Hello, guests! Welcome to the island of Oahu! As a major tourist destination, there are literally thousands of activities to do while you’re here, yet you’re probably still confused about where to start. No need to fret, fellow vacationers! Hyannisholiday has you covered with our 20+ amazing things to do in Oahu, Hawaii in 2022.
Oahu lives up to its nickname, “The Gathering Place,” and then more. The majority of Hawaii’s multiethnic population lives on the third biggest island, where they have created a unique synthesis of East Asian and Western cultural influences that remains firmly entrenched in the beliefs and practices of the indigenous Hawaiian people. Exploring Oahu, with its lively cities and chill seaside towns, is a pleasure because of the stark contrast between the ancient and the modern.
Oahu is the most populous island in Hawaii and is divided into five unique and exciting areas: Honolulu, the Windward Coast, Central Oahu, the Leeward Coast, and the North Shore.
Most tourists spend their time in Honolulu and Waikiki, but the rest of the island holds historical and cultural gems that are just waiting to be found. From the North Shore and Haleiwa’s chill surfer vibe to the Windward Coast’s verdant valleys and breathtaking vistas, Hawaii has it all.
This list of 20+ activities will help you make the most of your time on the Hawaiian islands of Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, and of course Oahu, whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an exciting new experience.
KAYAK TO MOKULUA
Kayaking out to the Mokulua Islands, located between Kailua and Lanikai, is one of the nicest day adventures you can take on Oahu. Travellers looking for peace and quiet may reach the island’s residential west side from bustling Honolulu in only 30 minutes by crossing the island’s mountains.
Mokulua is two small islands located just off the shore of Oahu. Kayaking is a great way to see the islands and get some exercise; it is possible to reach this location from Kailua or Lanikai. Rent a paddleboard and paddle across the water. Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented from Kailua Beach Adventures. Of the two islands, only Mokulua Nui is accessible to visitors. You can try cliff jumping or hiking on the trails there.
HIKE TO DIAMOND HEAD CRATER
When you reach the summit of Diamond Head in Oahu, you will be treated to breathtaking views in every direction. This Oahu trail may look daunting at first glance, but it only takes around 40 to 60 minutes to reach the 760-foot summit of Diamond Head. The whole distance of the hike is 2.5 kilometres.
While the number of hikers in front of you and the steepness of some of the terrain (including tiny stairs) may make your ascent to the summit of Diamond Head seem like a daunting task, just think of the breathtaking views that await you at the summit. Everything you need to know, right here, right now, before you leave!
SEE THE BYODO – IN TEMPLE
This temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a faithful recreation of the original Byodo-In Temple in Uji, Japan, which dates back a thousand years. The grounds are beautiful and tranquil and are definitely worth exploring.
You can find hundreds of Japanese koi fish and free-roaming peacocks within the Temple’s exquisite landscaping, which is hidden in a cleft of the pali. There is a huge pond for reflection, quiet nooks for contemplation, and a couple of waterfalls on the grounds. Beautiful, tranquil, and serene are just a few of the words used to describe this resort.
This is only one of many examples of Hawaii’s multiethnic and multicultural society.
ZIPLINE THROUGH JURASSIC PARK, KUALOA RANCH
It’s true that you won’t be able to zipline past actual Jurassic Park dinosaurs, but that’s just fine. However, Kualoa Ranch offers ziplining through breathtaking landscapes that have been in blockbuster films.
Being hundreds of feet in the air and thinking a pterodactyl might crash down on me at any second is the best method I can think of to get my heart racing. Even if that’s not your thing, just gazing at the beautiful scenery below you while you soar through the air on a zipline is a fantastic experience in its own right.
GO OUT TO CHINAMAN’S HAT
The Mokoli’i island is commonly referred to as Chinaman’s Hat because its form is often mistaken for an antique Chinese labourer’s hat.
If you want to stroll to Chinaman’s Hat, you should do it only during low tides, wear old tennis shoes or water shoes, and be careful not to step on any sharp reef fragments. There are two primary destinations on the island, and they are the climb and the cove. Travellers who make it to the island can then ascend to the peak of Mokolii.
You may kayak over the calm waters of Kaneohe, or you can swim across from Kualoa Regional Park if you’re feeling adventurous. Renting a kayak on Active Oahu is a fantastic experience. If you make it there, you can go on a hike around the island and check out the caves and scenery.
STROLL THROUGH HO’OMALUHIA BOTANICAL GARDEN
The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, located on Oahu alongside a 32-acre freshwater lake, is another excellent spot to view the diverse plant life of the islands. This is a big region with a wealth of attractions, and it is just one of the many stunning locations to be found all throughout the islands.
The gardens feature every conceivable shade of green, and the Koolau Mountain Range makes for a stunning backdrop to your vacation snaps. A trip to this garden will enrich your understanding of Hawaii and is a must on any trip there. In case you fall in love with the garden, you are welcome to spend the night there. Be sure to plan ahead and book a reservation.
CATCH A SUNRISE FROM LANIKAI PILLBOX
The Hawaii climb to the Lanikai pillbox is one of the best on the island of Oahu and is a fantastic place to watch the sun rise or set. Without a doubt, it ranks among Oahu’s top attractions. This track, which is also known as the Kailua pillbox trek and the Kaiwa ridge trail, has gained popularity as a morning hike due to its short length and breathtaking views of Lanikai Beach and the distant Mokulua islands.
Don’t miss out on this hidden gem of a beach. The sand at Lanikai Beach is exceptionally soft and white. There is widespread agreement that this beach is among the best in the world. Start your day off right with a refreshing swim and some serious island envy thanks to two islands off the coast.
Driving to the trailhead takes around 40 minutes while taking the bus there will take over an hour. From the trailhead, the ascent to the vantage point is relatively quick but rather steep. Incredible vistas of windward Oahu may be seen in every direction from the ridge’s peak. You can view Lanikai Beach and the tiny Mokulua islands (the “Mokes”) to the east, the Ko’olau Mountains and some of Kailua to the west.
SPEND THE DAY AT HANAUMA BAY
If you’re visiting the island of Oahu, you absolutely must stop by Hanauma Bay. If you wish to meet a wide variety of tropical fish and other marine creatures, this is one of the best places to do it on Oahu. There’s something here for snorkelers of all skill levels and ages. There’s even a center dedicated to teaching people about marine life before they dive in to view it for themselves.
In spite of the crowds, the beaches and shallower waters make this an excellent area for a swim. Moreover, it’s a stunning location for socializing and unwinding.
CHECK OUT HALONA BLOWHOLE
Hawaii’s famous Halona Blowhole was constructed by molten lava tubes thousands of years ago after a volcanic eruption. Even though Oahu no longer has any active volcanoes, the blowhole is still a popular tourist attraction.
The blowhole views out over some of the roughest waters in Hawaii; during the winter, when the Ka’iwi Channel is churning, powerful currents and enormous waves send seawater rushing into the molten lava tunnels below the lookout, erupting into geysers as high as 30 feet through the blowhole. The higher the geysers, the greater the waves. Before the eruptions, visitors can feel the ground shake and hear the rumbling of the waters below.
SWIM WITH SHARKS
Don’t be frightened of sharks if you already are. Shark attacks on humans are unlikely to be as common as depicted in popular culture. In addition, they are crucial to the well-being of the ocean. Getting in the water with these amazing creatures and a guide is a great way to get near them.
Whether you opt to do it inside or outside of the cage is up to you. Swimming cage-free with sharks is a real option. There are several possibilities, therefore I suggest researching them all to find the one that best suits you. This shark diving option is one of the best and safest available.
LOOK FOR WHALES IN WAIANAE
When you’ve had enough of swimming with sharks, you can always go whale-watching instead. Lots of excursions are available, and many of them are doing great things to promote environmental sustainability.
During the winter months (mid-December to March), humpback whales travel to the Hawaiian Islands to warm up. The Hawaiian Islands are a popular destination for humpback whales because of the warm inshore waters that provide the juvenile whales with refuge from predators while they gain weight for the 3,000-mile trek north.
These acrobatic creatures are well-known for their breaching and water-slapping tail and pectoral fin behaviour. The best place in Oahu to watch this kind of whale is Waianae.
SNORKEL WITH SEA TURTLES
Due to the abundance of green sea turtles, Turtle Canyon on the island of Oahu is a popular snorkelling destination. From Waikiki, you may take a catamaran out to sea, where you can swim with these incredible animals and enjoy the rest of the aquatic life around you.
Experience the rich marine life of Turtle Canyons, Hawaii, alongside green sea turtles and tropical fish in the warm seas of the Hawaiian islands.
If you’ve never been snorkelling before and want to get the hang of it before venturing to other islands, Turtle Canyon is a fantastic introduction.
A word on the sea turtles: some visitors don’t understand the need of giving the turtles their room. They’re in danger, and you can’t get close enough for that Instagram-worthy turtle selfie. Please maintain a distance of 6 feet or more, never approach the turtles, and never attempt to touch or “ride” them.
TAKE AN ATLANTIS SUBMARINE TOUR
Atlantis Submarines offers passengers the opportunity to “swim” among schools of magnificent fish while exploring the depths of Hawaii’s ocean waters, 100 feet below the surface, in the world’s most modern passenger submarine.
Since 1988, Atlantis has been taking visitors on eco-friendly submarine tours of Hawaii’s spectacular underwater landscape. These submarines run on batteries, produce no pollution, and go through the ocean without disturbing marine life. It’s the pinnacle of ecotourism.
Take a tour of Oahu’s seas in elegance aboard the Atlantis Submarine, a submarine-like glass-bottom boat. In this kid-friendly excursion, your knowledgeable guide will provide interesting background on the fish, coral, and other marine inhabitants of the area.
TRY PADDLEBOARD YOGA IN HONOLULU
A paddleboard might make you feel like a yogi — until you do your most advanced positions on it. Without getting too serious, doing yoga on a paddleboard is a great way to challenge your balance, no matter how advanced your yoga skills may be.
Stand-up paddleboarding in Hawaii’s lush waters is the perfect place to practice your yoga poses. Master floating variations of the standard lotus position, mountain pose, and cobra. Stand in a variety of yoga poses to strengthen your legs, hips, and back, and practice whichever poses you want during your free time. Get your savasana on while being rocked by the sea. It’s possible that you’ve just discovered a brand-new dimension of yoga here.
SWIM UNDER LULUMAHU FALLS
High up the Pali Highway, hidden from view, is the majestic Lulumahu Falls. The challenge of visiting this stunning waterfall on Oahu is in locating it. Plus, you still have to overcome the fact that it sits on private land. This waterfall is close to the ruins of King Kamehameha III’s summer palace at Kaniakapupu. It is the amazing height and the exciting journey to get there that make Lulumahu Falls one of the top waterfalls on Oahu.
Along the Nu’uanu Reservoir, across a stream, past big boulders, and alas, an incredible 50-foot-plus waterfall, this unofficial Oahu hiking trail will lead you through old hunting grounds, a deep bamboo grove, up concrete steps in the middle of nowhere, and finally to your destination!
GET OUT AND SURF
Numerous world-class surf breaks can be found on Oahu’s North Shore. Whether it’s the perfect barrels at Banzai Pipeline or the massive, mountainous waves at Waimea Bay, Oahu is home to some of the world’s most photographed surf.
The waves at Oahu’s Waikiki beach are typically gentler, making it an ideal place for beginners to learn how to surf. Getting out on the water and enjoying the experience is rewarding even if you don’t end up at a professional level after a few tries. One of the best venues to take a surf lesson is at Ohana Surf Project.
Visit the quiet beaches on Oahu’s Leeward side when you need a break from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. White Plains Beach, located in Kalaeloa (the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station), is another fantastic place to soak in the Hawaiian sun, learn to surf, host beach parties, frolic in the sand, or simply unwind.
Waimea Bay Beach has world-class surfing conditions in the winter, so if you’re looking for surf advice or just want to watch the experts in action, you should travel there. The waves are too dangerous to swim in at this time of year. You might even be able to catch a surf contest if you go during the right time of year.
PARASAIL AT WAIKIKI BEACH
Enjoy the most exciting trip of your life while parasailing off the coast of Oahu. Soar through the air on lines as high as a thousand feet and take in the sights of Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, and the Ko’olau Mountains.
Thrill to a parasailing ride over Waikiki’s pristine waves and soar beyond Oahu. Join one or two other passengers for a 10-minute flight in a boat that seats 12. The rest of the hour can be spent lazily gliding across the water while keeping a look out for dolphins, tropical fish, and sea turtles.
Ascending to a high altitude is a great way to take in the island’s scenery. One of the best ways to take in Oahu’s breathtaking scenery is from a birds-eye vantage point hundreds of feet in the air. You won’t soon forget your experience on this exciting journey. Parasailing on Waikiki Beach is available from several companies; however, Hawaii Activities is the one most locals suggest.
ENJOY THE HAWAII BEAUTY FROM UP AND ABOVE
If the thrill of parasailing isn’t enough for you, consider upgrading your trip with a scenic helicopter flight.
Take a helicopter tour of Oahu, Hawaii, to see the island from above. Explore the island from above, passing over famous spots including Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, and Sacred Falls. Travelling to the Hawaiian Islands by helicopter is a common pastime.
Because Oahu’s famous sights take on a new glow after dark, sunset cruises are especially popular. Flying above the islands is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
EAT A POKE BOWL
Poké, from Hawaii, means “to cut” or “to slice”, and is often a dish made of raw fish and onions that have been sliced and seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. You won’t find this poké or poi in a snobby fast food joint like you might on the Mainland, where it’s served in a bowl piled high with unnecessary toppings and kale.
The popularity of poké bowls on the mainland has increased, but the poké bowls on the islands are unrivalled. These poké bowls are the next level since they use the freshest seafood possible. You can substitute squid or octopus for the Ahi tuna that comes with rice in the classic version. Fresh fish is always the highlight of the best poké. The tastiest meals are often made with the simplest of ingredients.
Maguro Brothers in Waikiki is often cited as a top spot to grab a bowl of poké. It all began in Chinatown as a fish counter, but demand forced an expansion.
SHOP AT CHINA TOWN
Honolulu’s ancient Chinatown is a melting pot of Asian cultures crammed into a compact region, where sour spices reign over the cuisine, open-air markets have pushed out mini-malls, and acupuncture and herbalists are the keys to good health.
As part of Downtown Honolulu, Chinatown is a lively neighbourhood on the western edge of the city’s financial sector. You may stock up on Asian staples and fresh local products there. This part of the island sees a fraction of the visitors that other parts of the island do, hence the cost of living is lower here. There is a plethora of excellent Asian dining options, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, and other cuisines. Yum!
Part of Chinatown is the outdoor Oahu Market. Exotic fruits, fish, and Chinese veggies of every description may be found at the Maunakea, Oahu, and Aloha markets. Many ancient shrines and temples can be visited, taking visitors back in time to ancient China and Japan.
BE A TRUE HAWAIIAN AT PARADISE COVE
At Paradise Cove, you may still have the authentic Hawaiian adventure you’ve always imagined.
At the outset of your Hawaiian Luau, you will be greeted with a tropical Mai Tai, and the evening will be set to traditional Hawaiian music. Visit the Hawaiian Village and try your hand at some traditional Hawaiian games or arts and crafts.
Have a canoe trip in the tranquil waters of Paradise Cove. We can’t let you go swimming. Participate in an Imu Ceremony and learn about the ancient art of cooking in underground ovens.
In the company of old and new acquaintances, the evening continues with a feast. Paradise Cove has a wide menu that skillfully combines traditional Hawaiian meals, local favourites, and continental cuisine, so be sure to bring an appetite.
The award-winning artists at the Paradise Cove Extravaganza will astound and thrill you with a show of Hawaiian and Polynesian songs and dances set against the backdrop of the most beautiful Hawaiian sunset.
UNCOVER THE TOP SECRET OF THE HAWAIIAN COMMUNITY
The Ehukai Pillbox Hike is a little-known trail on the North Shore of Oahu. This Oahu hiking trail is still a hidden gem, unlike the Windward side’s Lanikai Pillbox Trail, which has grown quite popular and can get crowded at times.
With its stunning panoramas over Ehukai Beach (formerly known as Banzai Pipeline) and the North Shore shoreline, the Ehukai Pillbox path is most commonly referred to as the Sunset Pillbox Hike. From up there, you can take in a panoramic view of the beaches and marvel at the crashing waves below.
Now that you have a comprehensive list of more than 20 amazing things to do in Oahu, Hyannisholiday hopes you will have the time of your life while visiting there! Share with us your wonderful stories in the comment section down below. Have a nice Holiday! I mean, … Aloha!