Let us just tell you what you probably already know, Oahu Hawaii is
I mean I guess we can’t say ALL of Hawaii is amazing (although we are sure it is) because we have only visited Oahu. Perhaps one day we will get to see some of the other islands that make up this Island State.
There are so many different things you can do on Oahu and sometimes it’s extremely difficult to decide what to do and break up your time to fit in a bunch of activities. That’s what we are here for though! Now there are obviously more than seven things you can do on the island these are just a few of the things that we thought were the most memorable and things we can’t wait to do again!
So while we wait for the opportunity to take another trip to a different Hawaiian Island here are 7 things you’ve got to do on Oahu!
What better way to start our things to do in Oahu list with one of our favourite activities, snorkelling! There are plenty of options for snorkeling in Oahu. Some like Hanauma Bay are extremely popular with over 3,000 people visiting per day (it’s apparently worthwhile) but others like Shark’s Cove aren’t as busy. Hanauma Bay costs a little bit of money and is apparently so busy it’s really difficult to get in so we opted to snorkel Shark’s Cove.
We are so happy we did!
There were a few waves we had to deal with a little further in the cove but you can easily avoid them by staying a bit more inside the cove. If you are a STRONG swimmer than you can venture out more! But if you aren’t don’t go out too far because you never know what the currents are like.
Shark’s Cove was completely free and we got free snorkeling equipment from our hostel. All we needed was our rental car to get there as it’s on the North side of the Island.
Another word of caution, the swells can get a little much in this area during surfing season from October to April, so just be extremely cautious. Don’t be a hero. PS: There are no shark’s here, it’s just a name! This activity was one of our favourite things to do in Oahu.
If you follow our blog you know we love coffee. Any excuse to find a good coffee shop we are immediately taking. We sort of ran into this one by accident in a way. As we were venturing around Waikiki we walked through a hotel to find some air conditioning and BOOM, Kai Coffee came into our lives. This is on of those things to do on Oahu that is both refreshing and delicious. It’s located in the Hyatt Regency hotel adjacent to Waikiki beach. The staff are exceptionally friendly, their coffee is amazing, and their latte art is on point. Try one of their signature Macadamia Nut Kai latte’s!
What’s a list of things to do in Oahu without Waikiki?
Waikiki is BUSY. Not just the shopping tourist sections but the waterfront too. Everyone flocks to this world famous beach to take in the sights, learn to surf (or just surf in general), swim in the ocean and sunbathe. It’s quite hard to find a good spot along the sand, so if you want one try to head there a bit earlier in the day. Don’t forget your sunscreen either!
Although, we learned quickly that the island rain for some reason makes everyone flee the beach. Which meant we got to steal the good spots!
Not only is Waikiki famous for its beach, but the shopping and restaurants are popular things to do in Oahu. Mostly because that’s where a good 90% of the hotels are. So after soaking up some sun walk around the main strip of Waikiki, do some shopping, and find some great eats! We highly recommend picking up a pair of limited edition Sanuk Sandals at their flag store. They have pineapples on them! Who doesn’t want pineapple sandals!
Watch a Sunset on Sunset Beach
Things to do on Oahu should include at least one beach that has a perfect sunset. What better Beach than the perfectly named Sunset Beach. Located on the North side of the Island this piece of the beach has an impeccable view of the ocean and it seems to reach on FOREVER. As you are sitting there waiting for the sun to set you can watch some of the local surfers crashing waves, which is really neat! Otherwise, if you want to spend some time in the ocean just bring your bathing suit and play around in the water until mother nature gives you a spectacular show.
It’s a great place to perhaps set up your camera and do a time lapse or bring a picnic with you and have a little sunset dinner on the beach!
Visit Laniakea Beach and see the turtles
I absolutely love turltes, so when I found the opportunity to go hang out with a plethora of them it wasn’t an optional activity. And thank goodness we made it a ‘mandatory’ thing to do because it was so educational and absolutely amazing. Andy was pretty ready to leave after about an hour or so, but I was just enthralled with the perfect little creatures. It was a struggle to leave, truly.
We do recommend visiting the turtles before you head to Sunset Beach because they are so close to one another.
This beach is literally RIDDLED with turtles. It was absolutely astonishing. Giant Sea Turtles EVERYWHERE.
They specifically come to this beach to relax, bask in the sun, and to eat the specific type of seaweed that grows in the area. We had around 11 turtles just lounging around on the beach and coming in and out of the water. We went to Oahu in May and got lucky to see so many, some of the best months to see them are summer months.
These turtles can get up to 300 pounds! Something we learned while seeing them from the local guide/protection officer that was there, was that turtles face patterns are like fingerprints and each one is unique. So it is quite easy to name and identify each turtle that comes to this beach. Each one had a little name tag beside them with their weight and gender on it.
If you really want to you are able to snorkel with the turtles in the piece of ocean they come in and out on. However they are protected by Federal and State Law. So it’s really important you DO NOT touch, harass or get too close to these creatures as they need their space. They are curious creatures and will come towards you to say hello but it’s important to try and keep your distance.
Polynesian Cultural Centre
We love learning about other cultures when we are abroad. It really makes you feel more immersed in the country. Not to mention it’s amazing the kinds of history a lot of countries or in this case, states, have!
Did you know….a princess of the Hawaiian royal family was held hostage until she signed over her Country to the states?
Now the Polynesian Cultural Centre is on our list of things to do in Oahu because you learn so much about a lot of various cultures and countries. There is also over 42 acres of beautiful gardens and waterways. Throuhout the facility there are various ‘villages’ for each country. Each with their own huts, props, and native peoples. There were stations for a lot of the Polynesian countries,
There were stations quite a few Polynesian countries represented, like Aotearoa (New Zealand), Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and Marquesas. You can visit the mini versions of these cultural villages and see some of their customs. While we visited we got to witness a Haka from the people of New Zealand and some of the amazing skills Samoan people have when it comes to getting coconuts from the tops of trees. It’s seriously crazy…..
Be warned, it’s not a super cheap activity, it’s around $60 (in 2016) to gain entry to the centre. But once you are in there are plenty of free activities on the grounds and lots of classes you can take to learn new things. We learned how to do some Hawaiian dancing! We weren’t very good at it though if we are being honest.
If you want to visit but want to save some money you can book 10 days in advance for your visit and they will actually give you 10% off your tickets. You can check out their website here.
This is a pretty unique place to visit and not one we really expected we would find in Hawaii but alas we did and it was worth our time! It was built as an exact replica of a 900-year old temple in Japan and was meant to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of Japanese immigrants landing in Hawaii. It’s a very beautiful and peaceful place, don’t forget to ring the giant bell!
These were some of the best things we did on the island and things we highly recommend you do too! Now that being said there are a LOT of other things to do in Oahu as well but try not to miss these ones and trust us you won’t regret it!
What do you think of these things to do in Oahu?
Have you done any of them and if so what was your favourite?
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