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The 20 Best Things to do on Oahu

helicopter ride over Oahu

Oahu is a popular island in the U.S. It is also known as the 'Gathering Place and is part of Hawaii. Oahu is a major tourist destination, and many people consider it paradise. The state capital of Oahu is Honolulu which receives numerous tourists daily. To get the most out of Oahu, you have to know where to go to milk out the fun of this island. The following are the 20 best things to do in Oahu.

Hiking Diamond Head

20. Start your day by Hiking Diamond Head

If you want to enjoy Honolulu's amazing views, write hiking Diamond Head as the number one activity on your itinerary. Here, you will experience one of the most breathtaking hikes in Hawaii. At the top of the summit, you will be greeted with a wonderful view of the state monument. You will also enjoy the iconic volcanic crater that was formed as a result of volcanic activities thousands of years ago. Summiting Diamond Head is a worthy course in which any Oahu visitor should partake.

Waikiki Beach

19. Enjoy surfing on Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is considered one of the most popular beaches in the world. A visit to this incredible beach is a must when you go to Oahu. The beach has a fantastic shoreline full of engaging activities like dining, shopping, and entertainment for visitors. According to Hawaii Guide, surfing is one of the major activities that take place on this beach. If you are new to surfing, don't worry because this beach has calm waters that stretch over two miles offering the perfect place to learn surfing. There are also different schools along the beach where you can enroll for surfing lessons.

Iolani Place

18. Explore the Beautiful Iolani Place

Built in 1882, the Iolani palace is a unique tourist attraction site in Oahu. This palace is a historic landmark and the only remaining royal residence in the United States. Iolani palace has ten rooms, and it hosted the last two monarchs of the Hawaiian kingdom. You can visit the palace and enjoy the ornate interior, which has wonderful features like the iconic koa staircase and the large portraits representing the Hawaiian royalties who have ruled over the years.

Historic Pearl Harbor

17. Travel Back in Time at the Historic Pearl Harbor

Once you are done relaxing or surfing on Waikiki Beach, you can go to Pearl Harbor, approximately 30 minutes from the beach. Pearl Harbor is a historic site and one of the best places you can visit in Oahu. According to History, the harbor hosts World War II survivors who will narrate how a surprise attack from the Japanese Army claimed thousands of lives on a fateful day on December 7, 1947. You can also tour the memorial center and the museum for exhibits on the attack on Oahu.

Electric Beach

16. Spend the day snorkeling at the Electric Beach

If you are a fan of snorkeling, head over to Kahe Point Beach Park, famously called Electric Beach. The beach has a power plant and clear waters, which lures different types of sea life. You will interact with dolphins, sharks, colorful fish, and turtles. For an unforgettable experience, swim as you follow the power plant. The area has a school of tropical fish, giving you an electric feeling of swimming together.

Green Sea Turtles

15. Visit Laniakea Beach to see Green Sea Turtles

Turtles are known for their gentleness and patience. They can swim thousands of miles to find an appropriate place to hatch their eggs. If you love animals, visit Laniakea Beach, which has incredible green turtles. They visit the beach to enjoy the warm sun in summer. The beach also provides them with green moss, which is one of the turtle's favorite foods. Many families tour the beach to take beautiful photos with these peaceful animals.

Dole Plantation

14. Head Over to Dole Plantations which has Pineapple Fields

Dole Plantation is a fun place to visit as a family. At the plantation, you will enjoy tasty pineapple treats and an exciting family tour. Don't leave your kids behind because there are numerous activities for the kids, such as a kids' maze and fun train rides. You can also stroll through the plantation and see how pineapples are grown from scratch to ripening. Other exciting activities include enjoying the world's largest maze, which stretches over three acres.

North Shore

13. Go Sky Diving on the North Shore

The best way to get some adrenaline rush is to go Pacific skydiving in Oahu. Nothing is more fun for an adrenaline junkie than soaring above the skies. It will leave you with a memorable experience that you will leave to tell. Tourists can enjoy free falling from the sky at incredible speeds of 120 miles per hour. At such a high speed, the fall will last for approximately 20 seconds. You will also be given video footage of the whole experience, which you can keep as a souvenir.

Mouth-Watering Garlic Shrimp at Giovanni's Shrimp Shack

12. Grab a Mouth-Watering Garlic Shrimp at Giovanni's Shrimp Shack

Oahu has different types of eateries which offer various delicious cuisines. Giovanni's Restaurant should be on top of your list as one of the top places to visit. This joint has existed for nearly two decades, serving locals shrimp scampi as its favorite dish. Every day, hundreds of people visit this joint for lunch and dinner. According to Giovannis Shrimp Truck, their shrimp is unique and tasty because it has been marinated with fresh garlic, lemon, and olive oil. They also offer a wide range of delicious meals such as garlic hot dogs served with vegetable rice.

Shark Diving on the North Shore

11. Enjoy some Shark Diving on the North Shore

This is another thrilling activity for all the adrenaline junkies who visit Oahu. The adventure involves deep diving sea for three miles, where you get to swim with the dolphins and sharks. If you visit the place from November to May, you might be lucky to see green turtles and humpback whales. In the process, you will also enjoy the gorgeous view of Oahu's north shore, where sharks swim throughout the day. This will not only be a thrilling experience but also an educative one because you will get to learn the significance of the Hawaiian ecosystem.

Matsumoto for Hawaiian Shave Ice

10. Go to Matsumoto for Hawaiian Shave Ice

Grab yourself some Shave ice to cool off after a long tiresome day. This is one of the top experiences many visitors look forward to when visiting Oahu. Don't leave without enjoying frozen Shave ice. The best Shave ice in Oahu is found in Matsumoto. Many people flock to this shop because it is the oldest in the region, and they offer a wide variety of delicious flavors. You can try out top-selling coconut, guava, cotton candy, and honeydew flavors. You can buy your Shave ice and go to the beach to relax while enjoying your cold dessert.

Waimea Bay for Surfing

9. Visit Waimea Bay for Surfing

If you are a fan of surfing, go to Waimea Bay on the northern shore, where thousands of surfing fans gather for surfing viewing. This bay has some of the world's bravest surfers who will wow you with unbelievable surfing styles. According to Go Hawaii, the bay has big waves which can measure up to thirty feet. The best time to visit this place is between November and April when deep water swells hit the local lava to produce big waves.

Hawaiian Culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center

8. Indulge in Hawaiian Culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center

If you are one of those who is not afraid to explore different cultures, you can go to the Polynesian Cultural Center and enjoy Hawaiian culture. You can go to this place as a family and learn about the different cultures of Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Tonga spread across Oahu's North Shore. You can dine with the locals in the evening and enjoy some tasty traditional meals. There are also places where you can buy local artifacts.

Kaena Point State Park

7. Go for Coastal Hiking at Kaena Point State Park

All the hiking fanatics gather at Kaena Point for some unforgettable hiking experience. The hike involves a wonderful coastal route with beautiful island views. The park is on the western side of Oahu, and from there, you can see the Waianae coast and the different types of Pacific vistas. According to Tripadvisor, there are two different routes that you can use, but they are all the same in terms of length.

Kualoa Ranch on a Four Wheel Drive

6. Explore Kualoa Ranch on a Four Wheel Drive

If you want to experience extreme thrills, go to Kualoa Ranch. The ranch covers about 4000 acres of land full of unlimited adventures. You can enjoy a drive through the ranch in a four-wheel vehicle. There is also a zip line for the adrenaline junkies. Kualoa Ranch also offers natural views of cascading waterfalls and green sceneries, which are beautiful to tour. The best thing about this ranch is you will see Hollywood Movie Sites where films like Jumanji, Jurassic World, and Godzilla were shot.

Lanikai Beach

5. Go for a walk at Lanikai Beach

Lanikai is one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu. The beach resembles a peaceful paradise with clear blue waters and white sand. The beach offers a family-friendly atmosphere where you can go and relax with your loved ones. It can take time before you can access the white sandy beaches, but once you get there, it will be so worth it. Activities in which you can participate in our snorkeling and kayaking.


4. Enjoy kayaking at the Mokes

Across the waters of Lanikai beach are the twin Mokulua islands. The local people call them the Mokes. Many tourists who visit Oahu go to these islands for kayaking. The islands have crystal clear waters, making them perfect for an unforgettable kayaking experience. As you enjoy kayaking, you will also see the beautiful views on the eastern coast. These islands are approximately 30 minutes away. Once you get there, you can explore the island or swim to the shore. There are also beautiful coral reefs which you can see for those who want to do snorkeling.

Kailua Beach

3. Head over to Kailua Beach for Windsurfing and Kitesurfing

Kailua Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on Oahu. For all your surfing experiences, head over to this amazing beach. The beach has turquoise waters and white sand, which makes it an incredible place to windsurf and kite surf. According to Kailua Beach Adventures, the beach is approximately 2.5 miles long and is next to Lanikai Beach. This beach will offer you all the thrilling water activities that your body craves. There are strong and steady breezes that allow you to surf comfortably. There are also lessons for beginners, and if you don't have surfing equipment, don't worry; you can rent it out at an affordable fee. Kailua beach has bathrooms and showers where you can clean after a fun day at the beach.

Nuuanu Pali

2. Go for Site Viewing at Nuuanu Pali

Visiting Nuuanu Pali is a must when you go to Oahu. This place will offer you some of the most wonderful panoramic views you have ever experienced. Nuuanu is located between Kailua and Honolulu. The region has exciting natural sceneries spread over 1000 feet above Oahu Coastline. This place is extremely windy, so you should come prepared. When the skies are clear, you can see Coconut Island, Kailua, and Mokolii. Nuuanu has a beautiful 50-foot waterfall called Lulumahu waterfall found along Pali highway.

helicopter ride over Oahu

1. Take a helicopter ride over Oahu

Oahu has beautiful landscapes and views which you can enjoy from miles above the sky. The region has many helicopters, which you pay for, to get a trip across the Hawaiian island. When going on the helicopter ride, your pilot will narrate the places you are visiting. One of the best companies is Rainbow Helicopter which will take you on an unforgettable adventure across the south shore, windward coast, north coast, and Ko'olau Mountains. You can also choose the Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, where you pay and get a fifty-minute tour across the rainforest and incredible historic sites in Oahu.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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