Pearl Harbor ranks as number one when things to do on Oahu are discussed and is a must-see for anyone interested in U.S. history. From the somber deck of the USS Arizona Memorial to the chance to explore the USS Bowfin—a WWII submarine—Pearl Harbor is a historical destination like no other, and one where you can easily spend an entire day.
As planes prepare to land at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, passengers see the island of Oahu spread out before them, the cosmopolitan center of Honolulu making a sharp contrast against the verdant greens of the island’s volcanic mountain ranges. Oahu, the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, offers something from everyone, from world-class shopping and restaurants to exceptional natural beauty. We’ve assembled six of the top things to do on Oahu, from touring Pearl Harbor to surfing the giant waves off the north shore.
Visit Pearl Harbor
Surf North Shore Oahu
In the winter massive ocean swells turn north shore Oahu’s shoreline into some of the best (and most extreme) surfing destinations in the world. Even if you lack the experience and daring to challenge the Banzai Pipeline, watching the pros ride waves up to fifty-feet high is an unforgettable experience.
Nuuanu Pali Lookout
A short drive into the mountains takes you a world away from the busy streets of Waikiki to Nuuanu Point and one of the most spectacular views on Oahu. Stand where brave Oahu warriors fought and died in defense of their island, and see the Pacific Ocean spread out beneath you.
Hike Diamond Head
The crater of Diamond Head is the most distinctive Honolulu landmark, and offers a panoramic view of the city and eastern Oahu.
Snorkel Hanauma Bay
Nature lovers put a trip to Hanauma Bay at the top of their things to do on Oahu lists. Hanauma Bay is a protected marine preserve where even novice snorkelers can see amazing underwater sights, including encounters with green sea turtles.
The Polynesian Cultural Center
You really need more than one day to see everything at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which explains why the center’s general admission is a three-day pass. The center is a Polynesian-themed park with seven villages representing seven Polynesian cultures. Explore the villages by day and attend the world-famous luau in the evening.