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Things to do in
Oahu

Visit Pearl Harbor, catch a wave on Waikiki Beach, or shop til you drop on this iconic Hawaiian island.

Our most recommended things to do in Oahu

Honolulu: Glass Bottom Boat Tour along Oahu's South Shore

1. Honolulu: Glass Bottom Boat Tour along Oahu's South Shore

If adventure is what you seek, join this daily boat tour. Enjoy the beauty of Hawaii’s South Shore as you head out from the slip in the Kewalo Basin Harbor and head toward Lē’ahi. Discover the underwater world while staying dry with the glass-bottom boat. Aboard the Haleiwa Queen, enjoy the clear view of the Pacific Ocean floor as you cruise over live tropical reefs and one of Hawaii’s shipwrecks. Keep an eye out for honu sea turtles, eels, reef sharks, dolphins, and schools of tropical fish, all from the deck of the vessel through the glass bottom boat viewports. Experience a unique perspective of Honolulu, above and below the surface.

Oahu: Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona, and City Tour

2. Oahu: Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona, and City Tour

Spend the day visiting the most important historical sites and landmarks of Honolulu, Hawaii. Visit Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona Memorial, Iolani Palace, Kawaiahao Church, the Hawaii State Capitol, Honolulu City Hall, and more. Begin your tour with a visit to Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Enjoy the exhibits, galleries, and displays before boarding a Navy boat shuttle for a tour of the harbor along “Battleship Row.” Step off the boat to explore the USS Arizona Memorial, then continue to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl Crater. See the historical landmark against a backdrop of rolling hills and lush foliage. Wrap up your experience with a narrated tour of downtown Honolulu. Spot the impressive state buildings and learn about the Iolani Palace, the official residence of Hawaii’s last reigning monarch and the only royal palace in the United States. Make your way to the Hawaii State Capitol grounds. See the Eternal Flame, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials, Liberty Bell, the majestic statue of King Kamehameha, and Kawaiahao Church.

Oahu: Ka Moana Luau Dinner and Show at Aloha Tower

3. Oahu: Ka Moana Luau Dinner and Show at Aloha Tower

Get tickets to the oceanfront dinner theatre of Ka Moana Luau and enjoy an evening of Polynesian entertainment and a tropical-themed buffet dinner. Sip on a welcome Mai Tai with the celebrity option. Upgrade your experience by choosing hotel transfers from Waikiki. After check-in, head inside the venue where you can take part in a number of cultural activities like lei making, temporary tattoos, hula, and drum lessons, coconut-headband weaving and a coconut tree-climbing demonstration. The buffet selections include: Farm-to-table buffet: • Mixed greens salad • Hapa rice (brown and white rice) • Bread rolls w/ small-batch honey guava butter • Stir-fry veggies • Mahi mahi • Guava chicken • Local kalua pork Dessert: • Haupia • Ube cheesecake Complimentary beverage options: • Fresh lemonade • Water Bar menu: Enhance your Luau experience by indulging in some refreshing Ka Moana pineapple, served in a freshly cut pineapple and filled with a signature cocktail. • Island Mai Tai’s • Tropical Cocktails • Mixed premium and well drinks • Beers: Bud Light, Stella Artois, Kona Big Wave • Soft drinks: Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Passion Fruit Orange Juice, bottled water Following dinner, enjoy an award-winning production highlighting the vibrant traditions of Hawaii and Polynesia. The show navigates through Polynesia on a way-finding adventure. Your experience culminates with the Polynesian Sword of Fire dance and don’t be surprised if you find yourself as part of the experience. 

Oahu: Shark Cage Dive on the North Shore

4. Oahu: Shark Cage Dive on the North Shore

Swim with the sharks during this tour that offers you the unique adventure of a shark dive, while ensuring your safety at all times. Discover the wonders of the sea on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii alongside a certified guide. Bring your own masks and snorkels or use the ones provided on board. Your guide will give you a safety briefing at the start of the tour and will answer all your questions concerning this special adventure. See up to 200 feet (60 meters) in the crystal-clear, cobalt blue water. Depending on the season, you will encounter such magnificent animals as the Hawaiian Green Sea turtles, playful dolphins, and Humpback whales. Admire the sharks from the ship's deck, or experience the rush of entering the shark cage which allows you to be only inches away from sharks that can grow up to 15 feet (5 meters) in length. Capture pictures with your underwater camera of their grace and majesty in the water. Have 20 minutes to marvel at the sharks and cherish this unforgettable moment. Up to 8 people can be in the cage at the same time, so you can experience the sharks with someone you love.

Oahu: Waikiki Parasailing

5. Oahu: Waikiki Parasailing

Soar above the vibrant city of Oahu on a peaceful but exciting parasailing trip. Take off from the scenic Waikiki Beach and take in views of the island's golden sand beaches, turquoise waters, and cityscape. You'll even catch a unique glimpse of Diamond Head from a privileged perspective. Enjoy a truly introspective experience by flying away from the hustle and bustle of the area. All the noise from the boat and the city will cut away as you ascend, leaving you and your flight buddy in your own bubble of paradise. Make the most of your Hawaii holiday and experience Oahu in a unique way. Seize this incredible opportunity to go parasailing in the company of a professional team, providing all the necessary instructions and high-quality equipment to keep you safe at all times.

Kailua: Nighttime Manta Ray Cruise with Snorkeling Option

6. Kailua: Nighttime Manta Ray Cruise with Snorkeling Option

Snorkeling with manta rays is a must-do while in Hawaii! Enjoy this amazing opportunity to see manta rays up close. Feed and interact with other ocean creatures on this cruise trip. After a safety briefing, gear up with the snorkeling equipment and wet suits provided. Relax and enjoy the cruise with drinks and snacks on board. Bring your underwater camera for photos and capture memories that will last a lifetime.

Oahu: Waikiki Turtle Canyons Cruise and Snorkel Excursion

7. Oahu: Waikiki Turtle Canyons Cruise and Snorkel Excursion

Experience the magical underwater world of sea turtles. Dive under the waves with a snorkel and see the rainbow of tropical fish. Connect with the wide array of stunning marine life on this immersive tour. Start off with a cruise along the coast, where you can potentially spot spinner dolphins and humpback whales during the wither months. Once at the Turtle Canyons, you’ll get a brief lesson on snorkeling and your snorkeling equipment.  Snorkel alongside the sea turtles and tropical sea life under the supervision of a certified lifeguard, returning to the boat whenever you please to relax with complimentary refreshments.

Oahu: Turtle Canyon Snorkeling Boat Tour

8. Oahu: Turtle Canyon Snorkeling Boat Tour

Watch angelfish dart in and out of underwater coral caverns and search for sea turtles using high-quality snorkeling gear on this tour from Honolulu to Turtle Canyon. Relax in the sun on the boat's floating platforms while enjoying the provided snacks and beverages.  Be greeted by the activity provider's staff at the pier and hop aboard a comfortable boat with a captain and crew made up of certified divers, lifeguards, free divers, and surfers who familar with the waters of Turtle Canyon. They can show you where to look and what to look for. Admire views of the famed Diamond Head while you head out to the snorkeling site and be provided with new, high-end snorkel gear and floatation devices. For non-swimmers there is a swim step where they can sit and put their feet in the water. Plunge into the water, swimming through schools of tropical fish. Look for the large green sea turtles that come from deeper waters to visit the shallower turtle cleaning station known as Turtle Canyons. Back onboard seasonal fruits, snacks, juice, and water are included. Unwind with an ice-cold drink and stunning views of the shore on the way back to your meeting point. 

Oahu: Pearl Harbor, Arizona Memorial & Honolulu City Tour

9. Oahu: Pearl Harbor, Arizona Memorial & Honolulu City Tour

Hear fascinating stories on this tour of Pearl Harbor and downtown Honolulu. Witness the key sites and memorials to the 1941 attack, and experience the island's wartime history. Begin this tour with pickup in Waikiki. Travel first to Pearl Harbor and ride the navy launch to the USS Arizona Memorial. Visit the sombre monument above a sunken battleship from the day of the attack. Explore the memorials to the many groups who lost their lives, and pause to reflect at the wall of remembrance. Return to your waiting van for a historic tour of downtown Honolulu. Your expert guide will explain what it was like to live on the island during wartime. See sights including Iolani Palace, the State Capitol, King Kamehameha Statue and Aloha Tower as you learn about the fascinating history of this historic place.

Oahu: Waikiki Trolley Hop-on Hop-off All-Line Pass

10. Oahu: Waikiki Trolley Hop-on Hop-off All-Line Pass

Your Great Hawaiian Adventure is Just A Stop Away! There’s more to Hawaii than just the sights, and the Waikiki Trolley can take you to places beloved by locals and visitors alike. From soaring mountains that meet the sea to historic landmarks and even exciting shopping and dining venues, the choice is literally up to you. Blue Line: Sights and Tastes of the Oahu. With its coastal sceneries and delicious local dining stops, the Blue Line invites you to discover the best of Waikiki’s natural beauty and culinary delights. Take a breathtaking tour of Oahu’s southwestern shore on the way to Sea Life Park and enjoy some of the island’s local favorites at Kahala Mall, Diamond Market & Grill, or the ever-popular Rainbow Red Line: A Story of Hawaii's rich cultural past and modern present Hawaii has its own story to tell those who are interested in listening. This is where the Red Line shines. This line takes you through Hawaii’s cultural and historical past, from the time of kings and queens through its importance in WWII and even the cultures that influence it to this day. Truly, a Hawaiian vacation is incomplete without jumping aboard the Red Line. Green Line: Visit Diamond Head from Waikiki. Our newest and most unique line takes you to Diamond Head and KCC Farmers’ Market from convenient stops around the Waikiki area. It’s the easiest way to visit this world-renowned landmark! Pink Line: Hawaii's Iconic Shopping and Dining Hawaii is the epicenter of the Pacific, and it shows: Asian cuisine mingling with popular American comfort food, high-end fashion alongside popular streetwear that suit everyone’s comfort and style. You can find all these throughout Waikiki, but your Hawaiian vacation isn’t complete without a visit to Ala Moana Center–Hawaii’s Center–where all things shopping and dining collide into a truly Hawaiian experience. So much so that Ala Moana isn’t just for visitors–it’s a popular shopping mall for locals as well.

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Frequently asked questions about Oahu

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Oahu

As one of Hawaii's most popular islands, Oahu is fittingly called "The Gathering Place." To help you make the most of your time to the Hawaiian paradise, we've enlisted the help of travel expert Jackson from Journey Era. Read below for tips on how to best experience the island.

What should I do on my first trip to Oahu? 

If it's your first time to Oahu there are a few top things you cannot miss. If you are a keen hiker there are lots of epic trails on the island but there's also a short trail everyone should do. Hiking to the top of Diamond Head Crater is just a few kilometers and gives you an incredible view of the entire Waikiki area and the beaches in the south. 

If you are into history, visiting the Pearl Harbor Museum and memorial site is a very important piece of American war history and makes for a good half-day trip. Renting a car or jumping on a guided tour to the North Shore of Oahu to check out the iconic surf town of Haleiwa is a great way to relax while on vacation

What are some hidden gems to see in Oahu?

The Atlantis Submarine tour is an epic adventure where you will climb aboard a 48-passenger submarine and adventure through the underwater passages of the famous Waikiki beach. Through its portal windows, see Hawaiian fish, coral, turtles, sunken ships and airplanes, and more! 

It’s truly an amazing experience to see sunken warships and planes and all of the marine life that is now calling it home. Another unique activity on Oahu is to hike to the top of Koko Crater, which is a demanding and steep hike. The unforgiving incline will have you gasping for breath by the time you reach the top.

How much time should I spend in Oahu?

Most people feel that 7-10 days is a good amount of time to spend on Oahu. This gives you time to book a few tours, rent a car and explore for a few days and unwind with no activities with a few relaxing beach days. 

The time will fly by so any less than a week will feel rushed. Basing in Waikiki or the south is fine and how most people structure their stay. You can drive to all parts of the island within an hour from Waikiki so there's no need to base in multiple locations.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Oahu?

Waikiki is the hub of Oahu. Let’s start with Waikiki because it is the most popular place to stay in Oahu. The majority of the hotels are on this famous strip of beach. There are hundreds of restaurants, cafes, tour centers, transport options, and convenience stores. It has a great little surf break perfect for beginners. The water is warm, the cocktails are flowing and it is an all-around beach vibe.

For families: Waikiki is the number one choice for families. They are centrally located for all of the tours to different spots around the island. Kids have protected beaches to swim in without worrying about waves. There are several man-made reef breaks, which act as saltwater swimming pools. For mom and dad, there are plenty of nightspots and relaxed bars throughout Waikiki. It is a safe neighborhood and it is also a shopping heaven with lots of high-end retailers.

For couples: Honeymooners and couples have found the perfect getaway spot in Waikiki. Think of dining out and nice restaurants each night after a day of adventures each day. It is the perfect base to hit the beaches, adventure the island but still have the luxury of great accommodation, dining, and convenience on your doorstep.

For older travelers: The older adventurers among us love Waikiki for a few reasons. It’s simple. Everything is on your doorstep. The tours pick you up and drop you off at your hotel lobby. There are quality restaurants in all directions and the famous Waikiki Beach is within walking distance. You are never far from a refreshing dip in your hotel pool, the ocean, or an air-conditioner.

What is the best way to get around Oahu? 

If you are booking several tours you may not want to rent a car. However, if you like to explore yourself, it is best to hire a car, which costs about $60-100 per day. This way you can visit the east, north and west coast at your leisure. Within Waikiki, you can use the local bus service or Uber to get around as it is quite a small area. Within Waikiki, you can walk from most hotels to the beach so there is no real need for transport services if you are just enjoying beach days.

What are the best months to visit Oahu?

Oahu is a great place to visit all year round due to its tropical, temperate climate. However, in the winter the big surf in the north of the island can be a huge attraction and there are a number of big-wave surfing events. The summer months of May, June, and July are very popular due to the warm, consistent weather making it perfect for tanning on the beach and sipping cocktails

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Waikiki is the luxury shopping center of the island. You can find lots of upmarket stores in the strip, which is fun to walk up and down at night. Rolex, Gucci, and other high-end stores can be found in this area but there are also lots of regular stores like H&M and souvenir stores to find some Hawaiian-style gifts for your family and friends.

Other Sightseeing Options in Oahu

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What people are saying about Oahu

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,829 reviews

It was such an amazing and beautiful experience. I was able to see a manta ray, and in the blink of an eye, there were seven of them. I could safely encounter them very closely. The captain and crew were so friendly and fun that I couldn't stop smiling. Everything was perfect, from the music and complimentary suits to snorkeling equipment, noodles, and the atmosphere! I highly recommend it. I'll come back with my family within the next ten years, so stay healthy until then, Captain!

Such a great morning. The guys taking the tour weee very friendly and knowledgeable, the sharks, well they just aren’t as scary as I thought they’d be! They’re quite beautiful actually! Thanks gents for a great tour

The bus driver and crew were very nice and knew what they were doing. The Whale watching was excellent. We even saw flying fish and sea turtles. I recommend it very highly and will go again.

So much fun! Nick and Jason were great, and HILARIOUS. 10/10 recommend!

I need ADA assistance and we were very well cared for.