Any ideas on how to begin? I created the Ultimate Oahu Bucket List to give you some inspiration for the best things to do in Oahu, Hawaii. Great beaches, waterfall treks, snorkeling places, and restaurants can all be found on this amazing island. Check off as many items as possible from this Oahu bucket list now that I’ve taken care of them all for you!
Oahu is a welcoming island for outdoor activities, and most of the better ones involve a fast trip around the island or down to the shore. While Oahu has a tonne to offer, we also include a few things you can do offshore right away. Renting may be required if you don’t already have all you need for an activity. Rentals are widely accessible in this tourist-friendly neighborhood, so don’t be afraid to look at them if you need anything.
20 Most Interesting fun to Do in Oahu:
1. Diamond Head
Hawaii’s most famous landmark is likely Diamond Head State Monument, a large, in the southeast corner of the island has a round crater. There are two components to the region, which has a total area of around 475 acres.
The crater bottom Is relatively accessible, but those who wish to trek can also get one of the state’s best views. Fair warning: it’s a strenuous trek to the peak. Despite being only 0.8 miles, the journey is very difficult. The trip normally takes at least an hour and a half and is among the most physically demanding activities popular with travelers to Hawaii.
But if you succeed in completing the path, you earn a lot of bragging rights. On Oahu, Diamond Head is among the easiest places to get to.
It is nearby numerous other popular sites in the state and just next to Honolulu’s Waikiki area. Diamond Head justifies the trip. whether or not you intend to trek there.
2. Visit Waikiki Beach and Hanauma Bay for The Day
2.1. Waikiki Beach
Although Waikiki is a small neighborhood, it is home to some excellent beaches. More importantly, with numerous surf schools put up immediately behind the beach, it is one of the island’s most tourist-friendly locations.
If you do not really adapt to surfing, you’re missing out as surfing is a huge part of Hawaiian culture, and there are lots of beaches and great weather there.
Surfing is hard to forget once you learn how to do it, and it will greatly enhance your experience in Hawaii.
Waikiki’s beaches also offer fantastic views of Diamond Head, allowing you to take in some of Hawaii’s best sights while surfing.
2.2. Hanauma Bay
One of the best snorkeling spots on Oahu is Hanauma Bay, which also features a Marine Education Center where you can learn more about the marine species before diving in to view it for yourself.
Due to its shallower seas, it is still a great area to get in for a swim, even if the beaches there sometimes have crowds. Additionally, it’s a lovely location for relaxing and hanging out!
3. North Shore and Sea Life Park Hawaii
3.1. North Shore
One of the areas of the island that is most remote from Honolulu is the simply titled North Shore, which is roughly an hour’s drive away. As long as there isn’t a special event going on, this is the location to avoid crowds. After taking lessons in Waikiki, the North Shore is a great place to surf.
A region known as the “Seven Mile Miracle” features a number of the world’s top surfing spots.
3.2. Sea Life Park Hawaii
Sea Life Park Hawaii is a marine mammal park, bird sanctuary, and aquarium on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, United States. It is situated near Waimanalo, next to Makapuu Point, and to the north of Hanauma Bay.
Visitors to the park have the opportunity to feed sea turtles, go on an aquarium sea safari, and swim with dolphins, sea lions, and rays in the exhibits. In 1964, the park first welcomed visitors.
Dolphin Discovery, which had acquired the park in 2005, sold it to Palace Entertainment, the U.S. division of Parques Reunidos, in 2008, and Palace Entertainment now manages it.
4. Visit the Iolani Palace and Explore Jurassic Park via Ziplining
4.1. Visit the Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace, which was originally finished in 1882 for King Kalakaua, is the residence of Hawaii’s final kings and queens and the only actual monarch’s mansion in the entire United States. The palace has been meticulously preserved and repaired to allow tourists to observe local history since it was registered as a historic landmark in 1962.
Because of its distinctive architecture, the palace is one of Hawaii’s most recognizable structures and is simple to spot from a distance.
You can focus on the historical topics that most interest you by choosing from the palace’s various specialist tours. You won’t have any trouble reaching Iolani Palace because of its location in Honolulu’s central business district.
4.2. Explore Jurassic Park via Ziplining
Okay, so you won’t be ziplining through a Jurassic Park full of dinosaurs.
Being hundreds of feet in the air and knowing a pterodactyl may strike me at any second is the best way I can think of to get the blood pumping. If that’s not your thing, simply enjoying the breathtaking scenery as you zipline is also fantastic.
5. Ka’ena Point State Park
Hiking, picnicking, and shoreline fishing are all possible in the relatively wild and lonely Ka’ena Point State Park. The Ka’ena Point Mokuleia Section (on the island of Oahu’s north shore) and the Ka’ena Point Keawa’ula Section make up the park, which encircles the northwest corner of the island (west side of Oahu).
Ka’ena Point State Park is the gateway to Ka’ena Point Natural Area Reserve, which is located at the farthest western point of O’ahu. A sizable sandy beach at Keawa’ula Bay with lifeguard services, board and body surfing for specialists, and swimming only during calm summer conditions.
6. Visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial
There is more to Pearl Harbor than merely a specific conflict or historical site. In the event that over 350 Japanese aircraft launched a surprise raid from many ships, destroying or damaging 19 US ships, it became one of the most famous moments in American history.
The memorial monument, which can be reached from Waikiki in about 30 minutes, has a variety of exhibits that detail the events of December 7, 1941, and the ensuing naval conflict with Japan.
Inside the harbor, you may see the USS Arizona’s wreckage which is in good condition.
7. Explore Plantation Village on Foot
From around 1850 to 1950, numerous significant sugar plantations were located in Hawaii. The legacy of these estates is preserved today in Plantation Village, an outdoor museum with a mixture of reproduced and renovated structures.
You can view shops, restrooms, workplaces, residences, and more here. Due to the exotic flora found there, including those from Portugal, Puerto Rico, and even Asia, an unexpectedly good neighbourhood is Plantation Village which is a destination for foodies.
Employing a local specialist narrate the sights will be a far more enjoyable experience than exploring on your own.
8. Byodo-In Temple
When you visit Byodo-In Temple in the Valley of the Temples, Memorial Park, you may understand why you could believe you might have stumbled into Japan. , out of all the things to do in Oahu, is to visit the Byodo-In Temple.
Open to guests and visitors of all religions, the Byodo-In Temple in Hawaii is a wonderful illustration of traditional Japanese architecture. It was built as a scale model of the Byodo-In Temple in Uji.
Due in large part to the fact that the island serves as a stopping point for many travelers who are traveling across the Pacific, Hawaii and Japan has a long and particular relationship.
Check out the temple’s decorations and artwork while you’re there, including the nine-foot Amida Buddha statue (one of the largest outside Japan).
9. Swim with Sharks and Atlantis Submarine Adventure on Oahu
9.1. Swim with Sharks
Do you want to get up close and personal with some of nature’s most terrifying creatures? Shark diving excursions are offered by a variety of businesses on the island, including well-known ones like North Shore Shark Adventures and Hawaii Shark Encounters.
The majority of services travel roughly three miles offshore, using solid cages to assure protection. In this area, seeing a shark is almost a given. Once in the water, there’s a strong possibility you’ll see a lot of other animals, including turtles, dolphins, and sometimes even whales. These tours are beginner-friendly, so you don’t need to be an expert diver to take part.
9.2. Atlantis Submarine Adventure on Oahu
The Atlantis Submarine is one of Oahu’s most distinctive boat tours; it takes you below the water’s surface to view the wonders of the undersea world.
The excursion takes you to an underwater dive location and departs from the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. Visitors may receive a close-up glimpse of a variety of sea life, exotic coral reefs, and several sunken ships without getting wet, thanks to Atlantis Submarines’ unique underwater experience.
10. Explore the Maze in the Pineapple Garden and Go for a Hike on Manoa Falls
10.1. Explore the Maze in the Pineapple Garden
Even though the Dole Plantation is a spectacular site in and of itself, the Pineapple Garden Maze is something that should be highlighted. This region, roughly three acres in size and containing around 2.5 miles of trails amongst the plants, was dubbed the largest maze in the world back in 2008.
It also features eight undiscovered stations along the road that you must discover to give you more to do while you’re strolling about. Most tourists can finish the maze in 40 minutes, but if you end up getting lost, it may take considerably longer.
If not, think about concluding your visit with a peaceful journey on the kid-friendly Pineapple Express train, which provides some breathtaking views and explains how the Dole agricultural empire began.
If you’re starting to get hungry, the Plantation Grille offers a variety of dishes, some of which are inspired by Asian cuisine. If you’ve never tried fresh pineapple, you can even purchase it to bring with you. This is a good idea.
10.2. Manoa Falls Hike
This is another location in Hawaii that has served as a location for Jurassic Park and Lost, and it is one of the best walks on Oahu, right after Diamond Head Crater. Because there are so many native plant species on this particular trek that you might miss if you go without a guide, doing it with one is wonderful.
Even certain plants are unique to Oahu and cannot be found anywhere else. The hike’s high point is Manoa Falls, a 150-foot cascade with a gorgeous pool located at the very end.
11. Visit Lanikai Beach To See the Turtles
On Oahu, Lanikai Beach has a pleasant stretch of sand, although it is hardly exceptional. The fact that green sea turtles from Hawaii choose to hang out at Lanikai beach sets it apart from other locations.
These can be observed lounging in the sunlight or chowing down on the present kelp and seagrass. But you can only take pleasure in them from a distance. Hawaiian legislation forbids approaching turtles too closely and protects them.
Given that, if you get too close, expect prompt action. Chun’s Reef is around 300 feet distant and considerably more accessible if you want to enjoy the sand.
12. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center Today
The facility, which is located on 42 acres near the North Shore, has six communities that each emphasize a distinct Pacific Island design. The cultural center offers a variety of activities, such as dining, dancing, breathtaking fire knife demonstrations, canoe trips, and more.
13. At Kualoa Ranch, Take a Ride
Kualoa Ranch, located about halfway along Oahu’s eastern shore, is a popular location for outdoor adventures.
If you enjoy Hollywood movies, the filming locations tour takes you to locations where there are over 200 movies and television episodes have been filmed. A stop in a World War II bunker is also included in the journey.
ATV rides, horseback tours, zip lines, and trips into the rainforest are further alternatives. At Kualoa, you may easily spend the entire day engaging in various activities and even catch a wedding or other noteworthy event.
14. Surf the Wind at Kailua Beach
Kailua Beach Park is the most popular place to visit which is positioned on the island’s Windward side. It is simple to understand why this is a local favorite, given that there are tense swimming holes, fierce canoe events, and a lovely lake.
However, windsurfing is the main reason to go to Kailua. If you have never gotten on a board before, windsurfing is not the best option because it is a little more difficult than conventional surfing.
However, if you do, you can use the wind to travel more quickly and experience larger waves at Kailua than ever before. The park is lovely throughout the year but go on July 4th for a truly spectacular fireworks display.
15. Ride in a Helicopter
Numerous helicopter companies on Oahu, including Rainbow Helicopters, provide escorted island-hopping tours. These are a great way to explore areas of the island that are inaccessible by foot or car.
Helicopter excursions might be useful if you want to take a personalized flight path across the island you can employ filming services to explore the islands to obtain amazing original images or recordings.
16. The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail Should be Walked
On the southeast corner of Oahu, the Makapu’u Lighthouse, an iconic building, was constructed in 1909. The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail’s two-mile round journey requires roughly two hours due to some significant elevation fluctuations.
Casual tourists are not permitted inside the squat lighthouse, but the cliff beach offers spectacular insights of the sea and a variety of local wildlife. You may anticipate a warm excursion because the trail is heated and exposed throughout.
17. Take a Skydive
In contrast to skydiving planes, which may carry you up to 14,000 feet over the island, helicopter trips often stick close to the ground. Commercial aircraft typically fly at altitudes of around 36,000 feet, so there is no risk of colliding with them.
These services are provided by organizations like Pacific Skydiving, with tandem skydiving being the suggested choice for beginners.
In this configuration, you fall completely free for more than 20 seconds at a top speed of roughly 120 mph while still being tethered to your instructor. It’s an exhilaration unlike any other to be able to leave the landing fully in their hands.
18. Visit Stripsteak Waikiki for a Meal
Stripsteak Waikiki is a gourmet fusion restaurant that combines American steakhouse style with a variety of Asian influences and is unquestionably one of the top restaurants in Oahu.
Michael Mina, a chef with a Michelin star is the owner and operator of Stripsteak Waikiki, where you can savor everything from sophisticated meals and sweets served family-style and a wide selection of beverages.
This is one of Hawaii’s best restaurants, so the starting price is high and increases from there.
19. At Waialua Bakery, Food is Less Expensive
If you’re searching for fancy dining, Strip Steak Waikiki is the place to go, but if you’re seeking more informal fare in the North Shore region, Waialua Bakery is a great option for breakfast or lunch.
There is a wide range of salads, smoothies, and cold snacks like acai bowls to choose from. The roasted chicken pesto sandwich, which boasts a wonderful assortment of flavors and ingredients, is worth trying.
Another wonderful tropical treat is the non-alcoholic pina colada smoothie, which blends frozen yoghurt, banana, pineapple juice, and coconut milk.
20. At Ko Olina Lagoons, Go Swimming
One of the best resort destinations in Ko Olina, where businesses use exclusive lagoons like Four Seasons, Marriott, and Disney. The public is welcome to visit the fourth of the artificial Ko Olina Lagoons, even if you aren’t renting there.
It provides an opportunity for gentle snorkeling as well as safe and tranquil swimming.
This location is great for wildlife viewing because seals occasionally swim up to it. You can’t get too close to the creatures, but the protection is sufficient to keep the area secure even though it’s not overly busy.
I hope you enjoyed reading this list of the top things to do on Oahu and discovered some fun things to do with your family.