Karen and I have been to three different Hawaiian Islands and they all have a special place in our hearts. If we are ever able to retire we would live there for at least a few years. The Hawaiian Islands are our definition of paradise. Oahu was our first trip together and at that point we were not doing as much research into our trips as we do now. We had a lot of fun, but we sure did miss seeing a lot of things that Oahu has to offer. Hopefully we will get to go back sooner rather than later and we will make sure we do what we think are our top ten things to do in Oahu.
Top Ten Things to Do in Oahu
The whole point of coming to Oahu is to enjoy some time on the beach well Lanikai Beach is one of the best places to go. Beautiful scenery, soft sand, aqua blue water, and people are what you will find on this beach and not much else. There are no vendors here or bathrooms and parking can and probably will be difficult to find. Is it worth going to…It sure is, but I would go as early as possible before wind, waves, and people show up.
9. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
This is a very solemn place to pay respect to those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for their nation. It is the resting place of 25,000 soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines who perished in the wars of the Pacific. The memorial is strikingly beautiful and is a wonderful tribute to those that served.
8. Experience a Luau
There are a lot of different luaus on Oahu to choose from so make sure you do your homework, but it is an excellent way to get into the Hawaiian spirit by seeing traditional Polynesian culture and entertainment.
Hanauma Bay is a wonderful snorkeling spot for beginners or experienced snorkelers. It sets in a bay that is protected on three sides so the water is normally calm and clear. Since it is a protected nature preserve the fish are used to people and do not flee from an approaching snorkeler. It is highly popular and the reef has taken a beating over time but there is still plenty of tropical fish and other ocean life to view. Make sure you arrive early because it can get crowded and once the lot is full no additional cars are allowed.
6. Historic Honolulu
The historic district of Honolulu is a great place to see and learn about the history of Hawaii. It is a wonderful walking tour where you can see the Hawaii State Capitol, the Kamehameha I Statue, old churches, and the only palace on U.S. soil the Iolani Palace.via
Diamond Head is an iconic landmark on Oahu and a major tourist attraction. Climbing to the top is well worth the effort because it offers some incredible views of Honolulu. It is not a long hike but you will gain over 500 feet in elevation so there are a few steps to climb. Like most attractions on Oahu go early if you want to avoid the crowds.
4. Oahu North Shore
It is a pretty drive up to the North Shore and it is just beautiful when you get there. North Shore has beautiful beaches and good places to snorkel in the calmer months and then world class surfing the rest of the year. It gets you away from the crowds, well as far away from the crowds as you can get on Oahu. If Waikiki and Honolulu feel too touristy and you want to get a feel for the locals this is the place to go.
3. Waikiki Beachvia
Waikiki Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world. It is a part of pop culture and swimming, walking, and people watching at Waikiki Beach are what the Oahu experience is supposed to be all about. Is it the best beach on the island? No, it is not even close, but there are a lot of attractions and things to do in the area so it is worth a half a day or more depending on what you find important on a vacation. via
Besides Waikiki, Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial are probably the most famous area on Oahu. It is an impressive and harrowing site seeing the memorial and the list of names on the wall and knowing that there are still men entombed in the USS Arizona as it sits on the bottom of the harbor truly brings home the magnitude of the day that will live in infamy. It is a enlightening experience but to take it all in a visitor should see the Arizona Memorial (which fully engaged the U.S. into WWII) the USS Bowfin a WWII submarine and the USS Missouri where the Emperor of Japan officially signed the treaty to surrender.
1. Kailua Beach
Kailua Beach is regularly ranked as one of the top beaches in the world, which is easy to see once you are there. It is postcard perfect with soft white sand, aqua blue water, and just enough waves to have fun with. There are lots of activities to be had here which also make it crowded, but it is worth it.
Hope you enjoyed our list of the top ten things to do in Oahu. Is there anything that we left off or you disagree with in our top 10? Sound off by leaving a comment. Happy Travels!