The Ultimate Activity List For Oahu

Who has been waiting for the ultimate activity list on Oahu? The truth is, I get a lot of e-mails from people saying “Hey Kait! I’m coming to Hawaii, any top tips for things I should do while I’m there?” Talk about a loaded question! But the answer it YES, twenty times over yes. But first, what do you like to do? Do you like to hike? Spend all day everyday at the beach? Shop? Are you into history? There is SO much to do that seven days worth of vacation wouldn’t even begin to cover it all. That said, I always send a list that helps them navigate the sometimes overwhelming itinerary debacle. I mean, what kind of island resident would I be if I just said…“Yeah there are beaches here, monuments there…you’ll figure it out! And don’t forget a luau!”

Not a very good one, that’s what.

Wall Art- Kakaako Neighborhood, Oahu

So, for anyone who might be lucky enough to be moving here or if you’re just simply coming for a visit, get ready for the ultimate list of activities, sights and attractions on Oahu. This is long overdue!


I’ve broken them down by category, so hopefully that helps a little bit 🙂

History & Culture

Oahu has more than just Pearl Harbor!

Pearl Harbor (USS Arizona, Bowfin Submarine, USS Missouri)

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl)

Queen Emma’s Summer Palace

Kawaiaha’o Church

Iolani Palace

He’eia Fishpond

Ulupo Heiau State Historic Site

Hawaii State Art Museum

Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument (Birthing Stones)

Doris Duke’s Shangri La

Ali’iolani Hale and King Kamehameha I Statue

Polynesian Cultural Center

Byodo-In Temple

Valley of the Temples

Bishop Museum

Honolulu Museum of Art

Pacific Aviation Museum

U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii

Hawaii Plantation Village

Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

Hawaiian Mission Houses

Washington Place

St. Andrew’s Cathedral

USS Missouri - Valor In the Pacific

Sights, Activities & Landmarks

Things you don’t want to miss!

Statue of Duke Kahanamoku

Dole Plantation

Ali’iolani Hale


Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium

Historic Haleiwa

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden

Snorkeling at Shark’s Cove

Rainbow Bridge

Old Waialua Sugar Mill

Mai Tai Catamaran

Friday night fireworks in Waikiki

Rent bikes and ride around Kailua

Kapiolani Community College (KCC) Farmer’s Market

Take a surf lesson

Ala Moana Shopping Center (largest open-air mall in the world)

A traditional luau (Paradise Cove, Germaine’s, Polynesian Cultural Center, Hale Koa, Chief’s)

Waikiki Beach


No two beaches are alike, right?

Banzai Pipeline

Lanikai Beach

Waimanalo Beach

Kailua Beach

Sunset Beach

Ko Olina Lagoons

Waimea Bay


Waikiki Beach

Ala Moana Beach Park

Kaimana Beach

Hanauma Bay

Sandy Beach (Sandy’s)

Kalama Beach Park

Three Tables

Chun’s Reef


Papailoa Beach

Maili Beach Park


North Shore Oahu


Be sure to check each hike’s difficulty rating – some of these are not for beginners!

Diamond Head State Monument

Koko Head Crater

Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

Koko Crater Arch

Waimea Falls

Lanikai Pillboxes

North Shore Pillboxes

Kaena Point

Haiku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven)

La’ie Falls

Waimano Ridge

Pele’s Chair

Aiea Loop

Pali Puka

Olomana Trail (Three Peaks)

Maunawili Falls

Kauu Crater

Seven Falls

Pali Notches

Crouching Lion

Manoa Falls

Lanipo Trail

Hanauma Bay Ridgeline

Kokohead Crater Hike

Related: 10 Best Hikes On Oahu, What To Wear Hiking In Hawaii

Food & Drink

Hawaii has some of the best food in the world – be sure to bring your appetite!

Green World Coffee Farm

Opal Thai

Haleiwa Bowls

Mai Tai Bar

Uncle Bo’s (two locations)

53 By The Sea

Leonard’s Malasadas

Livestock Tavern

Pint & Jigger

Bar Leather Apron



Coffee Gallery

Beet Box Cafe



Sky Bar Waikiki

Buho Cocina y Cantina

Kalapawai Cafe

Diamond Head Cove Health Bar

South Shore Grill

Sunny Days

Earl Kaimuki

Piggy Smalls

Alan Wong’s


Koko Head Cafe

Sweet E’s

Hy’s Steak House

House Without A Key


Lucky Belly

North Shore food trucks

Leonard's Malasadas

Related: 6 Must Visit Coffee Shops on Oahu, Top 3 Shave Ice Stops on Oahu , 10 Thing You Must Eat When You Visit Hawaii, 15 Restaurants To Visit In Hawaii


Even if you aren’t staying at these properties, the views and design cannot be missed!

The Royal Hawaiian

The Surfjack

The Moana Surfrider

Hilton Hawaiian Village

Four Seasons Oahu

Aulani: A Disney Resort

Turtle Bay Beach Resort

The Kahala Hotel & Resort

The Halekulani

The Modern Honolulu

The Royal Hawaiian

I hope this breakdown was helpful for anyone planning a move or a trip. If you have any suggestions – feel free to pass them along! I plan to keep this post updated frequently to add new favorites 🙂

Have you visited Oahu? What was your favorite part?

February 10, 2017
February 14, 2017


  • Theresa Bauman

    We went to Oahu for our honeymoon in 2012. I loved everything. The weather, the close proximity to the beach, and the history. The seafood and pineapples were the freshest ever! I miss it so much and I keep dreaming of Hawaii. One day we will return!

    • Kait

      YES! The pineapples and fresh fruit are amazing – always so juicy. Let me know when you book your return ticket 🙂

  • Jen

    I love this! I always bookmark posts like this because I just never know if we will come down on orders there. Better to be prepared haha.

    • Kait

      You just never know! 😉

  • This is an AWESOME list!! I wish I would have had it when we visited last month, but I do like seeing a lot of the things we did here 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Meg, Borrowed Heaven

    • Kait

      Oh man! I’m too late, but I hope you’re already planning your return visit 😉 Oahu is one of those magical places I feel like you need to see to believe, right? I’m glad you liked it!

  • This is such a helpful post! I went to Oahu about 20 years ago and am considering a trip back so this would be amazing. I need to do a list like this for people who come to visit my little island home as I often get friends-of-friends emailing me prior to a trip. 🙂

    • Kait

      I can totally relate! I’m glad you found it helpful 🙂

  • Have you ever tried Papa Ole’s Kitchen in Hauula? Two words: Macadamia Pancakes. Soooo good. I love Leonard’s too.

    • Kait

      I haven’t. I’m adding it to my list to try!

  • Arika

    Thanks for sharing and your help when I emailed you! We booked our trip and are staying at The Moana Surfrider. I’ll def print this list for when we are there!!

    • Kait

      You are SO welcome 🙂 I hope you have the best time!

  • What an awesome list! I have to say I didn’t think there were so many activities available there. I’ve heard the Dole Plantation is a lot of fun, thanks for posting!

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  • Found your blog from Pinterest and I am so glad I did. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts while researching for my honeymoon 🙂 Would you be able to give me any info on the availability of gluten-free food/menu options in Hawaii?

    • Kait

      Hi ALyssa! Thanks so much for writing and letting me know you are reading my content! I LOVE THAT! 🙂 I have lots of gluten free menu options and ideas – look for an e-mail from me in the next few days 🙂

      • Shayla Brown

        Could you please send this list my way as well… I am traveling with a friend who is gluten free and I’m hoping to find some great places to share. Thanks!

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