I might have just saved you countless hours and days planning your trip.
Seriously: after reading this, you’ll pretty much have your whole trip mapped out in less than 15 minutes.
There is so much to do on the island and it can get pretty daunting when it comes time to plan and that’s exactly why I knew I had to write this for you guys!
Here’s what I’ll cover:
1. The 5 best beaches on the entire island (the one’s you absolute cannot miss)
2. The 4 best hiking trails on the island
3. The #1 best snorkeling spot on Oahu
4. The best and most popular waterfall on the island
5. A guide on how to spot humpback whales and where to find them
6. Where to find the most relaxing tidepools on the island
7. Where to find incredible coastal views
8. The best side of the island – and all the best eateries, beaches, and way to get there.
9. How to experience the most romantic getaway: a sunset cruise.
10. The best way to spend your Friday night in Oahu
Ready to get into the best things to do? Ok, well here they are:
Introducing: The 10 Best Things to Do in Oahu, Hawaii
(in no specific order)
1. Relax On Some Of The Best Beaches On The Island
I’m sure you seen that one coming… I mean what else would you come to Hawaii for?
There’s countless beaches on the entire island, it would have be an disservice just to list them all here, especially since they’re not all equally as good.
So, I decided to give you five of my favorites.
Here they are:
- Sunset Beach
- Lanikai Beach
- Kailua Beach
- Waikiki Beach
- Laniakea Beach (aka Turtle Beach)
2. Hike The Best Trails On The Island
Seriously – you’ll see yourself standing at the top of the these incredible mountains with incredible views of Oahu.
There’s countless hikes on Oahu, but I narrowed them down to the best four on the island.
Two of them include lots… and I mean lots of stairs.
Not so much for “relaxing” on your vacation. (haha)
Here they are:
- Diamond Head – the most popular hike on Oahu
- Koko Head Crater – the super steep, thousands of stairs, stair-master-like hike
- Ehukai pillboxes – beautiful views of the north shore
- Lanikai pillboxes – awesome views of Lanikai. Really easy and quick hike.
3. Visit Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve
Known as one of the most fascinating and fun places to snorkel at, Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve is home to some of the most diverse fish and sea creatures in all of Oahu.
It’s also an awesome place to take pictures and get lots of like’s on social media and brag to your friends… Which is a definite plus!
4. Manoa Falls
Have you ever seen a waterfall before?
Well, if not, the easiest and most popular waterfall on the entire island is Manoa Falls.
It’s a quick one-two hour hike and features Jurassic-park-like-views.
There is no entree fee for Manoa falls – the only price for this hike is the parking, which comes out to $5, which is definitely worth it for how awesome this hike is!
5. Hike up the Makapu’u Lighthouse
Imagine spotting a humpback whale out in the distance…
Or relaxing in the most beautiful and picturesque tide-pools…
Or looking out at the most gorgeous sights and scenery of Oahu’s south shore.
Sound’s too good to be true?
It’s not! Just drive on over to Makapu’u point. I’ll lay out some of your options and how to see each of the places i’ve described for you.
1. Want to see whales?
Start at the bottom of Makapu’u point and hike all the way up and you will see signs informing you about humpback whale’s. This is the point where the trail level’s out – and doesn’t have as much of an incline.
It should take you about 8-15 minutes to get there! And to note: these humpback whales are best spotted during November through May – and are more easily spotted around those summer months.
2. Want to swim and relax in tidepools?
Well, if you’ve done what I’ve described in “1. Want to see whales?”, then all you have to do is walk down the path right next to the whale signs.
In fact, you might even see a few people coming up or down the trail which should help you!
This trail take’s about 15-25 minutes to get down and another 20-25 to get back up.
The hardest part of the whole thing is not only trying not to slip, but the heat! No worries though, those tide pools will definitely make it all worth it once you hop in them!
3. Want to see incredible views?
Just continue from “1. Want to see whales?” and hike up the regular trail and along it you will see incredible views of Southern Oahu.
6. Visit the North Shore
The North Shore is one of my favorite sides of the entire island.
- Ahi Poke Bowls (aka the best lunch ever)
- The best beaches on the island
- Aca’i Bowls
- Shrimp Lunch Plates
If you’re planning on visiting the North Shore of Oahu, I would definitely recommend driving through the East coast side taking Kamehameha Highway and driving along the coast.
Also, there’s a really fun snorkeling spot called “Shark’s cove” and the sunset’s on the North Shore are the best, alongside with Honolulu.
7. Tantalus Lookout
One of my favorite places to sit and watch the sunset… hands down!
The views of Diamond Head, Honolulu, Waikiki, and Manoa just make’s this place hard to beat…
Not to mention, the drive is so unique, fun, and wild to drive up and down it make’s the whole experience that much better.
Tantalus Lookout is a must-visit when in Honolulu.
8. Eat The Best Local Ono Grinds
How would you like to munch on some of the most ono food’s of Oahu?
Well, you’re at the right place!
There’s so much amazing places to eat at – so I made sure to only give you the seven best…. the local favorites.
Here they are (in no specific order):
- Leonard’s Bakery (Pearl City, Honolulu, Hawaii Kai)
- Rainbow’s Drive-In (Honolulu)
- Egg’s N’ Things (Honolulu)
- Waiola Shave Ice (Honolulu) or Matsumoto Shave Ice (North Shore)
- Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck (North Shore)
- Seven Brother’s Burger’s
- Haleiwa Bowls (North Shore)
9. Friday Night Fireworks Show
Finish up a sunset in Waikiki and walk on over to the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel for their Friday night fireworks show.
Every single Friday at 7:45 PM, gorgeous fireworks go off right along the shore of the Hilton.
If you’re in the area, you have got to experience it!
10. Enjoy A Beautiful Sunset Cruise In Waikiki
Talk about a romantic getaway!
After enjoying a long day adventuring and experiencing everything Oahu has to offer, get on board for a gorgeous sunset cruise.
If you’re staying in Waikiki, you’ve definitely got to book this in your trip!
…And that’s the 10 best things to do in Oahu, Hawaii!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the article as much as I had writing it for you guys.
Chase Ingalls from Enoa Tours
P.S. Want to experience Hawaii through a locals lens? Hop on board our Enoa tours and have the experience of a lifetime.
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