80 THINGS TO DO ON OAHU – THE BUCKET LIST

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The Ultimate Oahu bucket list has the best things to do on Oahu with your friends and family!

What to do on Oahu? No idea where to start? I have created the ultimate Oahu bucket list for inspiration about the best things to do on Oahu, Hawaii. I have done almost all of the activities and been to most locations on the list while I lived on Island for two years. You can click on underlined bucket list items for a more detailed blog post with directions, tips, and photos.

 

THE BUCKET LIST: 80 BEST THINGS TO DO ON OAHU


1. Hike Chinaman’s Hat

The Chinaman’s Hat is a small island near Kualoa Ranch. It is accessible by kayak or a short swim. Once you arrive at the island a mini hike to the top will give you amazing views of the shore and the Kualoa Mountains. We even spotted a seal sunbaking on the rocks!

There is a tour company that will transport you to and from Waikiki, give you access to the ‘Secret Beach’ and most importantly, includes kayak rental so you can paddle out to Chinaman’s Hat! Click Here f you want to check out the price and availability of the tour.

Full blog post: Kayak adventure to Chinaman’s Hat

chinamans hat

2. Doors off helicopter flight 

There is nothing like seeing the island of Oahu from the air with your legs hanging out of the door! Mauna Loa Helicopters let you do just that. I did an island tour just after sunrise and we flew over waterfalls, craters, Waikiki and some of the world’s best beaches.  Click Here to book your doors off helicopter flight with Mauna Loa helicopters (The same company I went with for my flight)

Click Here to read the full blog post and see all of the photos from my epic flight.

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Ridges on ridges!

 

3. Kayak to the Mokes

From Lanikai or Kailua Beach a kayak to the mokes will take about thirty minutes. A beautiful canoe or kayak paddle to the Mokulua is a great escape for the day to an isolated island. However, there are quite a few tourists who make the journey later in the day. Around the back side of the island, there are quite a few good cliff jumping spots and also the Queen’s bath.

Click Here for a fully guided kayak tour, including a professional guide, safety gear, and lunch!

Full blog post: Outrigger Canoe Adventure to Na Mokulua

 

na mokulua islands

 

4. Find the Crouching Lion

Looking out over Kahana Bay, the Crouching Lion Hike offers amazing views, steep drop-offs, and beautiful lush surroundings. It’s located on the Northeast side of Oahu and is usually much less populated than many of the other hikes on Oahu despite how beautiful it is. There is a local company called Mahina Hawaii that will take you on guided adventures around the island like Crouching Lion Hike. They use their local knowledge and experience of the area to keep you safe and have the best overall experience.

 Full blog post: Click here to find out how to find the Crouching Lion.

 

hawaii images-06094

 

5. Hike Stairway to Heaven for sunrise

The Stairway to heaven was one of my favorite things to do on Oahu. While it is illegal, the stairway is still frequented by a small number of people on most mornings. At the summit, there is an old satellite atop a small bunker. As the sun rises 20 or more people sit atop the bunker with views all the way to the beach and down into the valleys on either side. Another Oahu sunrise worth waking up for is at Lanikai Pillbox Hike.

Full blog post: The Stairway to Heaven Hike

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6. Try for a personal record up Koko Crater Railway Trail

One of the most popular hikes on Oahu, Koko Head Stairs  is a relatively short hike but don’t be fooled. The unforgiving incline will have you gasping for breath by the time you reach the top. My personal best was 12:15 but I have seen people fly up much quicker. If you take a leisurely walk up you can expect to finish between 30 minutes and 1 hour.

Full blog post:  1048 Steps up the Koko Head Stairs.

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7. Try shrimp on North Shore

The North Shore of Oahu is famous for surf, beaches and it’s chill vibes. But you can’t visit the North shore without trying some famous Garlic Shrimp. There are plenty of food trucks lining the coast all claiming to be the best and the original. I tried quite a few of them during my time on Oahu and of the more well-known trucks, I enjoyed Romy’s. While you are up there check out one of the best beaches on the North Shore.

Friggin Good Shrimp!Flickr: [email protected]

8. Get a picture holding up Koko Crater Arch during sunrise

Koko Crater Arch is an unbelievable rock formation on the edge of the crater. You can walk underneath or on top of the crater while looking out over the east coast of Oahu. Sunrise is the best time to visit the arch to get some nice color in the sky for a perfect backdrop

Koko Crater ArchFlickr: Marvin Chandra

 

9. Endure Pali Notches

The Pali Notches are one of the most dangerous hikes on Oahu due to the strong winds that often frequent the trail, which has an unforgiving drop on both sides. You also need to complete a few basic rock climbs to complete the trail. At the end of the trail is the ‘chimney’ a vertical rock face you can climb with the assistance of a rope. This is an iconic photo spot on Oahu.

Full blog post: The Dangerous Pali Notches

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10. Try stand up paddle board yoga

Combine all the best parts of Oahu in one awesome fitness session on the Ocean while watching a sunset come down one side of Ala Moana, while palm trees line the other side of the bay. If you want to try Night SUP yoga with Led lights in what is an epic experience, Click Here to book your spot.

Full blog post: Sunset Paddle Board Yoga Session

 

everyday fitness group class

 

11. See the view of Honolulu at the Diamond Head Crater Hike

The most popular hike on Oahu and probably the most popular thing to do on Oahu aside from Waikiki Beach. It takes about 30 minutes to reach the old war bunkers at the top from which you will have amazing views of Waikiki and the ocean.

Full blog post: The first thing you have to do in Honolulu

 

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12. Tackle the Kuliouou ridge trail

Kuliouou Ridge Trail isn’t what you would expect on Oahu. A forest setting you would expect in the Pacific Northwest of the Mainland is a great spot to have an afternoon hike.

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13. Adventure at Ka’au Crater Hike

My favorite waterfall hike on Oahu, Ka’au Crater Hike leads you up three waterfalls before you navigate a fine ridge on the edge of the crater to reach expansive views in all directions.

Full blog post: Ka’au Crater Hike

 

Ka'au Crater Trail Oahu, Hawaii-1050249

 

14. Visit Manoa Falls

After Diamond Head Hike, Manoa Falls is the second most popular hike on Oahu. Only minutes from the busy streets of Waikiki, this jungle trail leads you to a large waterfall. Jurassic Park and Lost filmed scenes in this lush green area.

Full blog post:  Manoa Falls Jungle Trail

 

Yoga at Manoa falls

 

 

15. Find Dead man’s catwalk (or where it used to be)

Despite what its name might suggest, the Dead Man’s Catwalk provided more amazing views than perils. The catwalk referred to the cement slab that some claim was a possible war-era installation or was previously used as a launch strip for hang gliders. The words “The Dead Man’s Catwalk” were constantly being spray painted on the 6-yard strip that led out to a steep drop-off down the face of cliffs.

Full blog post: Dead Man’s Catwalk is Dead

 

Dead Man's Catwalk view

 

 16. Reach the summit of Wiliwilinui ridge trail

“Standing at the summit of Wiliwili Nui Ridge I can make out Waikiki, a city of white buildings seemingly a world away from the ridges we are roaming. I spin around to see the turquoise water of the east coast and the panoramic views make me feel like I am at the center of this beautiful island.”

Full blog post: Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail

 

WiliWili Nui Ridge Hike Oahu-13

 

17. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay is the most popular spot for tourists to spot a turtle or explore the underwater world of the Pacific Ocean.

swim with hawaiian sea turtle

 

18. Watch the sunrise from Lanikai Pillbox hike

Lanikai is by far one of the prettiest areas on Oahu, laden with spectacular homes, crystal clear water and the famous Mokoluas also known as “mokes” (Mountains) out in the ocean. Only a few blocks back from Lanikai Beach is the beginning of the Lanikai Pillbox Trail (Kaiwa Ridge), known for being one of the easier trails on the island of Oahu. There is no better way to start your day than with a short sunrise hike overlooking the ocean and amazing scenery.

Full blog post: Lanikai Pillbox Hike the Best Sunrise Hike on Oahu

 

@jackson.groves

 

19. Find the Cromwell’s rock pool

Only a short drive or a 30-minute walk up the hill from Waikiki is the much more relaxed Cromwell’s beach. Explore around the corner and try and spot the semi-enclosed salt water rock pool created by someone with much, much more money than myself.

Full blog post: 4 beaches within walking distance of Waikiki Beach

cromwells

 

20. Ziplining at Kualoa Ranch

Float along a zip-line through Jurassic Park territory! For those who have bungee jumped or been sky diving, it won’t blow your socks off. It is a short scenic float through amazing surroundings, slow enough to allow you to take in where you are, send a Snapchat, or facetime with your family back home! This is why it is a great activity for a family or a group of friends it is a fun day for the thrill-seeker and the non-adventurer of the group.

Full blog post: Kualoa Ranch Zipline Adventure

featured kualoa

 

21. Walk the trail to Hanauma Bay rock bridge

Hanauma Bay is the most popular snorkeling beach on Oahu with hundreds of tourists visiting each day. However, a beautiful hike winds around the cliffs above the bay leading towards the ocean’s edge. If you follow the path all the way to towards the ocean and venture down the cliffs you will find a small rock bridge. Be incredibly careful in this area as it has claimed lives of strong swimmers in the past after they were swept off the rocks. One of the lesser known things to do on Oahu but definitely one to enjoy  from a safe distance.

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22. Visit Lulumahu falls

A cascading waterfall in the middle of the forest is a peaceful spot to enjoy the afternoon. The hike is right next to the Pali Highway and only takes about 30 minutes. You can swim in the pool below the waterfall.

Lulumahu FallsFlickr: Sublime777

23. Hike the Mariners Ridge

One of the more challenging hikes on the island this trail will give you spectacular views of the ocean while enjoying beautiful mountain surroundings.
2013-08-16 #0034 @12.30.16 PM ~ Kamehame to Mariners Ridge

Flickr: Kenneth

 

24. Have a coconut on the beach

Is there a better way to enjoy an Aloha Friday than with a coconut on the beach? I thought so..

IslaSept-2011 191Flickr: MTS Systems Photos

25. Leap into the ocean at China Walls

China Walls is a little cliff edge on the east side of Oahu. On a calm day it is a perfect spot for some small to medium cliff jumps, a swim and a sun bake. On a day with some swell stand back because China Walls gets crazy. I took this video there on a huge day.

26. Reach the top at the Pink Pillbox hike

In the mountains on the west side of Oahu is the Pink Pillbox Hike. Painted pink as a testimony to breast cancer victims and survivors, the abandoned military pillbox isn’t hard to spot. Five pillboxes in total line the ridge, which takes less than an hour to hike. This is one of the less popular things to do on Oahu but it was by far one of my favorite hikes on the island.

Full blog post: Pink Pillbox Hike on Oahu’s West Side

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27. Do the Peace hike on the North Shore

In the mountains overlooking the famous Pipeline beach and the North shore of Oahu, the Peace Hike provides a great vantage point. After twenty minutes of hiking you will find a small platform/pillbox that has a peace sign painted on it. Be sure to do the hike on a day with big swell so you can watch the huge waves roll in one after another from up in the mountains.

Full blog post: Shooting Pipeline from the Mountains

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28. Spend time at the Chinatown Sunday markets

The markets in Chinatown are an interesting collection of grocers and asian goods. While not everyone’s cup of tea this is a morning of discovery and exploration that is a little off the beaten path for most tourists. I used to live right near Chinatown and can tell you this area is home to many homeless people and many store-owners who are hustling to make a living.

Chinatown MarketFlickr: Go Visit Hawaii

 

29. Relax in the Kaena Point tide pools

On the west side of Oahu, a collection of rock pools retain their water as the tide goes out. The pools can be accessed from the western entry to Kaena Point. It is quite an isolated spot and a perfect place to enjoy a sunset while floating in a tide pool.

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30. Admire the trees at the Judd trail

The Judd Trail is just off the Pali Highway and will transport you from island paradise to a woodland forest typical of many states on the mainland. A path winds beneath towering trees for a couple of miles, leading you to the Jackass Ginger Pool. The pool has a small cascading fall and a rope swing and is a great spot to hang out for the afternoon.

Full blog post: Jackass Ginger Pool &  The Judd Trail

Jackass Ginger pool oahu judd trail

 

31. Enjoy a  delicious poke bowl

Poke Bowls became my favorite food on Oahu. Essentially a poke bowl is raw fish, most commonly Ahi and rice. However, you can get a bowl with octopus, squid or other types of seafood. A spicy sauce or seasoning covers the fish. Bowls range from $6 to $15 depending on where you buy them from.
poke

Flickr: mastersamuel

32. Chill at Cockroach cove

Cockroach Cove is right next to Halona Blowhole. Although tourists will come and go en masse in the carpark above the cove it is actually a great spot to chill out. Turtles often feed in the area and the rocky formations and little caves make a great backdrop for an afternoon chill session. Sandy’s is right around the corner if you get bored and want to go get smashed by some waves.

You might also be interested in reading about the best turtle beach in Hawaii!

Cockroach CoveFlickr: Leila Regan

 

33. Get sprayed by Halona Blowhole

The Halona Blowhole is a on the east side of Oahu, and is one of the most popular things to do on Oahu. As the waves crash into the cliffs under the rocks the water surges out of a blowhole shooting into the air. The rougher the day the bigger the spray from the blowhole usually.

Halona Blowhole

Flickr: Jason Duke

34. Watch breaching whales (winter time only)

In the winter anywhere on the east side of Oahu you are a chance to see a whale out in the ocean. Spots I have personally seen whales are: Makapu’u Beach, Spitting Cave, Turtle Bay Resort (North Shore)

Video by: Eric Sterman

35. Enjoy Dole Whip at the Dole Plantation

The Dole Plantation is a great spot to stop at on the way to the north shore for a tasty pineapple treat. The Plantation offers tours and has a huge hedge maze. The soft serve pineapple whip is like no other ice-cream you’ve had before. Be prepared for masses of tourists.

dole whipFlickr: Angelo Costillo

 

36. Sneak into Hilton pool for Friday fireworks show

An activity that is frowned upon but if you are successful you will have free buffet snacks and the best view in the house of the Friday fireworks from the Hilton Pool. I won’t tell you how to do it but enjoy the view once you figure it out.

DSC_0296Flickr: Daniel Wendell

37. Survive Three Peaks

 Three Peaks or Olomana Trail is a tracherous looking hike with three steep peaks that can be seen all the way from Lanikai. This is not a hike for the faint-hearted with a number of narrow parts of the trail with steep drop-offs. The views of the Koolau’s are worth it all.

Full blog post: 10 Best Hikes on Oahu

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38. Skydive on the North Shore

What better place to jump from a plane than above the beautiful azure water and rocky coastline of the North Shore. For just over $120 you can make the leap of your life. Definitely one of the craziest Oahu activities on offer!

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39. Lay in the Makapu’u Tide pools

The Makapu’u Lighthouse hike is one of the most popular things to do on Oahu. However what most people don’t do is venture down the cliffs to the tide-pools on the water’s edge. Once down on the rocky coastline a number of tide pools are deep enough to jump into and a few blowholes might give you a surprise too.

Full blog post: Makapu’u Tide Pools

F04A0628 wmFlickr: Michael Santos

 

40. Jump off the plank at Alan davis

When parking in the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail carpark, there is another attraction close by. If you walk back towards Waikiki along the coast away from the lighthouse there are a collection of wooden planks hanging out over the crystal clear water. Only a few yards high they make the area a perfect spot to hang out for the day. This is one of the lesser known Oahu attractions. Check out the Oahu attractions. Check out the Tom Tom/Makapu’u Trail while you are in the area!

Full Blog post: Alan Davis Beach

My move to HawaiiFlickr: Leeterri

41. Watch a Surf competition

You have many to choose from as the winter season comes. Notable competitions are the Billabong Pipe Masters and the “Eddie” a big wave surf competition at Waimea Bay. The atmosphere at surf events is like no other sporting events. A friendly low-key environment on the beach while surfers ride some mental waves out in the water. Pictured below is a shot I took at Waimea Bay a week before the “Eddie”. Watching a surf comp is one of the best things to do in Hawaii no matter what island you are on.

Full blog post: To find out when all the surf comps happen on Oahu you can check out the full guide I wrote that includes a schedule: Oahu Surf Competition Guide

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42. Enjoy the atmosphere at the Billabong Pipe Masters surf competition at Pipeline Beach

This is the must-see event of the year on Oahu. As the winter swell rolls through, the best surfers in the world gather for the final round of the World Surf League. Often this competition decides the world champion. I camped out on the beach with many others during two of the days and loved the vibe on the north shore during the comp. I was lucky enough to see and shoot surfers like Mick Fanning, Kelly Slater, John John Florence and Gabriel Medina.

Full blog post: To find out when all the surf comps happen on Oahu you can check out the full guide I wrote that includes a schedule: Oahu Surf Competition Guide

surf photos, surf photography, surf pics

43. Get in the water at Keikis and survive

 Keiki Beach is like the Sandy Beach of the north shore. Ridiculous waves crash into the shoe while crazy bodyboarders find shade in barrels. I went in the water once here on a huge day and I’m pretty proud of that. Definitely be very careful at this beach.

OCEAN SIDE CAMPING

44. Jump off Waimea Bay rock

Waimea Bay is my favorite beach on Oahu. It has rock climbing, turtles, underwater tunnels and huge waves in the winter. However, it’s most popular feature is a giant rock resting half in the water half on the shore. It is easy to climb onto the rock and from there you can join the crowd of nervous jumpers who wait their turn to leap off the rock. It isn’t incredibly deep but usually it is just deep enough.

Full blog post: 11 Reasons Why Waimea Bay is my Favorite Beach on Oahu

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45. Surf at world famous Waikiki beach

For a few dollars you can rent yourself a surfboard and join the masses trying their hand at surfing at the famous Waikiki Beach. Although many locals frequent the surf break, it is mostly crowded by kooks and terrible surfers like myself. If you do head out to ride some waves keep your eyes open for stray boards trying to take your head off. There are tons of things to do in Waikiki but surfing has to be at the top of your list. Oh also if you want to see how terrible I am at surfing watch the video below.

46. Watch the Quiksilver in memory of Eddie Aikau

The ‘Eddie’ is truly a phenomenal event. When the swell gets large enough, the best big wave surfers in the world fly in to Oahu to test their metal on 40+ foot waves. Often several years go by with no event due to the conditions. Therefore, when the event is on every man and their dog heads to the north shore to enjoy the spectacle.

Full blog post: To find out when all the surf comps happen on Oahu you can check out the full guide I wrote that includes a schedule: Oahu Surf Competition Guide

surf photos, surf photography, surf pics

47. Watch the Friday fireworks show at the Hilton

Each Friday the Hilton puts on a blockbuster fireworks display. The fireworks usually begin at 7:45 and hundreds of people fill the beach to watch the fireworks launch from along the shore.

Friday Night Hilton FireworksFlickr:  Daniel Ramirez

 

48. Walk the Makapu’u lighthouse trail

On Oahu’s most eastern point sits the Makapu’u Lighthouse. The paved trail that takes you there is one of the most popular hikes on Oahu because of how accessible it is and the amazing views it presents. Because the trail is so clearly marked (unlike many of the hikes on Oahu) it is completely foolproof and great for beginners. It is family and dog friendly and a great way to see some fantastic views of the east side.

Full blog post: The 5 Most Popular Hikes on Oahu

 

49. Visit and/or jump at Spitting Cave

One of my favorite things to do on Oahu was to head to spitting cave on the east coast cliffs and watch the divers jumping off. I had done some cliff jumping in the past but this spot was always a little bit sketchy for me at the time. Water rushes in with waves, filling the cave before being spat out with great force. It’s one of the top things to do in Oahu for adrenaline junkies. This is also a great place to watch sunset in the summer or spot whales in the winter.

 

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 50. Sneak into Sheraton Infinity Pool

Oahu has unlimited natural attractions but sometimes you just want to chill out in an infinity pool. See how long you can last at the Sheraton or Hilton before getting tapped on the shoulder.

091-Oahu-Sheraton Waikiki-20130224Flickr: Travis Ferland

51. Hang out in the hidden Tree house

The Tantalus treehouse is a cute little platform lodged in a tree, high up in the mountains that overlook Waikiki. I have seen plenty of people hang a hammock, bring dinner and drinks and even a small barbecue. This is also a perfect location to spot a double rainbow.

Full blog post: Tantalus Treehouse Hidden in the Mountains

tantalus treehouse oahu

 52. Find the bridge at Maunawili hike

The Maunawili hike is another trail into the jungle! You will find a large pool of water and even a rope swing. But can you get off the beaten path and find the bridge?

IMG_4041Flickr: Steffen Gerd Oeser

 

53. Swim to Flat Island

Kailua Beach is one of the most popular beaches on Oahu with a flurry of kayak tours and activity on the weekends. A1/4 mile swim from shore is Flat Island or Popoia, a bird sanctuary. You are allowed to walk around the edge of the island but take shoes it is sharp. The middle of the island is off-limits to help protect the birds.

Flat Island, Kailua BayFlickr: Brian Howell

54. Bodyboard in the Shore break at Sandys

Nicknamed ‘Neck Break Beach’ the waves at Sandy Beach are unforgiving. Huge waves crash directly onto sand or only a few feet of water. It sounds like there would be few venturing into the water however, this is the most crowded beach on a weekend. Locals flock to get barrels before getting dumped and the beach is always full of action.

Sandy BeachFlickr: Bulent Dogani

 

55. Parasailing at Waikiki

What better way to see Waikiki than from hundreds of feet up in the air. Parasailing will set you back $50 or so dollars and I would advise doing it as sunset so you can enjoy the beautiful colors from up high, looking down on the city.

Parasailing off HonoluluFlickr: Ed Suominen

56. See a Hawaiian Monk Seal

The Hawaiian monk seal is the only seal native to Hawaii, and is one of only two mammals native to the islands. I was lucky enough to see a few monk seals both in the ocean and on shore. They are protected so once they swim onto the shore you must keep a safe distance from them and definitely don’t touch them.

monk sealFlickr: Eva 8

 

57. Moped up the east side to North Shore

One of my favorite things to do on Oahu is to jump on a moped and head along the East Coast to Makapu’u, Sandy Beach, Chinamans Hat, Spitting Cave, Koko Head or Crouching Lion. The coastal drive is amazing as you drive right on the edge of cliffs. The waves crash below and you can see the ocean for almost the whole drive.

 

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58. Camp on North shore

What better way to wake up than to the sound of crashing waves. Have a morning surf before breakfast before enjoying the relaxed vibes on the North Shore all day.

Surf KOOK Surf ClubFlickr: Mike Caputo

Full Blog Post: Camping on North Shore

59. Photograph the Milky Way

There are plenty of awesome spots on Oahu to get a good look at the stars each night. Away from the city at Kaena Point or at Makapu’u seem to be the most popular.

Milky Way Above MakapuuFlickr: Juneau Biscuits

 

60. Visit Makua beach

On the far west side of Oahu, Makua Beach lies at the foot of majestic mountains, hiding behind a wall of trees. Crystal clear waters wash upon long stretch of beach with a backdrop of Makua Valley and cliffs that seem to encapsulate the secluded beach.

Full blog post: Makua Beach

 

makua beach on oahu

 

61. Swim with Hawaiian Sea Turtles

Sea Turtles are at most of the beaches on Oahu and you will find it hard to miss them during your stay. My favorite spots to hang out with a turtle are Electric Beach and Waimea Bay. Just remember to keep your distance, never touch and be sure and respect these beautiful creatures. Swimming with a Sea Turtle is one of the top ten things to do in Oahu in my opinion.

Full blog post: Best Spots to Swim With Sea Turtles on Oahu

 

makua beach on oahu turtle

 


62. Swim with Dolphins

One of the most magical experiences you can have on Oahu is to get lucky enough to swim with dolphins. Often on the west side of Oahu a pod of dolphin will cruise past while you are in the water or you can swim out to join them. I was lucky enough to swim with dolphins on two occasions and also once heard the calls of a whale in the water. Electric Beach and Makua Beach seem to be the best spots to encounter a pod of dolphins.

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63. Get an acai bowl on the North Shore

Acai berries are a superfood native to Central and South America. They contain more antioxidants than most berries including cranberries and even blueberries. Most bowls often come topped other fruits and berries and even granola, so they are actually quite filling. After trying tons of acai bowls from all over the island here are a few of our favorites.

Full blog post: Best Acai Bowls on Oahu

 

acai bowls oahu haleiwa

 

64. Eat dinner at the Food trucks on North Shore

One of my favorite things to do on Oahu was to head to the food trucks on the North shore and grab a plate of garlic prawns or a Mexican feast and watch the sun set over Shark’s Cove. After a long, tiring day of enjoying all of the beautiful beaches on Oahu this is the perfect way to rejuvenate and tuck in to some awesome local and exotic food.

north shore | giovanni's shrimp truckFlickr: V snow

65. Taste a loco moco

The traditional loco moco is made of white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. You can find this at lots of local eateries and even Wholefoods! Try it at least once!

Hawaii: Loco MocoFlickr: Sstrieu

 

66. Try mochi ice cream

Oahu has a huge contingent of Japanese residents who have had a big influence on the cuisine of the island. One of my favorite thingsto come from Japan is mochi ice cream. Made from rice, the mochi encloses the ice-cream inside its chewy outer layer. It comes in a variety of flavors such as matcha, green tea and coffee.

UntitledFlickr: Trpyhena

67. See a double rainbow

Some of the best spots to find a rainbow on Oahu are Tantalus Lookout or on the west side of Oahu. Happy hunting.

Double Rainbow.Flickr: Peeter Tomson

 

68. Swim with sharks

One Ocean Diving take people out and let them swim with sharks without a cage! It might seem extreme but they haven’t had any injuries or incidents in 20 years of operation. Sandbar sharks circle around you as you snorkel out in the open ocean. It might cost over $100 but it is one of the unique activities in Oahu.

Can't wait to dive with these guys again, photo by @juansharksFlickr: Mark Lee

69. Scuba-dive to Sea Tiger Wreck

100 feet below the surface lies the The Sea Tiger, which is a former Chinese trading vessel originally named Yun Fong Seong No. 303. The ship was confiscated in the 1990’s for carrying more than 90 illegal immigrants to Hawaii. It was purchased by Voyager Submarines, cleaned up and sunk in 1999.

70. Swim with a whale

This is probably one of the hardest items to tick off on the list. The closest I got was a time at Electric Beach listening to the songs of a whale while underwater but I never caught a glimpse of it.
Megaptera novaeangliaeFlickr: John.Johnson.15

 

71. Find an octopus

The Hawaiian name for an octopus is Tako and they seem to be popular in stories, tattoos and something many divers look for. If you are lucky enough to spot a Tako they will cling to you or your camera, which can make for some great photos. I have never personally found one but many of my friends encountered them from time to time.

GS and OctoFlickr: ScubaJo

72. Share the water with a stingray

Oahu is actually a great place to encounter a ray gliding beneath the surface of the ocean. They enjoy coastal bays with mud bottoms at depths greater than 50 feet , such as Kaneohe Bay. They are most active two hours before sunset and two hours before sunrise, which is a big tip if you are looking for the opportunity to swim with one. They also prefer the warmer waters of the summer.

20120304-9916-EditFlickr: Chuck Babitt

73. Go for the Laie cliff jump

A 25-30 ft cliff jump on the north shore is a great spot to spend the day. Make sure the conditions are right, the water is deep enough and you know the surroundings before taking the plunge.

Full Blog Post: 11 Best Cliff Jumping Spots on Oahu

74. Watch sunset from inside Makua Cave

Makua Cave is at the end of a short hike on the West side of Oahu overlooking Makua Valley. From inside the cave you have a great view of the ocean, valley, highway and sunset. This is a perfect spot to get a creative silhouette shot as the sun goes down.

Jumping

Flickr: XJ

 

75. Visit the beautiful sunflower fields

If you can figure out where to find the sunflower fields on the North Shore of Oahu, you are in for a magical afternoon and sunset full of photo opportunities. This is one of the best place to visit in Oahu that you won’t find in the tourist books.
she danced among flowers

Flickr: Tasha Marie

76. Try Haupia Pie

A traditional coconut pudding many locals crave. One of the best spots to get a Haupia Pie after a day of beaching it on the north shore is Ted’s Bakery.
Chocolate haupia pieFlickr: Jonathondalina

 

77. Hike to Lahilahi Point

With views all the way from  Kaena Point to Waianae this is a great little hike to do when you get out on the west side. I personally love hikes that are right near the beach and you can’t get much closer. Lahilahi point is a short hike taking no more than 20-30 minute to reach.

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78. Find the Kaniakapupu Ruins

Also known as King Kamehameha III summer home, this is a slice of Hawaiian history hidden on the Nu’uanu Oahu hike. The hike is short and on the same trails as the Luakaha Waterfall.

KaniakapupuFlickr: Marko Stavric

79. Watch a sunrise at Chinamans Hat

Get up early and head to the east coast of Oahu before the sun rises. The Koolau’s will loom behind you in the darkness as you wait for the sun to creep over the horizon. This area is really beautiful during sunrise and just after as the mountains will be lit perfectly and Chinamans Hat is a nice silhouette out in the water.

Daybreak at the Hat

Flickr: Nshbn

 

80. Head to Moose’s for $1 drinks on a Tuesday

These days a night out can burn a hole in your wallet but if you are looking to have a big night without having to go broke this is the spot for you. Moose’s is a bar in Waikiki that caters to the college crowd by offering $1 drinks on a Tuesday. Expect average vodka, questionable rum and a $10 cover fee. Plenty of good and memories were had in this bar.

Mucho AlohaFlickr: Rochelle Mendiola

I lived on Oahu for two years and loved adventuring from the beaches to the mountains to the waterfalls! These are my most popular blog post and guides from the beautiful island of Oahu to help you plan your trip!

THE STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN OAHU, HAWAII: UPDATED 2018

11 AMAZING WATERFALLS ON OAHU, HAWAII

11 BEST CLIFF JUMPING SPOTS ON OAHU, HAWAII

WHERE TO SEE TURTLES ON OAHU, HAWAII

10 BEST HIKES ON OAHU, HAWAII

AMAZING DOORS OFF HELICOPTER TOUR OF OAHU, HAWAII

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37 Discussion to this post

  1. Kimberly says:

    Thank you so much! We are heading to Oahu early-mid December and can’t wait! I appreciate all of you tips and descriptions. The pics included are a huge help!!

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  6. Soner says:

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  7. Leo K says:

    Wow, Oahu looks beautiful! I have never been to Hawaii, but it is definitely on my bucket list, along with St. Lucia (I want to do the Grand Piton hike), Iceland (I want to see the Northern Lights), and San Francisco. I like to visit different places. They don’t necessarily have to be hot, cold, or UNESCO World Heritage sites. I just like to see different things and meet new people. It’s all part of the fun of travel!

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  11. Thor says:

    Heading out there in 2 weeks for the first time. Great List and EPIC Photos! Thanks for this post!

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  13. ST Camera says:

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  14. Stephanie says:

    Hi there!

    This was really really insightful! I was wondering if you have any advice for a solo trip without a car to Oahu? I would really appreciate your thoughts 🙂

    • MW says:

      We have a great bus system that you can easily utilize to get around. Getting to the west side and North shore can be a little tricky depending upon where you stay, most tourists stay in Waikiki, but there are tours and other options to get there. Some of these hikes are not accessible without a car, so the bus won’t get you to all of them but you can always get close and walk, or use an Uber or Lyft. I have lived here for two years without a car and I haven been to a good amount of these places and sites, so I think you will be fine without a car or can easily rent one for a day to see some of the sites that are not accessible by the bus. Hope that helps

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