All the things you MUST do on Oahu – Hawaii

Things you must do on Oahu

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Oahu is paradise. The number of beaches to visit, hikes to choose from and adventures to go on are endless. You can be sure that there will be no shortage of things do to on Oahu, the challenge, however, will be choosing what to do. This blog covers the things that you must do on Oahu.

Visit Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch is considered the world’s most famous Private Nature Reserve as it has been seen in so many Hollywood blockbuster movies such as Jurassic Park and 50 First Dates. Choose from a range of guided tours and activities such as zip-lining, ATV tours, jungle expedition tour, movie site tour and horseback riding tours.

I took the Movie Site Tour and absolutely loved it. So many of my favourite movies and shows such as 50 first dates, Jurassic Park, Hawaii 5 0, Soul Surfer and Godzilla have been filmed here. More than 50 movies and TV shows have been filmed at Kualoa Ranch over the years.

Must do in Oahu

Do you want discounted access to over 36 attraction on Oahu? Click here to purchase the Go Oahu Card.

Shark Cage Diving 

Shark Cage Diving is a popular activity on Oahu amongst thrill-seekers. You can also free swim with the sharks if you dare.

Book a Shark Cage Diving on the island of Oahu.
All the things you must do on Oahu - shark cage dive

Photo from here. 

Ride a submarine scooter around the ocean floor

This was by far one of the coolest things I have done. Your head goes into a submarine tank as you submerge yourself to the ocean floor. You are sitting on a seat and can steer yourself around the ocean floor, with all the rainbow fish and turtles. This was an experience like no other.

Book an underwater submarine scooter tour here.

Things you must do on Oahu

Polynesian Cultural Centre

No trip to Hawaii is complete without experiencing a Luau – a traditional Hawaiian feast accompanied with entertainment.  The Polynesian centre offers one of the best Luau experiences on the island.

 Purchase the Go Oahu Card for discounted access to the Polynesian Cultural Centre.

All the things you must do on oahu

Tour Oahu in a Helicopter

The view is unbeatable. You can book your helicopter ride here. 

Must do on Oahu

Hike the Lanikai Pillbox Trail

My favourite place on Oahu, it never ceases to amaze me. The trailhead starts near Lanikai Beach (see google maps) and follows a ridge up to three pillboxes, I recommend going all the way. It is a short hike, generally taking me 30 minutes to get to the third pillbox, but at a slow pace may take 1 hour. Pack water and some snacks because when you get to the top you won’t want to come down.

See my guide to hiking Lanikai Pillboxes.

Shop my hiking essentials.

Lanikai Beach 

Lanikai Beach has white powder sand, crystal clear blue waters and a stunning view of the twin islands of Na Mokulua offshore, making it the most picturesque on the island (in my opinion). The only issue is that it can get really crowded, so try to go on a weekday. If it is really crowded, the beach next to it, Kailua beach is equally as beautiful. This photo was taken off the beach of Lanikai on our paddle out to the Twin Islands.

See more on Oahu’s Best Beaches. 

Oahus Best beaches

Kailua Beach Park

Equally as beautiful as Lanikai Beach and in my opinion better because it is generally less crowded. Like Lanakai, Kailua Beach has white powdery sand, perfect waters and an incredible view. If it is a windy day you will see kite surfers cruising around the bay. From Kailua Beach Park you can choose to hire stand up paddle boards and kayaks and paddle out to Flat island or the islands of Na Mokulua. You hire these from Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks. If you don’t want to spend money, enjoy a swim, walk on the beach and a picnic.

See more on Oahu’s Best Beaches. 

Must do in Oahu

Snorkel at Hanauma Bay

Anyone that has been to Hanauma Bay will tell you… DO NOT MISS IT! Hanauma Bay offers some of the best snorkelling conditions on the island, with an abundance of rainbow fish and turtles to swim with. Entry into Hanauma Bay is $7.50 and you can hire a snorkel for $20.

I recommend buying a snorkel from Walmart and taking it everywhere you go on the island.

Tips: Arrive early as it gets crowded. As per usual, I suggest packing a picnic to enjoy in the bay.

See my Ultimate Guide to Hanauma Bay

Book a tour to Hanauma Bay

Koko Head Crater Trail

A short but extremely steep hike made up of 1042 stairs. The trail follows the old tram line directly up the side of the volcano. The stairs are uneven and should be done slowly and with caution. One section of the trail has caved out underneath the tram line so there is a 10ft drop below the tram line. If you are afraid of heights I would give this one a miss, but if you can overcome that fear, you won’t regret it. The view from the top is unreal.

Shop my hiking essentials.

Free things to do on Oahu

Makapu’u Beach and lighthouse trail

There is something about the south of the island that steals my heart. My favourite drive on the island is from Kailua to Hanauma Bay and my favourite places are anywhere in between. Makapu’u Beach and lighthouse are at the southernmost point of Oahu. Makapu’u beach is beautiful, and so is the view from the lookout above it. You can choose to stop at the lookout for some photos of Makapu’u and the offshore islands or can take the lighthouse trail to an even higher lookout. The is an easy, 2-mile paved hike that can be done in an hour, round trip. Makapu’u is also popular for its tide pools and blowhole. The entire Makapu’u area is great to explore.

See more on Oahu’s Best Beaches. 

Must do on Oahu

Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline

No trip to Oahu is complete without a trip to Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline. Famous for its massive waves and world-renowned surf competitions during the winter, these beaches attract many travellers. I honestly much prefer the Southern and Windward beaches like Lanakai, Kailua and Makapu’u but I still feel a trip to this beach to see the waves is essential for any traveller visiting Oahu.

See more on Oahu’s Best Beaches. 

Oahus Best beaches

North Shore Fruit Stand

The North Shore fruit stand is a place I stop every time I visit the North Shore. Tropical fruit lovers, you will be in heaven.

Must do on Oahu

Diamond Head Trail

By far one of the most popular hiking trails on Oahu, offering panoramic views of Waikiki and the surrounding areas. I personally find this hike overrated, but at the same time, I feel it is one that can’t be missed. The hike is around 1.5 miles round trip. It starts easy then gets steep towards the end, finishing with stairs.

Shop my hiking essentials.

Must do on Oahu

Waikiki Beach

The world-famous Waikiki Beach has a truly unique atmosphere that you must experience for yourself. No doubt it is already on your itinerary.

See more on Oahu’s Best Beaches. 

All the things you MUST do on Oahu - Waikiki Beach

Crouching Lion Hike

I LOVED this hike on the windward side of Oahu. The hike can be steep and slippery but views are totally worth it, as you can see.

All the things you MUST do on Oahu - Crouching Lion Hike

Olomana Three Peaks

The craziest hike I have ever been on and not one for the faint-hearted. This hike takes you across a ridge with steep drops on either side and up rock walls of around 3 metres high, your adrenaline will be pumping. If you are afraid of heights, don’t go. See that ridge below, that is what I hiked along. The view from the top was stunning.

All the things you MUST do on Oahu - Olomana Three Peaks Hike

Byodo-In Temple

A beautiful temple with a stunning mountain backdrop. Entry is $3.

Must do in Oahu

Manoa Falls

A short hike that leads to a massive waterfall as seen below.

See my guide to Hiking Manoa Falls

Must do on Oahu

King Kamehameha Statue and Iolani Palace

A popular trademark of Oahu. If you watch Hawaii Five 0, you will recognise the statue as the Hawaii Five 0 headquarters. Iolani Palace is right across the road.

Must do on Oahu

Visit Pearl Harbour

Get tickets to Pearl Habour Here. 

This list covers some of the best things to do on Oahu. If you have any other recommendations to add, comment below!

Want to see more from Oahu, Hawaii?

Top 10 Free things to do on Oahu

Life in Hawaii – What it’s like living on Oahu

Oahu’s Best Beaches

Book a tour on Oahu

*This post on the things you must do on Oahu contains affiliate links, which means if you buy something I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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