Bay, cascading waterfalls, and much much more.  Explore a once in a life time experience...


Party Bike Bar Tour

Oahu Party Bike Tour


Whoever heard of pedaling your way to the bars!  Join other partygoers 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 of Waikiki, making stops at 3 local bars that include popular spots like Hibiscus Club and Honolulu Beerworks.



The joint bike ride itself is worth the experience itself!  - sponsored - 

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

Check out the top 10 Oahu Adventures ranked from top to bottom.  Whether you're a thrill seeker looking to swim with sharks or be entertained by shows at the Polynesian Cultural Center, this is a fun list of different adventures to explore.


Playing in the Water


Snorkeling Hanauma Bay

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.

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.

Surfing Waikiki Waves

Hawaiian Surfing Lessons

Wanna try some Hawaiian surfing?  There are great south swells near Waikiki that'll keep beginners and neighborhood pros entertained.  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.


Waikiki Surf Lessons

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!

Book a 2 hour private lesson or group lesson

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 if you're bold enough, make the journey to North Shore.  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.


Parasailing along the Waikiki Coast

Parasailing Waikiki Beach


Parasail along the Waikiki shoreline and take in the beautiful views and the surrounding beach activity from a few hundred feet above the ocean. Parasailing Waikiki includes hotel transportation, boat ride, and no experience needed.

See more details & sign up...


Oahu Submarine Ride

Waikiki Submarine


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…


Only one or a few days to spend on Oahu and want to spend it well?  Here's your guide and itinerary for 1 day on Oahu or 3 days on Oahu.


2.  If You Want to Shop 'Til You Drop


Shopping on Oahu


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! 

Make sure to check out the popular Aloha Stadium Swap Meet that is a Honolulu attraction in itself, and it's hard to miss the 4-story shopper's paradise --- the Ala Moana Shopping Center!


3.  Explore the North Shore Countryside


Oahu North Shore


Take a day trip to the famous North Shore, and experience Oahu's laidback country life!  Stop for some scrumptuous 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 the stands are mostly unattended and rely on the honor system. 

Slow down in Old Town Haleiwa to enjoy a Hawaiian shave ice and check out great local art in several art galleries and shops.

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 roaring Oahu waterfall

Want more...?  Keep driving and discover the Kahuku Shrimp Farms, Kim Taylor Reece Gallery, and the Polynesian Cultural Center that's worth a day in itself!

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


4.  Things to do in Oahu for Keikis (Kids)


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! 

Check out more…


- sponsored -
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...

Oahu Go Card

5.  Honolulu Attractions


Bishop Museum



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 a visit, including the Iolani Palace, the Bishop Museum, and Pearl Harbor.


6.  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, 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!




Aloha & Enjoy!!



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