50 Things To Do & See on Oahu, Hawaii

50 Things To Do & See on Oahu, Hawaii

50 Things To Do & See on Oahu, Hawaii

50 Things To Do & See on Oahu, Hawaii

50 Things To Do & See on Oahu, Hawaii

50 Things To Do & See on Oahu, Hawaii

50 Things To Do & See on Oahu, Hawaii

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Tidepools on beach with mountain in the backround - Hawaii

There are endless activities and places to see during a trip to Oahu, and it can be a little daunting to choose the best things to do! Sorting through all of the information on the internet can be overwhelming and stressful, but I believe planning your vacation should be part of the fun.


This post is here to help you cut through the clutter and plan an unforgettable trip that will leave you with lasting memories of this beautiful island. I have been exploring Oahu, Hawaii for the past seven years. Here’s my list of over 50 AMAZING things to do on Oahu for a meaningful and memorable experience.

Got questions about traveling to Hawaii? I’d love to help! Leave your Qs in the comments below 🙂

Start the day by watching the Sunrise


The best spots for sunrise on Oahu:

Sunrise at Kualoa Regional Park in Oahu, Hawaii

Sunrise at Kualoa Beach

If you’re up for a morning sunrise hike try: 

Visit Oahu’s iconic beaches on all four coasts of the island. Each one offers something unique!


Waikiki Beach (South Oahu)

Located along the famous Kalakaua Ave strip, there’s no better place to catch your first wave, float in an inflatable tube, people watch, or simply gaze at stunning Diamond Head crater.

View of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head with people on sand and swimming in water - Honlulu, Oahu, Hawaii

View of Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head in Honolulu


Lanikai Beach (East aka Windward Oahu)

Stopping at Lanikai to get a picture of the mokes (the two offshore islets) is a must-do! Head to Lanikai early if you plan to spend the day here. You’ll need to park along the side of the road and space fills up very quickly.

Instagram Photo in front of the twin islands (makes or mokuluas) at Lanikai Beach in Kailua on Oahu, Hawaii

Lanikai Beach is one of Oahu’s best photo opps!


Kailua Beach (East aka Windward Oahu)

Located down the road from Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach is equally gorgeous with easier parking in one of two parking lots. Space fills up here just as quickly so start your beach day early!

Ocean Safety Disclaimer: Beach and ocean conditions can be extremely dangerous and certain activities may require a certain level of ability and skill. Always take proper safety precautions when near bodies of water and pay special attention to weather forecasts, tides, currents, and safety signage. Visit hioceansafety.com to view current wind & surf reports and additional safety information. As the trusty old saying goes: When in doubt, don’t go out! 


Sunset Beach (North Shore Oahu)

This is an all-around perfect Hawaiian Beach! During summer months it is the perfect spot to take a dip and swim around. In the winter months, you can watch experienced surfers riding monster waves. As the name suggests, this is a great sunset destination year-round.

Calm crystal clear blue water at Sunset Beach on Oahu North Shore - summer swimming

What a difference a few months can make at Sunset Beach!


Waimea Bay (North Shore Oahu)

This famous beach is home to the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational surf competition. If the water is calm in the summer, you can jump off the huge rock into the turquoise blue water below! Be sure to check with the lifeguards to make sure it is safe to do so.

Thrill-seekers will LOVE taking the 25ft plunge from the iconic Waimea Bay jump rock


Makaha Beach (West aka Leeward Oahu)

Makaha is home to another famous surf beach with spectacular swimming on calm days.


Ko Olina Lagoons (West aka Leeward Oahu)

There are three sheltered lagoons located within the Ko Olina resort area. The lagoons are perfect for families or anyone looking for calm water to splash in.

Idyllic Ko Olina Lagoons on Oahu’s Leeward coast

Check out the best places to eat on Oahu and try some of Hawaii’s famous snacks, drinks & dishes!


Cool off with some shave ice from Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa or Island Snow in Kailua.

My go-to flavors are guava, lilikoi (passionfruit) + mango. Try yours with ice cream at the bottom or condensed milk drizzled on top – yum!


Pick up some warm malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) from Leonard’s in Honolulu.

Malasadas (Donuts) from Leonard's in Honolulu - Oahu Hawaii - Foodie

I had to get all of my favorites – guava, haupia, and macadamia. Try one coated with li hing powder!


Try some ahi poke (raw tuna, typically served over rice). 


For casual grab and go, my favorite is Foodland (local grocery store). Many restaurants also offer a more upscale poke dish as an appetizer.

Spicy Ahi Tuna Poke over rice from Foodland in Pupukea - North Shore Oahu, Hawaii. The best lunch or dinner on Oahu!

Spicy ahi tuna poke over rice with furikake from Foodland in Pupukea. Poke pairs well with the view at Sunset Beach!


Order a refreshing acai bowl (or smoothie) from Haleiwa Bowls or Sunrise Shack  – both on Oahu’s North Shore.

Nothing beats cold acai on a hot Hawaiian day


Chow down on a plate lunch. 


Ted’s Bakery does it best (make sure to save room for their famous haupia cream pie too!)

Traditional plate lunches are served with a big portion of protein, rice and mac salad

If you prefer sandwiches, Ted’s teriyaki chicken is amazing

Don’t forget dessert! Try a slice of their famous cream pie


Try some fresh, island-grown fruit! 


Stop by the Dole Plantation for some pineapple (or try some Dole Whip – aka pineapple soft serve.) There are also some amazing farm stands selling just-picked fruit like Kahuku Land Farms. My mouth is watering just thinking of the fresh lilikoi, guava, mango and kiwi! 

Tropical fruit for sale at Hawaiian farm stand

You can’t beat the fresh fruit selection at Kahuku Land Fruit Stand on Oahu’s North Shore


Enjoy a cup of Hawaiian-grown coffee.

My favorite island coffee order – cold brew with coconut milk and honey (Haleiwa Bowls does it best!)


Try the famous shrimp trucks in Kahuku on the North Shore. You’ll know you’re close when you can smell garlic in the air!

Shrimp scampi from Giovanni’s Aloha Shrimp


Attend a Luau and try Hawaiian staples like poi, lomilomi salmon, kalua pig, and shoyu chicken.

Adventurous Things to Do on Oahu


Swim in a tidepool after a quick hike down from the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail.

Make sure the Tidepools are safe before taking a dip. It is extremely important to check the tides and weather forecasts ahead of your visit.


Dive with sharks – with or without a cage!

Swimming with sharks is my all-time favorite thing to do on Oahu!

Check out some of my favorite shark dive tours below or read my full blog post »


Take a surf lesson in Waikiki or Haleiwa.

Waikiki Surfers on colorful surfboard - beginner surf spots Oahu Hawaii


See Oahu from the sky and take a helicopter tour of the island. This is actually the only (legal) way to see Sacred Falls – Oahu’s tallest waterfall. You might also be treated to a full circle rainbow!

Stunning Diamond Head

Sacred Falls


Take in panoramic views of lush island vegetation during an exhilarating Zipline adventure.


Kayak to the mokes in Lanikai or to Chinaman’s Hat in Kualoa. The view of Oahu from these little islands is unforgettable!


Skydive on Oahu’s North Shore.


Ride ATVs or Electric Mountain Bikes at Kualoa Ranch (one of the places Jurassic Park was filmed!)

Kualoa Ranch View from Helicopter

Aerial view of Kualoa Ranch


Or you can tour Kualoa Ranch during a scenic horseback ride

Take a hike!


Easy-to-Moderate Oahu Hikes:

View of rainbow over the ocean from top of Diamond Head crater hike

A few of the 800 stairs leading to the summit of Koko Head Crater

View of Kahana Bay from the top of Crouching Lion

Hiking Disclaimer:  Hiking can be extremely dangerous and certain hikes may require a certain level of ability – not every trail is a good idea for every person. Please keep your personal fitness and skill levels in mind, and always take proper safety precautions. Many popular hikes in Hawaii are also illegal and could come with hefty fines. Do your research before your adventures to make sure hikes are open to the public and not on private land. Always check weather forecasts and tides if applicable!


Hard Oahu Hikes:

  • Pali notches
  • Haiku Stairs aka Stairway to Heaven (FYI this hike is illegal!)
  • Olomana Trail aka Three peaks
View of mountain ridges from the Haiku Stairway to Heaven hike on Oahu

The Stairway to Heaven is not for the faint of heart! You’ll climb a rickety “staircase” until you’re so high up your head is in the clouds. 

Get up close to Hawaii’s extraordinary sea life


Visit some sleepy turtles at Laniakea Beach. Just be sure to keep your distance!


Take a whale watching tour (November – May)

Humpback whale breaching in front of rainbow on Oahu Hawaii west coast Waianai

Humpback whales are born in Hawaiian waters each year, making them kamaʻāina (native born)


Swim with wild dolphins in Waianae.

Swimming with wild dolphins is one of the most magical things you’ll ever experience!

Look but never touch! Many of Hawaii’s animals are protected by law which require you to give them space. Never touch, disturb, or chase the wildlife you come across on your adventures.


Snorkel at popular spots like Hanauma Bay or Shark’s Cove (or tote your own snorkel and mask and explore beaches like Makua Beach, Lanikai Beach, and Kaimana Beach)

Chase waterfalls!


Swim underneath a waterfall at Waimea Valley (the only Oahu waterfall with a lifeguard on duty)

Enjoy a short 20-30 minute walk through a paved Botanical Garden to reach this beautiful waterfall and swimming hole


Or hike to a waterfall like Manoa Falls, Lulumahu Falls or Likeke Falls.

Beautiful (and less crowded) Likeke Falls

Manoa Falls is a sight to see with its 150ft drop

Visit a historic site


Learn about one of the most pivotal moments in US history – the attack on Pearl Harbor – at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Tours are available daily to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, which is built over the remains of the sunken battleship USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the 1,177 crewmen killed on December 7, 1941.

USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor


Find the Kaniakapūpū Ruins aka King Kamehameha III Summer Home.


Visit the stunning Byodo-In Temple, a non-denominational Buddhist temple nestled at the base of towering green mountains. The temple was dedicated in 1968 as a centennial commemoration of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. The name translates to “Temple of Equality”.

One of the most stunning sights to see is the elegant Byodo-In Temple nestled against the towering Ko’olau Mountains

Enjoy a leisurely activity


Play a round of golf on some of the most scenic courses in the world.

Golf cart on golf course at Ko'olau Golf Club on Oahu Hawaii

If you’re a fan of both Jurassic Park and Golf, you’ll have to book a tee time at the breathtaking Ko’olau Golf Club in Kaneohe


Indulge in a spa day! Try a traditional Hawaiian treatment like a Lomi Lomi massage.

Take amazing pictures at Hawaii’s most scenic locations


Take in the majestic mountain views at Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden.

The famous palm-lined entrance to Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden in Kaneohe


Visit a plumeria grove during springtime at Koko Crater Botanical Garden (Entry is FREE!)


Drive up the windward (east) coast to find adorable beach swings.

Some of my favorite swings at Kahana Bay Beach Park

Visit famous movie filming locations


Kualoa Ranch – they even offer a movie tour!


Movies filmed here: 50 First Dates, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Kong Skull Island, and – most famously – Jurassic Park. 

Giant ape bones movie prop from Kong: Skull Island at Kualoa Ranch


Waimea Valley


Movies filmed here: The Hunger Games Catching Fire, You, Me and Dupree, George of the Jungle, and Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle.


La’ie Point (from the hilariously uncomfortable cliff jumping scene with Mila Kunis and Jason Segal in Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

Laie Point - Rocky cliffs with steep drops into the blue ocean on Oahu Hawaii's North Shore

“If you fall straight down you’ll probably hit a rock and kill yourself!” … “Totally!”

End the day by watching the Sunset


Take a sunset cruise from Waikiki

Female (Lauren) having fun on a sunset catamaran tour in front of Diamond Head in Waikiki on Oahu

There are a variety of tour offerings ranging from high-energy cocktail sails to romantic & luxurious dinner cruises


Or watch the sun go down from the beach! Here are some of the best sunset spots on Oahu:

  • Waikiki Beach (South Oahu)
  • Haleiwa Beach (North Shore) – be on the lookout for turtles!
  • Makua Beach, Makaha Beach, or Yokohama Bay (West Oahu)
  • Kailua Beach (East Oahu)  even though the sun sets in the west, you can still catch a beautiful sunset on the eastern shore of the island
Turtle coming up for air at Haleiwa Beach during sunset

Can you spot the turtle head poking up from the water?

Bright orange sunset at Makaha Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

Citrus skies at Makua Beach

Then hit the town for an exciting night!


Enjoy a free show on Waikiki Beach! Catch the hula show on Tuesday nights or watch the fireworks on Friday night.

Fireworks on Waikiki Beach at night


Unwind with a tropical cocktail. Try a mai tai  an island staple!

Mai Tai from Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman topped with their signature lilikoi foam

Whatever you decide to do during your visit to Oahu, Hawaii, you’re sure to have a blast. Did any of these activities make your must-do list? Let me know in the comments!

About Laur

Aloha, I’m Lauren! One of my favorite things to do is explore the Hawaiian island of Oahu and nothing makes me happier than sharing what I’ve learned over the past 7 years with those planning their own adventures. I started Lauraloha Travel to help you enjoy every minute of your experience from planning all the way to paradise. Mahalo for exploring with me!

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Some posts may contain affiliate links that when used, generate a small commission for LaurAloha Travel at no additional cost to you. In fact, some links may actually provide a discount! Our top priority is to make your planning and travel experiences as seamless as possible, so any product or service promoted through this platform (sponsored or not) is carefully chosen to do just that. Affiliate links and sponsored content allow us to continue helping people like you plan amazing experiences. We are endlessly grateful for your support and hope you find value in all of our recommendations! Learn more here »

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