Our Top 10 Picks For Things To Do And See On Oahu:
10. Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center is a full family-friendly destination rather than just a place to attend a traditional luau. Although the Polynesian luau feast and entertainment is second-to-none, the 42 acre center, which will take days to explore, has much more to offer with restaurants, show venues and 6 special “Island Villages” each featuring the culture and history of a different Pacific island. Attractions include traditional hands-on activities, games, music, dance, storytelling, canoeing, demonstrations, crafts and tours as well as many unique shops where you can purchase a variety of unusual, handmade items. There are many dining options including the traditional Polynesian luau buffet and entertainment which i
s said to be the best in Oahu.
(Insider tip: “The Breath of Life” show has been rated as Hawaii’s #1 show.)
9. Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens
8. Turtle Beach – Lanikai Beach
7. Tantalus Lookout
6. North Shore
5. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
A popular, well-maintained, paved trail that is not too steep or long (2 miles round trip) that boasts fabulous views of the coastline and ocean. Humpback whales are commonly seen in the waters below during the months of December through May so bring your camera and some good binoculars to get a closer look. This is a perfect hike for families with children and the paved trail makes it suitable for strollers. The trail is exposed to the sun and wind so dress accordingly, bring sunscreen, and consider going early or late in the day when it’s cooler. The trailhead is located east of Honolulu on Kalaniana‘ole Highway past Sandy Beach and before Makapu‘u Beach Park.
(Insider tip: About halfway up the trail there is a path that leads down to tide pools at the base of the cliffs. It takes about 1/2 hr. to hike down the side trail and is more rugged so wear sturdy shoes or reef-walkers)
4. Hanauma Bay
3. Diamondhead State Monument
A short but steep 1.6 miles (round trip) hike that leads to the top edge of the iconic Diamond Head crater rim. Signs at the trailhead say that the hike takes 1.5–2 hours and recommends that hikers bring water. It is a short but steep hike with a 170 560 ft. elevation gain (total elevation of 762 ft). Although not difficult, the trail is mostly unpaved and traverses uneven rock, ascends 74 steps, and through a tunnel with another steep 99 steps and another small lighted tunnel leading to a narrow staircase (43 steps) inside an artillery platform. The trail culminates at the summit above the observation platform with expansive views of Waikīkī and the Pacific Ocean.
Insider tip: Arrive as early in the day as possible; it will be less crowded and much cooler. Gates open at 6am–last entrance to hike the trail is 4:30pm and the gates close at 6pm.
2. Pearl Harbor/ Arizona Memorial
1. Waikiki Beach