All the things you MUST do on Oahu – Hawaii

Things you must do on Oahu

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, with over 50 movies and TV shows filmed here over the years. Visitors can choose from a range of guided tours and activities such as zip-lining, ATV tours, jungle expedition tours, movie site tours 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.

Must do in Oahu

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 tour here.

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.

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.

All the things you must do on oahu

Tour Oahu in a Helicopter

The view is unbeatable. Book a helicopter tour here.

Must do on Oahu

Hike the Lanikai Pillbox Trail

The Lanikai Pillboxes hike is one of the most scenic hikes on the island, offering views over Lanikai Beach and the offshore islands of Na Mokulua. 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.

All the things you must do on Oahu

Relax on 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).

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.

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

All the things you must do on Oahu

You can also go Scuba Diving on Oahu.

Hike the Koko Head Crater Trail

This is 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

The most scenic drive on the Island is between Hanauma Bay and Kailua. Around mid way, you will come across Makapu’u Beach and lighthouse. 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.

Must do on Oahu

Go Whale Watching

Many whales migrate past the island of Hawaii, making it a great destination for whale watching. Book here.

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.

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

Diamond Head is by far one of the most popular hiking trails on Oahu, offering panoramic views of Waikiki and the surrounding areas. The hike is around 1.5 miles round trip. It starts easy then gets steep towards the end, finishing with stairs. You can book a guided tour here.

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

Learn to surf

You can’t come to Hawaii and not learn to surf. Oahu has a variety of waves, suitable for beginners to pros. To learn to surf in Hawaii, click here.

Zip Lining

Zip lining tours are offered on the North Shore of Oahu. You will be taken by ATV to the top of the mountain where you will start the course, with panoramic views of the North Shore. Book here.

Crouching Lion Hike

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

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

Olomana Three Peaks

This hike isn’t for the faint-hearted. It takes you across a ridge with steep drops on either side and up rock walls of around 3 metres high. See that ridge below, that is what you will be hiking along. The view from the top is stunning and is guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.

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

Byodo-In Temple

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

Must do in Oahu

Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls is a short hike that leads to a massive waterfall. See my guide to Hiking Manoa Falls

Must do on Oahu

King Kamehameha Statue and Iolani Palace

This is 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

To tour Pearl Harbour and learn more about the attack at the USS Arizona Memorial, click here.

This list covers some of the best things to do on Oahu.

Want to see more from Oahu, Hawaii?

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

Oahu’s Best Beaches

Pin – Must do on Oahu Hawaii

Book a tour on Oahu

Book Accommodation 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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