Top 10 Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai

While some vacationers can handle the low temperatures and tough weather that comes with the late fall, others prefer to spend their free time in warmer environments. If you fall into the second group, then it is time to start planning a trip to Oahu, Hawaii, a place that treats tourists and residents with high temperatures and natural wonders.

Just like the Big Island, Hawaii, Kona, and some of the other main islands you’d want to visit in Hawaii, this island is full of activities that let travelers explore or relax in the outdoors while providing opportunities to learn more about Polynesian culture. And best of all, if you are traveling from the USA, you will not need a passport to visit this slice of paradise! 

Here are the top 10 things to do in Oahu to make sure that you have a memorable stay.

1) Hanauma Bay

If you’re visiting with family or a group of friends who have different ideas for water activities, then an afternoon at Hanauma Bay should be at the top of your to-do list. The clear water makes it easy to spot turtles and fish while your snorkeling, and the waves are big enough for surfers who want to try new tricks.

Hanauma Bay - Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai

Hiking trails are also a walk away in case you want to save time on outdoor adventures and want to enjoy a wide view of the ocean. You could also take paddleboards and kayaks out on the water in case you want to take your time exploring the water and watch the sun set before you go out to eat in town.

2) Historic Honolulu

Travelers who have at least one week to spare for a vacation should consider activities in Oahu that don’t always involve being close to nature. One option is a tour through the historic areas of Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii, which is full of attractions that detail the history of the city since its establishment in 1907.

Kamehameha I Statue, Honolulu
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Attractions in the city include the Old Federal Building, Kamehameha I Statue, Aloha Tower and the Mission Houses Museum. You could start the day with a visit to Kawaiaha’o Church, the first Christian church in Hawaii, and end it with a stop by the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States.

3) Koko Crater Railway Trail

The temperature and sunlight that Hawaii provides makes it the best location for long walks, especially for hikers. A prime example is Koko Crater Railway Trail, which tests travelers with a 1,000-foot vertical journey that rewards them with beautiful views of the island.

Koko Crater - Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

The crater includes over 1,700 railroad ties for hikers to climb over, some of which come in different forms to keep the journey challenging. If you want to take the difficulty to the next level, then take an elevation mask or weighted vest with you for a great workout.

4) North Shore

Another area in Oahu that beach lovers will enjoy is North Shore, which is an opportunity for new surfers to learn from the best. The waves at the shore are known for reaching greater heights than those at other areas on the island, which gives you the chance to witness fantastic surfing.

North Shore, Oahu

The shore is full of different spots for surfers who want to tackle waves of different sizes, such as Chun’s Reef and the Banzai Pipeline. Some waves are perfect for body surfing in case you prefer to ride waves on your own and get a closer look at the smaller aquatic life in the area.

5) Kaka’ako Farmers Market

Vacations also give you the chance to explore the local food of your destination, and Kaka’ako Farmers Market is a reliable destination for those who are unfamiliar with Hawaii’s dishes. This market is full of exotic fruits such as dragonfruit and soursop, and you can try vegetables and meat if you want to put together a unique meal for dinner.

Farmers Market - Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai

While you may recognize food that you might come across at your local grocery store, you are best off trying more of the local food. This is also a chance for you to save money on going out to eat by preparing a lunch or dinner for yourself and your group.

6) Bishop Museum

If you are traveling with children and want to take your kids somewhere that will make education fun, then a visit to Bishop Museum will do the trick. This is the largest museum in Hawaii and focuses on natural and cultural history, especially from the Polynesian aspect.

Bishop Museum - Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

You can use this visit as break from hiking and surfing while you and your family observe Polynesian artifacts from different periods and exhibits of animals from both the land and the sea. Make sure to stop by the gift shops to take a souvenir home to remember the visit by.

7) Waikiki Beach

Oahu makes it easy to enjoy the best of the outdoors and the city life while being in walking distance between both environments. With Waikiki Beach, you can visit the island’s most popular restaurants and bars after a day of surfing and laying in the sand.

Waikiki Beach - Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai

New Otani Beach Hotel is among the many accommodation located by the beach so that you can get a good night’s rest before taking your surfing board out on the waves. Cruises are also available if you want to spend your afternoon further out on the ocean.

8) CLIMB Works Keana Farms

Surfing and hiking are not the only sources of excitement for those who prefer to spend their free time being active. CLIMB Works Keana Farms is full of ziplines that give tourists adrenaline rushes and beautiful views of the island along the way.

CLIMB Works Keana Farms - Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai
Credits: CLIMBWORKS

The tour lasts for three hours and provides ziplines in different lengths for people who are new to the activity and those who are looking for a challenge. Other activities that you can enjoy at CLIMB Works Keana Farms include sky bridges, dual lines, rappels and ATV rides.

9) Oahu Atlantis Submarine Adventure

Oahu allows you to explore the ocean with its Atlantis Submarine Adventure, a tour that puts you just a few feet away from fish, dolphins, turtles and eels. Guides are available for each tour so that you can learn about how these creatures survive in the wild while you see them in their downtime.

Oahu Atlantis Submarine Adventure - Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai
Credits: Atlantis Submarine Adventure

The tours are available in four languages in case you are visiting from different parts of the world, and you can embark on adventures throughout the day in case you have a packed schedule. Make sure to take pictures when you spot different aquatic life for different additions to your photo collection.

10) Star Casual Sunset & Show

One of the best ways to end a long day swimming, hiking and ziplining is with a cruise full of food, entertainment and views of the sun setting. Oahu’s Star Casual Sunset & Show gives you a chance to relax while enjoying the fresh air and views of aquatic life around you.

Sunset - Things to Do in Oahu, Hawai

Dinners come in different options in case you want to try local dishes or prefer your favorite meals from back home. The cruise includes a live Hawaiian song and dance performance, and going on the cruise on Friday will allow you to end the day with a firework show.

Plan your vacation to Oahu today so that you can experience adventure, enjoy warm weather, and end each day watching the sunset.

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