View of China mans Hat from Kualoa Beach Park in Oahu

71 Awesome Things to Do on Oahu With Your Family

If you’re looking for things to do on Oahu, you just might be feeling overwhelmed. This tends to happen as there’s so much to see and do on this beautiful island! 

With so many options, it can be hard to know where to start. Do you want to explore the rainforest or visit some historical sites? Or maybe you’d rather just hang out on the beach all day?

This blog post is packed with information about Oahu’s best things to do. Whether you’re into nature, history, or just relaxing on the beach, we’ve got something for everyone!

Visit the Breathtaking Beaches of Oahu

This should be a no-brainer. Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Whether you’re into swimming, surfing, or just lying on the sand and soaking up the sun, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. Below are some of the top beaches on Oahu.

Kualoa Mountain Range in Oahu Hawaii

(1) Visit Oahu’s Picture-Perfect Lanikai Beach

Located on the windward side of Oahu, Lanikai Beach is famous for its clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand beach. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up some sun.

From here, you will also have the perfect view of the Mokulua Islands. Lanikai Beach is by far our favorite beach in Hawaii. 

A couple kayaking to the Mokulua Islands from Lanikai Beach in the perfect clear blue water.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu

(2) Relax at Kailua Beach

Kailua Beach is another great option if you’re looking for a perfect beach with multiple activities. You can swim, snorkel, kayak, windsurf, kitesurf, and more!

Kailua Beach is known for its clear waters and perfect white sand beach. This beach is also located on the windward side of Oahu, about a 3-minute drive from Lanikai Beach.

Perfect golden white sand beach at Kailua on Oahu, with gorgeous blue waters.
Kailua Beach, Oahu

(3) Spend the Day at Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is a must-see if you’re interested in snorkeling or seeing incredible marine life. The bay is home to over 80 species of fish, making it a snorkeler’s paradise.

Perfect blue water, white sand beach and coral at Hanauma Bay with mountain views.
Hanauma Bay, Oahu

(4) People Watch at Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world. It’s located in the heart of Honolulu and is an excellent place to people watch, go swimming, surf, or just relax on the beach. 

If you’re like many people that visit Oahu, Waikiki Beach is probably the reason you are here.

Birds eye view of Waikiki Beach on Oahu with perfect blue water, white sand beach and Diamond Head in the background.
Waikiki Beach, Oahu

(5) Spend Some Time at Halona Beach Cove

Halona Beach Cove is a secluded beach located on the southeast shore of Oahu. It is known for its dramatic cliffs, crystal-clear waters, and tranquil atmosphere. 

Many people skip Halona Beach Cove after viewing the Halona Blowhole don’t be that person and miss out on an amazing opportunity! Take the short hike down and spend some time relaxing at this beach and enjoying the perfect views.

Perfect golden sand beach at Halona Beach Cove with the gorgeous blue water and fantastic cliffs on both sides.
Halona Beach Cove, Oahu

(6) Stroll Through Sunset Beach

Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Sunset Beach is one of the best places in Hawaii to catch a wave. This beach made our list of the best beaches on the North Shore.

This beach is also a great place to watch the sunset over the water. Definitely add Sunset Beach as one of your stops when visiting the North Shore of Oahu.

Sunset Beach with the perfect golden sand and blue water, plus some palm trees.
Sunset Beach, Oahu

(7) Explore Wild-life at Laniakea Beach

Laniakea Beach, also known as “Turtle Beach,” is a great place to see turtles in their natural habitat. This beach is located on the North Shore of Oahu and is known for its clear waters and golden sand beach.

Green see turtles napping on the perfect white sand beach at Laniakea  on Oahu.
Laniekea Beach, Oahu

(8) Waimea Beach Park

Waimea Beach Park is located on the North Shore of Oahu and is known for its huge waves. This beach is a popular spot for surfing and bodyboarding. 

Make sure to stop by Waimea Valley before or after your visit to Waimea Beach. Waimea Valley is located across the street from the beach.

People swimming in the water at Waimea Beach Park on Oahu, with golden white sand beach and some waves.
Waimea Bay, Oahu

(9) Soak Up the Sun at Waimanalo Beach Park

Waimanalo Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu. It’s perfect for a day of relaxing and soaking up the sun. 

The beach is located on the island’s east side and is about a 30-minute drive from Honolulu.

Compared to the other beaches mentioned in this article, Waimanalo Beach doesn’t get as crowded.

Cody walking on Waimanalo Beach with a view of the gorgeous blue water and white sand.
Waimanalo Beach, Oahu

(10) Take a Shark Cage Diving Tour

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, you can take a shark cage diving tour. These tours will take you out to see sharks up close. 

You’re almost always guaranteed to see a shark on this tour as most tour companies will take you to sites where they frequent. 

(11) See Oahu From Above on a Helicopter Tour

One of the best ways to see Oahu is from above on a helicopter tour! Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, and a helicopter tour is a perfect way to experience it.

Many companies offer helicopter tours of Oahu, so you can easily find one that fits your budget and schedule.

(12) Explore Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch is a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch located on the windward side of Oahu. The ranch is best known for its movie tours, which take you to locations where movies such as Jurassic Park and Godzilla were filmed.

However, the ranch also offers a variety of other activities such as horseback riding, hiking, ATV tours, and ziplining.

(13) Book a Whale Watching Tour for a Chance to Spot Whales

Oahu is one of the best places in Hawaii to go whale watching. Humpback whales can be seen around the island from December to April. 

Tour companies will take you to the best spots to see whales, and you might even get lucky and see multiple at a time.

(14) Book a Zipline Tour for an Adventurous Day

A zipline tour is a perfect activity if you’re looking for an adventurous day. 

Many companies offer zipline tours on Oahu, ranging from mild to wild. You can zipline through the rainforest or even over waterfalls.

(15) Take a Waikiki Sunset Cruise

A sunset cruise is a perfect way to end your day in Oahu. You’ll see some of the most beautiful scenery on the island while enjoying a delicious dinner. 

If you’re on Oahu with your loved one for your honeymoon, babymoon, or whatever occasion you’re celebrating, a sunset cruise is a great way to make it even more special.

Explore the Top Hikes in Oahu With Spectacular Views

One of the best things about Oahu is its diverse landscape. The island is home to rainforests, waterfalls, and some of the world’s best beaches. 

Below are the must-do hikes on Oahu.

Hiking Tip: Remember to wear reef-safe sunscreen or a rashguard, bring plenty of water and pack a snack or lunch when hiking.

(16) Lanikai Pillbox Hike

If you’re looking for the best hiking views, look no further than the Lanikai Pillbox Hike. This intermediate hike takes you to the top of two WWII-era pillboxes with 360-degree views of the Lanikai coastline, including gorgeous views of the Mokulua Islands. 

We have hiked this trail multiple times, and it’s one of the best hikes on Oahu. We recommend hiking this trail for sunrise as it is less crowded, and the views are incredible.

Me sitting on top of the Lanikai Pillbox Hike with a view of the Kualoa Mountains on Oahu.
Lanikai Beach, Oahu

(17) Diamond Head State Monument

Diamond Head is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Hawaii. The hike takes you to the top of a crater with incredible 360-degree views of Waikiki, Honolulu, and Oahu’s South Shore. 

The trail to the top of Diamond Head is easy-moderate. 

Fair warning, this hike gets pretty crowded. Like many popular tourist destinations in Hawaii, we recommend hiking early in the morning or close to closing time if you are not a fan of the big crowds.

Gorgeous views of Honolulu, Waikiki Beach and the south shore of Oahu from the top of the Diamond Head hike.
Views from Diamond Head

(18) Koko Head Crater

Koko Head Crater is another popular hike on Oahu that offers stunning views of the island. The hike, which is up an old tramway used during WWII, takes you to the top of a volcanic crater with panoramic views of Waimanola and the east side of Oahu. 

Our favorite time to do this hike is at sunrise. Koko Head is more on the moderate- difficult side, depending on your fitness level. The trail is pretty open, so wear sunscreen, bring lots of water, and start early if possible. 

Me enjoying the gorgeous views of Koko Head on Oahu, from the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail.
Views of Koko Head from the Hanauma Bay Ridge Trail

(19) Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls is one of the best waterfall hikes on Oahu. The trail is relatively easy and leads to a stunning 150-foot waterfall. This is an excellent hike for families or those looking for an easy trail with beautiful scenery.

People enjoying the view of the 150 ft waterfall at Manoa Falls on Oahu with a pool below.
Manoa Falls, Oahu

(20) Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail

The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is one of the easiest hikes on Oahu. It’s paved all the way and offers some of the best sunrise views on the island. 

Makapu’u Point is one of the best places to see whales during winter. We spotted multiple whales while hiking here in February.

Cody enjoying the easy Makapu'u Point Trail with gorgeous mountain views.
Makapu’u Point Trail, Oahu

(21) Kuliouou Ridge Trail

The Kuliouou Ridge Trail is our favorite ridge hike on Oahu. This trail is less crowded than other hikes mentioned in this article. 

The trail is moderate, with some steep sections. The views from the top are absolutely incredible. 

You will be rewarded with gorgeous views of Koko Head Crater, amazing views of Waimanola, the windward side of Oahu, and the Mokulua Islands.

Gorgeous views of Koko Head, Waimanalo, and the windward side of Oahu from the Kuliouou Ridge Trail.
Views from the Kuliouou Ridge Trail

(22) Waimea Valley Trail

The Waimea Valley Trail is an easy hike that takes you through a gorgeous botanical garden to a fantastic waterfall. This hike is paved all the way and perfect for all fitness levels. 

There is a swimmable waterfall at the end of the trail. Waimea Valley is an excellent place for a picnic lunch or relaxing and enjoying the scenery.

See Also: The Best Hiking Shoes for Hawaii (The Ultimate Buying Guide)

Cody enjoying the views of the waterfall at Waimea Falls with three people swimming in it.
Waimea Falls, Oahu

Visit the Top Historical Sites on Oahu

Oahu is home to some of the most important historical sites in Hawaii. From the Pearl Harbor Memorial to the Bishop Museum, there’s something for everyone. 

Below are some of our favorite historical sites on Oahu:

(23) USS Arizona Memorial

No Oahu trip would be complete without visiting Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial commemorates the 2,403 men who lost their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. 

The USS Arizona Memorial is free and open to the public. It is one of Oahu’s most popular tourist attractions, so expect big crowds and plan ahead.

The anchor of the USS Arizona that sits on display at Pearl Harbor, Oahu.
USS Arizona Anchor at Pearl Harbor

(24) Visit the Pearl Habor Aviation Museum

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is one of the best aviation museums in the country. The museum is located on Ford Island and houses over 50 restored aircraft.

(25) USS Missouri

The USS Missouri is a WWII battleship that was the last battleship ever built by the United States. The ship is now a museum located in Pearl Harbor. Visitors can tour the ship and learn about its history.

(26) The USS Oklahoma Memorial

The USS Oklahoma Memorial is located on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor. The memorial commemorates the 429 men who lost their lives when the USS Oklahoma was sunk during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

(27) USS Bowfin Submarine

The USS Bowfin is a WWII submarine that is now a museum. Visitors can tour the submarine and learn about the history of submarines in warfare.

(28) Punchbowl National Cemetery

The Punchbowl National Cemetery is the final resting place for over 53,000 veterans and their families. The cemetery is located in the Punchbowl Crater.

(29) Visit the Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum is the largest in Hawaii and is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Hawaii. The museum has an extensive collection of Hawaiian artifacts and a planetarium and science center.

Views of Pearl Harbor from the sea, with a battleship in the background.
Views of Pearl Harbor

(30) Visit the Iolani Palace

The Iolani Palace was the home of Hawaii’s last two monarchs, King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. The palace is now a museum that offers tours to the public.

(31) Learn More About the Hawaiian Culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center

The Polynesian Cultural Center is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning about the native culture of Hawaii. The center is located on the North Shore of Oahu and offers a variety of activities and exhibits. 

Visitors can learn about the cultures of different Polynesian islands, watch traditional dances, and even participate in hands-on activities.

We highly recommend the Polynesian Cultural Center if you are looking for one of the best luaus on Oahu. The center offers an authentic Hawaiian luau with a traditional feast and entertainment.

(32) Get Shave Ice 

What better way to cool off on a hot day than rewarding yourself with shave ice? 

Our favorite spot for shave ice on Oahu is Waiola Shave Ice, but there are plenty of other great spots too. Don’t leave Oahu without trying some shave ice!

Me holding a bowl of the rainbow shave ice from Waiola Shave Ice on Oahu.
Waiola Shave Ice, Oahu

(33) Treat Yourself to Malasadas From Leonard’s Bakery

Malasadas are a type of Portuguese doughnut that is popular in Hawaii. 

Leonards Bakery, without a doubt, has the best malasadas in Hawaii. Trust us on this, you will not be disappointed!

There are multiple fillings to choose from, but we tend to stick with the original flavor. Its nothing short of perfection.

(34) Visit Kailua Town Farmers Market

The Kailua Town Farmers Market is held every Sunday from 5:00 am to 12:00 pm. The market features a variety of local vendors selling produce, food, handmade goods, and more.

(35) Visit Breweries in Kailua

Looking for a great place to grab beer and pizza? The Kailua area is home to a few great breweries. 

Our favorites are Lanikai Brewing Company and Maui Brewing company. Lanikai Brewing Company has some of the best pizza on the island.

(36) Sample Food Trucks on Oahu’s North Shore

Oahu’s North Shore is home to some of the best food trucks in Hawaii. From Thai food to Hawaiian shave ice, there’s something for everyone. 

Ever heard of Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck? Yeah, it’s that good, and you can find it on the North Shore.

A plate of garlic shrimp with rice and a Pepsi from Giovanni's  Shrimp Truck on Oahu.
Garlic Shrimp from Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

(37) Eat All the Noodles at Marukame Udon

Marukame Udon is a must-stop spot for any noodle lover. The noodles are made fresh, and the broth is amazing. 

The lines might be super long depending on when you get there, however, they move very fast. You can also order your food to go if you prefer that route. We do this often if we are tired from a day of adventuring.

See Also: 13 Best Japanese Restaurants in Honolulu

(38) Eat Some Poke

Poke is a type of Hawaiian raw fish salad. No trip to Hawaii would be complete without eating poke. 

There are poke shops all over Hawaii, but a top favorite is Ono Seafood. You can also find poke at most grocery stores in Hawaii.

See Also: 21 Best Spots to Get Poke on Oahu

(39) Grab an Acai Bowl From The Sunrise Shack

The Sunrise Shack is the perfect place to grab a healthy breakfast on Oahu. They have some of the best acai bowls and smoothies on the island. 

The shack is located on the North Shore and across from Sunset Beach. They have multiple locations, but this is the most popular one.

Also, if you’re looking for that perfect Instagram shot, this is the place to get it.

The gorgeous yellow Sunrise Shack food truck on Oahu.
The Sunrise Shack, North Shore Oahu

(40) Visit the Dole Plantation

If you’re a pineapple lover or have kids, you will love The Dole Plantation. 

The plantation is home to the world’s largest maze and offers tours of the pineapple fields. They also have a delicious pineapple whip (Dole Whip) that you can get to cool off from the heat.

Cody holding a dole whip from the Dole Plantation on Oahu.
Dole Whip from Dole Plantation

Take a Trip to the North Shore

The North Shore is home to some of the best beaches in Hawaii, and plenty of restaurants and food trucks. If you are looking for a place to relax and enjoy the sun, the North Shore is the place to be.

(41) Cliff Jump at Waimea Bay Rock

The Waimea Bay Rock is one of the best places for cliff jumping on Oahu. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can jump into the water below. 

The rock is about 35 feet tall but depending on the tide, and where you jump from, it can vary from 10-30 feet.

Jumping here is only allowed in the summertime (May-October). It’s prohibited during winter (November-April) due to waves being too high and dangerous.

(42) Explore the Historic Haleiwa Town

Haleiwa is a charming surf town on Oahu’s North Shore. The town is home to many art galleries, shops, and restaurants. 

It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. 

While there, don’t forget to get some shave ice from Matsumoto‘s.

Cody holding shave ice from Mastumoto Shave Ice in Haleiwa Town.
Matsumoto Shave Ice

(43) Visit the Banzai Pipeline

The Banzai Pipeline is one of the most famous surfing spots in the world. Located on Oahu’s North Shore, the pipeline is known for its huge waves and is a popular spot for surfers. 

If you are not a surfer, you can still enjoy the waves from the beach.

Perfect view of Ehukai Beach with gorgeous blue water, white sand and people walking and relaxing on the beach.
The Banzai Pipeline, Ehukai Beach

(44) Swim in Waimea Falls

The Waimea Falls are located in Waimea Valley. You can swim in the pool at the bottom of the falls, but you will need to purchase a ticket to enter the park. 

The cost is $25 per adult and includes admission to the botanical gardens. Also, life jackets are included in your admission fee.

(45) Visit La’ie Point

La’ie Point is a beautiful spot on Oahu’s North Shore and it features spectacular views. The point is one of the perfect places to take pictures and is known for its dramatic cliffs and coastline.

Cody enjoying the views on La'ie Point, overlooking the gorgeous cliffs and the puka hole.
La’ie Point

(46) Drive Out to Ka’ena Point and Possibly Hike the Trail

Ka’ena Point is located at the westernmost point of Oahu. The drive to Ka’ena Point is beautiful, and the hike is even more spectacular. 

While it’s a longer hike, it’s very easy to do. Just make sure you have enough time to hike as it’s five miles total. It took us three hours to complete, buts it’s worth it, especially if you spot monk seals.

Me hiking the Ka'ena Point Trail, amazed by the gorgeous views all around, including the ocean and Wainae Mountain.
Ka’ena Point Trail

Go Snorkeling at Some of the Best Snorkel Spots in Hawaii

Hawaii is home to some of the best snorkeling in the world. From Shark’s Cove to Hanauma Bay, there are plenty of great spots to choose from.

(47) Hanauma Bay

As we mentioned before, Hanauma Bay is one of the best places in Hawaii to go snorkeling. This bay is home to over 80 species of fish, making it a snorkeler’s paradise. The bay is also very shallow, making it an excellent place for beginners. 

Remember to make your reservations in advance as they are required. You can make reservations within 48 hours, starting at 7:00 am Hawaii time. We recommend making the reservation at exactly 7:00 am as the spots fill up quickly.

Turtle swimming in the clear water at Shark's Cove on Oahu.

(48) Shark’s Cove

Shark’s Cove is another great place to go snorkeling, and it’s free! This cove is also fairly shallow with depths up to 20 feet, making it decent for beginners. 

The best time to snorkel here is during the summer months. During the wintertime, it might not be possible to snorkel here due to the high waves on the North Shore. Make sure to check the tide before getting in the water.

 Parking can be hectic so make sure you arrive early to secure a parking spot.

Octopus swimming in the clear water at Shark's Cove on Oahu.

(49) Electric Beach (Kahe Point Beach Park)

Electric Beach gets its name from the two power plants located nearby. 

Electric Beach has a very high fish population, making it a great place to snorkel. 

The best time to go is during the week as it can get very crowded on the weekends. The place is most suitable for intermediate-advanced snorkelers.

(50) Kuilima Cove

Kuilima Cove is located on the Turtle Bay Resort property. It’s enclosed by a natural rock barrier that helps shield the cove from currents and waves. 

The beach is open to the public, so don’t worry if you’re not staying at the Turtle Bay Resort. Just make sure to find the public beach parking.

A few people swimming in Kuilima Cove at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu.

(51) See Amazing Wildlife at the Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is located in the heart of Waikiki and is home to a wide variety of animals from all over the world, including lions, tigers, elephants, and giraffes. 

Grants made by a sovereign monarch established the zoo. If you have kids, the Honolulu Zoo is an excellent activity to keep them entertained.

(52) Visit the Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium is home to over 3,500 marine animals, making it one of the best places to see marine life in Hawaii.

The aquarium is also a research center involved in many conservation efforts.

(53) Walk the Streets of Chinatown

Chinatown is located in downtown Honolulu and is known for its delicious food, making it a great place to grab a bite to eat.

Chinatown is also home to the Chinese New Year Celebration, one of Honolulu’s biggest events.

(54) Kayak to Chinaman’s Hat

Chinaman’s Hat is a small island located off the coast of Oahu. The island is home to a variety of bird life. It’s also a great place to explore via a kayak. 

Many companies offer kayaking tours to Chinaman’s Hat, so you can easily find one that fits your schedule. 

This kayak is suitable for experienced kayakers and swimmers. We don’t recommend kayaking here if you can’t swim.

Cody enjoying the view of Chinaman's Hat from the Kualoa Regional Park on Oahu.

(55) Kayak to the Mokulua Islands

The Mokulua Islands are two small islands located off the coast of Oahu. The islands are a popular destination for kayakers. 

You can either rent a kayak or explore on your own. You can kayak from Lanikai Beach or Kailua Beach. It should take 30-40 minutes to kayak from either beach, but kayaking from Lanikai Beach is a straight shot.

A couple kayaking to the Mokes from Lanikai Beach.

(56) Explore Kahana Bay by Kayak

Kahana Bay is our absolute favorite spot to Kayak on Oahu and is excellent for beginner kayakers. 

If you love river kayaking, Kahana Bay will not disappoint. The bay is located on the windward side of Oahu and is known for its spectacular views of the Ko’olau Mountain Range. 

It takes about one hour each way to kayak. You can either venture out on your own by renting a kayak, or you can take a guided kayaking tour.

View of the gorgeous Kahana Bay river with a view of the Ko’olau Mountain Range.

(57) Explore the Kāneʻohe Sand Bar via Kayak

The Kāneʻohe Sand Bar is located in the middle of Kāneʻohe Bay. The sandbar is only accessible by kayak or boat and is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. 

Spending your day at the sandbar will be a spectacular experience. With its perfect white sand in the middle of the ocean, it feels like you’re in your own private paradise. 

The water can be about 2-3 inches deep during low tide.

(58) Explore the Koolina Lagoons

The Koolina Lagoons are a series of four man-made lagoons located on the west side of Oahu. 

The lagoons are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling. 

The lagoons are protected by rock levis, and the waves crash on the rocks outside the lagoon instead of onshore, which makes the water very calm inside the lagoon.

(59) Visit the Byodo-In Temple

The Byodo-In Temple is located in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park. The temple is a replica of Phoenix Hall at the Byodo-In Temple in Uji, Japan. 

The temple is open to the public and is a great place to learn about Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. Also, if you are looking for one of the most picturesque places on Oahu, look no further than the Byodo-In Temple.

Me walking towards the Byodo-In Temple entrance on Oahu, with the perfect view of the Ko’olau Mountain Range in the background.

(60) Taking Amazing Photos at Tantalus Lookout

Tantalus Lookout is one of the best places to get a panoramic view of Honolulu. 

We recommend getting here for sunset as the views are absolutely stunning. The lookout is located about 22 minutes from the Waikiki area.

Me at Tantalus Lookout on Oahu enjoying the views of the city and the south shore of Oahu.
Tantalus Lookout

(61) Enjoy Spectacular Views at Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is located on the windward side of Oahu and offers stunning views of the island. 

From the lookout, you can see Kailua, Kaneohe, Coconut Island, Mokoli’i Island (Chinaman’s Hat), and the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens. 

It’s very windy on the lookout, so bring a jacket and wear pants or shorts. On my first visit here I wore a flowy dress, and the wind defeated me, to say the least.

Spectacular views from the Pali Lookout with lush scenery all around and views of the Ko’olau Mountain Range.
Pali Lookout

(62) Stroll the Ala Moana Center

Ala Moana Center is one of the largest outdoor shopping malls in Hawaii. 

The mall has over 350 stores and restaurants. Ala Moana is a great place to find souvenirs for your friends and family back home.

(63) Explore Sea Life Park

Sea Life Park is a marine park located in the southeast of Oahu. The park is home to various sea life, including dolphins, penguins, rays, and more. 

Sea Life Park is a great place to learn about the ocean and its inhabitants.

The park also offers a variety of activities, such as swimming with dolphins and up-close encounters with sharks. If you have kids in your travel group, add Sea Life Park to your itinerary.

(64) Explore the Beauty of the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is located on the east side of Oahu and is a must-see for nature lovers. 

The gardens are divided into four different sections, each with its own unique ecosystem. 

You can find everything from rainforests to freshwater marshes. There are also a variety of hiking trails that wind through the gardens.

The views here are absolutely some of the best on Oahu. No matter how many times we come here, we are still amazed by the beauty of this place.

Me walking at the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden with a perfect view of the Ko’olau Mountain Range.

(65) Surf at Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is the perfect place for beginner surfers. The waves here are small and manageable.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding. 

There are multiple places to rent surfboards and paddleboards along Waikiki Beach.

(66) Watch Pro Surfers on Oahu’s North Shore

Oahu’s North Shore is the mecca for surfing. The waves here can get up to 50 feet high during the winter months! 

While you may not be able to surf these waves, watching the pros do it is still a blast. You can watch these competitions at Sunset Beach, Haleiwa Ali’i Beach Park, or the Banzai Pipeline. 

You can find a spot along the beach to relax and enjoy the show. We don’t recommend surfing here unless you are a very experienced surfer.

(67) Visit the Kahuku Farms

Stop by the Kahuku Farms on your way to or from the North Shore of Oahu.

They have a cafe on-site where you can enjoy fresh smoothies, acai bowls, coffee, sandwiches, chocolate, and more. 

The farm is also open for tours if you want to learn more about how they grow their produce.

(68) Chase Waterfalls at the Waimano Falls

Waimano Falls is one of the best waterfall hikes on Oahu. The trail is moderate and takes about 45 minutes to one hour each way. 

There is a gorgeous waterfall and swimming hole at the trail’s end. 

This is a great place to take a dip on a hot day if the conditions allow it. 

Always examine the water before swimming due to the threat of leptospirosis.

Me hiking to the Waimano Falls on Oahu holding on to some tree roots.
The hike to Waimano Falls

(69) Experience Hawaii’s Culture Through a Luau

If this is your first time in Hawaii, a luau is a must-do while you’re on Oahu. 

A luau is a great way to experience Hawaii’s culture and food. During a luau, you will learn about the history of Hawaii and see traditional dances.

You will also enjoy a delicious meal that typically includes kalua pig, poi, lomi salmon, and haupia. Of course, there are other menu items, and they will vary depending on the luau.

There are many different luau options to choose from on Oahu. We recommend the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau, Toa Luau, Experience Nutridge Luau, or the Paradise Cove Luau.

(70)Watch Fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

The Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on a free firework show every Friday night. The best place to watch the show is from the beach or your hotel balcony if you have one of those nice rooms. 

The fireworks start at about 7:45 pm and last for about 15 minutes.

(71) Rent a Biki and Explore Honolulu

Biki is Honolulu’s bike share program. You can rent a bike from one of the 130 stations around town and return it to any Biki station. 

This is a great way to explore Honolulu without dealing with the crazy traffic and hassle of finding a parking spot.

Me riding a Biki in Honolulu.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I avoid in Oahu?

Parking illegally: Make sure to follow proper parking protocols, or you will be ticketed. This happened to us on our first trip to Oahu, and we have learned since then. Learn from our mistakes!

Staying in Waikiki the entire time: While Waikiki is a great place to stay, it is not the only place on Oahu worth exploring. There are so many different areas with their own unique vibes and culture.

Not renting a car: Again, there is so much to see on Oahu, and not renting a car will severely limit what you can do. While Honolulu has a decent public transportation system, it is not extensive enough to promptly get you to all the different areas on the island.

Wearing non-reef-safe sunscreen: Make sure to use sunscreen while in Hawaii to avoid sunburn. However, it is crucial to use reef-safe sunscreen to protect the coral reefs.

Taking sand and/or lava rock back home: It is tempting to want to take a little piece of Hawaii back home with you. However, removing sand and lava rock from the beaches is illegal. Some even believe it curses you!

Disrespecting the land: In Hawaii, it is important to respect the land and the culture. This means not littering, not trashing the beaches, and not disturbing sacred sites.

What is the most beautiful place on Oahu?

This is a hard one to answer, and it’s very subjective. If we had to pick an area, we would choose the windward side of Oahu. We love the beaches, the fantastic scenery, and the excellent hiking trails on this side of the island.

How many days do you need in Oahu?

We recommend spending at least seven days on Oahu. There is so much to see; taking it slow is the best way to go.

How long does it take to drive around Oahu?

It takes about 4 hours to complete the entire loop without stops.

What are some secret things to do on Oahu?

China Walls, La’ei Point, Bellows Beach, Halona Beach Cove, Waimanalo Beach, and Ka’ena Point State Park are some spots that many tourists do not visit while on Oahu.

The Wrap Up: Best Things to Do on Oahu

There you have it, our top 71 things to do on Oahu! 

As you can see, this island has an incredible amount to offer. No matter your interests, you will find something to do on this list. We hope this list has helped you narrow down your options. 

Whether you want to experience the beauty of nature or learn about Hawaii’s culture, there is something for everyone on Oahu.

So get out there and start exploring! Mahalo for reading our post! Until next time, Aloha!


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