Top 16 things to do in Oahu, Hawaii

1. Walk around Waikiki Beach  Waikiki is the most iconic place, and is also the city centre of Honolulu, therefore it’s a must visit when you’re in Oahu. Here you can find many street markets, shopping vendors, beach front resorts and many restaurants. You could easily spend hours here walking around. Parking at Waikiki could be troublesome, so I’d recommend taking Uber to downtown Waikiki if your accommodation isn’t too far from there. 

2. North Shore 

North Shore is definitely my most favourite part of Oahu. It is a lot less crowded, the beaches are mostly empty. You can find many cute fruit stands on the way and I love the flowers blooming everywhere on the road side as well. 

3. Try Garlic Shrimp  Your trip to Oahu is not complete without trying the garlic shrimp. It’s very popular in Hawaii and I can totally understand why. The shrimp tastes amazing and is a must try! My favourite is Giovanni’s shrimp truck.  4. Take a Helicopter Tour 

I’ve always wanted to take a helicopter tour before and Hawaii was the perfect place for it. The views from above are spectacular and the price is quite reasonable as well. We booked our tour for 300$/per person for a 45 minutes ride around the island.  5. Visit a pineapple plantation  Hawaii is well known for its pineapples, and so we decided to visit Dole plantation. There’s a train tour that gives you a full of the plantation and you can try delicious food and fresh pineapple ice cream there.  They also have a gift shop inside, though I found most items to be a little over priced, there are a lot of unique and cute gifts that you can get for your loved ones.

6. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden 

I also have troubles remember the name of this place. I have wanted to come to this place after seeing so many great pictures here. The one thing that I didn’t know is that, you are not allow to stop and take pictures on the main road. If you want to take that famous picture with a straight road and the big mountains in the the background, you would either have to come here before it open, or drive all the way to the road, then you can easier take pictures without many cars passing by.  7. Go shopping at an outlet mall  Shopping is never my plan when I go travel, but it was raining hard for half of our trip and we decided to go to an outlet mall. We didn’t buy much, but we bought some pair of UGGs boots for under 50$ and I thought that was an incredible deal that I won’t be able to find in Canada. We also got a couple of small wallets from Kate Spade for 20$; definitely can’t beat that deal!  8. Go snorkel at Hanauma Bay

The water at the Hanauma Bay is crystal clear and is perfect for snorkelling. This place is popular attraction in Oahu, therefore the parking lot is usually full. Make sure you arrive before noon and bring cash to pay for parking.   9. Swim at Mermaid Caves

The Mermaid Caves aren’t super obvious and easy to find. From the parking lot, you will have to keep walking left until you see a big hole, then you will have to jump down to that hole to get to the cave. The view from down there is quite amazing and I highly recommend you to check it out!  10. Lanikai Beach  This is one of the most popular beaches in Oahu and I can understand why. I love the vibes at Lanikai, simply peaceful and laid back. 

11. Makapu’u Lookout I love this look out as you can just park your car and enjoy the incredible view right by the parking lot. I came to Hawaii twice and always visit this place. 

12. Go see turtles at Waianae Bay At this place you can see turtles laying down on the shore enjoying the sunshine upon their shelves. Make sure you don’t go close to the turtle and disturb their natural habitat life. 

13. Stairway to Heaven (Haiku stairs) This hike is illegal but the back road isn’t illegal. This was the highlight of my trip and I dreamed of doing this hike before. I did both front and back trail, and I definitely recommend doing the main front trail (the stairs) if you can manage to do it. Make sure you bring as least 3-4L of water because it’s a long way up. The stairs aren’t as dangerous as people say, but the back road is. Stay tuned for my blog regarding this hike if you would like to learn more about it!

14. Lanikai Pillbox Trail This hike is probably my most favourite hike since the view from above is incredible. It’s a short but moderately difficult. We made it up top in around 45 minutes but the way up is very steep and dusty. I totally recommend visit this place around sunrise or sunset, you’ll definitely get the most magical view from above.

15. Koko Head  Another favourite hike in Oahu. It is a little longer than I thought it would be, so make sure you bring a lot of water. Also some steps are very steep and wide so good hiking shoes is a must!

  16. Manoa Fall A super short and easy hike with incredible views on the way. This hike took us around an hour both hiking up and down. The waterfall is beautiful and you can swim underneath it. You can easily add this to your day plan before heading to the beach or other hike.

Enjoy your time in Hawaii!

Lots of love,

Annie Pham


About Me

A professional photographer, music examiner and teacher who is passionate about exploring the world and inspire others to do the same. 

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