Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Planning to visit Hawaii, specifically Oahu, is an adventure of a lifetime. But are you confused about what to do Oahu? If that’s what’s bothering you, we have just the right options for you!

Oahu is one of the most visited Hawaiian islands, offering a piece of everything. From adventurous tours to relaxing sites and amazing sunsets to lip-smacking food options, you can find everything on one island.

The only effort you have to put in is participating in different activities that will allow you to immerse yourself in the true Aloha spirit! Reading further, you’ll come across some of the most popular and fun activities that I tried, and trust me, you can never go wrong with these options.

For Adventurers

Oahu is a great place with lots of amazing sports to put your adventuring foot forward. Whether you’re hiking or engaging in water activities, you can enjoy any of those here. Check out some adventurous activities that we loved doing, and you shouldn’t miss out on these, either!

Hike Koko Crater Stairs

Hike Koko Crater Stairs

Located on the east side of Oahu, the Koko Head is a serious challenge that will put your fitness level to the test. The trek is about 0.9 miles and involves an elevation gain of roughly 885 feet.

It is an extremely steep hike that covers around 1000 (even more) stairs in 0.45 miles (it’s not a joke, trust me). For us, it took around 50 minutes to hike the crate after taking several halts in between.

Although it was a relief for us after reaching the top and looking at the view, due to the scorching heat, it did drain our entire energy.

A small tip here: choose a cloudy day or a non-scorching hot day if you want to hike comfortably.

You’ll be able to see the entire southeast part of Oahu, which’ll be definitely breathtaking and a sight that you don’t really want to miss!

Hike The Tallest Peak On Oahu—Mt. Kaʻala Trail

This is again one of the best activities for adventures who can spare their entire day hiking on the west side of Oahu. Mt. Ka’ala is known to be the tallest peak on Oahu. If hiking and exploring different species of animals interest you, I highly encourage you to try this out.

Reaching the summit of this trail is not a joke, but when you do, you’ll surely be amazed by the breathtaking view. While hiking this peak, we encountered several rare and endangered species of animals.

The most important thing about this hike is that you’re stepping into a sensitive ecosystem. Some species you find while you walk around consider Mt. Ka’ala their home. So, it’s important that we, as visitors, take care of the entire ecosystem by respecting their space and keeping them safe.

See Sunrise Or Sunset At Pali Notches Trail

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

While this place is known for beautiful sunsets, if you are an early bird, you can spend your morning here catching sunrise that will make your day!

After the Koko Crater hike, our next go-to place for hiking is the Pali Notches trail. Known for its amazing sunset and sunrise view, this place is a favorite among the Oahu people. The trail spans about 0.8 miles, but wait, it’s not an easy hike!

The route is steep, exposed, and often windy, making it challenging to trek comfortably. If you are planning to go on a hike with your kids, please take care of them!

Also, since the place is not properly maintained, if you are scared of heights, I suggest you not visit this location. Even if you want to trek on this unofficial route, proceed with caution and get ready for an exciting adventure coming your way!

Shark Cage Diving On The North Shore

If you want to do something different than hiking, try out a shark cage diving tour. Shark cage diving is the ultimate adventure to include in your next Oahu vacation. While this may sound a bit scary, many people consider it the best activity here.

Having an encounter with a shark on Oahu’s North Shore is safe, exciting, and fun for everyone. While some may be really scared of sharks, once you’re in the shark cage and swimming with them, you see how graceful they are.

During your tour, you might also get to see Dolphins, Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles, and magnificent Humpback Whales. And with the stunning views of Oahu’s North Shore, your Hawaii shark tour becomes truly unforgettable!

Plan your trip between November and May to get the best sightings of these magnificent aquatic creatures.

Climb The Stairway To Heaven

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

We are bringing you heaven on earth in the Hawaiian islands through this famous spot, “Stairway to Heaven.” Also known as Haiku Stairs, it is one of the many hikes people in Oahu go for. Climbing the stairs to the summit gives you amazing views of the entire island, and if you have a knack for adventure, this is the best place to test your limits.

The hike consists of 3,900+ extremely tiring stairs leading up to the mountain ranges. This hike was initially built for military purposes and was considered unsafe earlier. However, as more people constantly came here, the officials fixed the stairs for more comfortable hiking.

Reaching the summit with all the hardship, you’ll definitely feel on top of the world, so it’s really not wrong to name this hike as “Stairway to Heaven.”

Enjoy Family-Friendly Activities

Oahu has great spots for most people to enjoy with their families. While there are many other suggestions, some that we found to be interesting, fun, and quite different from others.

Book A Dolphin Snorkelling Tour

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Oahu is filled with expansive marine life. Whenever you are on a beach, you are sure to encounter at least one aquatic creature swimming in the ocean or resting on the seashore. Among a variety of aquatic creatures, you can plan to watch dolphins.

To watch the dolphins peacefully, you can book dolphin snorkeling tours from genuine tours and travel companies to get the best deals on your tour. After booking the tour, one particular kind of dolphin you can expect to see is the Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins.

These dolphins can be seen all year round. We recently went to the west side of Oahu, and I can say that this part of Oahu is the best place to spot them. However, if you are staying anywhere near the north shore, book yourself a tour of Hale’iwa. Here, you can also get a good view of dolphins showing acrobats on the water.

Just imagine swimming with majestic and friendly dolphins underwater—that’ll be such a unique experience for you and your family!

Pearl Harbor National Memorial Tour

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

If this is your first time visiting Oahu, don’t forget to visit this famous historical site, which is filled with a brave yet sad Hawaiian history.

Whenever you want to visit, make sure to start your day by going to this iconic site. The place will surely move you and educate your kids while you tour it. Inside Pearl Harbor, you’ll come across the USS Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri, which will take you back to despondent American history.

Since it is a popular tourist destination, there can be a bit of a rush. Therefore, make sure you plan ahead and reach the place early to get your tickets.

By visiting the place, you’re not just paying homage to the past but also setting the stage for an epic day of exploration ahead. Remember, Pearl Harbor is your morning priority—it’s a decision you won’t regret.

Get A Picture At Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Whenever you search for a picture of Hawaii, this is probably one of the images you’ll frequently see. And if you are looking for a destination that will give you insta-worthy pictures, this botanical garden is just the perfect spot to be.

Here, you’ll find the perfect Hawaii backdrop—lush foliage, towering mountains, and vibrant florals! This gem spans 400 acres on the eastern side of the island and makes for a killer pit stop on your way to Kualoa Ranch or the Polynesian Cultural Center.

A good point: it won’t cost you a dime to get in!

While you may see many pictures on the internet, getting a perfect shot is a bit tricky. The officials may stop you along the way and may not let you stop on the road to get a picture. So, you have to snoop around a little, hide from everyone’s eyes, and get that click.

All the effort will be worth it when you look at the picture of this iconic destination!

Whale Watching/ Snorkeling Tour

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

If you are planning a trip to Oahu, Hawaii, look for whale-watching tour options. Here, you’ll get to see the majestic humpback whales on the Hawaiian waters, gracefully migrating all the way from Alaska. This will surely be a breathtaking sight to witness with your family members as the mothers of these gentle giants give birth to their calves in the warm Hawaiian seas.

While we did catch a glimpse of them by sitting on the seashore, the real fun was when we actually went inside the water. Experiencing them swimming side by side with us was an experience that seriously cannot be matched.

Now, things can’t be so easily accessible in Oahu. So, here’s the catch: this view is highly season-specific. If your vacation falls even a bit here and there, you might miss out on seeing them all together.

To have the best time, make sure to book a tour from the local tour and travel company that will up your entire snorkeling adventure.

Tip: Opt for the west side of Oahu for a whale-watching tour.

Visit Oahu’s North Shore

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Exploring Oahu’s north shore is the best thing you can do with your family. Now, how do you do it? I’ll tell you: Instead of traveling around on public transport, think about renting a two-wheeler or a car. Trust me, you’ll need wheels to explore this beauty.

Moving around in rental car will give you the convenience and flexibility to explore Oahu at your own freedom. You can easily visit various spots at your own pace. There are a lot of activities to do here and numerous places to explore here.

You can go surfing at the Pua’ena Point, watch sea turtles at the Shark’s Cove, or go snorkeling at the Electric Beach. Whichever place you decide to visit on the North Shore, each one will have something unique to offer you.

You’ve also got amazing eateries like Haleiwa Joe’s, Kono’s, and many more. And don’t miss the North Shore Marketplace for some cute shops and art galleries.

Fun Activities for Kids

If you’ve gone on vacation, you’ll definitely look for ways to make your kids have fun. We’ve explored Oahu deeply and found these places to be perfect for the kids to enjoy.

Explore Jurassic Park At Kualoa Ranch

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

How cool would it be to see your kids’ eyes light up as they see the iconic landscapes from Jumanji and Jurassic Park come to life right before their eyes? It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well, at Kualoa Ranch, dreams become reality.

It’s a big piece of land on the north east side of the island with amazing views and lots of different tour options. Plus, it’s famous for being where they filmed movies like Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Jurassic World, Kong: Skull Island, Jumanji and Hawaii Five-0.

One of the coolest ways to experience it all is by hopping on their ATV Raptor tour. Each family gets their own raptor, which can seat up to 6 people, and you can take turns driving. During the tour, you follow a leader along dirt paths that wind all around the property.

Tip: There’s too much dirt on the way, so have your sunglasses ready.

I had an absolute blast on this tour and would suggest everyone try it. Try to get bookings done as soon as possible because it tends to fill up months in advance. Just a heads up, though: You’ll come back from this adventure absolutely caked in dirt, so if you want, keep an extra pair of clothes handy.

Wet n’ Wild Hawaii

Looking for a change of pace from all that ocean fun? Head over to this park for a guaranteed good time! With over 25 rides, slides, and attractions, it’s the perfect spot for some family-friendly excitement.

This water park is located in Kapolei. Here, you can let loose without worrying about ocean currents here. Dive into the Water World playground, zip down the Island Racer slide, or take a spin on the Waianae Coaster. With rides ranging from chill to extreme, there’s bound to be something that suits every kid’s vibe.

Visit their website for the exact operating hours and to buy tickets and passes for your visit.

Dole Plantation Train & Maze

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Dole Plantation is one of my favorite spots on Oahu. And while the activities may be for the kids, there’s much to do for adults as well. This place has a history of pineapple plantations, making it both educational and delicious for anyone who wants to spend a few hours.

You’ll find local dishes made of local produce, which you can try out. And how could you forget to pick up some pineapples and pineapple-themed souvenirs to take home?

You can explore the lush Plantation Garden on a tour, but that’s not all – there’s also a fun Pineapple Express train ride! Kids will have a great time learning about Hawaii’s pineapple industry in such an interactive and exciting setting.

There’s also the Dole Plantation Maze, shaped like a pineapple and filled with over 14,000 Hawaiian plants; it’s a challenging but fun adventure. Kids can hunt for eight secret checkpoints and collect stencils to track their progress. If you have a Go Oahu Card, you’ll get tickets for the train ride and maze included!

Dolphin Encounter At Sea Life Park

If your kids love to see dolphins but not underwater, take them to this exciting park. At Sea Life Park, they’ll definitely have an unforgettable experience on Oahu.

I’ve seen many kids enjoying a waist-deep pool and interacting with dolphins. While you’re here, you’ll see these clever creatures showing off their tricks, giving kisses, and even busting a move with your little ones. Trust me, these 45 minutes will stick with them for ages.

But wait, there’s more! Sea Life Park isn’t just about dolphins. Your kiddos will be wowed by performances from sea lions, dolphins, and penguins. Plus, they’ll learn all about conservation efforts and why it’s crucial to protect our marine friends’ natural habitats. And don’t miss the chance to feed sea turtles and see the park’s rehab work at Seabird Sanctuary.

Boogie Boarding

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Boogie boarding is another great activity that your kids can try out. It’s just like surfing, but without needing any practice, as it’s not as difficult as actual surfing.

You can rent a boogie board for a certain amount of time. Give it to your kids and let them surf the waves as you peacefully rest on the beach in a relaxed atmosphere. But don’t forget to keep your eye on them because though this activity might be safe, your kids will still be on the water.

If your kids aren’t comfortable, you can get them fins for a comfortable experience. For yourself, remember to rent chairs and umbrellas to keep yourself safe from the scorching heat.

For Couples

Whether it is a honeymoon, a proposal you’re planning or just a fun trip with your partner, Oahu has a series of exciting activities you can surely enjoy.

Watch Sunset At Waikiki On A Catamaran

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Watching the sunset and painting the sky with beautiful colors is an amazing experience. And there’s no better place to see it than from the deck of a catamaran. Traveling over the waves, with the famous Diamond Head in the background, sunset cruises in Waikiki are truly unforgettable.

You can book a private charter for a Waikiki sunset sail, which lasts from two to four hours. It’s perfect for couples looking for a romantic adventure along the Waikiki coastline.

You’ll get to enjoy stunning sunset views, a delicious gourmet charcuterie board, handcrafted mocktails, and the services of a professional photographer to capture all the special moments.

Oahu Helicopter Tour

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Want to spend some time with your partner in the sky privately? This is the best activity you can do! A helicopter ride allows you to experience the beauty of Hawaii from a unique perspective.

From the city skyline bathed in warm evening light to the stunning windward coast, famous beaches, and lush rainforests, this tour will take you to see it all from above. As the day ends, you’ll witness the sun setting behind the Waikiki skyline.

This isn’t just a thrilling helicopter ride; it’s also a chance to see some of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks. Your pilot will also share the history and significance of these iconic sites as you soar above them.

If it’s a proposal you’re planning, you’ll even get to land in a romantic spot tucked away above a beautiful private valley to make the event even more special.

Enjoy A Cocktail Tour Watching Sunset At Waikiki

Looking for some relaxation while creating memories? Relax and unwind with a Sunset Cocktail cruise along the Waikiki Shoreline. As you sail, you’ll pass through the Diamond Head crater.

This cruise takes you along Waikiki’s coastline, allowing you to fully experience the island’s natural beauty while enjoying quality time with your partner.

Sip on delicious cocktails as you soak in the mesmerizing night view, surrounded by an enchanting ambiance. The cruise offers air-conditioned comfort and a selection of drinks and snacks, ensuring you have everything you need for a truly relaxing experience.

Safely Explore The Underwaters With The Waikiki Submarine Tour

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Experience something unique and exciting on a one-of-a-kind ocean adventure in the world’s largest recreational submarine, diving 100 feet beneath the ocean’s surface. Witness various underwater species like green sea turtles, sharks, yellow tangles, eels, and a variety of other marine life.

Take the feel of being a real life Aquaman by seeing how sunken ships, remnants of hurricane-swept airliners, pyramid structures, and other objects attract life to the Atlantis reef.

This is a must-take activity that’s more like an adventure for you and your partner. It’s surely going to be the best thing on your entire Oahu trip.

Waikiki Friday Fireworks Cruise

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Whether you’re seeking a romantic evening with your special someone or looking to kickstart your weekend festivities, this cruise promises an unforgettable experience. Experience the magic of fireworks lighting up the Waikiki Beach skyline every Friday night, courtesy of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

While the beach gets crowded during the show, the best seats are offshore, offering unobstructed views of the spectacular fireworks display!

To see the beauty of exploding fireworks over Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, which is offered once a week, be sure not to miss the boat!

Refreshments are available onboard, and remember to bring your camera, a sweater or light jacket, and cash or card for Pink Sails Swag, drinks, or tips.

For Explorers

Exploring Oahu gives you a firsthand experience of many things, from luxury shopping at Ala Moana Centre to experiencing traditional luaus so people keep coming back for more.

Experience A Traditional Luau

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

Let’s talk about luaus, which are one of the most classic Hawaiian experiences. I was really excited to go to one and did a lot of research to find the best option.

What I found out was that doing a luau at a hotel might not give you the most authentic experience. While some people enjoy them, they can be quite touristy.

Many locals recommended the Polynesian Cultural Center as the top spot for a luau. When you buy a ticket here, you not only get to enjoy the luau but also access the whole property. It’s like a mini theme park focused on teaching people about the cultures of the Polynesian islands.

I believe learning about the culture of a place you’re visiting is really important, and the Polynesian Cultural Center does a great job of that. It’s a fantastic place to visit, especially if you’re traveling with kids. They’ll have a full day of fun watching shows, trying out activities, and learning all about Polynesia.

Ala Moana Shopping Centre

While this spot is quite popular among tourists, it’s also a local favorite, and I couldn’t leave out mentioning the largest outdoor mall in the world!

Inside the mall, there’s a ton to do, from high-end shopping to dining at sit-down restaurants on the fourth floor to browsing through unique, one-of-a-kind shops that are exclusive to Hawaii. If you’re visiting the place on your rental car,, they have a parking lot available to keep your car safe.

Overall, the mall is a fantastic place to wander around and discover, and with Ala Moana Park just across the street, the entire area is perfect for getting out and stretching your legs!

Dive Into The Pool During Judd Trail

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

You won’t find many suggesting this place as it is not a very well-known hike, but if you have the time, you should definitely check out this trail!

The Judd Trail is a wonderful place and home to the serene Jackass Ginger Pool—a prime spot for soaking up the sun and taking a refreshing dip (the reason why this is one of my favorite hikes).

It doesn’t matter which way you go; you’ll definitely cross paths with the pool. I suggest you take an extra pair of clothes because the route can be quite muddy, and you’ll want to take a dive into the pool.

Trust me, there’s nothing like rinsing off that mud and cooling down in the crystal-clear waters of Jackass Ginger Pool to round off your adventure!

Snorkeling At Waikiki And Hanauma Bay

Waikiki Beach and Hanauma Bay are two of the most popular destinations for those looking to snorkel on Oahu. You just have to rent snorkel gear, and you’ll be ready to explore the incredible marine life in tropical waters without the hassle of diving. Snorkeling doesn’t require any past experiences, so it’s also easy for the kids to participate in this activity.

Some of the best snorkeling spots in Oahu are found on the North Shore, such as Laniakea Beach (also called Turtle Beach), Turtle Bay (a bit ahead of Turtle Beach), and Sharks Cove. The experts at the rental shops can give you great tips on where to find the most sea creatures.

Hanauma Bay, in particular, is known for its stunning underwater scenery. You can see many aquatic creatures, including the famous Hawaiian green sea turtles, which are sure to make your day.

Taste Delicious Food At Sunrise Shack

Fun Activities To Do When Visiting Oahu

The Sunrise Shack holds a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike, serving up delicious coffee and açaí bowls that have become favorites all over the island.

They are located at Sunset Beach on the North Shore, where you can start your day with a cup of their signature brew or indulge in a refreshing açaí bowl as you soak in the stunning coastal views.

But that’s not all! The Sunrise Shack also spreads its sunny vibes in other popular spots across the island. It’s just walking distance from Waikiki and Ala Moana Shopping Centre, so when you get tired of all the exploration, you can just get yourself a table here and watch the sun go down.

After tasting their food, I truly believe that they do not compromise on using quality ingredients and providing friendly service. This is why The Sunrise Shack has become a go-to destination for those seeking a taste of Hawaii’s vibrant flavors and laid-back atmosphere.

So why not start your day the island way and experience the warmth and energy that The Sunrise Shack has to offer?


What are some must-visit beaches in Oahu?

Some of the best beaches on Oahu, which you have to visit at least once, are Waikiki Beach, Lanikai Beach, and the beaches on the North Shore.

Are there any outdoor activities I can enjoy in Oahu?

Yes, there are several outdoor activities, such as hiking, snorkeling, zip lining, flying in a helicopter, surfing on the nearby beaches, and much more.

How can I reach Oahu from Honolulu airport?

You can book a shuttle or rental car to reach your destination. Other public transportation is also available. But according to me, renting a vehicle is the best option as it gives you the freedom to go around. Also, they are very budget-friendly, so they won’t be heavy on your pockets. There are several rentals in Honolulu city from where you can get the vehicle of your choice.

Are there any historical sites on Oahu?

Yes, there are historical sites on Oahu where you can go while visiting Oahu. Two of the great options are Iolani Palace and Bishop Museum. You can visit their website to know about the exact operating hours.

To Wrap It Up

Visiting Oahu offers a plethora of unforgettable experiences, catering to every taste and preference. From thrilling adventures like hiking the Koko Crater Stairs or diving with sharks on the North Shore to family-friendly activities such as snorkeling with dolphins or exploring the Dole Plantation, Oahu has something for everyone.

From couple friendly activities to kid friendly ones, there’s something for everyone Oahu has to offer and guess what? Activities on Oahu cannot go wrong for having a memorable Hawaii trip.

No matter how you choose to spend your time on Oahu, one thing is certain: you’ll leave with memories to last a lifetime and a longing to return to this enchanting island paradise.


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