Things to do in Oahu

Oahu is so full of amazing things to see and do that it's hard to know where to start. The postcard-perfect beaches and surf spots may get all the attention, but you shouldn't overlook the slew of top-notch eateries, museums, and farms that are just waiting to be discovered. Leave the sleeping to world-class hotels and resorts. The island of Oahu is home to Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii and a seriously underappreciated cultural epicenter. If you have even a passing curiosity about the history and culture of this one-of-a-kind state, you owe it to yourself to visit this city and gorge yourself on the heritage before physically gorge-ing yourself on the remarkable local delicacies waiting for you on the menus of the city's eateries.

Honolulu serves as a convenient jumping-off point for excursions to Oahu's more remote beaches and secret spots. You can never run out of things to do on Oahu, as the island is home to a wide variety of attractions, including Pearl Harbor and other historic war sites, excellent hiking trails, prime stargazing locations, tours of Jurassic Park, and a plethora of beaches, snorkeling in oahu and diving options.

Float on a kayak along Kailua Beach
Float on a kayak along Kailua Beach

Kailua Beach, on the island's eastern side, is, as any traveler will attest, as close as it gets to heaven on this planet. There is no need to skip this destination, since it has crystal clear waters, pristine beaches, and pleasant temperatures all year long. One of the best things to do in Oahu is to take in Kailua's natural splendor by going on a kayaking tour of the area, in addition to swimming and snorkeling.

Learn about the iconic attacks at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial
Learn about the iconic attacks at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial

If you are confused about what to do in Oahu try to remember one of the defining moments in American history, the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona Memorial is a time machine that will transport you back to the days of WWII. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial gives people the chance to learn about the past and honor the sacrifices that were made. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a monument at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman on the Hawaiian island of Oahu that honors the thousands of people who lost their lives in the assault. There are nine different historic sites in the park, each of which focuses on a different part of the Pacific War.

Visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial
Visit the Battleship Missouri Memorial

Visiting Battleship Missouri Memorial in Pearl Harbor is one of the most historically important things to do on Oahu. It's open from 8 am to 4 pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays for those interested in learning more about the "day of infamy," the sinking of the USS Arizona and Japan's formal surrender.. Here, you can explore a legendary American battleship that has served in three major conflicts. Take this chance to visit the site where, at the end of World War II, the Japanese formally declared an end to hostilities. Discover the ship's dining and sleeping quarters, as well as the Navy's methods of navigation, by exploring the various decks.

Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial
Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial

Everyone who visits Pearl Harbor should make a point to stop by the USS Arizona Memorial, more often known as the Pearl Harbor Memorial, and pay their respects to the more than 1,100 sailors and Marines who passed away in the 1941 attack. It's possible to see it as a separate attraction if time and money are short, or as part of a larger city tour if you want to get the most out of your visit.

Explore the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum
Explore the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum has the unique responsibility of guarding the first aviation battleground of World War II in the United States. The museum encompasses two hangars from the time period, as well as an iconic control tower. The museum uses artifacts and human accounts to discuss the effects of the attack and the subsequent battles in the Pacific region, with a focus on the aircraft that initially rose up in defense of Ford Island on that fateful day in December, 1941. Remembering those who protected freedom by educating and inspiring future generations about events from the initial bombing of Pearl Harbor ; to the subsequent emergence of American air power after the end of World War II is one of the patriotic things to do on Oahu. You must immerse yourself in the vivid retelling of Pearl Harbor's myths, tales, and history.

Climb aboard the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
Climb aboard the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

The Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum site, which is right next to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, was recently refurbished and now houses the WWII fleet submarine USS Bowfin. Here, you will also find a museum, outdoor relics, food service, a lanai (shaded patio), gift shop, restrooms, and concessions. Visitors to this can learn about the Silent Service of the United States Navy throughout World War II, the Cold War, and the present day and into the future. Conventional artifact displays coexist with multimedia presentations and interactive exhibitions in this museum.

Fight off raptors at Jurassic Park (Kualoa Ranch)
Fight off raptors at Jurassic Park (Kualoa Ranch)

Fans of the movies, prepare to be enthralled. Whether you've always wanted to witness a T-Rex in person or put yourself in Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's 50 First Dates' shoes, now's your chance. Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, is not only the filming location for Jurassic Park and approximately seventy other movies, but also a sprawling adventure destination covering some four thousand acres! Yes, you could take an ATV tour of the filming locations, but why not add a zipline adventure for the ultimate adrenaline rush? It is one of the top things to do on Oahu since it combines excitement with modern entertainment.

 Feel like a local at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Feel like a local at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Hawaii is more than simply a collection of islands with a few beaches and a few volcanoes; it is also home to a diverse and fascinating culture that no visitor should miss. The Polynesian Cultural Center is a cultural theme park and living museum that features six authentic Polynesian villages, lively luau celebrations, and a captivating nighttime entertainment that brings the island culture to life.

Race against the clock in an Escape Room
Race against the clock in an Escape Room

Are you prepared to don your detective glasses? Anxious to settle once and for all who is the best puzzle solver in the family? In any case, here's your opportunity. You'll be immersed in a multi-room set full of codes, clues, and puzzles that you'll have to decipher. The games created here are adventures, not merely means of escape, and they emphasize teamwork, physical interaction, and narrative. Several themed escape rooms may be found over the island, providing a fun and engaging alternative to the island's hot weather.

Take a Tour of Circle Island
Take a Tour of Circle Island

A Circle Island trip is a popular choice for those who are in two minds about what to do in Oahu but want to get out on the sea and explore someplace other than the main island. It's a great day trip to spend in nature's clean waters, with opportunities to swim and snorkel with marine life, and to see landmarks like the Halona Blowhole and Amelia Earhart Lookout Point. Easy hotel pickup and drop-off makes this an obvious choice for travelers with an interest in the great outdoors.

Spot the wildlife at the North Shore
Spot the wildlife at the North Shore

The North Shore is a popular tourist destination due to its abundance of marine life, beautiful beaches, and exciting outdoor pursuits, and is frequently included in packages that include a visit to nearby Circle Island. If you find tanning to be too sedate an activity, head to the North Shore for some adrenaline-pumping ziplining, cliff leaping, or even more extreme shark diving. One of the greatest things to do in Oahu is snorkeling amid the coral and fish in Pikea Marine Life Conservation District from May through October.

Try a local staple at the Dole Pineapple Plantation
Try a local staple at the Dole Pineapple Plantation

The Dole Plantation (approximately 45 minutes north of Honolulu) has been a favorite of hungry visitors for decades, thanks to its delicious pineapple and fun attractions like the Pineapple Garden Maze and Train Tour. To get the most out of your vacation dollar and see popular attractions like Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center consider signing up for a combination tour.

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FAQ's of Things to Do in Oahu

What should I do for my first time in Oahu?

    Some of the things to do in Oahu for first-time visitors include snorkeling as the island is teeming with snorkeling locations, but Hanauma Bay is the most beautiful and accessible. Take a bus to Waikiki, which has a magnificent beach with a restaurant and is the busiest beach on Oahu; yet, you cannot leave the island without spending some time swimming or watching the sunset at this beach. The whale viewing trips are also something you should not miss if you are visiting Oahu for the first time, even though you cannot swim with humpback whales there.

What activities would you like to do in Oahu?

How far away is the Grand Canyon from Oahu?

How can I spend a few days in Oahu?