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Top Ten Things to Do on Oahu, Hawaii: Tourist Attractions

Updated on October 29, 2014

Are you taking your first trip to Hawaii and need ideas on where to go and what to do? Are your planned activities only focused on Waikiki and Luaus? While Waikiki is a great place to start, here are a few practical ideas that are fun for the whole family! These are the Top Ten Things to Do on Oahu for tourists.

10. Magic Island

Magic Island is a beautiful beach park conveniently located right outside of Waikiki. This beach is perfect for tourists because it's loaded with things to do! On one side you will see great views of Waikiki as well as surfers and paddlers enjoying the waves. In the center you will find a small enclosed beach with still waters perfect for wading and relaxing in the sunshine. On the other side you can walk to Ala Moana Beach Park which is great for barbecuing, paddle boarding and other relaxing activities. And finally across the street is Ala Moana Mall.This mall is four stories tall with excellent shopping, bars, and local entertainment. Best of all, Magic Island is known for its free fireworks show every friday night! For more information checkout Magic Island's schedule of event and you may catch exciting events such as a carnival, Chinese lanterns ceremony or Fourth of July event.


Magic Island
Magic Island | Source
Magic Island
Magic Island | Source
Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park | Source

9. Sunset Cruise

One of the best ways to end the day and catch an awesome view of the sunset is on a sunset cruise. Most sunset cruises will provide you with a scenic view along the coast of Waikiki where you may also see sea life such as dolphins, sea turtles and even whales. Depending upon the cruise you will be provided with dinner, drinks, and entertainment. For discounts on short sunset cruises you can use Groupon.com and find cruises with free drinks for around $25.00 per person!

Sunset Cruise
Sunset Cruise | Source
Sunset Cruise
Sunset Cruise | Source
Sunset Cruise
Sunset Cruise | Source

8. Pearl Harbor

If your are interested in learning about the American History of Hawaii, Pearl Harbor is a great place to start. The visit includes museums, a showing of a documentary, and a free boat ride to the memorial. The memorial is built over a sunken battleship that has become the final resting place for soldiers who lost their lives on that infamous day. The underwater tomb is where thousands come to pay their respects and learn about the events that took place. While Pearl Harbor provides many packaged tours for a fee, the Pearl Harbor Memorial is free.

Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor | Source
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor | Source
Pearl Harbor
Pearl Harbor | Source

7. Snorkeling at Shark's Cove

Shark's Cove is a small beach located on Oahu's North Shore that is known for snorkeling. The shallow waters overflowing with sea-life and surrounding panoramic views makes it an excellent place for exploring sea life and catching amazing sunsets. Due to the shallow water filled with sharp coral its important to wear water shoes when snorkeling here. Most importantly, avoid stepping on the coral reef! Stepping on the coral reef destroys the habitat. If you are not experienced with snorkeling you can come here to take pictures and view a beautiful sunset.

Shark's Cove
Shark's Cove | Source
Shark's Cove
Shark's Cove | Source
Shark's Cove
Shark's Cove | Source

6. Hiking at Mokapuu Lighthouse Trail

Makapuu Lighthouse Trail is a well paved hike that contains breath-taking bird's eye views of the coastline. This is a great hike for those who would like to avoid a muddy trail, mosquito bites and the possibility of getting lost in the jungle. This relatively easy hike is best experienced during whale watching season. While ascending the mountain, hikers will be sure to experience pods of humpback whales traveling along the coastline. When you get close to the top you will also notice some hikers descending down the side of a cliff to swim in tide pools below. DO NOT attempt to climb down yourself. This is not an official part of the trail and climbing down the cliff is very dangerous! Just continue along the path to the top and you will be rewarded with the amazing view!

Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail | Source
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
Makapuu Lighthouse Trail | Source
A lagoon below Makapuu Lighthouse Trail
A lagoon below Makapuu Lighthouse Trail | Source

5. Halona Blowhole

The Blowhole is a scenic lookout overlooking a spouting coral reef that sprays ocean mist into the air. The lookout is a great central point for pictures because it provides aerial views of the surfers at Sandy Beach and the sea turtles at "Eternity" Beach. Best of all it's a perfect spot to see whales during whale watching season!

Halona Blowhole
Halona Blowhole | Source
Eternity Beach
Eternity Beach | Source
Sea Turtle at Eternity Beach
Sea Turtle at Eternity Beach | Source
Halona Blowhole
Halona Blowhole | Source
Eternity Beach
Eternity Beach | Source

4. Driving Along the North Shore

One of the best ways to spend the day, is to take a drive along the North Shore! This is a great place to explore and checkout the surfing culture. Cruise through Haleiwa Town for some shopping and dining. Go boogie boarding and rock jumping at Waimea Bay. Checkout the professional surfers at Pipeline. Spend the night camping at Chinaman's Hat and so much more! Explore!

Pipeline
Pipeline | Source
Waimea Bay
Waimea Bay | Source
Chinaman's Hat
Chinaman's Hat | Source

3. Lanikai Beach

Come early to Lanikai Beach to experience the most beautiful sunrises! Then stay for the crystal clear waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Checkout the paddlers and windsurfers while floating in an inner tube. Lanikai is a beautiful beach for water activities as well as just relaxing. And for an aerial view, climb the Pillboxes Trail and see the beach from the mountain tops!

Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach | Source
Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach | Source
Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach | Source

2. Kaneohe Bay Sandbar

The absolute best place on the island for boating and kayaking is Kaneohe Bay! Panoramic views of the windward and north shores surround you as you enjoy your water activities atop a shallow sandbar in the middle of the bay. Rent a boat or find a tour that will cruise you out to sea. Then hop off the boat and walk around! Grab your snorkels, kayak, fishing pole, inflatable raft or whatever you like! Jump in for guaranteed fun! And be sure to look for sea life such as dolphins and sea turtles!

Kaneohe Bay
Kaneohe Bay | Source
Kaneohe Bay
Kaneohe Bay | Source
Kaneohe Bay
Kaneohe Bay | Source
Kaneohe Bay
Kaneohe Bay | Source

1. Kailua Beach

Taking the number one spot on the list is Kailua Beach! Kailua beach is a beautiful white sand beach that embodies the spirit of all the best beaches on the island. You will find everything from water sports, food trucks, a gorgeous park, yoga, bars and almost anything else you may want from a laid back family friendly beach. Before you leave be sure to checkout the local shops and try some delicious shave ice from Island Snow! You can even stay until its dark and gaze at the starry skies. Overall, Kailua Beach is a must see before you leave!

Kailua Beach
Kailua Beach | Source
Kailua Beach
Kailua Beach | Source
Island Snow
Island Snow | Source
show route and directions
A markerMagic Island -
Magic Island, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
get directions

B markerPearl Harbor Memorial -
Pearl Harbor Historic Sites, 1 Arizona Memorial Road, Honolulu, HI 96818, USA
get directions

C markerShark's Cove -
Sharks Cove, Pūpūkea, HI 96712, USA
get directions

D markerMakapuu Lighthouse Trail -
Makapuʻu Point Lighthouse Trail, Waimanalo, HI 96795, USA
get directions

E markerHalona Blowhole -
Halona Blow Hole, Honolulu, HI 96825, USA
get directions

F markerWaimea Bay -
Waimea Bay, Hawaii 96712, USA
get directions

G markerChinaman's Hat -
Mokoli'i, Hawaii 96744, USA
get directions

H markerLanikai -
Lanikai, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
get directions

I markerKaneohe Bay -
Kāneʻohe Bay, Hawaii, USA
get directions

J markerKailua Beach -
Kailua Beach, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
get directions

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