Following is a fun photo story of some favorite memories on the most populated Hawaiian island, all organized into a handy dandy reference list of 30 Awesome Top Activities In Oahu Hawaii.
We first visited gorgeous Oahu on our honeymoon (left below) and most recently (right below) this map dot literally happened to be a halfway meeting point for Christmas the year my parents taught in East Timor. (Indonesia’s another adventure!)
There’s something for everyone to fall in love with on this fabulous 596.7 square mile gem in the Pacific Ocean.
Hawaii is a mecca for surfing, especially when the big waves come out to play in the winter.
We took surf lessons on Waikiki Beach our first time in Oahu.
It was an exhilarating, informative hour of full out fun.
On the second go-round we attempted to teach my sister the skills learned from our lesson.
Our best beginner surfing tips include: don’t forget a rash guard (the name speaks to the purpose) and paddle, paddle, PADDLE …unless you’d rather just lay and look cool on a surfboard like we mostly did on that day!
2.) North Shore
The world famous North Shore is Hawaii’s top surf spot.
The perfect waves host countless professional surfing competitions, which lure droves each year to the more rural side of the island.
3.) Bonzai Pipeline
Located off of the North Shore’s Sunset Beach, the infamous wave is every surfer’s dream but the dangerous rip-tide and jagged reef below threatens the worst of nightmares.
4.) Waimai Bay
Waimai is also a popular surf spot that has a high jump rock for the double dare devils!
5.) Turtle Bay
Located on Oahu’s northern-most point, Turtle Bay boasts scenic views, luscious landscaping, a golf course, spa, restaurant and a host of luxurious leisure activities like…
6.) Horseback riding
The trail ride we took along Turtle Bay then back into the woods where television series Lost was filmed proved to be tons of fun, beyond beautiful and most definitely unforgettable.
Hawaii is home to a hugely diverse ecosystem that houses a wide variety of unique land and sea creatures like the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal we caught napping at the North Shore.
8.) Giant Sea Turtles
Up close encounters with sea turtles easily rank among top favorite Hawaiian moments for many, so I’ve been told time after time and speaking from experience!
Giant sea turtles can be seen sleeping on the beaches (we saw these at the North Shore) more so in the winter)and swimming all around the island.
…speaking of wild, if you’re looking for a sure thrill, skydiving in Hawaii is an experience like no other.
After signing your life away in waiver forms, jumpers are taken up up and away in a tiny plane (that’s the scariest part by far), then dropped off over the great wide open. I was completely chill leading up until that OMG moment hit right as I looked out of the airplane door and stepped out over the ocean to free falllllllllllllllllllll!
The fall is a blur of amazing mountain views and sea turtles swimming below in the beautiful blue Hawaiian water.
Eventually the wind whisks the parachute inland, an airfield quickly approaches and the ride of a life time is over in what seems like a instant.
10.) Go Topless or Just Go!
A drive around the island of Oahu can easily be enhanced with a hair-whipping-in-the-wind jeep or convertible rental, but no matter what kind of vehicle takes the trip, even just one day of FULL island exploration is sure to be an amazing adventure.
We went all out on our honeymoon with a fun yellow jeep, then shared an economy rental on the family vacation.
11.) Pearl Harbor
The USS Arizona Memorial is a fabulous fortress that serves as a reminder of the Pearl Harbor attack, a dedication to fallen soldiers and a salute to America’s military forces.
A personal highlight from this part of our trip was seeing the USS Maryland (below), which protected hubby’s grandfather on that dreadful December 7th in 1941.
Where there is water, boats are sure to be.
Oahu offers ALL kinds of boat rentals, charters, excursions, tours and more.
There are some amazing snorkel spots all over Oahu.
The Hawaiian waters are teeming with colorful coral, fabulous fish and yes, even coveted sea turtles which I can personally voucher for seeing in Hanauma Bay!
14.) Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay offers some of the best warm water snorkeling in the Pacific and quite possibly the world. (There’s a lot of world still to explore!)
Though parking can be packed, an entrance fee applies and there’s a short informative, yet mandatory video, this amazing oasis is not to be missed!
We’ve indulged in the Hanauma Bay on both our Oahu occasions and would most definitely go back in a heart beat! The calm protected bay makes it easy to spot tons of diverse sea life.
The island has a ton of hiking trails through an amazing variety of terrains.
Speaking of hiking, it must be said that Hawaii itself is a hike! A trip from the opposite side of the country (the United States East Coast) is about one flight layover and over 12 hours of travel for one way alone.
We have frazzled pictures to prove it upon arrival (above). Believe us though, the major jet lag just makes the amazing Hawaiian experience that much more surreal, for real!
16.) Diamond Head
Diamond Head provides that iconic Hawaiian volcanic crater backdrop from Waikiki Beach and is also an awesome nearby hike.
The moderate hike up to the top is rewarded with the most beautiful vistas.
Although its’ the only hike we’ve conquered on Oahu, it’s so good we’ve done it twice!
The most beautiful beaches big and small, sandy and rocky, public and private, narrow and wide can be found all over Oahu.
Exploring and experiencing Oahu’s amazing array of beaches can be done in a day or potentially over a lifetime!
18.) Waikiki Beach
Hawaii’s most famous beach offers gentle rolling waves and wide sandy beaches right in the heart of the city.
The Pacific Ocean surrounding Hawaii is bathwater warm year round so dont hesitate, jump right in!
The Hawaiian sun is both beautiful and brutal. Make sure to pack extra strength sun block, shades, sarong, hat, etc. uv protection.
21.) Boogie boarding
Next to surfing, boogie boarding also takes advantage of Oahu’s gnarly waves.
Boogie boarding is probably hubby’s most favorite pastime. That’s him with the yellow board!
22.) Kuhio Beach and Park
Conveniently located just south of Waikiki Beach near many eateries, shops and accommodations, the slightly less crowded Kuhio Beach and Park is probably our favorite hang out on the Honolulu side of the Oahu.
It’s also Hubby’s favorite with-in walking distance boogie boarding spot (just south of the pier).
Park benches, grassy knolls, palm trees and paved pathways along the beautiful beach are just some of the highlights here.
23.) Banyon Trees
These exciting trees with completely unique above ground aerial root systems are found alongside Wiakiki Beach and throughout the entire island. I enjoyed spotting these beauties.
Five million (mostly from US and Japan) flock to this fabulous destination each year. As culture shock may have it on my first hop to Honolulu, I was really surprised it was just another BIG city with lots of traffic.
In fact Honolulu has ranked among the worst traffic in America BUT, just is a very large understatement of course with the natural appeal of the semi-metropolitan tropical paradise.
Honolulu houses one huge mall, department discount stores, souvenir shops and tons of ABC convenient stores that sell everything from scuba gear and sunscreen to eggs, milk and cereal.
If someone gets bit by the shopping bug, Honolulu has a remedy nearby to cure it!
26.) International Market
Expect a unique open air market of street vendors selling Hawaiian goods, souvenirs and such. If you’re in search for a treasure unique to the area, there’s a good change it can be found at the International Market.
27.) Dole Plantation
Dole is family friendly destination offering plantation tours, the world’s largest garden maze and even a quaint cafe complete with pineapple ice cream!
There’s no doubt, the pineapples are guaranteed to be sun ripened and freshly harvested here in Hawaii thanks to Dole. Pineapple is definitely a Hawaiian classic!
29.) Fresh Catch
Surrounded by sea, Oahu is a primo place to find a delectable array of fresh catch! Hawaii is huge on sustainable fishing practices too, so don’t hesitate to dive right in!
Amazing sunsets can be seen from Wiakiki Beach almost every night.
Hawaii has some of the most amazing sunsets we’ve experienced yet!
These are just 30 Awesome Top Activities in Oahu Hawaii. There are so many more wonderful things about this one of a kind destination. Please share your favorites in the comment section!