37 Best Things to Do in Oahu, Hawaii

Are you planning a trip to Oahu, Hawaii? With its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and breathtaking natural beauty, Oahu offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone on this beautiful island. In this article, we’ll highlight the 37 best things to do in Oahu, Hawaii, ensuring that you make the most of your time in paradise.

1. Visit Pearl Harbor

Start your journey by paying tribute to the past at Pearl Harbor. Explore the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Missouri battleship, and the Pacific Aviation Museum to gain insights into the events that shaped this nation’s history.

2. Explore Waikiki Beach

No trip to Oahu is complete without a visit to Waikiki Beach. Enjoy the sun, surf, and sand, and don’t forget to catch a breathtaking sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

3. Hike Diamond Head

Embark on a hike up Diamond Head, a volcanic crater that offers panoramic views of the island. The moderate trail takes you through tunnels and up steep stairs, rewarding you with stunning vistas at the summit.

4. Discover the North Shore

Head to the North Shore, known for its legendary surf breaks. Watch professional surfers ride massive waves during the winter months or enjoy a relaxing swim in the calmer summer waters.

5. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center

Immerse yourself in Polynesian culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Experience traditional dances, participate in hands-on activities, and indulge in a delicious luau feast.

6. Explore the Dole Plantation

Take a tour of the Dole Plantation and learn about the history and cultivation of Hawaii’s famous pineapples. Don’t forget to try their refreshing pineapple ice cream!

7. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay

Discover the vibrant underwater world at Hanauma Bay, a marine sanctuary teeming with colorful fish and coral reefs. Snorkeling gear is available for rent, making it easy for everyone to enjoy this natural wonder.

8. Visit the Honolulu Museum of Art

Get your dose of art and culture at the Honolulu Museum of Art. With a collection spanning thousands of years and various art forms, this museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts.

9. Take a Surfing Lesson

Experience the thrill of surfing by taking a lesson from one of the many surf schools on the island. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, there are options available for all skill levels.

10. Explore the Waimea Valley

Take a stroll through the lush Waimea Valley and admire its botanical gardens, waterfalls, and archaeological sites. Don’t miss the chance to swim in the refreshing Waimea Falls.

11. Visit the Byodo-In Temple

Experience a taste of Japan in Hawaii at the Byodo-In Temple. This stunning replica of a 900-year-old Japanese temple offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

12. Take a Helicopter Tour

Get a bird’s-eye view of Oahu’s stunning landscapes by taking a helicopter tour. Marvel at the lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and dramatic cliffs from above.

13. Explore the Bishop Museum

Learn about the history, culture, and natural sciences of Hawaii and the Pacific at the Bishop Museum. With interactive exhibits and fascinating artifacts, this museum offers a captivating educational experience.

14. Go Snorkeling with Sea Turtles

Swim alongside gentle sea turtles at Turtle Bay. This pristine beach is a popular spot for snorkeling, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot dolphins or whales in the distance.

15. Visit the Waikiki Aquarium

Discover the diverse marine life of Hawaii at the Waikiki Aquarium. From colorful tropical fish to mesmerizing jellyfish, this aquarium offers an immersive experience for all ages.

16. Take a Sunset Cruise

Set sail on a sunset cruise and enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline as the sun dips below the horizon. Some cruises even offer dinner and live entertainment, making it a memorable experience.

17. Explore the Kualoa Ranch

Visit the Kualoa Ranch, a working cattle ranch and popular filming location for movies and TV shows. Take a tour of the scenic valley, go horseback riding, or embark on an ATV adventure.

18. Relax at Lanikai Beach

Escape the crowds and unwind at Lanikai Beach. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand, this beach is a paradise for sunbathers and beachcombers.

19. Visit the Honolulu Zoo

Get up close and personal with a variety of animals at the Honolulu Zoo. From lions and tigers to elephants and giraffes, this zoo offers a fun-filled day for the whole family.

20. Explore the Manoa Falls Trail

Embark on a hike through the lush rainforest of Manoa Valley to reach the majestic Manoa Falls. Be prepared for a refreshing dip in the pool at the base of the waterfall.

21. Take a Food Tour

Indulge in the diverse culinary scene of Oahu by taking a food tour. Sample local delicacies such as poke, plate lunches, and shave ice, and learn about the island’s unique food culture.

22. Visit the Iolani Palace

Step back in time and explore the Iolani Palace, the former residence of Hawaiian monarchs. Take a guided tour to learn about the history and significance of this iconic landmark.

23. Go Whale Watching

If you’re visiting Oahu between December and April, don’t miss the opportunity to go whale watching. Witness the majestic humpback whales as they migrate through the warm Hawaiian waters.

24. Explore the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

Hike the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail for breathtaking views of the coastline and the chance to spot whales during the winter months. The trail is paved and suitable for all fitness levels.

25. Visit the Lyon Arboretum

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in nature at the Lyon Arboretum. Take a leisurely walk through the gardens and marvel at the diverse plant species.

26. Take a Surf Lesson at Waikiki

Learn to ride the waves at the birthplace of modern surfing, Waikiki. With its gentle waves and sandy bottom, Waikiki is the perfect spot for beginners to catch their first wave.

27. Explore the Waikiki Historic Trail

Discover the rich history of Waikiki by following the Waikiki Historic Trail. This self-guided tour takes you to various historical sites, providing insights into the cultural heritage of the area.

28. Visit the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art

Marvel at the exquisite collection of Islamic art at the Shangri La Museum. This stunning mansion-turned-museum offers a unique cultural experience in a breathtaking setting.

29. Take a Dip at Electric Beach

Go snorkeling or swimming at Electric Beach, known for its abundant marine life and clear waters. The warm water here is the result of a nearby power plant, making it an ideal spot for underwater exploration.

30. Explore the Waianae Coast

Venture to the rugged and less crowded Waianae Coast to experience a different side of Oahu. Enjoy secluded beaches, stunning hikes, and a glimpse into the local way of life.

31. Visit the Foster Botanical Garden

Escape to the oasis of Foster Botanical Garden, home to a vast collection of tropical plants and trees. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the tranquility of nature.

32. Try Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Experience the calm waters of Oahu by trying stand-up paddleboarding. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, this popular water activity is a fun way to explore the coastline.

33. Visit the Hawaii State Capitol

Take a self-guided tour of the Hawaii State Capitol and admire its unique architecture and beautiful grounds. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the iconic statue of King Kamehameha nearby.

34. Explore the Waikiki Aquarium

Discover the diverse marine life of Hawaii at the Waikiki Aquarium. From colorful tropical fish to mesmerizing jellyfish, this aquarium offers an immersive experience for all ages.

35. Take a Sunset Cruise

Set sail on a sunset cruise and enjoy breathtaking views of the coastline as the sun dips below the horizon. Some cruises even offer dinner and live entertainment, making it a memorable experience.

36. Explore the Kualoa Ranch

Visit the Kualoa Ranch, a working cattle ranch and popular filming location for movies and TV shows. Take a tour of the scenic valley, go horseback riding, or embark on an ATV adventure.

37. Relax at Lanikai Beach

Escape the crowds and unwind at Lanikai Beach. With its crystal-clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand, this beach is a paradise for sunbathers and beachcombers.

There you have it, the 37 best things to do in Oahu, Hawaii. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural experiences, Oahu has it all. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready for an unforgettable journey in paradise.

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