Hawaii is known for its endless beaches, beautiful sunsets, and lush rainforests. But believe it or not, there’s so much more to the Aloha State than just that! If you’re looking for some of the best things to do in Oahu, you’ve come to the right place.
Whether you’re a nature lover or a thrill seeker, Oahu has something for everyone. Check it out!
1. Take an Eduvacation℠ with Destination CLEs
Did you know that the island of Oahu is a hotspot for lawyers and legal professionals to complete their continuing legal education courses? Yes, you read that right! In February 2023, Destination CLEs is offering CLE courses on Intellectual Property Law and marketing topics on this beautiful island in Hawaii!
If you’re an attorney, let your colleagues know so you can get the group rate offers for this exciting work trip. To learn more, click here to download the brochure or take a look at the schedule by clicking here.
2. Surf on Waikiki Beach or the North Shore of Oahu
Waikiki Beach is probably one of the best beaches for surfing lessons! Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, Waikiki beach is truly a must-visit for any surfer. Waikiki Beach also features picture-perfect backdrops of Leahi, or Diamond Head, a 760-foot crater that serves as one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks.
If you want to explore more surfing spots, Oahu’s North Shore is another popular attraction. Boasting gigantic 30-foot waves during the winter months, North Shore is a 17-mile stretch filled with activities for the whole family. With 51 beaches, you’d never have enough time to explore the entire 11 miles of coastline!
3. Hike Diamond Head Crater
Hikers and non-hikers alike will surely love making their way up Hawaii’s iconic state monument of Diamond Head! This hike offers impressive panoramic views of the volcanic crater as well as downtown Honolulu. As the most popular hike in Oahu, the Diamond Head trail is a relatively easy hike for families because it’s only a 1.6-mile roundtrip trail.
If you have kids with you, we recommend pairing the hike with other attractions like a visit to the Honolulu Zoo, Kapiolani Park, or the Waikiki Aquarium.
4. Visit the Pillboxes
If you’re a history buff, you’ll certainly enjoy visiting the “pillboxes” built all over the Hawaiian Islands. During World War II, the military built these concrete bunkers all around the island of Oahu as lookout posts for spotting enemy activity. Because of this, these pillboxes offer breathtaking views from their perches.
The two most famous hikes where you can visit some pillboxes and catch the amazing scenery they offer include Diamond Head Lookout near Waikiki Beach and Lanikai Pillbox Trail.
5. Tour Through a Botanical Garden
Believe it or not, Hawaii has 33 botanical gardens, and 8 of those are on Oahu! On Oahu, most tourists tend to enjoy Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden the most because of the eye-popping views of Ko’olau mountain it offers. Plus, the entrance of this garden is so picture-perfect that you’ll want to make sure you take photos before you even begin your tour.
6. Take Picturesque Photos of Lighthouses
If you love taking photos while on vacation, Diamond Head also has a beautiful lighthouse that you can visit to snap some incredible shots. The lighthouse was built in1899 as a guidepost for ships to reach Honolulu from the west coast of the United States. Though the lighthouse is not open to the public, your hike to the Diamond Head crater will give you a chance to take some amazing photos of this beauty while also providing some pretty magnificent scenic views!
For another breathtaking scene, check out the Makapuu Lighthouse, too! This lighthouse is probably the most famous one out of the six lighthouses on Oahu. Not only does this place offer remarkable sunrise experiences, but it’s also a great place to spot humpback whales between December and April.
7. Swim with the Marine Life
Did you know you can swim with green sea turtles at Turtle Beach, or Laniakea Beach? But don’t get too close—touching a sea turtle could cost you up to $10,000! Since turtles are sacred in Hawaii, many volunteers have taken it upon themselves to protect this species and make sure tourists keep their distance.
Oh, and if you’d like a view of the coral reefs, Kaneohe Bay on the northeast coast is the perfect place to be!
8. Explore Iolani Palace
King Kalakaua, Hawaii’s last king and penultimate monarch, built the Iolani Palace in 1882. In fact, this is the only official royal residence in the U.S. It was restored to ensure that the public can still marvel at its former grandeur, just like before.
Here, you can take a guided tour and walk the grand halls just like how Queen Liliuokalani did in its heyday.
9. Rent a 4×4 in Kualoa Ranch
Also known as Hawaii’s Jurassic Valley, Kualoa Ranch is a 4,000-acre popular attraction where movies and TV shows like Jurassic Park, Hawaii Five-0, Lost, Kong Skull Island, 50 First Dates, and many more were shot.
At this famous ranch, you can book an off-road tour along with other tour offerings for the whole family!
10. Take Your Family to The Polynesian Cultural Center
Experience the Hawaiian culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center! Here, you can enjoy experiences such as luau buffets, live shows, and canoe rides.
By the way, Destination CLEs also has this in their Hawaii 2023 CLE conference itinerary! This way, lawyers can earn their CLE credits in a beautiful place and also enjoy all of the many wonderful activities at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
11. Climb the Koko Head Stairs
The Koko Crater Trail, also known as Koko Head Stairs, is a tough hike with amazing views at the top. The thousand-step stairs are daunting, but it’s worth every inch of sweat! Oh, and the view of Hanauma Bay is spectacular here!
If you’re in for a challenging workout with amazing views as a reward, try this trail out!
12. Get in touch with Nature
Oahu has multiple state parks and Ka’ena Point State Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit! It’s the gateway to Ka’ena Point Natural Area Reserve and is home to coastal sand dunes. If you want to get away from everyone, Ka’ena is the best place to be for hiking, snorkeling, fishing, and tide pools viewing.
Ka’ena Point also boasts of the Hawaiian monk seal!
13. Try Matsumoto’s Shave Ice
Cool down with the many local shaved ice options in Oahu!
Established in 1951 as a grocery store, Matsumoto Shave Ice is probably one of the best places to get this flavored treat on the entire island. Being as popular as it is, Matsumoto Shave Ice serves about 1,000 shaved ice treats every day!
14. Check Out the Pearl Harbor National Memorial
The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is one of the best places to learn more about the history of WWII. There are a few free tours, and one of them is the USS Arizona Memorial program.
Of course, your visit here will not be complete without a tour of the USS Missouri battleship. This ship’s quarterdeck is where the Empire of Japan surrendered, thus ending WWII.
This tour is part of the agenda!
15. Have a Dole Whip in the Dole Pineapple Plantation
The Dole plantation is home to the world’s largest maze in a pineapple shape! Though some reviews of the place say that this is a tourist trap, it’s still worth visiting, even if only for the Dole Whip pineapple soft serve ice cream and souvenirs!
16. Experience Whale Watching
A great way to spend your Oahu vacation is by whale watching. Take a boat tour or private excursion to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures that can grow as long as 30 meters and weigh up to 100 tons!
17. Take a Skydive Adventure
Get the ultimate adrenaline rush with a skydiving adventure! Plus, most skydiving tours in Hawaii offer a photo and video package that you can show off to your peers.
18. Shop at Tropical Farms
Tropical Farms is a small store in Oahu that sells coffee, chocolate, and of course, macadamia nuts. The highlight of this family-owned business is their delicious & local Macadamia Nuts! If you enjoy coffee and nuts, try out their Kona coffee-flavored macadamias.
19. Book a Sunrise or Sunset Tour
There are multiple sunrise tours in Oahu that bring you to 4-5 different locations that showcase temples, mountains, and coasts. At the end of our week, we’ll enjoy a catamaran sunset sail.
20. Try a Helicopter Tour
If you’re looking for a way to take in all that Hawaii has to offer, then trust us when we say there’s no better way than from the sky. With a helicopter tour on Oahu, you’ll be able to see all of the best places from a bird’s eye view! Normally, helicopter tours are closed-door, but some will take the doors off for a more thrilling ride!
21. Visit Byodo-In Temple
In the hills of Kaneohe, the Buddhist temple Byodo-In is truly a photogenic sight. It was built in 1968 to commemorate the 100th year of the immigration of Japanese citizens to Hawaii. The temple features a reflective pond, waterfalls, a Buddha statue, and koi fish. Find your center here at the Byodo-In Temple!
If you’re looking for an amazing tropical vacation destination, look no further than the island of Oahu in Hawaii. There’s so much to see and do on this beautiful island that you could easily spend a week or two exploring everything it has to offer.
From the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters to the lush rainforest and world-famous Waikiki district, there is something for everyone on Oahu.
Be sure to check out some of the top attractions listed above during your visit – we promise you won’t be disappointed!
Are you excited about planning your trip to Hawaii now? Click here to book your next Eduvacation with Destination CLEs in Oahu!
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