Breakaway from the masses on your Hawaii holiday and try something different. It’s time to shine a spotlight on Oahu activities you might not know about, until now.
UNIQUE THINGS TO DO ON OAHU:
- Book a Mermaid Photo or Video Shoot
- Play a Live-Action Escape Game
- Discover Waikiki’s Shores on a Pirate Ship
- Tour Underwater on a Submarine Scooter
- Attend a Local Polo Match
- Paint Your Own Holiday Memento
- Ride a Historic Locomotive
- Experience the Thrill of Indoor Go-Karting
- Cool Off at Hawaii’s Only Ice Rink
- Play a Round of Mini Golf in the Dark
- Pilot a Flight Simulator
- Go Forest Bathing in a Rainforest
- Swim With Sharks (With or Without a Cage)
- Night Stand-Up Paddleboarding
- Axe Throw Your Heart Out
1. Book a Mermaid Photo or Video Shoot
For a once-in-a-lifetime aquatic adventure schedule a Mermaid Photo or Video Shoot in Hawaii. The Mermaid Videoshoot takes place in Magic Island Lagoon at Ala Moana Beach Park where you’ll learn to swim with a tail and snorkel with local fish. The Mermaid Photoshoot is set in a tropical spa tub at a private residence in Kapolei on Oahu’s west coast. They provide ample tails, props, and accessories to make your sea-creature dreams come true!
2. Play a Live-Action Escape Game
Attempt to crack codes and problem-solve riddles under 60-minutes of pressure at Breakout Waikiki, a live-action escape game. This challenging experience is sure to keep your brain active while on holiday! This fun activity serves as a great option for a rainy day or evening with sessions start times running right up until 9-10pm. Participate in groups of 2-8 people, and if you get hooked there are four different game rooms for you to conquer.
BREAKOUT WAIKIKI GAME ROOMS:
3. Discover Waikiki’s Shores on a Pirate Ship
If you’ve ever wanted to peek into the world of a pirate’s life, this Oahu attraction is for you. An entertaining team of pirate characters at Hawaii Pirate Ship Adventures will take you on a seafaring journey along Honolulu’s coastline. Sailing options include a family-friendly Daytime Pirate Ship Tour and an adults-only Pirate Dance Booze Cruise (it’s basically a floating nightclub). You can also charter the ship privately for groups.
4. Tour Underwater on a Submarine Scooter
For a truly unique tour, no diving experience necessary, descend under the ocean on an eco-friendly submersible electric scooter. Departing from Hawaii Kai on Oahu’s south-east coast, the Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure escorts you via catamaran to the clear waters of Maunalua Bay, where you’ll hop onto the submarine scooters. Glide effortlessly underwater along tropical reefs to discover Hawaii’s colorful fish and green sea turtles.
5. Attend a Local Polo Match
Hawaii’s polo season runs from May to October every year with matches are held at the Honolulu Polo Club in Waimanalo every Sunday afternoon. Take the Oahu Polo Game and Private Island Tour from Honolulu to watch the game festivities and enjoy the opportunity to mingle with locals at this Oahu community event. For non-match days or outside of Hawaii’s Polo Season try Hawaii Polo Oceanfront Horseback Rides.
6. Paint Your Own Holiday Memento
What do you get if you mix step-by-step painting instruction and wine? A fun night at Painting with a Twist in Kakaako, a 15-minute drive west from Waikiki. Check the event calendar and secure your spot in advance. Most designs represent Hawaii’s island lifestyle, making them the perfect souvenir. For groups of five or more, book Happy Canvas Hawaii in Kailua. It’s an outdoor painting experience that takes place on the lawn of a beachfront property overlooking the Mokulua Islands.
7. Ride a Historic Locomotive
Hawaiian Railway Society operates train rides along a historic stretch of track out on Oahu’s west side. Held on Saturday at 3pm, and Sunday at 1pm and 3pm, this locomotive journey is fun for the whole family and provides great insight into Hawaii’s railroading history. A picnic area is available for passengers to use before or after their train ride, and you can also take food and beverages onboard.
8. Experience the Thrill of Indoor Go-Karting
Competitive types can challenge their travel party to an indoor go-kart race using high-performance electric motors at K1 Speed Hawaii. Located in Kapolei on Oahu’s west side, the center operates a great “arrive and drive” program, features a Pit Cafe, and a great collection of racing memorabilia and race cars. This venue is one of the few locations kitted out in the latest glow-in-the-dark technology allowing for an illuminating “Glo Karting” experience only on Mon, Wed and Fri 8-10pm.
9. Cool Off at Hawaii’s Only Ice Rink
Who knew that you could go ice skating in Hawaii! The doors at Ice Palace Hawaii opened in 1982 and they’ve been helping people cool down from the tropical heat ever since. You’ll find the ice rink a short 30-minute drive from Waikiki near Pearl Harbor. The rink has set Public Skating Hours daily, so make sure you check the timetable beforehand. General Admission pricing is affordable and includes skate rental and unlimited skating.
10. Play a Round of Mini Golf in the Dark
Glow Putt Mini Golf is Hawaii’s original glow in the dark 18-hole miniature golf course. This entertaining rainy-day activity is located inside Windward Mall in Kaneohe, about a 30-minute drive from Waikiki. Participants are encouraged to wear glow attire but don’t worry they also sell light-up merchandise for all ages, as well as Glow Putt theme t-shirts. Regular Admission is only $7 per person, they haven’t changed their pricing in over ten years!
11. Pilot a Flight Simulator
Roll, somersault, spin, and loop through the sky in Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum‘s state-of-the-art combat flight simulator. The Fighter Ace 360-degree Flight Simulator seats two people and has two rides to choose from. Try a heart-racing dogfight in a P-38 over tropical waters in Thunder in the Pacific or a futuristic flight across the galaxy in a spaceship with Quantum Star Fighter. Tickets are only available at the front desk (first-come, first-serve). There are 150 tickets are available per day.
12. Go Forest Bathing in a Rainforest
Restore your sense of well-being on a Forest Bathing Tour at Lyon Arboretum in Manoa Valley, one of Oahu’s beautiful botanical gardens. Meander along easy trails under the rainforest canopy with a certified Forest Therapy Guide. Bathers are invited to touch, listen, smell, and taste Mother Nature, slowly letting the stresses of modern life slip away. This peaceful and meditative walk is capped off with a locally-sourced snack and tea.
13. Swim With Sharks (With or Without a Cage)
If you’re curious about observing sharks in their natural environment Oahu’s North Shore is the place to be! There are several “shark dive” companies that offer this unforgettable experience. North Shore Shark Adventures gives you the opportunity to view sharks from the safety of a shark cage (or from the boat). Or join One Ocean, the first and only cage-less shark research and diving program in Hawaii, to swim with sharks in the open water!
14. Night Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Meet a local yoga instructor for a unique Night SUP (Stand-up Paddleboarding) Yoga lesson at Ala Moana Beach Park, a short walk or drive from Waikiki. Start your practice on top of illuminated paddleboards floating on the Pacific Ocean at sunset. Beginners through to advanced yogis are welcome, all poses are moved through at a slow pace, enjoyed as the Honolulu city skyline lights up and the stars and moon shine above. Truly magical.
15. Axe Throw Your Heart Out
Grab your nearest and dearest (as long as they’re over 10 years old) and give axe throwing a go at Blade & Timber in Kakaako, about 15-minutes drive from Waikiki. This is an ideal choice for stress relief, a date night, or just for fun! Book a lane with up to eight people and get throwing. Coaches are on hand to provide instruction and make sure you know how to throw safely. They have limited snacks, so feel free to bring your own. I recommend stopping at the nearby Whole Foods beforehand.
And there you have it, fifteen lesser-known Oahu experiences uncovered for your next visit to Hawaii.
Disclosure: The Hawaii Admirer will earn a small commission for purchases made using the affiliate links on this website. Mahalo [Thank you] for your support!