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Things to do in Oahu

Things to do in  Oahu

Welcome to Oahu

This island gem—the third largest of Hawaii’s eight—offers city entertainment to the south and outdoor adventure to the north, just an hour’s drive apart. History buffs can visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona or get a taste of the island at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Experience the outdoors, from snorkeling to sailing to jetskiing to just plain lounging on Waikiki Beach, or with a hike up Diamond Head. And be sure to plan a night at a traditional lu’au; visit to Haleiwa on the North Shore for garlic shrimp and shaved ice; and trip to the Halona Blowhole to snap photos.

Top 15 things to do in Oahu

#1
Sandy Beach Park

Sandy Beach Park

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When U.S. President Barack Obama shared that Sandy’s was his favorite Oahu beach early in his presidency, it went from a popular locals’ beach to just plain popular. This public stretch of white sand just north of the extinct Koko Head Crater is no languid oasis, however; it’s one of Oahu’s best—and most intense—spots for bodyboarding and bodysurfing. A fierce shore break best suited for experienced surfers sometimes wells into powerful barrels that can pummel riders trying to catch a wave.The spot is often coupled with a visit to the neighboring Halona Blowhole, a lookout point where waves regularly blow spray up through eroded crevices in the lava rock. And when the wind kicks up, it’s not uncommon to see families flying kites on the spacious lawn fronting the sand.More
#2
Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

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Made up of several historic sites and memorials, Pearl Harbor honors and educates the public about the Japanese attack on the United States on December 7, 1941 that propelled the country into World War II. It’s one of Hawaii’s most-visited attractions, and one of the country’s most significant WWII memorial sites.More
#3
Oahu North Shore

Oahu North Shore

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Surfing is king on Oahu’s North Shore, where summer’s placid snorkeling spots are transformed into pounding 40-foot (12-meter) waves come winter. On land you’ll find a peaceful respite from hectic Honolulu, with scenic waterfall hikes, sleepy farms selling tropical fruit, and food trucks doling out garlic shrimp.More
#4
Mokolii Island

Mokolii Island

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Located a short distance offshore of Kualoa Point, Mokolii Island is one of Oahu’s most famous landmarks. This small, cone-shaped island attracts adventurous visitors with its secluded coves, rugged hikes, and views of Oahu’s windward coast and the Koolau mountains; the same mountains featured in scenes of the movie Jurassic Park.More
#5
Dole Plantation

Dole Plantation

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What started out as a Wahiawa fruit stand in the middle of the pineapple fields in 1950 is now an extremely popular Hawaiian attraction. The sprawling Dole Plantation in central Oahu is a rural throwback to a time when the pineapple helped rule Oahu’s economy. Visitors can sample the sweet yellow fruit, ride on the famous Pineapple Express train and motor out through the fields, take a walk through a huge garden maze, learn how to find fresh pineapple when grocery shopping, and hear how pineapples are grown on plants—and not underground or on trees.More
#6
Halona Blowhole

Halona Blowhole

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Once visitors are aware that hālona means “lookout” in Hawaiian, it becomes quite clear what the Halona Blowhole is about: views, Pacific Ocean and blowhole! The Halona Blowhole is one of the most spectacular natural wonders on O’ahu Island; the more than 1,000-year-old geyser-like rock formation is characterized by a hole which propels incoming surf in a narrow, molten lava tube, shooting sea spray high into the air as a result - sometimes up to 30 feet. This is mostly a summery phenomenon but wintertime also has a big ticket item drawing visitors: humpback whales. The lookout point offers unobstructed views of the O’ahu shoreline as well as glimpses of Lanai and Moloka'I Islands on clear days.The coast is home to a special type of coral that requires very little light to live, the Sinularia Leather Coral, where it is possible to find various species like echinoderms, slugs, corals, and eels. And although the marine life is quite plentiful and fascinating, divers should proceed with caution because of the strong and sometimes erratic currents, including the colloquially named Moloka'i Express, which can drag divers out to sea without warning. Visitors should know that below the hālona is one of the most dangerous ocean currents in the world, and should always proceed with care.More
#7
Diamond Head

Diamond Head

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Arguably Hawaii's most well-known sight, Diamond Head Crater is more than just a famous Waikiki backdrop but also an entire attraction unto itself, featuring one of Oahu's best hikes for a panoramic view. From atop the 760-foot (231-meter) summit, visitors can gaze out from Koko Head Crater to the Honolulu skyline and down on Waikiki Beach, where surfers, paddlers, sailboats, and canoes all splash through the tropical waters.More
#8
Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach

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For decades, Waikiki Beach has been Oahu’s tourist mecca thanks to its palm-fringed white-sand beaches and high-rise luxury hotels that stretch from downtown Honolulu east toward the towering Diamond Head. Here all the spoils of Hawaiian beach life—from sunbathing and swimming to snorkeling and fruity-cocktail sipping—are within steps of world-class shopping and dining.More
#9
Makapuu Lighthouse

Makapuu Lighthouse

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Within Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on Oahu’s Windward Coast, the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is a popular hike ending at the historical red-roofed Makapu’u Lighthouse, built in 1909. Though the lighthouse is not open to the public, the moderately challenging hike attracts travelers and locals alike for its stunning coastal views.More
#10
USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

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The USSArizona Memorial floats above the watery site where the eponymous battleship was bombed and sunk, taking 1,177 lives with it, in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The solemn, all-white memorial features a marble wall of names of those who served onboard and spans theArizona’s width, with openings to look down on the sunken hull.More
#11
Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay

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Hanauma Bay State Park is a protected marine-life-preservation area with clear water ideal for snorkeling and a vast array of tropical fish and coral reefs surrounded by volcanic rock. Once used by the Hawaiian royal family for fishing, it is now one of Oahu’s top tourist destinations with about 1 million visitors each year.More
#12
Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm

Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Farm

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Located on the east coast of Oahu, 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Honolulu, Tropical Farms Macadamia Nuts is set in the shadow of the mountains of the Koolau Range and is a stop on many circle-island tours. It’s a great place to enjoy a Hawaiian treat and shop for gifts and souvenirs.More
#13
Nu'uanu Pali Lookout

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout

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Oahu’s Nu‘uanu Pali Lookout offers panoramic views of the Ko‘olau Mountains. The windy perch, more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) above Oahu’s Windward (northeast) coastline, also overlooks Kaneohe, Kaneohe Bay, Kailua, and the island of Mokoli‘i. In the late 1700s, the viewpoint was the scene of a bloody battle won by King Kamehameha I.More
#14
Paradise Cove Luau

Paradise Cove Luau

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At Paradise Cove on Oahu, guests are treated to a variety of Hawaiian experiences, including a tour of a traditional Hawaiian village, arts and crafts, and a luau. From a welcome Mai Tai and flower lei to dinner, fire dancing, and hula performances, guests are immersed in Hawaiian hospitality and culture.More
#15
Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch

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Kualoa Ranch is a one-stop adventure playground and a highlight for many travelers to Oahu. Stretching from the verdant folds of the Koolau Mountains to the tropical sea, the 4,000-acre (1,619-hectare) working cattle ranch is one of the largest tracts of accessible nature on Oahu and offers visitors a huge variety of ways to interact with Hawaii’s stunning landscapes, from ATV rides and zipline adventures to film site tours. The property is divided into two areas: the northerly Kaaawa Valley with its many movie locations, and Hakipuu Valley, fronted by an 800-year-old Hawaiian fishpond and the site’s Secret Island Beach.More

Trip ideas

Top Hiking Trails on Oahu

Top Hiking Trails on Oahu

Top activities in Oahu

Dolphin Watch and Snorkeling with Hula and Water Activities
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Paradise Cove Luau
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Paradise Cove Luau

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$125.00
Chief's Luau Admission

Chief's Luau Admission

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$155.00
Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise

Star Casual Sunset and Show Cruise

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$115.00
Oahu Circle Island and Snorkeling Tour
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Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure
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Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure

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Turtle Canyons Snorkel Excursion from Waikiki, Hawaii
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Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial

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Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise from Waikiki
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Kualoa Ranch - UTV Raptor Tour

Kualoa Ranch - UTV Raptor Tour

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Pearl Harbor: USS Arizona Memorial & USS Missouri Battleship Tour from Waikiki
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Oahu Shark Dive
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Oahu Shark Dive

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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Oahu

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Great tour
Tammy_D, Aug 2022
Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial & Battleship Missouri
It was very moving to visit both the Arizona and the Missouri and see the history.
star-5
I am so happy that I made...
Iryna_B, Aug 2022
North Shore Circle Island Adventure Including Snorkeling with the Turtles
I recommend everyone with kids (or not with kids) take this tour who want to see the real Oahu.
star-5
It's gonna be what you...
Ted_M, Aug 2022
Full day Hawaii Rainbow Circle Island Tour with Snorkeling
But for us a very good oppertunity to see some of the diffrent things Oahu has to offer and make up our mind where we wanna spend more time later on.
star-5
What a great find!
Daniel_M, Aug 2022
Sunset Boat Cruise (Swim & Sail)
We were lucky enough to see turtles.
star-5
Amazing day trip
Nevena_S, Aug 2022
Aloha Grand Island Tour
Amazing tour of the island to see the real Oahu.
star-5
Was fantastic! Was able...
Tracy_R, Aug 2022
Royal Crown of Oahu - 60 Min Helicopter Tour - Doors Off or On
Was able to see inside of Hunama Bay!
star-5
Great way to see Oahu!
Chris_B, Aug 2022
Tour of North Shore (70%) and Sightseeing (30%)
Great way to see most of Oahu.
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Beautiful
Jenny_C, Aug 2022
Afternoon Waikiki Glass Bottom Boat Cruise
Our tour guide was super friendly and knowledgeable about the sea life around Waikiki and what to do around Oahu.
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Fun tour!
Carolyn_M, Aug 2022
Oahu Circle Island and Snorkeling Tour
A great way to see several key Oahu spots!
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Family Vacation
Jeanette_D, Jul 2022
Kualoa Ranch - Hollywood Movie Sites Tour
The ranch is beautiful and worth coming to see during your stay in Oahu.
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Pearl Harbor and Honolulu
Peter_D, Jul 2022
USS Arizona Memorial - Honolulu City - Aloha Pearl Harbor Tour - Oahu
She prepared us for our Pearl Harbor tour and told us about things to do while there.
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Doors off helicopter
Theresa_V, Jul 2022
Isle Sights Unseen - 45 Min Helicopter Tour from Honolulu - Doors Off or On
We managed to see almost all of Oahu!!
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Oahu in one day
Stephen_G, Jul 2022
Ultimate Circle Island Adventure with Waimea Waterfall
The tour was a great way to see a lot of the island of Oahu in 1 day.
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Awesome experience
Kayla_T, Jul 2022
Oahu Ultimate Circle Island Tour Full Day Experience
Visited all the spots you want to see while staying on Oahu.
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This Is The One Tour Everyone Visiting Oahu Should Take
Charlotte_S, Jul 2022
Oahu Circle Island and Snorkeling Tour
The tour is something the everyone visiting Oahu should experience to see most of the island.
star-5
Best experience
Paulina_S, Jul 2022
Beginner Scuba Diving Adventure w/ Videos in Honolulu
One of the best activities in oahu so far!
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Great way to see the northern part of Oahu!
Audrey_J, Jul 2022
Tour of North Shore (70%) and Sightseeing (30%)
Very comfortable way to see the north shore of Oahu, knowledgeable and friendly guide (our guide was Ray), well timed itinerary and fun stops and activities along the way.
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Wonderful Excursion
Scott_L, Jul 2022
Full-Day Private Pearl Harbor and North Shore tours up to 6 (Se habla Español)
All in all, it was a wonderful way to see Oahu in one day.
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Must do!
Lauren_W, Jun 2022
Surfing Lessons On Waikiki Beach
One of my favorite activities while in Oahu and I highly recommend trying it out.
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I loved this tour, it was...
Joanna_W, Jun 2022
Majestic Circle Island Eco Tour from Waikiki
I loved this tour, it was a great way to see more of Oahu outside of Waikiki.
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All about Oahu

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
HST (UTC -10)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English

People Also Ask

What should you not miss on Oahu?

Most visitors to Oahu head straight for Waikiki Beach, but once you’ve soaked up the scene there, you should make time for the beaches along the North Shore and Lanikai on the slower paced west coast. Snorkeling in Hanauma Bay is a must, as is hiking up Diamond Head.

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What is there to do in Oahu besides the beach?

You can dive into the cultural history of the Hawaiian Islands by visiting the Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace, which was home to the Hawaiian monarchy. History buffs should also visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona and keen hikers should follow the trails to the Makapuʻu Lighthouse, Lanikai Pillboxes, and Manoa Falls.

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Are Honolulu and Oahu the same?

No. While the words are sometimes used interchangeably, Honolulu is the name of the capital of, and largest city in, the US state of Hawaii. Honolulu is located on Oahu, which is one of the eight main islands of Hawaii—the others are Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, Kahoolawe, Nihau, and the Island of Hawaii (“Big Island”).

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What do locals do on Oahu?

A favorite thing to do is to grab some snacks from a local Foodland supermarket and spend a day with friends on the beach—though typically not on the crowded beaches such as Waikiki. On the first Friday of the month, the Honolulu Arts District and Chinatown host a street festival filled with art, music, and food and drink specials.

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Why is Oahu so popular?

Oahu holds a place in travelers imaginations because, for so long, it has been immortalized in travel brochures and movies. For better or worse, Oahu—with its beautiful beaches and swaying palm trees— is the embodiment of the tropical island paradise so many travelers are looking for.

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What is the prettiest part of Oahu?

Above the white sands of Lanikai Beach, Kaiwa Ridge, or the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, offers some of the best views on Oahu. From the top of the trail you’ll be rewarded with sweeping views of the Windward Coast, over its deep blue water and offshore islands, to Chinaman’s Hat and Waimanalo.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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