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Things To Do On Oahu HI

Updated on March 26, 2011

Is Oahu HI The Best Island For You?

When most people think about traveling to Hawaii, the city they think of most is Honolulu, on the island of Oahu HI. This is what people think of as Hawaii, and there are plenty of people that are content to simply stay here and go no further on their exploration of the islands. Even though there are other major islands in the chain, Maui, Kauai, and the big island of Hawaii, there is still plenty to see and do here! I'll try and cover some fun things to do on Oahu HI...

Honolulu is located on Oahu HI, and is where most of the population of the state of Hawaii live and work, and it’s the closest they come to a big city. There is the ultra touristy “Waikiki Beach” section of Honolulu, where most people will stay in one of the extremely nice beachside hotels or condos, and then there is the industrialized section between the airport and Waikiki, which includes government buildings and private companies with everyone working to earn a living in this paradise. It’s definitely not cheap to live here in this city, but it sometimes can be the price you pay for living where you want.

Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay

Arizona Memorial on Oahu HI...

Everyone has probably seen beautiful vistas of Diamond Head as it looms over Waikiki Beach on Oahu HI, and the surrounding surfers, war canoes, and catamarans. You also may have seen it on the television, with the new Hawaii 50 series or possibly Dog the Bounty Hunter… It is a very popular tourist destination, whether for a few days or several weeks, and I’ll try and cover a few of the most popular activities on the island.

Try to get up and around, and don’t just stay on the resort property for your whole stay. There are many great bus tours, expeditions, or boat rides that will pick you up right from your hotel, so have fun and enjoy your stay! Everyone coming to Honolulu and Oahu HI should definitely see the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, that is a must see. Try to arrive early in the morning, because it is very popular and can have a long wait since they will need to ferry you over on a boat and you will stay only about 20 – 40 minutes or so, just enough time for the next boat to arrive. So try and see everything while you have time, and contemplate what it was like back in 1941 when the Arizona was sunk.

Right next to Arizona Memorial are a few other great military museums that you might want to see, including the submarine center where they showcase some of the different subs that the U.S. has used over the years. One of my favorite tours is the U.S.S. Missouri Battleship, which was placed in dry-dock right next to the Arizona and is open for tours through the ship. Since it is a huge ship, this tour can take all day if you want to see everything, like I did! So be ready to spend the time and take a trip back through history when you visit Oahu HI.

Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu HI...

There are also many historical buildings located in downtown Honolulu, including the one and only Royal Palace in the United States. To me, royalty is a lot of nonsense whether it’s in Hawaii or in Europe or Asia, but it’s a great place to check out if you have time. For sports fans, the University of Hawaii football stadium is also located here on Oahu HI, so if you’re a fan of the Pro Bowl be sure to swing by.

One activity that I highly recommend is going to the Diamond Head extinct volcano on Oahu HI and climbing it along the paved trail that goes to the top. Before World War II, this was an observation station for the troops, and they have old observation platforms and bunkers which include sleeping quarters for the outpost. Since radar had not yet been invented, the only way to know an enemy was out there was to visually spot them. The climb only takes about 45 minutes, and is very popular. It can be a little steep though, so get your comfortable running or walking shoes on!

The Polynesian Cultural Center is also on the must see list, and it is a big them park with all the nations or tribes of Polynesia all over the South Pacific, which include Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, Easter Island, and others. They bring students from all over the Pacific to work here and study at the nearby University of the Pacific to earn their degrees, and they really work hard to showcase their specific cultures and traditions at the park. Each Polynesian culture is divided up into separate “villages”, and as you walk from place to place you will get a taste of how life is for them back home and their history. You will really enjoy the coconut husking and opening, the coconut juice, the making of coconut milk, the palm tree climbing, and many other exhibitions that they perform for you! There is a fantastic water parade on boats where you will get a chance to see their traditional costumes and outfits and it’s a great chance to take pictures. At the end of the day is the award winning and acclaimed Polynesian Luau, which has been voted Hawaii’s most authentic luau and where you’ll be able to see an incredible show including the famed fire dance with flaming knives. One of the highlights of the day for your Oahu HI visit!

Lanikai Ridge

Dole Pineapple Plantation on Oahu HI...

You really could spend a month on Oahu HI and still not see everything because there is just so much to do here! Be sure to visit the Hanauma Bay for some great snorkeling, and you might even see a few sea turtles! Check the hours before going down though, sometimes they close because of the sea conditions or jellyfish invasions… There is a very nice Sea Life Park just down the road from Hanauma Bay, and you may have seen it in the movie “50 First Dates”. It isn’t anything like Sea World, but it is still a worthwhile trip and they have some great shows. If you can, take a drive along the north shore and take pictures of the incredible waves and surfing that goes on here. Try to make it at sunset, you’ll really love it! In the wintertime here, surf conditions can be very tough, so stay out of the water if you can. Waikiki is on the southern shoreline, and is much gentler and safer location for swimming. The surfers come to the north shore in droves because of the conditions, but then again they are used to it!

One last recommendation is the Dole Pineapple Plantation which is along the route to the North Shore from Honolulu, and it’s a great place to stop and stretch your legs. You can enjoy some fantastic pineapple creations here, go shopping for some great gifts, try your hand at the world’s largest maze, or take a tour of the pineapple farm. There is a lot more to do on Oahu HI, and I think that you’ll find that out when you arrive! Have fun!

More Great Island Travel Locations:

  • Maui - Maui is a beautiful island and one of the nicest in the Hawaiian Island chain. Many people consider Maui to actually be the best place to stay and sightsee, and there are many reasons for that…

  • Atlantis Resort, the Bahamas - You’ll love this resort on Paradise Island, near Nassau, and the many fun activities available for you and your family. Swim with dolphins, snorkel in a secluded cove with tropical fish, or enjoy the massive water park on property!

  • Jamaica - This is an island paradise to many people and is a great location in the Caribbean for those looking for a shorter trip. Lots of friendly people, great beaches, and awesome fun activities!
  • Kauai - You'll love this island with it's incredible exotic beauty and honeymooner ambiance... Plenty of tropical foliage, mountains, and wonderful beaches for relaxing and hanging out...
  • Hawaii, the Big Island - This is the land of volcanoes, dense jungles, and high snow covered mountain tops... Learn about the many different activities you can enjoy here!


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