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Best things to do in Oahu

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Where in the world: USA  /  Hawaii  /  Oahu
Things to do in Oahu range from a vast selection of seaside activities to shopping at modern malls in Honolulu. History buffs flock to USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu, the well-known World War II monument and a reminder of the attack on Pearl Harbor. If you climb Diamond Head State Monument, a natural landmark of a volcanic origin, you'll have access to various vantage points with views of the entire island. Whether you crave a leisurely day in the sun or a professional windsurfing lesson, Oahu beaches like Kailua Beach Park will keep you pleasantly entertained.

Oahu is best known for its Beaches, Scuba & Snorkeling, and Cemeteries.

Top 15 things to do in Oahu

1. Diamond Head State Monument, Honolulu

One of the first natural landmarks you see as you arrive in Honolulu, Diamond Head State Monument offers several vantage points with views of the entire island. Formed by volcanic eruptions more than 150,000 years ago, this tuff cone covers 141 hectares (350 acres). A well-beaten path leads partway to the top. Lengthy metal and concrete staircases make it easier to traverse the steepest sections, and the very narrow tunnels are illuminated. Climb to the summit if you feel fit, or enjoy the views from the lookouts along the way. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, and bring plenty of water and a snack.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $70 › Learn more about Diamond Head State Monument

2. Waikiki Beach, Honolulu

Soak up Hawaii’s island charm while relaxing on the sandy shores of Waikiki Beach. Located on the south shore of Honolulu, the beach borders the well-known neighborhood of Waikiki, once a playground for Hawaiian royalty. Known for its pristine white sand, bathtub temperatures, and spectacular views of the Diamond Head tuff cone, the beach serves as a popular place for watersports and sunbathing year-round. Try your hand at riding the waves with a surf lesson, or take a stroll along the boardwalk, where you will find a variety of oceanside dining options and street vendors.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
Tours from $40 › Learn more about Waikiki Beach

3. USS Arizona Memorial, Honolulu

USS Arizona Memorial marks the final resting place of one of the most iconic World War II battleships destroyed in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. More than 1,100 sailors and marines died here when Japanese forces attacked the harbor. The memorial, constructed in 1962, attracts nearly 1 million people each year. Begin your tour at the visitor center, where you can listen to a free talk about that fateful day and watch a brief documentary about the attack. You can then take a shuttle boat to the memorial, which straddles the hull of the sunken battleship. Remember that the memorial admits only a limited number of visitors each day, so it is a good idea to book a tour well in advance. Set aside time for a visit to the memorial museum so you can take in the personal stories of American soldiers who fought and died here.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Tours from $52 › Learn more about USS Arizona Memorial

4. Grand Circle Island and Haleiwa 9 Hour Tour

FROM $122
Experience O‘ahu, plus explore Haleiwa town all in one day on this 9-hour Grand Circle Island Tour! Visit beautiful scenic spots and hard to get to places in the comfort of a Deluxe Bus. The tour covers all the beautiful scenic spots, including Diamond Head and the Kahala Gold Coast to marine sanctuary Hanauma Bay, natural wonder Halona Blow Hole, lush rainforest Nuuanu Pali, Byodo-In Temple, Tropical Farm, Dole Plantation and world-famous North Shore surfing beaches. Plus, you’ll have enough time (lunch on your own) to explore Haleiwa town (TWO CHOICES: 90 minutes in Haleiwa OR 40 minutes in Haleiwa with Waialua Coffee / Soap Factory). Experience the difference of unparalleled comfort aboard our Deluxe Bus Tour with onboard restroom and original video, mint & hand towelette service, walking map and more. Plus, our exceptional Driver Guide with Aloha! Also, enjoy a breakfast of poi malasada from local favorite Kamehameha Bakery. *Note: Schedule route subject to change.
Suggested duration: 9h
Tours from $122 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Honolulu

Famous for its sheltered inlet of calm and clear turquoise water, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve protects about 400 different species of fish and attracts amateur and professional snorkelers from around the world. The bay is also a nursery for green sea turtles, which you may see nesting as you walk or swim along the coastline. You can rent diving equipment if you don't bring your own and spend a day searching for parrotfish and coral. The preserve's regulations prohibit touching or walking on the coral heads, which often resemble large rocks on the ocean's floor. Keep in mind that touching or brushing up against coral or marine rocks may also result in serious wounds.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $30 › Learn more about Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

6. Scuba & Snorkeling, Honolulu

Escape the fast-paced rhythm of Hawaii's largest city and sail out to pristine waters teeming with marine creatures on a guided snorkeling or scuba diving tour from Honolulu. Your experienced captain will take the comfy sailing catamaran to unspoiled coral reefs and secluded bays, as you absorb lovely views of Waikiki skyline. Your helpful crew will then draw your attention to passing dolphins and whales, as the boat gently glides over the sparkling surf before anchoring at Turtle Canyon or some other picturesque spot. These aquatic adventures often combine several exciting activities, such as kayaking around offshore islets, trekking and mountain biking through the rainforest, or enjoying a helicopter flight. The duration of the tours spans from 90 minutes to 2 days.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
Tours from $89 › Learn more about Scuba & Snorkeling

7. Kailua Beach Park, Kailua

Stephen Leatherman, known as America's beach expert, ranked Kailua Beach Park the best beach in America in 1998. The water attracts surfers and bodysurfers to its gentle waves. The beach itself slopes slowly into the water with no coral or rock. The shallow water and slight incline make swimming easy. Take advantage of the regular trade winds and try your hand at wind and kitesurfing here.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
Tours from $15 › Learn more about Kailua Beach Park

8. Tour of North Shore & Sightseeing

FROM $139
Enjoy the beauty of Oahu's gorgeous North Shore and the other East and South side of this island on this full-day tour from Waikiki. Due to the Pandemic, we cannot take you to Hanauma Bay for snorkeling, but we will visit awesome scenic points. Visit famous North Shore Beaches, Waimea Bay, OR the optional Waimea Botanical Garden & Waterfall Hike (Botanical Garden Closed on Mondays SEP - MAY). Historic Haleiwa Town, and Dole Plantation in a comfortable mini-bus or van. Option to Paddle Board or Kayak at Haleiwa Beach before ending the afternoon scenic sightseeing tour.  Lunch at North Shore Shrimp Truck and Paddle Boarding or Kayaking is not included and can be purchased at our Haleiwa town stop.
Suggested duration: 8h
Tours from $139 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Manoa Falls, Honolulu

Falling more than 46 m (150 ft), Manoa Falls sparkles against a sheer rock face. Take a 2.4 km (1.5 mi) hike through tall trees with twisted trunks and thick greenery to reach the falls. The pathway is often slippery, so wear shoes with a good grip. Then be prepared to take these shoes off to wade in the shallow pool at the base of the waterfall.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $40 › Learn more about Manoa Falls

10. Shark Diving, Haleiwa

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Shark Diving

11. Photography Tours, Honolulu

Suggested duration: 8 hours
Tours from $65 › Learn more about Photography Tours

12. North Shore Circle Island Adventure Including Snorkeling with the Turtles

FROM $116
Circle most of the island of Oahu on a full-day tour by minibus limited to 24 (possible to go over 28) passengers, a smaller group than typical island coach tours. With an informative guide, you’ll make about a dozen stops, including the chance to see Hawaiian green sea turtles in their natural habitat during an hour of snorkeling on Oahu’s North Shore. Get a comprehensive overview of top attractions such as Diamond Head, Makapu’u Beach, Halona Blowhole and the Dole Plantation. Hotel pickup and drop-off in Waikiki is included.
Suggested duration: 8h
Tours from $116 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Sunset Beach Park, Haleiwa

Suit up, grab your board (or flippers), and hit the waves at Sunset Beach Park, one of the island's most legendary surfing spots. Nestled along Oahu's wild northern shore, the beach boasts long stretches of soft sand, swaying palm trees, and wide-open ocean views. Depending on the season, surfers flock to the area to catch some of its towering waves or participate in the famous Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. You can certainly join in, if you have the proper skills and knowledge. Otherwise, indulge in some of the region's most popular snorkeling and swimming zones, or just kick back and relax on the sand. Keep in mind while in the water that the beach has very strong riptides, so always follow basic safety precautions.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $20 › Learn more about Sunset Beach Park

14. Battleship Missouri Memorial, Honolulu

Battleship Missouri Memorial--the ship that served as the site of Japan's surrender, ending World War II--is now a museum. Learn about the ship's five-decade military career, including its involvement in the World War II, the Korean War, and Operation Desert Storm. You can explore the ship on your own with an audio guide or join a tour. One tour focuses on the history of the ship, while the other demonstrates how the ship runs and offers access to its engineering rooms.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $94 › Learn more about Battleship Missouri Memorial

15. Deluxe USS Arizona Memorial and Historical City Tour

FROM $94
Experience Arizona Memorial and historical downtown city tour in the comfort and safety of a Deluxe Royal Star vehicle, with seat belt, on board original video and mint and hand towelette service. Professional Royal Star driver guide is trained to the highest standard, not only for in-depth narration but also to assist you at each stop. Upgrade to the Deluxe tour to include entry to the USS Missouri battleship or upgrade to the Ultimate tour and include entry to the USS Missouri battleship AND Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.
Suggested duration: 5h - 9h
Tours from $94 › More about this tour at viator.com ›