Oahu, Hawaii - Travel Guide
What to do in Oahu? The possibilities are endless. It all depends on what you like to do. Are you in for an adventure? Do you want to relax? Or a little bit of both?
It’s going to be a challenge to narrow down your itinerary due to the countless beautiful beaches, great cuisine, fun activities and jaw-dropping hikes.
The island of Oahu in Hawaii has something for everybody. Whether you’re a solo traveller, travelling with your partner or friends or if you’re travelling with your kids.
This ultimate Oahu travel guide will give you lots of inspiration for the things to do in Oahu.
One thing is for sure: you will want to come back.
Oahu is all about the hikes and beaches. There are tons of hikes you can do and all come with their own challenges.
Kokohead is situated near Honolulu and it’s easy to access by bus and car.
It’s an old train rail that you can climb. The more you get to the top, the harder it will be but you’ll be rewarded by the spectacular view!
Don’t worry, going down is much easier and faster. Be careful though, you don’t want to fall off that train rail.
When coming to Oahu all that people talk about is the North Shore and there is a reason for that. The vibe is very laid back, the beaches are endless and very different from each other and many great low key food spots. But it’s the vibe that wins.
Take your time to visit the area of the North Shore. This is where you want to go back to when you think of Oahu.
Do the Lanikai Pillbox Hike
One of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Not only because of the richness of sea life in this bay, it’s also very well protected.
You have to pay a fee of $12 to get in (make sure you make a reservation on time). Before you set foot on the bay, the visitors need to watch a short video about the rules to keep Hanauma Bay protected. Once you’re down at the Bay you don’t want to leave. Even though it can get crowded, the bay is pretty spacious which means you can be in the crowd or more by yourself.
Snorkelling in this bay is a true must. You’ll see so many different species of fish swimming in their habitat.
Hanauma Bay is a definite must-visit when coming to Oahu.
Surf at Waikiki beach
Waikiki might not be the best place on earth to surf but it’s a special one. Waikiki beach is a place where many people rent a surfboard for $5 for 1-2 hours and catch some waves.
The cool thing about the waves at Waikiki is that they are accessible to everyone (not so big) and it has a long finish. This gives you enough power to stand up and enjoy the ride.
Watching all the people walking with a board and heading to the beach to catch some waves will make you want to surf there too. Next to that, chances are you won’t have a more beautiful view while surfing than seeing the Hawaiian mountains covered in green tones.
Locals love to go camping in Oahu during the weekend and holidays. There are many camping sites on the island. Make sure to make a reservation in advance because they’re all very popular and some aren’t open every day.
At Malaekahana camping you can rent a spot for your tent, come with a van or rent a house. The atmosphere is great and so is the location: the North Shore.
Click here for more info.
Visit the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden
Oahu has so many beautiful spots and this botanical garden sure is one of them (if not the most beautiful). It all starts when you enter the garden.
The breathtaking view is insanely gorgeous and once you’re in, you have many great stops to explore on your own. It’s also possible to camp here.
Make sure you don’t skip this Botanical garden when visiting Oahu. It’s worth the visit (and it’s free too).
Click here for more info.
Watch the turtles at Laniakea Beach
Do you want to see some turtles without going in the water? Go to Laniakea Beach at the North Shore and chances are you'll see some taking a rest at the beach. There are volunteers at the beach that make sure that the turtles are being protected and that people keep their distance.
It's incredible to watch!
Go to Kualoa Ranch
Visit this magical nature reserve that has been well protected by the owners for years. This spot has been a location for many Hollywood movies like Jurassic Park, 50 first dates and Jumanji.
Even Though Disney keeps trying to buy this property, the owners want to keep it as it is and the land just isn’t for sale.
There are many activities that you can do at the Kualoa Ranch like go horse riding, do an ATV raptor tour (so much fun) or go ziplining.
Make sure to make a reservation far in advance here due to its popularity. You won’t regret it!
Hawaii is known for its Japanese influences and you can see that in their cuisine. The poke in Hawaii is different: more fresh, more taste!
Grab a poke bowl at Maguro in Waikiki or at Ono SeaFood.
When heading to the beach and you want something light in your stomach, go to the supermarket and ask for fresh poke. You will get fresh fish and chopsticks. It will be the best beach snack you’ll ever have!
Go to the Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki
Not only is the hotel stunning, but they also have a mall attached to it. The design of the mall is beautiful: fresh air, very tropical and they play Hawaiian music. It’s a treat for your senses.
Visit Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor is a free attraction at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Being in Honolulu and visiting Pearl Harbor is quite an unique experience. The memorial center is very impressive and throughout the location you’ll learn more about what happened in Honolulu in 1941.
It’s one of those places that will make an impression on you because you can vividly imagine what happened on that day. It also explains why there are many pillboxes throughout Oahu.
Have a smoothie at Sunrise Shack
The Sunrise Shack is all about giving you energy. You can see this by its colours, the healthy power food and the vibe of the place. There are two locations, one in Honolulu and the other at the North Shore. The one at the North Shore is worth the visit. Get your vitamins at the Sunrise Shack before continuing your day.
Watch experienced surfers Banzai Pipeline
At Banzai Pipeline entering the waves is at own risk. These waves aren’t for beginners. It’s a great pleasure to watch the surfers do their magic on the water.
This is the place where many competitions are held. Bring some snacks and drinks and enjoy the show.
Visit Haleiwa Village
This small village is very picturesque and they have great shops there too with many local brands and artwork.
Go to Lanikai and Kailua Beach
The beaches are situated next to each other. They’re very different from the beaches of the North Shore or the South of Oahu. These beaches are very tropical and beautiful.
Discover more of Ana's adventures here.