Each year, visitors from around the world come to experience Oahu’s sun, surf and sand.

Travelers are also drawn by the abundant hikes with fantastic views, beaches for sunbathing and activities below and above the ocean surface.

Moreover, Oahu is a popular culinary destination for those looking to sample traditional Hawaiian fare.

The island is also home to Honolulu, where you can immerse yourself in Polynesian culture and wartime history.

Whatever strikes your fancy, you’ll find it in Oahu.

Read on for 27 of the best things you can do on your visit to Oahu.

1. USS Missouri, USS Arizona Memorial, and Pearl Harbor Tour from Waikiki

Visit Pearl Harbor and other major attractions in Honolulu on this full-day tour from Waikiki.

Perfect for history buffs, the tour includes skip-the-line access to avoid the long queues.

Go on a guided tour of the USS Arizona and USS Missouri memorials.

Your guide will provide commentary on the history of Hawaii along the way.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 7 hour tour.
  • Air conditioned vehicle.
  • Narration by expert driver/ guide.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • Entry to USS Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri Memorial and Pearl Harbor National Memorial.

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2. Polynesian Cultural Center

Situated along the famous North Shore of Oahu, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a popular attraction in Hawaii.

Visitors can explore acres of tropical splendor including six authentic villages.

The villages represent the island cultures of Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa, Tonga and Tahiti.

Mingle with Pacific islanders as they share their music, dance and traditional activities.

Tantalize your taste buds at the award-winning Ali’i Luau.

The sumptuous feast offers an array of island and mainland dishes, along with entertainment.

What can you expect at the Polynesian Cultural Center?

  • Village tours.
  • Live entertainment.
  • Food tasting.

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3. Chief’s Luau

Experience an exciting luau on Oahu.

The event enables you to immerse yourself in Hawaiian island culture.

Visitors are greeted with a fragrant lei.

You can then watch a Polynesian show, learn how to weave a headband or take a hula lesson.

Finally, indulge in a delicious Hawaiian buffet with specialties such as kalua pork and pineapple glazed chicken.

You can upgrade your tour to include pickup and priority access.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 3 hour tour.
  • Welcome lei.
  • Hawaiian buffet.
  • Entry to Chief’s Luau.

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4. Paradise Cove Luau

Enjoy a traditional Hawaiian luau at Paradise Cove.

Set against a sunset backdrop with coastal views, the luau welcomes visitors with a fragrant lei and mai tai.

Savor authentic Hawaiian fare with specialties such as kalua pork, fresh seafood and tropical fruit.

Soak up views of the sun setting over the coastline.

Then, enjoy live entertainment from Hawaiian hula dancers, musicians and fire twirlers.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 5 hour tour.
  • Entry to Paradise Cove Luau.
  • Welcome lei and drink.
  • Luau buffet dinner.
  • Hotel drop-off.

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5. Germaine’s Luau

Experience an authentic family luau on this evening excursion in Oahu.

Visitors are welcomed with a shell lei.

You can then relax and soak up panoramic views of the Hawaiian sunset from a private beach.

Witness the imu ceremony, an ancient culinary tradition of Hawaii.

After that, feast on a sumptuous Hawaiian barbecue.

Watch cultural entertainment such as hula dancing and the traditional Samoan slap dance.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 5 hour tour.
  • Welcome lei.
  • Dinner and beverages.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • Entry to Germaine’s Luau.

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6. Rock-A-Hula

Watch tribute bands of your favorite artists at the Rock-a-Hula show.

Journey back into time at Waikiki’s biggest show held at the Royal Hawaiian Center.

Accompanied by a live band and dancers, this “Hawaiian Journey” show lets you explore the rich history of Hawaii from the 1920s to present-day.

You can upgrade your ticket to enjoy premier seating and hotel pickup and drop-off.

Also available is an exclusive VIP experience with a 4-course meal and stage-side seating.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 1 hour tour.
  • Dinner and beverages.
  • Entry to Rock-a-Hula.

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7. Diamond Head Crater Adventure

Discover the most famous volcano in Hawaii on this tour.

Your local guide will lead you through Diamond Head State Park and up to the summit.

Along the way, the guide will provide narration on the geology and history of the crater.

Once at the top visitors can enjoy breathtaking views, with a panorama of Waikiki and the turquoise waters below.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 3 hour tour.
  • Narration by expert guide.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • Entry to Diamond Head State Monument.
  • Entry to Oahu Nature tours.

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8. Star Casual Sunset Cruise

Experience Oahu like never before on this sunset cruise.

Your tour will begin from Pier 8 where you’ll be welcomed by traditional Hawaiian hula dancers.

Take a seat and feast on a steak and crab dinner as you watch live Hawaiian entertainment.

Sip a tropical cocktail as you take in the “60 Years of Aloha” show.

Soak up the panoramic sunset vistas over the coast of Oahu.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 2 hour sunset cruise.
  • Dinner and beverages.
  • Live entertainment.
  • Entry to Star of Honolulu.

3-Course Meal 7-Course Meal

9. Oahu Catamaran Cruise: Wildlife, Snorkeling and Hawaiian Buffet

Explore the western coast of Oahu on this half-day catamaran cruise.

Everything is taken care of on this excursion which includes dolphin-watching and snorkeling.

Whe you get hungry, feast on a buffet lunch of Hawaiian fare and drinks.

Along the way, the crew will provide commentary on the natural history of Hawaii.

The crew will also provide all snorkeling gear and instruction.

Photos of the cruise will be available for purchase.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 6 hour tour.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • Beverages.
  • Buffet.
  • All equipment.
  • Entry to Ocean Joy Cruises.
  • Entry to Ko’olina Marina.

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10. Explore Kualoa Ranch

Enjoy a visit to Kualoa Ranch, your one-stop adventure playground.

A highlight for many visitors to Oahu, the ranch stretches from the folds of the Koolau Mountains to the tropical sea.

This working cattle ranch boasts one of the largest areas of accessible nature on Oahu.

Visitors can enjoy a wide variety of ways to interact with the stunning landscapes of Hawaii.

There are zipline adventures, ATV rides and tours to film sites.

What can you expect at Kualoa Ranch?

  • Zipline adventures.
  • ATV adventures.
  • Film site tours.
  • Entry to Kualoa Ranch.

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11. Waipio Valley and Waterfalls Adventure

Discover the famous waterfalls of the Big Island on this scenic Waipio tour.

During the excursion you will spend the day traversing the Hamakua Coast in search of waterfalls such as the Hi’ilawe Falls, Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls.

Visitors can enjoy swimming at a private waterfall.

You will also sample macadamia nuts and seasonal fruit at a farm in Hilo.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 10 hour tour.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • Lunch, snacks and beverages.
  • Expert guide.
  • Entry to Waipio Valley, Akaka Falls State Park and Rainbow Falls.

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12. North Shore and Circle Island Adventure

Discover what Oahu’s North Shore has to offer on this small group day trip from Waikiki.

Soak up fantastic views on your drive across the Ko’olau Mountains towards the Valley of the Temples.

Enjoy the scenery on the Kahana Bay shores.

Catch a glimpse of the Mokuauia Islet.

You will also visit a shrimp farm in Kahuku before stopping for lunch at a food truck.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 7 hour tour.
  • Narration by expert guide.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • Lunch.
  • Entry to Kahuku Farms, Byodo-In Temple and Valley of the Temples.

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13. Oahu Submarine Scooter Adventure

Discover Oahu’s marine life from an electric underwater scooter on this cruise.

Perfect for families and nature lovers, this excursion begins at Maunalua Bay where you’ll board a catamaran.

As you head to your dive spot, you will pass the Diamond Head Crater.

Get on board your self-propelled scooter and explore Oahu’s underwater world.

Be on the lookout for sea turtles, tropical fish and other marine life.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 2 hour tour.
  • All equipment and gear.
  • Snacks and beverages.

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14. Oahu Atlantis Submarine Adventure

Enjoy an immersive ocean experience in Oahu on this underwater adventure tour.

Once you arrive for the tour you will be transferred to the dive zone where you will board your submarine.

Find a spot near one of the windows and settle in as the sub begins floating through the ocean.

The boats have panoramic windows for great views of ocean life.

You will see sea turtles, colorful fish and coral reefs.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 2 hour tour.
  • Submarine dive.
  • Narration by expert guide.
  • Pre-recorded audio available.
  • Shuttle boat to dive site.

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15. Oahu Shark Dive

See the sharks of Oahu on this cage dive tour from the North Shore.

On this excursion, you can spot hammerheads, sandbar sharks and reef sharks.

The guides are so confident you’ll see sharks that there is a money-back guarantee if you don’t any.

Crew members will safely prep you to observe the predators from inside a cage.

Alternatively, you may choose to watch from the boat.

Also, be on the lookout for humpback whales, dolphins and turtles along the way.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 2 hour tour.
  • Expert crew.
  • Snorkeling equipment.
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off.
  • Entry to North Shore.

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16. Dole Plantation

Explore the history of Oahu’s beloved pineapple on a tour of the Dole Plantation.

Visitors here will enjoy samplings of the sweet fruit.

You can also ride on the popular Pineapple Express train out into the fields.

Take a stroll through the massive garden maze.

Learn how to choose fresh pineapple while shopping, and how pineapples are grown.

This tour is perfect for Hawaiian history buffs and families with kids.

What can you expect at Dole Plantation?

  • Small group or private tours available.
  • Gift shop.
  • On-site restaurant.

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17. Explore Magic Island

Popular with families and sunbathers, Aina Moana or “Magic Island” is a sandy peninsula that extends into the Honolulu Harbor.

The site provides rare green space close to the beach.

You’ll see open acres fronted by beautiful banyan trees, tall palms and long grassy lawns with picnic tables.

There is also a protected swimming lagoon across from the shopping center in downtown Honolulu.

The park is a favorite for locals out on picnics or family barbecues.

What can you expect at Magic Island?

  • Bike, boat and helicopter tours.
  • Free parking.
  • Restrooms and changing rooms.

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18. Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii

Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii is one of the most popular family attractions on Oahu.

The site boasts lush green acres with over 25 rides and attractions.

Children can have fun on the Water World Kids Playground, the Keiki Kove, the Kapolei Cooler and Cutter’s Island.

The adventurous can also enjoy an array of attractions.

There are racers, body slides, raft rides and a 400,000 gallon wave pool.

What can you expect at Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii?

  • Over 25 attractions for kids and thrill seekers.
  • Hawaii’s only simulated surf.

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19. Visit Byodo-in Temple

Situated in Oahu’s “Valley of Temples”, Byodo-In temple is a Buddhist sanctuary.

Set against the backdrop of the Ko’olau Mountains, the sanctuary offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The site is a popular venue for weddings and other events that bring together Buddhist communities.

Also, the sanctuary boasts well-manicured grounds and a model of Japanese architecture.

Visitors can marvel at the golden Buddha which is believed to be the largest of its kind outside of Japan.

What can you expect at Byodo-In Temple?

  • Tour of the temple grounds.
  • Meditation pavilion.

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20. Chinaman’s Hat

The Mokolii islet or “Chinaman’s Hat” is a tiny rugged outpost that’s occasionally explored by adventurous travelers.

Its odd shape makes it a favorite landmark to see from panoramic viewing points such as Kualoa Point.

Adding to the mystery of the island are the surrounding coral reefs which are home to sharks.

A brief winding climb to the summit affords visitors great views of the windward coast of Oahu.

What can you expect at Chinaman’s Hat?

  • Incredible views on a kayak or boat tour.
  • Explore sea caves.
  • Sunbathe on 2 golden beaches.

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21. Bishop Museum

For an insider’s scoop on Polynesian anthropology, history, legend and lore, stop by the Bishop Museum.

Displays here range from sculptures and woven hats to scientific exhibits and historical artifacts.

Visitors can go on a welcome tour of the Museum grounds.

You will see the plant life of the Pacific, watch a demo on lava-melting and hear the oral history of the island.

There are also activities for entertaining children such as hula shows and circus performances.

What can you expect at Bishop Museum?

  • Welcome tour.
  • Displays and exhibits.

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22. Honolulu Zoo

Located near Diamond Head Crater, the sprawling open-air Honolulu Zoo is a popular attraction for animal lovers.

In addition to the endangered white-handed gibbons, the zoo is home to over 900 tropical animals.

Here you will see elephants, giraffe, black rhino, aardvark, orangutan, Sumatran tiger, meerkat, reptiles, birds and many more.

The zoo also shelters animals that are native only to Hawaii such as the nene, the state bird, along with several endemic plants.

What can you expect at Honolulu Zoo?

  • Hundreds of animals to see.
  • Beautiful botanic gardens.
  • Sloth talk.

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23. Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium is a must-visit for those interested in Hawaiian marine life.

The aquarium has many tanks designed to recreate reefs of the area, along with unique ocean habitats in the remote Northwest Hawaii islands.

All tanks have informative signage so you can learn about each aquatic specimen.

For example, you’ll see and learn about several species including butterfly fish, sharks, turtles, puffers and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

What can you expect at Waikiki Aquarium?

  • Reefs and Hawaiian marine life.
  • Unique native plants outdoors.
  • After-hours exploration programs.

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24. SEA LIFE Park Hawaii

SEA LIFE Park is a showcase of the aquatic residents of Hawaii.

Here visitors can marvel at sharks, turtles, rays, penguins, seals and dolphins.

Even the rare Hawaiian monk seal is out on display.

Trainers will teach you about the animals and their habitats.

Conclude your day with a Luau performance, a popular traditional Hawaiian feast and dancing show.

What can you expect at SEA LIFE Park Hawaii?

  • Hawaiian marine life.
  • Rare Hawaiian monk seal.
  • Educational programs and talks.
  • Access to animal habitats, the seabird sanctuary and tide pool.
  • Luau show.

Check Deals Official site

25. Pacific Aviation Museum

The Pacific Aviation Museum features 2 huge hangars housing military aircraft from the WWII, Vietnam and Korean wars.

Highlights here are all related to Pearl Harbor.

History buffs can enjoy seeing Japanese Zero planes, and a P-40 fighter plane.

There are plenty more planes here to pique the interest of aviation-enthusiasts.

Visitors can also learn about aviator Amelia Earhart who visited the airstrip several times.

What can you expect at Pacific Aviation Museum?

  • Historical aircraft exhibits.
  • Live commentary.
  • Combat flight simulator experience.

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26. Go Oahu Card

Get the most out of your paradise island trip with the Go Oahu Card.

This card is available for 1 to 7 day use over the course of 2 weeks.

Card holders can enjoy free admission to more than thirty attractions, beach activities and tours.

If you want to see many attractions in Oahu, this is the best way to save money.

What can you expect from this pass?

  • Free admission to over 30 sites.
  • Discounts at shops and restaurants.
  • Pocket guide book.

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27. Waikiki Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour of Honolulu

Explore Oahu to the fullest on a 1, 4, or 7 day hop-on hop-off bus or trolley tour.

Choose from 5 packages or combine them all for a comprehensive tour of the island.

Leave the hassles of driving and navigation to your driver.

See the sights from the comfort of your bus or trolley, and hop off when you want to spend more time at a particular spot.

What’s included on this tour?

  • 1 hour tour.
  • Hop on hop off tour.
  • Narration by expert driver/guide.

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In Oahu, you’ll find an attraction and activity for every inclination.

Foodies can tantalize their taste buds at a famous luau.

While history buffs will have their fill at the museums, cultural centers and memorials.

You could also get the Go Oahu card to enjoy free admission to the most popular sights.

But for an easier yet still exciting time, simply book a tour in Oahu.

Leave the planning to someone else as you focus on making your Oahu vacation unforgettable.

More Oahu Things to do

For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!