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a complete travel guide to the best things to do in Oahu hawaii

28 Best things to do in Oahu – Hawaii

The Best Things Do On Oahu; Dream Itinerary!

Looking for the best things to do in Oahu? You have come to the right blog post!

Hawaii will always be one of the best places you may visit when traveling; the beautiful view of the sea, the beach, volcanoes, people, culture, and many other things make of this beautiful state one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit, and a place which you will love! And there’s plenty of things to do for kids!

Although there are many places to visit there in Hawaii, let’s talk about Oahu, a very special place that hosts around a million inhabitants; many people for being a very tiny island, don’t you think?; besides, other information you should know is that it’s located in the northern part of the state, and is the third-largest island in the whole Hawaiian state.

Although it may seem a very small island, there are many things that you can do being in Oahu, and you have to make sure what are those things so that you don’t miss them and plan to do everything you want before visiting!

a guide to the best things to do in Oahu hawaii

27 top things to do in Oahu

1.Waikiki tram tour

Newly arriving, it would be okay to get a general view of the places which you’ll enjoy the next days. The Waikiki tram tour offers you several routes with which you’ll have the chance to know much of the island, sure! According to the route you choose. With the Waikiki tram tour you can be relaxed because it will be a guided tour and you won’t have to worry about driving, sailing, or something like that.

You can book the Waikiki tram tour here.

2.Wiliwilinui Ridge trail

Without a doubt, hiking this mountain will allow you to have a very beautiful view of a large portion of the island, besides if you are a nature lover, here you can take time to ponder and try to make a connection with all there. It can be a little tiring to reach the top, but with the beautiful view and the environment there, you will enjoy a great experience.

hiking the Wiliwilinui Ridge trail photography

You need to see the best things to do in Waikiki whilst you’re in Hawaii.

3. Visit the Pearl Harbor

The Pearl Harbor is a great icon that is part of the history by showing us the role Hawaii had during World War II. Maybe you’re telling yourself: “It’s a museum, of course, I won’t go to visit a museum”, or maybe you’re thinking otherwise, but whatever, I assure you that you will have a nice moment learning about this special icon of the important history the wonderful state of Hawaii.

visiting the surreal pear Harbour
Photography from Alan

4. Go snorkelling in Oahu

Snorkel is an activity that you can’t leave without doing before leaving the island – and one of the best things to do in Oahu. Share a very pleasant experience swimming with various marine animals such as turtles, dolphins, and even with sharks without a cage, clearly, they are prepared to be with people, these and other species are with which you can enjoy, and not only this but also in warm crystalline waters. Snorkelling is usually offered with other services that you may consider like cruises with buffet and transportation to and from the hotel for your stay.

snorkelling is one of the best things to do in Oahu

You can book a snorkelling tour here.

5. Atlantis submarine

This is another of the most striking Oahu water activities that you can enjoy because you will see how is the marine life of this beautiful island; you can be relaxed while looking through the windows of the submarine a large number of fish of different and very striking colours, sea turtles of different sizes, coral reefs, and much more that will show you Oahu from another very interesting perspective.

6. Visit the Kualoa ranch

The Kualoa ranch has been the setting for the filming of several films and series such as Pearl Harbor, 50 first dates, Jurassic Park, Hawaii Five-0, and others, so if you’re a lover of these and other films and want to know more about this place where these were filmed, this is a great opportunity to visit this special place and imagine how was everything when each of these movies and series were being filmed. Just a little detail to keep in mind, if you want to visit this ranch, you will have to get there by yourself, there you will find an experienced guide who will take the people to know the big land.

Book the Kualoa ranch here.

7. Fly in a Helicopter

You may want to venture to something more extreme, and how you can get to have a different perspective from a submarine, now you can try getting a different perspective flying nothing less than a helicopter. You will find services that offer you to adjust a route according to the places you want to fly over, just take some extra money and enjoy a personalized flight plan to fly over the island.

novictor helicopters oahu

You can book a helicopter here.

8. Visit the Manoa falls

Finding the Manoa falls will require you to cross through various trails in which you will learn more about the jungle, enjoying of its fauna and flora until you finally reach them. Performing this hike in full will require some hours, so it is some important for guests to listen carefully to the guide so that everything can happen normally as much as possible during the tour, if you consider every instruction and follow it you will get the falls without problems.

bathing in the Manoa falls honolulu

9. Hike the Diamond Head crater

Wiliwilinui is not the only high place where you can get a great view. Hiking the Diamond Head crater will be a fun activity because the guide will teach you about the crater and other interesting curious facts that are part of the history of Hawaii. It will be a tour of approximately 3 hours, but don’t think that the guide will bore you along the way telling you extra stories, you will feel your path easier to walk because you will have to use the stairs, and besides that you will enjoy a short but curious dark tunnel that you will have to cross reaching the summit of the crater.

Or what about checking out some of the best waterfall hikes on Oahu for an adventurous and surreal experience!

10. Ride a horse by the seashore

Located in the northern part of the island, the riding activity becomes in one of the most striking activities due to the organization made for its development. You can ask for a personalized tour for you and your group, or choose to join another group in one of the offered tours. Throughout the day you will find available tours, but surely the one you can enjoy the most will be the one where you can watch the sunset, that in which the sky with a couple more colours while the sun is hidden in the distance.

lanikai beach oahu - best beaches in oahu for snorkelling

11. Real Luau

Knowing about Oahu’s culture will be part of each of your adventures, but going to the theatre or to any place where a real Luau is presented will make you know much more about not only about the Hawaiian culture, but much about the Polynesian culture too.

12. See the stars with Stars Above Hawaii

Oahu is a place which can be enjoyed not only during the day, but also for much of the night, and it is the case with Stars Above Hawaii. With Stars Above Hawaii, you can see the stars and constellations beyond what you can usually see them. You will enjoy of watching things like the Jupiter’s coloured clouds, the rings that the remote Saturn has, star clusters, the interior of the craters of the moon, and much more that you can’t perceive with the naked eye when you look at the sky at night. You can enjoy this activity by using equipment and professional guidance.

Check out my ultimate Hawaii itinerary post for some dreamy Hawaii travel motivation!

13. Immerse yourself in the city of Honolulu

Approach the inhabitant of Honolulu and learn more about their lifestyle by visiting local restaurants and other food places, marketplaces, and you can even visit the Chinatown. Honolulu is a very beautiful city to know and one of the best activities to do during your stay in Oahu; if you decide to visit the different places in Honolulu, just make sure to avoid places that seem suspicious and enjoy the typical food offered in the state.

things to do in honolulu waikiki

14. Visit other museums

Due to its location, the Pearl Harbor is a very special museum to visit, but there are other museums that you may choose to visit in case it rains and you can’t go to other activities. These are some of the recommended sites of this type that you can find:

  • Honolulu museum of art.
  • Lolani Palace
  • Bishop museum
  • Lolani palace
  • Saint Augustine cathedral
  • Queen Emma Summer palace
  • Police department museum
  • Don Quijote
  • State art museum
  • Haleiwa art gallery
  • Wyland galleries
  • Japanese cultural centre
  • Nohea Gallery
  • Peter Lik Gallery
  • There are many curiosities that you will find in each one of these places, curiosities that make of these enjoyable and attractive places.

15. Practice yoga

The pleasant environment in Oahu is a very suitable environment for relaxation and meditation. Throughout the island you can find very prone places where yoga is practised, such as on the beaches, or near the waterfalls; and depending on your schedule, you may choose to practice it in the morning or during sunset.

You can book a yoga class here.

16. Look the Friday fireworks

Every Friday at night, around 8 p.m, in the area of Wuakiki, where the Hilton Hawaiian Village is located, an entertaining fireworks show takes place. To enjoy it more completely, the Hilton village hosts a party atmosphere at a low cost.

17. Enjoy the nightlife

We have mentioned a couple of activities that can be done at night as part of the hotel services, but there are many things that you could do at night in Oahu. You could choose to go to a party, maybe you prefer going with the whole family to watch a movie, or maybe going with some of your family members or your friends to the bowling alley, or why not to karaoke?

Whatever you choose to do, there are many options between you can choose to taste of the active nightlife in Oahu. You may consider visiting the next places in Honolulu:

  • The Hard Rock cafe
  • the Blue Note
  • the JBC Plaza Lounge
  • the Wang Chung’s karaoke bar
  • the Lewers Lounge
  • the Smith’s Union bar
  • the Cafe Duck Butt
  • the Lava Tube
  • the Kapolei Karaoke
  • the Air Park karaoke lounge

These just are some suggestions among the many options there are to visit at night!

18. Visit the geological formations

As part of continuing to enjoy nature, visiting geological formations is one of the most relaxing activities which you enjoy of. In addition to enjoying spaces generated by nature itself in the rocks, we can enjoy beautiful crystalline waters that run. These are some of those especial geological formations that you will find and may choose throughout the island:

  • Spitting Cave of Porlock
  • Chinaman’s Hat
  • Halona Blowhole
  • Makapu’u Point
  • Ka’ena Point State park
  • Kukaniloko Birthing Stone

19. Go on a kayaking tour

Get the necessary instructions to be sure and you’ll be ready to take a kayak ride – which is for sure one of the best things to do in Oahu. You will have the opportunity to meet beautiful marine species while enjoying the crystal clear water that is next to the rocks and through which you can observe all those species.

kayaking tour oahu

You can book a kayaking tour here!

20. Tradewind sail

If you are looking to spend a very relaxing time that you can spend with your family, then you can get it going a little into the sea, not swimming, of course! You can do it using a tradewind sail which will keep you at an adequate distance from the beach, and at the same time, it will allow you to get a unique view of the island and hopefully from other islands around. This is an excellent option if you want to relax and enjoy the sun, also from the tradewind sail you can see some of the marine species that appear swimming there.

You can book the Tradewind sail tour here.

21. Go Biking

You may want some exercise in the morning just after waking up, for this, you could get a bike and go for a ride to get to know a little. A few lines ago I mentioned that you could do a tour in the city to know market places and all that, but this time you could avoid all that and just go for a ride on your bike to meet the most and maybe find something you might like much.

22. Parasailing through the air

Would you dare to fly with a parachute 500 feet high at least 5 minutes? On the Wuakiki coast you can do it. After setting aside a considerable distance and adjusting the entire equipment, the speed of a boat along with the breeze will keep you up to 500 feet in a single exciting experience. This is undoubtedly one of the things you should do when visiting Oahu.

blue hawaiian helicopters oahu

You can book a parasailing tour here.

23. Zipline adventure

Have you tried a zip line half a mile long? Accompanied by rappelling, bridges, lots of vegetation and crops to see, the zip line is one of the most attractive activities to combine the feeling of relaxation that nature offers with the thrill of sliding through a strong rope at high speed.

You can book the zipline here.

24. Glass bottom boat ride

If you want to sail, but don’t want to go into a submarine, and neither you want to get wet, then the glass bottom boat will be a perfect means of transport to enjoy the sea. You will see the same that you would see if you were in the water doing snorkel, in the same way, you will enjoy seeing many coloured fishes, coral reefs, and many other elements that are part of marine life. Be so observant, perhaps you get the chance to see some dolphin or whale.

You can book the submarine boat ride here!

25. Surf the waves

If you are an experienced surfer then you can find those big waves that make your heart beat faster because of the emotion they produce. On the contrary, if you want to surf but haven’t had much experience yet, don’t worry! There will be people who help you with that so that you can soon face those big waves and enjoy them, but anyway, you can’t leave Oahu without first trying to use a surfboard.

surfing oahu photography

26. Terrifying tour

Oahu has many stories of the past to tell and that you can get goosebumps, so if you are excited about this type of activities, then the terror tour will fit perfectly to your tastes. Of course, you will not do this type of tours alone, you will be accompanied by guides that will increase your fear, it will also become more exciting because it will be night and the stories you will hear are true, so enjoy it and do not pee in your pants

27. Circle in Oahu

There are many things to do on the island of Oahu, if you have investigated you will have noticed that and will continue to see more if you continue investigating. We have given you the best options to do on this beautiful island and you will surely love it, but if suddenly you almost go crazy for not knowing what to do among so many things, then you can do something that can be easy, this is one of those tours that They offer to know the island, you could take advantage of this type of tours for the first day, with that you will know enough and you will know with more security what you will want to do the rest of your stay there.

28. The stairway to heaven

The stairway to heaven Oahu, Hawaii, has now become one of the most popular hotspots in the world, for fun-loving travellers. Thanks to social media. Also, known as the Haiku Stairs, the stairway is one of the top attractions on the island. This crazy adrenaline hike takes you up 3,922 stairs. From here you will literally be in the heavens and have incredible views over the island. The craziest thing, there’s only a handrail supporting climbers to the top. This is why it’s known for being dangerous, and why climbers are now being fined for risking the hike!

climbing the Haiku Stairs by the hand rail

Where to stay in Oahu

Need some epic accommodation in Oahu? Let’s look at some of the best places to stay;

  1. Hampton Inn – Free breakfast
  2. Aston Waikiki – Breathtaking views
  3. Cute Beachwalk Bungalow – Real-lush place to stay

Final thoughts

There we have it – 28 best things to do in Oahu, Hawaii!

I know it is a little difficult to choose between such attractive activities, but just choose which ones adjust more to your pleasure and you will enjoy more the trip wherever you go. If you know some better things to do in Oahu, let us know!

Don’t forget to check out my best things to do in Cabo post!

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