Oahu is a colorful island with magnificent landscapes to explore. I will give you the 15 Best Things to do in Honolulu.
You will arrive at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and catch a ride downtown…hopefully near the beach 😉.
Using Honolulu as a base and traveling for day trips from there is a great idea.
If you are an action seeker, you have found the right place.
Amazing Things to do in Honolulu
The city itself, is bustling and alive. You can literally walk the streets and see amazing street performers and have fabulous shopping options.
While staying in Honolulu there are some fantastic adventures to embark on. There are countless things to see….
…………… I have narrowed it down to the Top 15 things to do in Honolulu.
The Disney Resort gets a special shout out for beauty and service.
The Coolest Jurassic Park Experience is a must do while you are visiting Honolulu. This area is the movie location for Jurassic Park, Lost and Hawaii Five-0.
You can explore the area by ATV or horseback. You can even go on an epic zipline to see the most beautiful landscape. This location is so amazing that it is home to at least 79 movies or TV shows.
Here are the activities that you can enjoy while you are visiting:
|Zipline||Age: 6 & up|
Weight: 70 lbs+
|2.5 hrs||Zip through the amazing Kaaawa Valley.|
|ATV||Solo: 16 & up|
Multi: 5 & up
|1 – 2 hrs||Kualoa Ranch ATV tour will take you to the exciting guided outdoor adventure to the valley.|
|Horseback||10 & up||1 – 2 hrs||Explore Oahu’s hidden valleys on Koolau mountain range.|
|E-Bike||Age: 5 & up|
Height: 4 ft 6 in+
|2 hrs||Go on an electric mountain bike from the Visitor Center to the valley to see many sections of nature preserve and well-known TV shows and movie sites.|
|Movie Sites||All ages||1.5 – 2.5 hrs||This guided tour will show you the famous TV shows and movie sites, such as Jurassic Park and Hawaii Five-0 in the ranch.|
|Secret Island||All ages|
6.5 – 9.5 hrs (Full day)
4 – 7 hrs (Half day)
|Spend time relaxing with canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddling and beach volleyball.|
|Boat Cruise||All ages||2 – 2.5 hrs||Take a catamaran cruise on Kaneohe Bay along the coast of Kualoa Ranch to see Hokulea Beach and the island of Windward Oahu, Chinaman’s Hat.|
|Kayaking||10 & up||2 hrs||Kayaking downwind from Kualoa to Kaneohe Bay.|
|Helicopter Flight||Variable||40 mins flight + activities||Take a helicopter from Kalaeloa Airport to Kualoa Ranch. You’ll get the opportunity to see major landmarks of Oahu, such as Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, and Hanauma Bay on the way to Kaaawa Valley.|
|Jungle Jeep Expedition||3 & up||1.5 hrs||Ride on the Jeep and get into Hakipuu rainforest where movie scenes of Jurassic World, Kong Skull Island and Jumanji were filmed.|
Free Activities to Enjoy With Your Family:
- Walk around the property and take in the lush scenery.
- Enjoy the local petting zoo with your kids.
- Watch a short documentary about the history of the Kualoa Ranch.
- Explore the museum where you can see artifacts about the area.
If you want to explore the blue, crystal clear water, a kayak and snorkel trip should be right up your alley 😊.
The eco-adventure is a three-hour trip to a remote patch of reefs and sandbars – words cannot express the beauty of such a sight.
This is a perfect family trip or friend’s expedition.
A local non-profit organization owns the land and they are stewards of the land. The whole tour exudes appreciation for the environment, so it is a true eco-experience.
Don’t take my word for it, just check out the pictures.
If you have never seen dolphins before, then you should definitely check this exciting adventure out.
You start by embarking on a 53-foot catamaran for a sunny cruise along the leeward coast…….
Then you stop for snorkeling to probably see fish, reef sharks, turtles, octopuses and more!
But of course, they cannot guarantee the dolphins, it is a great experience if you do.
This is another tour for all types of travellers – Couples, families or friends.
4.) Afternoon Glass Bottom Boat Tour in Waikiki
This is a nice afternoon treat to get out on a boat for an hour.
You get to relax with your family and take in the breathtaking views the Waikiki area.
The captain and staff are a pleasure and make the experience even better with all their knowledge of the area.
If you are lucky, you might even see a dolphin.
5.) Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor is a beautifully done memorial of the events that occurred on December 7, 1941.
This will prove to be a moving experience that you don’t get very often. These touching moments will leave you with a vacation memory that you will never forget.
The employees are all very knowledgeable and helpful. It is great to see such a great place to work and visit.
This activity suits any age group.
6.) Diamond Head Walk
This is a must activity while you are in Honolulu. The views of Waikiki beach are stunning.
This is a HUGE tourist attraction, so there will be a lot of people. If you want to ditch the crowds, you could go early as 6:30 am to get a head start on everyone else.
Just make sure you have good shoes, a hat, sunscreen and water.
I saw many families taking the hike and while it could look steep at times, the ascend seemed fine for all ages.
If you are traveling solo, try this for a guided tour below:
Being completely surrounded by crystal clear blue water with soft sand is paradise.
If you are looking for a quieter area to enjoy this exotic beach with your family or friends, this is for YOU!
You could also rent kayaks or go sailing to see the Mokalua islands off the beach. There are also guided sail tours that you can sign up for in advance for a great experience.
You will need a car to drive to this beach, but if you are in the area, you should definitely stop for a swim. The access pathway to the beach can be tricky to find, but there is a sign at the entrance. When arriving in Lanikai Beach Hawaii, you will want to seek out beach access points located off of Mokumanu Drive.
You will get an amazing show of Hawaiian history at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
You will get a glimpse into what Aloha really means. The live shows of dancing and music are a beautiful family experience.
There are day activities which are very family friendly and nightly events that show off the cool dance culture of the Hawaiian culture.
Even More Things to do in Oahu
9.) Spend the Day on Waikiki Beach
This two-mile white sand beach is such a metropolitan beach. You can literally find so many fun activities to do, day and night.
While lounging with a beach chair and swimming are a MUST, there are some other cool things to do.
You can take the Waikiki Beach promenade and leisurely take everything in as you stroll up to two-miles.
You can try surfing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, boogie boarding and more.
10.) Horseback Riding
Take a once in a lifetime ride on the beach with a beautiful horse ride.
The views along the beach are breath-taking and worth the trip. The members that lead the ride are great guides who really care for the horses too.
This is great for all experience levels. You can choose from a private or group trail ride.
This would be an awesome idea for a honeymoon to have a romantic campfire ride.
11.) Watch Surfing
There are some seriously good surfers in Honolulu, so you MUST watch them.
Ala Moana Bowls is a popular beach where local surfers who are intermediate or professional show off their skills.
Grab a cool beverage, get comfortable on the beach and watch these amazing athletes give you an amazing show.
If you want to enjoy an activity with a group, this is a great option for you.
The city has amazing graffiti art and what better way to enjoy the scene, then on a guided bike tour.
The sprawling murals are from both local and international artists. This isn’t any beginner art; this is charming stuff.
There is also the dynamic city block called SALT. You will have some great photo-ops here.
13.) Eat at ROY’S
This is a top of the line restaurant with great local flair.
The service is outstanding and is a great spot for that special occasion. Make a reservation if you have a particular time you need to go.
You can check out their menu here.
14.) Skydiving Adventure
If you are a daredevil that is looking for adventure – then this one is for YOU!
You will have a professional and unforgettable skydive experience.
You will be amazed at how they make you feel so comfortable about this thrill-seeking jump.
You won’t get a better view of the island and city of Honolulu then from this experience.
15.) Activity 15 – Enjoy the Kahanamoku Beach and Lagoon
The Kahanmoku Lagoon is a cool activity with your family or friends. Try a paddle board and explore the lagoon area.
Once you are done at the Lagoon, move over to the beach area.
The water is very swim-friendly with calm waters because it is protected by a pier and a breakwater.
One More Free Thing to do in Oahu – BONUS
KKC Farmers Market
You will get up close and personal with the local farmers.
I still remember the fresh avocados, mangos and dragon fruit. I am drooling just thinking about it.
It is located near the slopes of the Diamond Head, so just add it to the Dimond Head Walk.
The Aulani Disney Resort in Hawaii is magical. The beautiful detail of every element of the design takes your breath away.
Upon arrival to the resort you will start at Maka’ala lobby and see it’s beautiful artwork. After registration you will go to either the Waianae Tower or the Ewa Tower.
The Waianae Tower is filled with the hotel rooms and 16 suites and other Disney Vacation Club options. The Ewa Tower is teeming with the Disney Club villas.
The standard room is decorated in Hawaiian art infused with a little Mickey Mouse. The local fabrics are also used in all things comfortable, such as the bedding and chairs. The bathroom is fit for a king with an over-sized tub and vanity area for your family.
I will of course provide you some Great Free Things to Do too:
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Where to Stay in Honolulu
The Ilikai Hotel & Luxury Suites is absolutely beautiful and has a lot going for it. Here are my favourite things:
- All suites include a kitchen and housekeeping services
- Offers an outdoor pool and fitness centre.
It’s one of the best places to stay in Oahu for a reason.