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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

Oahu: Ka Moana Luau Dinner & Show at Aloha Tower

1. Oahu: Ka Moana Luau Dinner & 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, a hula lesson, coconut-headband weaving, and a ukulele lesson. The buffet selections include: Greens and Salads: • Island greens with mandarin oranges, radish sprouts crisp rice noodles and Asian dressing • Fruit salad • Lomi lomi salmon Starch options • Fresh taro rolls • Poi samples • Crisp vegetable stir-fry • Sweet potatoes • Steamed white rice Main Dishes: • Fresh grilled mahi mahi with macadamia nut crème sauce • Chicken yakitori with teriyaki sauce • Kalua pork Dessert: • Pineapple cake Beverage Options: • Coffee • Hot tea • Fruit punch Bar menu: • Island Mai Tai’s • Salmon Creek Chardonnay, Merlot, and White Zinfandel • Domestic Beers: Budweiser and Bud Light • Soft drinks: Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite Following dinner, you will 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. 

Honolulu: Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona, and City Tour

2. Honolulu: 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: Afternoon Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Waikiki

3. Oahu: Afternoon Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Waikiki

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: 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.

Waikiki: Turtle Canyons Cruise and Snorkel Excursion

5. 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.

Honolulu: Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona, Might Mo, and City Tour

6. Honolulu: Pearl Harbor, USS Arizona, Might Mo, and City Tour

Experience the legacy of Pearl Harbor with a guided tour in Honolulu. Enter Pearl Harbor to explore the Battleship Missouri and listen to an audio-guided tour of the USS Arizona Memorial. Pass by iconic sites in Honolulu including the King Kamehameha Statue and City Hall. Be picked up from a select number of locations in Honolulu and spend the day exploring a part of US history in Honolulu. See Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona, Battleship Missouri, and Honolulu. Arrive at Pearl Harbor and be transported back in time with an audio guide tour of the USS Arizona Memorial. See footage and memorabilia from the attack on Pearl Harbor as you admire the final resting place of the sunken ship. See Mighty Mo, the Battleship Missouri, up close, and walk the decks while you listen to its storied history from your guide. Visit the Battleship Missouri, also known as Mighty Mo, and walk the decks of the battleship. Learn about the history of the ship and its role in ending WWII. From Pearl Harbor, head to Honolulu. Pass Hawaii icons like the King Kamehameha Statue, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific Punchbowl, the Hawaii State Capitol, City Hall, and Kawaiahao Church.

Honolulu: Queens Waikiki Luau

7. Honolulu: Queens Waikiki Luau

Get entry tickets to the Queens Waikiki Luau feast in Honolulu, with traditional foods and entertainment. Enjoy cultural activities, Polynesian performances, and a buffet dinner, and drinks right in the heart of Honolulu. Sit back and relax as you go on a journey through Polynesia. This spectacular event includes unique cultural activities where you can learn the hula, delicious Hawaiian food, and an authentic Polynesian show. Begin with some cultural activities before you taste traditional flavors and finish by watching a Polynesian performance including the fireknife dance. Menu Rice Macaroni salad Tossed green salad with lilikoi dressing Kalua pig cabbage BBQ shoyu chicken Long rice noodles with garlic Steamed vegetables Cake with haupia drizzle

Honolulu: Turtle Canyon Snorkeling Boat Tour with Snacks

8. Honolulu: Turtle Canyon Snorkeling Boat Tour with Snacks

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. 

Honolulu: Waikiki Sunset and Whale Watching Cruise

9. Honolulu: Waikiki Sunset and Whale Watching Cruise

It is finally that time of year where the beautiful humpback whales make their return to the Hawaiian islands after migrating from Alaska! Step aboard the Island Princess and catch the beautiful sunset on the Waikiki horizon while searching for our seasonal humpback whales! Explore the bay of Waikiki and see Diamond Head Crater (Lē‘ahi Crater), check out the gorgeous turquoise waters, and learn about the majestic creatures and the local area with our experienced and knowledgeable crew! Bring your own beverages, sit back, and enjoy the view!

Holualoa: Polynesian Culture ATV Tour

10. Holualoa: Polynesian Culture ATV Tour

Discover Hawaii's Big Island on an ATV tour. Learn about the cultures of Fiji, Samoa, Hawaii, and Tonga, drive through a Rainbow Eucalyptus tree grove, and taste coconut water. Upon arrival at the meeting point and getting geared up, listen to a quick safety briefing before setting off on your adventure. If you do not feel comfortable driving an ATV or are under 16, enjoy a ride as a passenger in a 6-seater UTV driven by the tour guide.  Kick-off your tour with a drive through an award-winning coffee farm and transition into a grove of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees before entering the jungle. Drive your fully automatic ATV on trails to reach Hawaii, Fiji, and Tonga. At each stop, play games to learn about each island's culture. Finally, make your way to the last island of Samoa. Learn about traditional culture, watch a coconut demonstration and taste the coconut water. Afterward, travel back down the mountain and admire beautiful views of Kailua-Kona and the Kona coast.

Available activities

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Frequently asked questions about Oahu

What top attractions are a must-see in 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

Want to discover all there is to do in Oahu? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Oahu

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 8,038 reviews

Parking was hard to come by if you aren’t staying in the area, but the tour was amazing! Lots of insight and engagement from the crew and learned a lot of neat facts. There’s no need for a jacket unless it’s cool out and pictures taken prior to boarding will cost about $50 if you want to keep the physical/digital copies.

Ernie was friendly and informative about the subject. We had such a good tour because of his attentive and professional service. We would definitely recommend him and the company.

It was great!! enjoyed the atmosphere and saw lots of cool animals!! We saw turtles, dolphins, and lots of fishes. The view made it a 1,000 times better!! Definitely recommend!

the driver of the boat kind of looks like Revolver Ocelot from the series Metal Gear Solid. You should get that guy to cosplay as the character for Halloween

Absolutely amazing! Crew did a great job. Lots of sharks to see.