There are literally hundreds of Oahu attractions on this 600 sq mile island, competing for your attention. From 112 miles of beautiful coastline filled with pristine and rugged Oahu beaches, to stunning waterfalls, to exotic local food and boundless cultural activities. I hope you have a long vacation to discover it all. But if you don’t have that kind of extended vacation time, like most of us, here are the top 10 attractions that should be at the top of your list!
Discover Best Oahu Attractions
Without further ado, here the top 10 most popular attractions on Oahu!
10. Climbing Diamond Head
Diamond Head is probably the most iconic landmark you will see on Oahu. Even British sailors in the 1800’s were impressed with its presence, and scaled the mountain in search of diamonds…which were never found!
Today you can easily travel into the center of the crater, and climb up to the 760 foot summit. It’s a great way to start your morning, and the views are amazing! Read more…
9. Discovering the North Shore
If you don’t make it to the North Shore of Oahu, you will miss a good chunk of all Oahu attractions.
From visiting some of the notorious big wave beaches in the world to taking a stroll in old town Haleiwa, there is lots to choose from! I personally enjoy the drive through the country side, and taking it all in! Make sure to stop at the shrimp farms and get a good fill of garlic shrimp located around the north shore tip in Kahuku! Read more…
8. Spending a day at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, or maybe you would like to visit the Marquesas Islands? You get a chance to experience it all here at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
There are 7 different villages you can explore representing different regions of the South Pacific. Give yourself a full day to watch many of the entertaining shows, paddle in an ancient style canoe, participate in educating activities, and celebrate with a grand luau! Read more…
7. Explore Waikiki
Waikiki seems like an obvious Oahu attraction, but there is good reason why over a million visitors flock to this city each year…and the number continues to grow!
The skyline is continuously changing with new grand hotels, shops, roof top bars, and some of the best culinary experiences to indulging in! Even the iconic International Market Place has recently taken a new transformation that incorporated Saks Fifth Ave. Add 2 miles of beautiful beach real estate to play on, and you can start to see how Waikiki makes the list! Read more…
6. Hiking up to Waimea Falls
There are not many waterfalls on Oahu that you can easy access without hiking through brush and getting a little muddy, but there is one Hawaiian waterfall that is quite pleasant to stroll up to and that is Waimea Falls.
It’s located in the back of Waimea Valley, and surrounded by some beautiful botanical gardens. Reach the 15 ft waterfall and you’ll find a nice size pool of water that you can swim in as well. Read more…
5. Learning how to Surf
You’ll see and hear the rolling waves off Waikiki’s coast calling out to you, and there’s no better feeling than paddling out to the breakers and catching a wave back to shore!
Learning how to surf is like a rite of passage as a visitor. There are usually gentle waves to be found on any given day, before you turn pro and paddle out to the monster surf! It’s easy to sign up and find surfing schools along Waikiki Beach, and handful in the North Shore as well. Most offer a guarantee that you will stand up the first day! Read more…
4. Snorkeling Hanauma Bay
With over 300 different species of fish and marine life, it’s no wonder why Hanauma Bay is so popular.
Only 3000 visitors are allowed to visit the marine sanctuary each day. More than 10,000 tourist used to folk this bay each day, before larger steps were taken to protect the reef and marine life.
It’s a privilege to snorkel Hanauma Bay, and literally be surrounded be so many different species of fish. It is sort of like swimming in a human size aquarium! Read more…
3. Enjoying a Hawaiian Shave Ice
What trip to Oahu or Hawaii for that matter is not complete without getting yourself a Hawaiian Shave Ice!
Most associate it with a trip to the North Shore, and dropping into famous Matsumoto’s Shave Ice for a cool treat on a hot day.
Today the competition is fierce, and Hawaiian shave ice establishments are stepping up their game with new flavors, toppings, and refining the ice itself. Check out some of the best Hawaiian Shave Ice establishments on the island…
2. Trip to Pearl Harbor
With 1.8 million visitors each year, it’s no wonder that Pearl Harbor is one of Oahu’s main attractions!
The ghostly presence of the Arizona Memorial is what draws the crowds, but Pearl Harbor offers so much more, and is almost impossible to see it all in one visit!
The World War II USS Bowfin Submarine & USS Battleship Missouri are permanently anchored in the bay and worth climbing aboard. And the Pacific Aviation Museum is also an experience you won’t forget! Book a trip to Pearl Harbor…
1. Attending an Evening Luau
And the #1 Oahu attraction that visitors look forward to is attending an evening Hawaiian luau!
With mai tais in hand, live entertainment on stage, and a grand buffet of food lined up, it’s easy to see why everyone gets excited for these ongoing parties that take place in multiple locations each night!
The Hawaiian Luau is a grand production in the making with so many components. You can feel the magic begin as the tiki torches are lit and the conch shells are blown. Reserve your seat…
Noteworthy Honolulu Attractions
Also check out noteworthy Honolulu attractions that are located both in or not too far outside Waikiki. There is so much you can explore right here in town!
Don’t miss popular attractions such as the Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, and Waikiki Aquarium! Explore more…