The third largest island in Hawaii, Oahu is the one that’s home to the state’s capital, Honolulu. This makes it a major center of entertainment, culture, commerce and media, but besides all these urban delights, there’s also plenty of nature to enjoy on this glorious island. Below, you’ll find the top 5 things to do in Oahu, a list that should serve as the framework of your visit.
Top 5 Things to Do in Oahu, Hawaii
The following five things to do in Oahu are nothing less than “must-dos”. A vacation in Oahu isn’t complete without checking off all items on this list. Luckily, in true Hawaiian spirit, completing this list is one of the most relaxed things you’ll ever do. From snorkeling and sunbathing to eating superb food and visiting one of the world’s most famous historic sites, an Oahu holiday is the epitome of destressing and recharging your batteries.
5. Go for a Scenic Hike
On an island of spectacular beaches, lush interior forests, towering inland mountains and stunning coasts, going for a scenic hike is a strongly recommended thing to do. There are several to choose from, but the following two are absolutely beautiful.
The first one is the Diamond Head Crater Hike in Honolulu. Dominating the Honolulu cityscape, this huge extinct volcano offers sensational views of the city below. It’s a 1.6-mile round trip, a hike that takes about two hours.
Another excellent hike in Oahu is the 2- to 3-mile Lanikai Pillbox Hike. Located on the southeast coast, this is a phenomenal hike to do at sunrise, also known as the Kaiwa Ridge Trail. It provides great coastal views.
4. Sample Polynesia-Inspired Street Food
The distinct Hawaiian culture features world-renowned hula dancing and typical island music, but it doesn’t stop there. An integral part of this vibrant and lively culture is food. You’ll find great traditional Hawaiian food in many restaurants in Honolulu, but the best street food is along Oahu’s beaches.
Especially on the North Shore, the food trucks make up an important part of the local vibe. After surfing, rock jumping and/or sunbathing on one of the North Shore’s beaches, grab a shrimp taco and some shaved ice from a food truck.
3. Snorkel in Hanauma Bay
One of the world’s top snorkeling destinations, Hanauma Bay belongs on any Oahu itinerary. Situated a short drive east of Honolulu, this is a popular destination, so you’re advised to arrive early in the morning.
Home to literally hundreds of species of fish, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay is like swimming in an enormous—it’s actually a volcanic crater—aquarium.
2. Visit Pearl Harbor
When vacationing in Oahu, a visit to Pearl Harbor is pretty much mandatory. The site of one of the most significant events in U.S. history, this harbor now houses the USS Arizona Memorial and a superb museum. This is the only National Park Service site in Oahu, a place that deserves at least a half day.
If you decide to visit Pearl Harbor, one of the top things to do in Oahu, make sure to get there early. Tickets often sell out around noon.
1. Sunbathe on Waikiki Beach
Of all things to do in Oahu, spending an afternoon on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu has to be the number one. Arguably the world’s most famous beach, Waikiki is absolutely gorgeous—but also extremely busy. Palm trees line this stunning stretch of coast, while surf boards and sunbathers are scattered about the golden sand. This is also a great place to catch a sunset and grab a cocktail at a beach bar afterward.
Have You Ever Done Any of These Top 5 Things to Do in Oahu? Do You Have Other Suggestions? Share Them in the Comments Below!