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The best things to do in Oahu
It’s finally here! The 10 best things to do in Oahu was highly requested and a long time coming. There are so many fun things to do on Oahu; it was hard to list just ten.
Since there’s so much in the Waikiki area, I have a separate post with 10 things to do in Waikiki.
Let’s get to the best things to do on Oahu. If you’re looking for more things to do on other islands, don’t miss:
Things to do on Oahu
1. Explore Waikiki
Waikiki is arguably the most famous part of the island of Oahu. Many people commonly mistake Waikiki for an island, but it’s a neighborhood in the city of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
Waikiki is home to many high-end stores such as Gucci and Tiffany and Co. You will also find the popular ABC stores and almost everything in between.
Even though it’s crowded, you’ll want to check out the world-famous Waikiki Beach. The Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo are often overlooked but are well worth visiting, especially if you’re exploring the island with children.
You’ll also want to make sure you check out the best restaurants in Waikiki.
2. Visit the North Shore
The North Shore oh Oahu is known as the Surfing Capital of the World. Surfer or not, it’s one of the most beautiful parts of the island and only an hour’s drive from Honolulu.
If you don’t have a rental car yet, I recommend getting a car through Hawaii Discount Car Rentals for the best prices.
Far too many visitors in Oahu don’t make it to the North Shore which I think is a big mistake. Here are a few things you can do on the North Shore:
- Grab a shave Ice from Matsumoto’s
- Dive with Sharks with One Ocean Diving
- Go skydiving
- Hike to Ka’ena Point
- Shop in Haleiwa
- Find sea turtles at Laniakea Beach (also called Turtle Beach)
- Snorkel at Sharks Cove
3. Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial
No trip to Oahu would be complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona host over 1.5 million visitors annually.
It is a moving experience to visit the USS Arizona memorial, a spot just above where 1,177 men lost their lives.
You’ll also want to check out the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park to tour the World War II submarine.
4. Attend a Luau
Oahu is host to fantastic luaus. There are many popular luaus including the Paradise Cove Luau at Ko Olina Resort, The Polynesian Cultural Center Ali’i Luau, and Hilton Hawaiian Village Starlight Luau.
You can check out my other luau recommendations at where to find the best luau in Oahu..
5. Bishop Museum
If you love museums, you won’t want to miss the Bishop Museum. Bishop Museum is the largest museum in the state of Hawaii and houses a considerable amount of Polynesian cultural artifacts.
Where to book tickets for Hawaii activities
When you’re booking tickets for your Hawaii vacation, there are plenty of options. You want to make sure you book any activities early, but it can be hard to know which sites are legit.
I book my client’s tickets and activities through Viator as often as possible or you can also book excursions yourself by clicking here. Viator has a best-price guarantee and offers free cancellation up to 24-hours prior to almost all bookings.
That way if your plans change, you can cancel or reschedule with no hassle.
You might also enjoy The ultimate Hawaii packing list.
6. Hike to the top of Diamond Head
As someone who loves hiking, you know that I had to put a hike on the list of the best things to do in Oahu!
It takes about an hour to hike to the top of Diamond Head, and it is a mild to moderate hike. Once you reach the top, you’ll have a 365-degree view of Oahu; it’s definitely worth the climb!
If you love hiking and you’ll be going to Kauai, check out the best Kauai hikes.
7. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
If you want to learn about the culture of Polynesia, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a must-see. It is home to the Ali’i Luau and Hawaii’s only IMAX theater.
If you’re looking for the best Luau on Oahu, I recommend the Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
You might also enjoy the best Hawaii travel tips.
8. Check out the Aloha Stadium swap meet
If you want to grab some fun souvenirs, check out the Aloha Stadium swap meet. Some of the vendors sell items made in China, but you’ll also find some authentic island-made goods.
9. Take a helicopter tour
Many of the most beautiful parts of Oahu can only be seen by air. A helicopter tour will help you appreciate the beauty of Oahu even more.
10. Visit Lanikai Beach
No “best things to do on Oahu” list is complete without a beach. You might be surprised that I am not suggesting Waikiki Beach, but there are many beautiful beaches beyond Waikiki!
Lanikai Beach is located in Kailua town on Oahu’s windward side. Two small islands are home to bird sanctuaries less than a mile offshore. You can even kayak to get a closer look at the islands.
An offshore reef keeps the waters calm all year, which makes this beach perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
The half-mile of white sand is ideal for those who want to spend some time relaxing on the beach. This beach is in a residential area, so arrive early in the morning as parking is limited. Don’t forget to pack your reef-safe sunscreen!
More Hawaii Vacation Ideas
I hope that you enjoyed this list of the 10 best things to do in Oahu.
If you’re looking for even more things to do on Oahu, check out 10 free things to do on Oahu.
If you’re still trying to decide which island to visit, don’t miss my post about which Hawaiian island is best.
Want even more Hawaii travel tips? Check out:
- The best pineapple farms to visit in Hawaii
- The Best Restaurants in Oahu
- Where to find a black sand beach in Maui
- 10 things to know before going to Hawaii
- 20 things you should never do in Hawaii
- How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?
- Is Hawaii safe?
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am only taking on a few clients for 2021. You can contact me if you’d like more information. I would recommend starting with my Hawaii travel guide if you plan to DIY your vacation!
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