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10 best things to do in Oahu
It’s finally here! The 10 best things to do in Oahu was highly requested and a long time coming. There are so many fun things to do on Oahu; it was hard to list just ten. Since there’s so much in the Waikiki area, I have a separate post with 10 things to do in Waikiki.
If you’re starting to plan your Hawaii vacation, I’d love to help you! I am a travel agent specializing in Hawaii travel, and I’d love to help you make your holiday amazing. I have a blog post about the benefits of working with a travel agent, so make sure to check that out.
Let’s get to the best things to do on Oahu. If you’re looking for more things to do on other islands, don’t forget to read to the bottom where I have links to my best things to do on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island!
Best things to do on Oahu
1. Explore Waikiki
Waikiki is probably the most famous part of the island of Oahu. Many people commonly mistake Waikiki for an island, but it’s a neighborhood in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Waikiki is home to many high-end stores such as Gucci and Tiffany and Co. You will also find the popular ABC stores and almost everything in between.
Even though it’s crowded, you’ll want to check out the world-famous Waikiki Beach. The Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo are often overlooked but are well worth visiting, especially if you’re exploring the island with children.
2. Visit the North Shore
The North Shore oh Oahu is known as the Surfing Capital of the World. Surfer or not, it’s one of the most beautiful parts of the island and only an hour’s drive from Honolulu. Far too many visitors in Oahu don’t make it to the North Shore which I think is a big mistake.
3. Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial
No trip to Oahu would be complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor. Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona host over 1.5 million visitors annually. It is a moving experience to visit the USS Arizona memorial, a spot just above where 1,177 men lost their lives.
You’ll also want to check out the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park to tour the World War II submarine.
4. Attend a Luau
Oahu is host to fantastic luaus. There are many popular luaus including the Paradise Cove Luau at Ko Olina Resort, The Polynesian Cultural Center Ali’i Luau, and Hilton Hawaiian Village Starlight Luau. You can check out my other luau recommendations at where to find the best luau in Hawaii.
5. Bishop Museum
If you love museums, you won’t want to miss the Bishop Museum. Bishop Museum is the largest museum in the state of Hawaii and houses a considerable amount of Polynesian cultural artifacts.
I try to book my client’s tickets and activities through Viator as often as possible or you can also book excursions yourself by clicking here. Viator has a best-price guarantee and offers free cancellation up to 24-hours prior to almost all bookings.
You might also enjoy The ultimate Hawaii packing list.
6. Hike to the top of Diamond Head
As someone who loves hiking, you know that I had to put a hike on the list of the best things to do in Oahu! It takes about an hour to hike to the top of Diamond Head, and it is a mild to moderate hike. Once you reach the top, you’ll have a 365-degree view of Oahu; it’s definitely worth the climb!
7. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center
If you want to learn about the culture of Polynesia, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a must-see. It is home to the Ali’i Luau and Hawaii’s only IMAX theater.
If you’re looking for the best Luau on Oahu, I recommend the Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
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8. Check out the Aloha Stadium swap meet
If you want to grab some fun souvenirs, check out the Aloha Stadium swap meet. Some of the vendors sell items made in China, but you’ll also find some authentic island-made goods.
9. Take a helicopter tour
Many of the most beautiful parts of Oahu can only be seen by air. A helicopter tour will help you appreciate the beauty of Oahu even more. My favorite is Blue Hawaiian helicopter tours. You can read more of my experience on Blue Hawaiian helicopters in this post, Hawaii helicopter tour: is it worth it?
10. Visit Lanikai Beach
No “best things to do on Oahu” list is complete without a beach. You might be surprised that I am not suggesting Waikiki Beach, but there are many beautiful beaches beyond Waikiki! Lanikai Beach is located in Kailua town on Oahu’s windward side. Two small islands are home to bird sanctuaries less than a mile offshore. You can even kayak to get a closer look at the islands.
An offshore reef keeps the waters calm all year, which makes this beach perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The half-mile of white sand is ideal for those who want to spend some time relaxing on the beach. This beach is in a residential area, so arrive early in the morning as parking is limited. Don’t forget to pack your reef-safe sunscreen!
Want even more Hawaii travel tips?
I hope that you enjoyed this list of the 10 best things to do in Oahu. If you’re looking for even more things to do on Oahu, check out 10 free things to do on Oahu. If you’re trying to decide which island to visit, don’t miss my post about which Hawaiian island is best. Looking for more things to do while visiting the islands? Check out:
- The 7 best things to do on the Big Island
- The 7 best things to do in Maui
- The 10 best things to do in Kauai
- 10 best things to do in Waikiki.
- 25 best things to do in Kona.
- 25 things to do on Kauai.
- 100 things to do in Hawaii.
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