There are so many bucket list experiences and things to do on Oahu. This island paradise is one of my favorite places in the world! I lived on Oahu for three years, exploring the best hikes and beaches on the island, and I created this guide to help you plan your dream trip to Oahu.

Visiting Oahu?

  1. Spend time climbing mountains.
  2. Explore some of the best hikes in Hawaii.
  3. Swim with turtles.
  4. Visit some of the best beaches in the world.
  5. Eat local food.
  6. Embrace the “aloha” spirit.

Things to do on Oahu, Hawaii – hiking

There are so many amazing hikes on Oahu, that offer spectacular views of the waterfalls, nature, and the ocean. Makapu’u Tidepools and Yokohama are some of the most beautiful places on the island. Stairway to Heaven is also a popular hiking trail, but keep in mind, it’s illegal.

Travel Insurance – I never travel without Travel Insurance. I’ve had several injuries and mishaps occur while traveling. From a broken ankle to refilling prescriptions, I never hesitate to visit a doctor abroad because I know I’m covered. I like World Nomads because it’s so easy to file claims. 

Haleiwa, North Shore

Haleiwa on the North Shore is a must-visit on your trip to Oahu. From Waimea Bay to Sunset Beach, the North Shore is home to some of the best beaches in the world!

Stop in Haleiwa and grab an acai bowl, and head to Pupukea Grill for lunch. When the surf isn’t too big, the north shore is perfect for snorkeling and swimming with turtles.

sunflower farm oahu

Oahu sunflower fields

Oahu has beautiful sunflower fields that are worth a visit during your trip to Hawaii. Although the sunflower farms on Oahu vary by size, there are locations in Waialua, Waimanalo, and Kapolei depending on the time of year. 

Related: Where to Find Sunflower Fields on Oahu

kayak in lanikai

Kayak to the Mokes

Rent a kayak in Kailua and head to Na Mokulua, two islands off of Lanikai Beach. You can only visit one of the islands, and since the ocean is usually pretty calm around here, it’s easy to get here. Before you visit Kailua and Lanikai beach, hike the Lanikai Pillbox Trail for great views of the island.

best oahu travel guide


With top resorts to luxury shopping experiences, Waikiki is where many people choose to stay during their visit to Oahu. After a day at the beach, take a dip in your favorite hotel pool, like the Sunset Pool at the Modern Honolulu. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and fireworks on Friday night.

Nightlife scene: Modern Addiction & Sky Waikiki

SUP at Ala Moana

You can’t come to Oahu and not visit Ala Moana Beach Park. Located in town, it’s a great place to swim or standup paddleboard. Grab a Spicy Tuna poke bowl at Foodland and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the beach. You can also paddleboard for free.

Read: Learn how you can SUP for free at Ala Moana Beach Park here.

swim with sharks

Swim with Sharks in Haleiwa

Ever thought about what it would be like to swim with sharks on Oahu? Add this bucket list experience to your Hawaii itinerary. Out of all the hikes, beautiful beaches, and adventures; swimming with sharks on Oahu is a must-do on your trip.

Take a sunset cruise

One of the best ways to experience Waikiki is on a boat. With iconic views of Diamond Head and the city skyline, spending a few hours on the water is always a good time. Daily catamaran and boat cruises are available in the morning and around sunset in Waikiki.

Eat local food

I love catching up with friends over a good meal, and Oahu has plenty of options that won’t break your budget.

  • Onos – Your visit to Oahu isn’t complete without a stop at Ono seafood on Kapahuluu.
  • Foodland – Grab a poke bowl to go and take it to the beach. Spicy Tuna is my favorite!
  • Pupukea Grill – A North Shore classic, this blue food truck is always busy, but after one bite of their hummus wrap or spicy tuna bowl, you’ll understand why it’s worth a stop here.
  • Honolulu Museum of Art Café – This was a first-time visit for me, but the shrimp penne pasta with shiitake mushrooms is worth a second visit.
  • Moku – Located at SALT in Kakaako, the fish here is brought to the restaurant the day its caught. I liked the fish tacos.
  • Kaimuki Superette – A cute coffee shop that serves breakfast and lunch.

Where to stay

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning to the islands, there are so many top experiences on Oahu, Hawaii. What’s on your bucket list in 2020?

best islands in Hawaii
Things to do on Oahu

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