A shortlist of my all-time favourite things to do on Oahu.
These must-do experiences are waiting for you on Oahu, social hub of the Hawaiian Islands.
01. Conquer the Diamond Head crater hike
02. Plunge into Oahu’s sparkling waters
03. Relax with a tropical cocktail at sunset
04. Tick off the island’s shopping hot-spots
05. Dip under the wonderful Waihi Waterfall
06. Road-trip to the North Shore surf mecca
07. Engage in a Hawaiian cultural activity
08. Get educated on Hawaii at a major museum
09. Re-visit history at Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
10. Explore the stunning South-East Coast
1. Conquer the Diamond Head crater hike
Brave the 0.8 mi (1.2 km) hike to the top of Diamond Head, an extinct volcano crater, via 200+ steps and a few tunnels. You’ll be rewarded with postcard views over Honolulu.
SEARCH ACTIVITY SHOP: Diamond Head
2. Plunge into Oahu’s sparkling waters
Choose from a raft of ocean activities like kayaking, outrigger canoe riding, parasailing, scuba diving, shark diving, snorkelling, stand up paddleboarding, surfing, windsurfing, banana boating and the list goes on…
SEARCH ACTIVITY SHOP: Water Sports in Oahu
3. Relax with a tropical cocktail at sunset
Position yourself at one of Waikiki’s incredible beachfront bars, order a cocktail (try a Mai Tai, Blue Hawaii or Lava Flow) and watch an unforgettable sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
- Duke’s Waikiki at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort
- Mai Tai Bar at The Royal Hawaiian Resort
- RumFire Waikiki at Sheraton Waikiki
- The Beach Bar at The Moana Surfrider
- Tropics Bar & Grill at Hilton Hawaiian Village
4. Tick off the island’s shopping hot-spots
Oahu delivers a shopper’s paradise with everything from the world’s largest outdoor mall and duty-free galleria to local boutiques and an open-air factory outlet.
- Ala Moana Center
- Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace
- Collections of Waikiki
- Haleiwa Store Lots
- Hilton Hawaiian Village Shops
- Hukilau Marketplace
- International Market Place
- Kahala Mall
- Ka Makana Alii
- Kapolei Commons
- Luxury Row
- Pearlridge Center
- Pualeilani Atrium Shops
- Royal Hawaiian Center
- Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH
- South Shore Market
- T Galleria by DFS
- Waikiki Beach Walk
- Waikiki Business Plaza
- Waikiki Premium Outlets
- Waikiki Shopping Plaza
- Ward Village Shops
SEARCH ACTIVITY SHOP: Waikele Center
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5. Dip under the wonderful Waihi Waterfall
Waihi Waterfall is 45 ft (13 m) piece of paradise in Waimea Valley on Oahu’s North Shore (opposite Waimea Bay). Visit this attraction for a peaceful botanic garden walk and refreshing swim.
SEARCH ACTIVITY SHOP: Oahu Coach Tour including Dole Plantation and Waimea Falls
6. Road-trip to the North Shore surf mecca
Rent a car or take a tour to Oahu’s beautiful North Shore, explore the historic surf town of Haleiwa and famous surf spots like Sunset Beach. Don’t forget to try shave ice and eat at a shrimp truck (my favourite is Fumi’s).
SEARCH ACTIVITY SHOP: North Shore
7. Engage in a Hawaiian cultural activity
Connect with Hawaii’s host culture through a ukulele, lei making, quilting, lauhala weaving or hula lesson. Royal Hawaiian Center offers complimentary cultural programming Tuesday to Saturday.
SEARCH ACTIVITY SHOP: Oahu Cultural Tours
8. Get educated on Hawaii at a major museum
Carve out some holiday time to delve deeper into Hawaii’s history, people, arts, plants, animals and more, at one of Oahu’s many museums.
- Bishop Museum
- Hawaii State Art Museum
- Hawaii Mission Houses
- Honolulu Museum of Art
- Iolani Palace
- Queen Emma Summer Palace
SEARCH ACTIVITY SHOP: Bishop Museum
9. Re-visit history at Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
Allow ample time at this national historic landmark to visit not only the USS Arizona Memorial but the Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Oklahoma Memorial.
SEARCH ACTIVITY SHOP: Pearl Harbor
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Rent a car or take a tour to Oahu’s south-east coast, snorkel at Hanauma Bay, dip in Halona Beach, hike to Makapuu Point Lighthouse, explore Kailua and Lanikai beaches before returning via the Nuuanu Pali Lookout.