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Best Things To Do in Oahu, Hawaii

Updated: May 15, 2023

sunset @ Waikiki beach

With Luke and I getting ready to honeymoon, I can’t help but reminisce. Oahu, September 2018. Oh, what a year it was! As soon as I got back from this amazing trip, I met the love of my life. The stars aligned and our story began! This September as husband and wife I get to make memories with him, in a place that has brought me so much happiness.

We are skipping over Oahu since we’ve both already been. Luke has lived on Kauai as a young chap at only 18 y.o. We will be returning to his past home and he is ecstatic to show me around. We are also exploring the Big Island because neither of us have been there! I can’t wait to share our experiences with you all, as you can tell I’m excited!

Until then, let's remember Oahu, Hawaii. I was invited to a friends destination wedding, this made it a great excuse to make a whole weeks vacation out of it!

Packing can be complicated especially when going to an adventure destination such as Hawaii. I have put together a must pack list! This will help you determine essential items to bring with you on your trip Hawaii.

Where we stayed:

A bunch of us girls also invited to the wedding stayed at Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach. It’s not ocean front, but is walking distance to the beach. It included free breakfast, had a great location, and the price was right.

@ Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Area

Waikiki is built around tourism and is Oahu’s main resort and hotel area. The district creates a vibrant city center with an excellent vacation feel! High rise buildings, rooftop lounges, oceanfront restaurants, and luxurious shopping malls are just a few things that make the Waikiki area a great home base. It is conveniently located to many activities and attractions such as Pearl Harbor and Diamond Head.

Waikiki Beach, is the most popular beach on Oahu. The ocean is calmer here, then the North Shore, but the waves can still get quite big. Some areas of the beach have wave breakers for people who’d like to wade in the water for a more relaxed experience. Catch a sunset here, watch the sun sink into the ocean, and see the sky turn colors right before your eyes.

What to do in Oahu:

Hanauma Bay

Go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. This snorkel experience is a MUST DO while visiting Oahu! Hanauma Bay is a marine conservation. All first time visitors must watch a 9 minute educational video before entering the park. The movie goes over important information about the reserve to ensure the safety of yourself, marine life, and coral you’ll come in contact with. The park is now only allowing 1,000 visitors a day so you must make a reservation online. Keep in mind tickets are only sold 2 days in advance and sell out very quickly. It may be possible to purchase tickets at the door, but are sold on a first come first serve basis. $3 parking fee, $25 entrance fee, and $20 snorkel rental fee. Snorkel equipment is available at rental stand within the park.

@ Hanauma Bay

Kona Brewing Company

After snorkeling at Hanauma Bay go to the Kona Brewing Company for a flight of beer! Here you’ll find stunning views of mountains and boats on the water while enjoying your meal with Hawaiian craft beer! Try their golden ale called Big Wave, it was my favorite.

@ Kona Brewing Company

Waimea Falls

Walk through the most gorgeous botanical garden which leads to a magnificent waterfall! Here you can swim and try your best to make it under the waterfall. The current created by the falls make it challenging, but doable to swim to reach the falls. You are required to wear a life jacket (no exceptions). At first I thought that was lame, but learned soon enough that it was necessary. Trying to get close and immediately being pushed away by the current gets tiring. This was a really fun activity the whole family can experience!

@ Waimea Falls

SKY Waikiki Raw & Bar

This rooftop restaurant and bar features panoramic views of the city. It’s a bit expensive but a must while visiting Oahu. Stop for some drinks and small plates. Go for happy hour, catch the sunset and watch the city slowly stark to light up below you from 19 stories up!

@ SKY Waikiki

This hike is challenging and very muddy. Everyone in my group fell at one point and blood was shed on this trail. The elevation gain is 1,000 feet. Be prepared with proper hiking shoes, extra water, and bug spray. Warning: there are a few stream crossings, shoes will be soaked & covered in mud. It’s a very messy but fun trail! The waterfall to me was worth the challenge. You can cliff jump off the side of the waterfall into the swimming hole.

@ Maunawili Falls

The North Shore Rent a car and go snorkeling at sharks cove on the North Shore. The water is on the shallower side and crystal clear making it great for snorkeling and relaxing on the beach. You’ll see lots of colorful fish and if your lucky, sea turtles! The area is protected by lava rocks creating huge swimming holes and less waves. Right across the street, there are numerous rental gear shops. The best part about this location are the food trucks right across from the beach! Nothing better than local food and lunch with a view.

@ sharks cove

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is visited by 1.8 million people a year. It is not just an attraction, but a memorial where 2,403 people lost their lives during a devastating attack on December 7th, 1941. It was this pivotal moment in history that awoke the “sleeping giant” and entered the US into World War II.

It is customary to dress appropriately (no bathing suits) and keep in mind that the people visiting may be paying respects to deceased family or honoring fallen military members.

The most popular memorial is the U.S.S Arizona. 1,177 people lost their lives when the ship was bombed and sank. This is a free experience, but making a reservation online is necessary. First you’ll be introduced to the build up of the war and tensions between the US and Japan by watching a 25 minute movie. Next, you’re boated out to the Arizona memorial where there is a stationary platform built over the sunken ship, here you’ll spend about 15-20 minutes. The total experience is about 45 minutes.

Hiking Diamond Head

This 0.8 mile hike offers gorgeous coastal views and overlooks a massive crater. The trail has an elevation of 560 feet. Be prepared for steep staircases and uneven terrain by wearing proper shoes. Give yourself 1.5-2 hours to complete the hike at a leisurely pace. It is always hot in Hawaii, so be sure to bring water and wear sunscreen. Since this hike has become very popular the State Park has decided to limit the number of visitors each day with timed entry tickets! This disperses crowds and allows for easier parking. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance. There is a parking fee of $10 and an entrance fee of $5 per person.

Dear Traveler,

Oahu, Hawaii is not to be missed. There is so much to explore and see on this magical island. Like and comment about your upcoming trip and experiences in Hawaii! I cant wait to here about your travels there!

Talk to you soon,

Corlu xo

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