42 Best Things To Do In Oahu Hawaii

The Official Oahu Bucket List

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens photography

42 Best Things To Do In Oahu Hawaii

{The Ultimate Oahu Bucket List}


So just in case you weren’t aware, there’s more to the island of Oahu than Waikiki Beach, boujee high-end resorts, and endless sun tanning.

Oahu is an insanely beautiful little part of the world that is one of the most spectacular places we have ever had the chance to visit, and after reading this ultimate guide showcasing all the best places to visit in Oahu, you’ll totally understand why.

Therefore, for anyone curious about what to do in Oahu we strongly urge you to carefully read through this Ultimate Bucket List, in order to discover some of the most popular and most unique places to explore on the island.

So without further ado, here is our Ultimate Guide To The 42 Best Things To Do In Oahu.


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best things to do in oahu hawaii


Stairway to Heaven

Highly illegal? Check. Super Dangerous? Check. Unforgettably Amazing? Check. The Stairway to Heaven checks off all the requirements to be considered one of the best hikes in Hawaii.

Any adventure lover searching for what to do in Oahu is definitely not going to want to miss this one!

Considered one of the 10 best things to do in Oahu and usually on the bucket list for a majority of backpackers, The Stairway To Heaven is a truly remarkable experience that is filled with adrenaline the entire way through.

The Stairway To Heaven is indeed illegal and will cost you around $1000 USD if you get caught.


Pfft… Like that’s going to stop anyone. Get past the guards and make your way up those 3,922 hefty, steep stairs that lead to what seriously feels like heaven.


Once you literally have your head in the clouds, you’ll understand why backpackers simply can’t resist this hike as well as why it is considered to be one of the best things to do in Oahu Hawaii.

Suggested Blog | Stairway To Heaven Hawaii {The Certified Haiku Stairs 2019 Guide}

stairway to heaven hawaii hike

stairway to heaven hawaii sunrise

stairway to heaven hawaii


Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens

I know you’ve all seen that iconic photo of some Instagrammer standing in the middle of a gorgeous road in Hawaii that seems to lead you into the heart of what appears to be Jurassic Park… Well, that place is called Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens and it is truly as breathtaking as it looks.

As one of the top attractions in Oahu, Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens is legitimately the best botanical garden in the world.

Immediately upon entering Ho’omaluhia, visitors are welcomed to the faultlessly paved palm tree fringed road that leads you into the rest of the park.

The best part is that the entrance to the park is completely free, which also makes this one of the best things to do in Oahu for free!

Suggested Blog | Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden Oahu {The Certified 2019 Guide}

Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens photography

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden Oahu

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens Oahu


Olomana Hiking Trail (Three Peaks)

Not into illegal stuff? Don’t fret.

Three Peaks is probably more dangerous than the Stairway to Heaven, but at least it’s legal.

Olomana is a hike that consists of three different peaks you can hike up, the first one being the least dangerous (yet the longest and steepest), the second peak being slightly more dangerous, and the third peak being extremely dangerous.

While other hikes throughout the island get much more publicity, Three Peaks, on the other hand, does not.

Which is why I very much consider the Olomana hiking trail to be one of the best secret things to do in Oahu.

Suggested Blog | Three Peaks Hike | The Most Underrated Trail In Oahu

best things to do in hawaii

best things to do in oahu hawaii

best things to do in oahu hawaii


Waikiki Beach

Although it is so very touristy of us to add this onto the list, please forgive us because Waikiki Beach is one of the most spectacular sunsets we have ever seen.

The sky transforms into a canvas of all different shades of pink, purple, orange, and everything in between.

As one of the top things to do in Honolulu, try to make it back early enough from your hikes so you can witness the beauty of this spectacle for yourself.

waikiki beach sunset oahu


Paddle Boarding

If you’re after a relaxing activity, then Paddle Boarding In The North Shore is one of the top things to do in Oahu.

Located down the street from the Anahulu’s Shaved Ice shop is a Paddle Boarding center which offers great rates for hourly rentals.

Explore the bay and its connecting river to find some beautiful Hawaiian sea turtles grazing along the shores living their best life.

This is definitely one of the best things to do in the North Shore so try not to miss it.

best things to do in north shore oahu


Shrimp On The North Shore at Giovanni’s

Prepare yourself for the best Garlic Shrimp you’ll ever get to taste.

Look for the food truck with the longest line of people waiting to order. That’s Giovanni’s!

Known as one of the best places to eat in Oahu, dining at Giovanni’s Food Truck is hands down one of the best things to do in the North Shore of Oahu.

Suggested Blog | North Shore Oahu: A Guide To Hanging Loose

Giovanni’s Food Truck Shrimp


$1 Drinks at Moose’s (Tuesday)

When you’re on holidays, you don’t need to wait for the weekend to get drunk and party. Instead, let loose and party at Moose’s during the week!

While Moose’s is always considered one of the best things to do in Oahu at night, on Tuesdays, they offer $1 drinks which really gets the party going.

Practically every party person in Honolulu is there, which consequently makes Moose’s into one of the most exciting bars in Oahu.


Crouching Lion Hike

Hands down one of the must do things in Oahu!

Not only is it one of the best things to do in Oahu, but I would go as far calling Crouching Lion one of the top 10 hikes in Hawaii!

Although the climb is super steep pretty much the entire way up, it only takes around 30 minutes to reach the top.

However, once you make it be prepared to have your mind blown because the views from the top are absolutely insane!

Suggested Blog | The Ultimate Guide To Finding The Crouching Lion Hike In Oahu

crouching lion hike

crouching lion hike | best things to do in oahu

crouching lion hike oahu


Hanauma Bay

Going from one typically overcrowded Oahu spot to the next, Hanauma Bay is another top Oahu attraction that you will feel obligated to see.

While there is no denying the fact that is indeed one of the best places to visit in Oahu, there is also no denying that it is one of the most touristy spots as well.

Additionally, as a heads up… not only will you be required to pay an entrance fee, but you will also be forced to watch an educational video before entering the beach as well.

In case you can’t tell this wasn’t one of my favorite spots in Oahu, however, it is super popular so I decided to include it on the list.

hanauma bay oahu


Try The Loco Moco at Rainbow Drive Inn

This absolute monstrosity of calories is just the thing you need to refuel your body after all the exhausting hikes of Oahu.

Known as a favorite local cuisine, the Loco Moco is easily one of the best things to do in Honolulu and your taste buds will not be able to stop thanking you once you taste it.

So, head down to Rainbow Drive Inn for the absolute BEST Hawaiian food in Waikiki.

And do yourself a massive favor and order The Loco Moco!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Sunset Beach (Sunset)

Boasting one truly unforgettable golden orange sunset along with a textbook definition of the iconic 100-year-old leaning palm tree, Sunset beach is quite picture perfect.

View the stunning burnt orange sunset from one of Oahu’s best beaches located in the North Shore of the island.

sunset beach


Try Malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery

If you don’t try some Malasadas while you’re here on the island of Oahu then you can safely mark this down as one of your biggest regrets.

As one of the must do things on Oahu, these Portuguese style donuts called Malasadas are above and beyond delicious.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Manoa Falls

This hike is much less strenuous than all the other hikes we’ve mentioned here thus far.

Manoa Falls is a short 20-minute stroll through a stunning forest, that takes you to a quaint little waterfall that breeds nothing but serenity.

Although the waterfall is quite beautiful, I personally believe the walk to the waterfall is the best part of the trail.

Boasting stunning greenery and distinctive trees that make for some really pretty photographs, it’s no wonder why Manoa Falls is considered one of the 10 best things to do in Oahu.

However, the one downfall that you should be aware of is that this trail is a lot more touristy than other hikes due to its accessibility allowing just about anyone to be able to complete this hike.

Suggested Blog | The Ultimate Manoa Falls Trail Guide To This Stunning Oahu Waterfall


Swim with Turtles

Turtles are everywhere in Hawaii!

Take advantage of this opportunity and swim with them, but please don’t touch the turtles.

 

sea turtles oahu


Tom Tom Trail

Another illegal hike with an incredibly dreamy view! And definitely worth the risk.

The Tom Tom Trail is by far one of the best hikes on Oahu and in arguably the most underrated as well.

With unbeatable panoramas of the beautiful Hawaiian coastline as you stand atop the shockingly steep cliff, this should atop your Oahu bucket list… at least for anyone who is not afraid of heights.

tom tom trail what to do in oahu


Bazaic Pipeline Beach

It’d be wrong not to visit the famous Bazaic Pipeline Beach where they annually host the Pipeline Masters surfing competition!

With some of the most monstrous waves in Hawaii, Pipeline Beach is an absolute must-see in Oahu, even if you don’t plan on surfin it up.


Grab A Poke Bowl 

I had my first ever Poke Bowl in Hawaii and I strongly suggest you do the same!

Although you may have just discovered this dish, the Poke Bowl has been a Hawaiian classic for decades now.

Poke Bowls are one of the most popular things to eat in Oahu, and there is no better place to grab one than in Honolulu.

poke bowl oahu


Shaved Ice

On that note, why wouldn’t you have some shaved ice while you’re at it?

In a place as hot as Hawaii, it’s a no brainer why this is so popular.

Ever so sweet and insanely addictive don’t forget to grab one of these babies every chance you get.


Shaved Ice Gives You Wings

If you don’t take a photo with these wings, did you really even visit Oahu?

Popularized through our beloved Instagram, these Oahu wings have quickly become one of the most popular things to do in the North Shore.

Located at the Anahulu’s Shaved Ice parlor of North Oahu, travelers can grab one of the most delicious shaved icy’s on the island all while simultaneously taking their iconic Oahu wings photo.

Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

Suggested Blog | North Shore Oahu: A Guide To Hanging Loose

best things to do in north shore oahu


Pali Notches

For this particular hike, you will need an amazing pair of hiking shoes and a big set of balls to complete this trail.

Pali Notches is hands down the most difficult hike on the island of Oahu.

While you might feel the views are definitely worth the risk, do keep in mind that one strong gust of wind could literally blow you right off the side of the cliff.

However, if that doesn’t intimidate you then enjoy what is certainly one of the most exciting things to do in Oahu.

You deserve every single Instagram and Facebook like you get from these photos.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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3 Tables Beach

If you’re looking for a pretty beach in the North Shore, consider visiting 3 Tables Beach.

I’m not exactly sure why they call it 3 Tables Beach but one thing is for sure; that it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu.

Oh yea, and the surfing is pretty good too.

3 tables beach north shore oahu


Halona Blowhole

Halona Blowhole is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Oahu.

Located in Halona Cove along the Kalaniana’ole highway is where you will find this natural wonder.

Watch in awe at the mesmerizing display of these enormous waves crashing upon the rocks with force, fueling this natural geyser to shoot sea sprays to an estimate of around 30-40 feet into the air!

In addition to this breathtaking display of mother nature, Halona Cove is one of the best things to do in Oahu for couples given its quite romantic setting.

Well, at least when it’s not overly crowded with tourists that is…

halona blowhole oahu


Makua Beach

As one of the most perfect beaches in Oahu, Makua Beach is one not to be missed!

The postcard panoramas of Makua make it well worth the 1-hour drive from Waikiki to see it.

Just try not to forget to pick your jaw up out of the sand before you leave.

hawaii surfing drone shot


Lanakai Pill Box Hike

As one of the most famous hikes on the entire island, the Lanakai Pill Box offers a panoramic sunrise view that can only be described as utterly spectacular.

Although the hike itself does not take that long to complete, there are parts of the 30-45 minute hike up that are quite exhausting.

However, once you make it to the top be prepared to experience something amazing.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Lanakai Beach

Once you’re finished with the Lanakai Pill Box Hike and feeling rightfully exhausted, will be your chance to go and relax at that beautiful beach that you had been staring at from all the way up there.

A quick refreshing dip and tanning sesh at the ever so gorgeous Lanakai Beach is considered one of the must do things on Oahu, especially after the energy draining Pillbox hike.

 

lanakai beach oahu


Get Lei’d (Go To a Luau)

If you want to actually receive a Lei in Hawaii, go to a Luau where they will feed you and entertain you with traditional Hawaiian dancers!

However contrary to popular belief they do not Lei you once you step off the plane… or maybe we were just unlucky.


Acai Bowl

Much like the beloved Poke Bowl, an Acai Bowl is just another dish you have to try in Oahu!

However, be aware they are so tasty here, after just one serving you will be addicted.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Take A Scenic Drive Along Kalaniana’ole Highway

Towering mountain range on your left, hundreds of idyllic beaches on your right.

The Kalaniana’ole highway scenic drive is everything you imagined Hawaii to be.

You will constantly be getting in and out of your car as you cruise down one the most beautiful roads in Oahu.

Kalanianaole Scenic Drive


Helicopter Ride

For something different and exciting, you can view all of Oahu’s gorgeous sights from above.

If this isn’t enough to get your blood pumping, then maybe you adrenaline junkies will love what we have next on this list… read on below for more.

 

helicopter ride oahu


Sky Dive Oahu

Calling all adrenaline junkies!

I can’t really think of a more beautiful place than Oahu to go skydiving!

Especially if sky diving was already a bucket list item, then this is definitely one of the most unique things to do in Oahu.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Moanalua Ridge (Legal Way To Stairway to Heaven)

In case you didn’t know, there’s a legal way to get to the top of the Stairway To Heaven!

It takes longer, it’s more difficult, and zero stairs are involved, but at least you avoid the risk of a possible felony.

Even though most people don’t consider Moanalua Ridge one of the must do things on Oahu, we quite enjoyed the hike and thought it was one of the most beautiful sights in Oahu Hawaii.


Koko Crater

No need for the Stairmaster if you do this hike.

If you enjoy a steep incline of 1,048 steps or if you’re looking for a beautiful view of Oahu, you’re going to love Koko Crater Hike.

However, be aware because as one of the legal trails in Oahu, Koko Crater can get pretty crowded being one of the most popular things to do on Oahu.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Electric Beach

With the warmest water in all of Oahu flooded with wild marine animals, Electric Beach is well worth the drive!

The original name of Electric beach was Kahe point, however, locals are more familiar with the nickname that comes from its location next to a Hawaiian electric plant.

Known as one of the must do things in Oahu, Electric beach is an excellent snorkel location because of the warm outflowing water from the electric plant.  This makes the waters at the beach much warmer than anywhere else on the island, thus attracting tons of marine life.

electric beach oahu


Sunflower Fields

Get a photo at these sunflower fields and you’ll friggin’ slay on Instagram.

As one of the top attractions in Oahu, this field of vibrant green and yellow flowers are in full bloom between the weeks of November 8th– 20th at the DuPont Pioneers Waialua farm.

If you’re visiting Hawaii during those weeks, then make sure you get here to take your quintessential sunflower photo.

sunflower oahu


Pearl Harbor

It’s no surprise that a visit to Pearl Harbor is one of the top attractions in Oahu.

I’m sure for any history enthusiast, this is already on your list of top 10 things to do in Oahu.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail

Known as the second most popular hiking trail on the island, the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail is one of the most easily accessible and legal trails on the island.

Combine the ease of accessibility with a nice paved 1.5 mile roundtrip trail, topped off by stunning coastal views and you have got yourself another incredible thing to do on Oahu.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Explore Waikiki Town

Loaded with an assortment of resorts, shopping malls, restaurants, and nightclubs, Waikiki Town is always a hive of activity.

This is the tourist hub of Oahu so there is never of a shortage of things to do around here, hence exploring it is one of the best things to do in Oahu.

waikiki beach oahu hawaii


Waikiki Sunset Booze Cruise

Get the most unique sunset view whilst sipping on a cocktail on the Sunset Booze Cruise in Waikiki.

There’s truly no better way to end the day in Oahu.


Cliff Jump At The North Shore

I mean, why not?!

North Shore offers plenty of good cliff jumping opportunities scattered at random spots along the coastline.

Just make sure the water are not too rough because depending on the time of year, the North Shore of Oahu can see some massive waves.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Diamond Head Hike

Get panoramic views of Oahu when you hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater!

As one of the top attractions in Oahu, this extinct volcano is an insanely popular trail on the island.


Cliff Jump At The Spitting Cave

Hands down one of the coolest cliff jump spots on the island, Spitting Cave is an absolute must for any adrenaline junky searching for the most exciting things to do on Oahu.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Whale Watching

Have ever seen a humpback whale?  If not, well now’s your chance!

From December to May you can schedule a tour or take a private charter to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures.

Or if you’re really lucky, you might even see one of them come soaring out of the water like we did, not too far in the distance from where we were swimming at the beach.

humbpack whale oahu | best things to do in oahu

ARE WE MISSING SOMETHING?


Did we forget to mention some important information in our blog “42 Best Things To Do In Oahu Hawaii {The Official Oahu 2019 Bucket List}”?

Drop your comments & suggestions below!

Don’t forget to check out some of our other Hawaii blogs.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden Oahu {The Certified 2019 Guide}
Stairway To Heaven Hawaii {The Certified Haiku Stairs 2019 Guide}
The Most Instagrammable Places In Oahu To Inspire Your Wanderlust
The Ultimate Manoa Falls Trail Guide To This Stunning Oahu Waterfall
Three Peaks Hike | The Most Underrated Trail In Oahu
North Shore Oahu: A Guide To Hanging Loose

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