Break away 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.
After six years at Hawaii Tourism, I had taken 40+ trips to the Hawaiian Islands. Most visits were multi-island, but every single one of them included Oahu. I thought I knew of, if not had experienced, everything Oahu had to offer travelers.
And then I moved here.
Over the last five years I’ve discovered so many more things to do on Oahu. I’ve been surprised and delighted by new activities that weren’t on my radar, and I’m here to share some of them with you.
UNIQUE THINGS TO DO ON OAHU:
- Book a Mermaid Photo or Video Shoot
- Play a Live-Action Escape Game
- Invade Waikiki’s Shores on a Pirate Ship
- Tour Underwater on a Submarine Scooter
- Attend a Local Polo Match
- Paint Your Own Hawaii Holiday Memento
- Go Locomotive on a Historic Train Ride
- Experience the Thrill of Indoor Go-Kart Racing
- Cool Off at Hawaii’s Only Ice Rink
- Play a Round of Mini Golf in the Dark
- Pilot a Flight Simulator at Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
- Go Forest Bathing in a Rainforest
- Swim With Sharks With or Without a Cage
- Night Stand Up Paddleboarding with Fireworks
- 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 Hawaii Holiday Memento
Mix step-by-step painting instruction and a few glasses of wine and what do you get? A super fun night at Painting with a Twist in Honolulu’s Kakaako district.
Check the event calendar and book your painting class in advance. Many designs are reminiscent of Hawaii’s island lifestyle, making them the perfect take home gift.
7. Go locomotive on a historic train ride
Learn about Hawaii’s railway history and the sugarcane era at Oahu’s only railroad museum, Hawaiian Railway Society. Every Saturday at 3pm, and Sunday at 1pm and 3pm, you can pack a picnic and climb aboard the train for a pleasant journey along historical tracks. Catch the 3pm “ice cream ride” to stop at Two Scoops in Ko Olina where you can enjoy some ice cream.
8. Experience the thrill of indoor go-kart racing
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, the center operates a great “arrive and drive” program, features a Pit Cafe and a museum-quality collection of racing memorabilia and race cars.
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. It has set Public Hours daily, check the timetable online. General Admission is only US$10.75 pp for skate rental and unlimited skating!
And there you have it, ten lesser-known Oahu experiences uncovered for your next visit to Hawaii!
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