Top 5 Things To Do In Oahu

Diamond Head Crater Lookout

“Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace.”

What is one place that’s on your bucket list to visit? I mean like absolute top-of-the-list, “I must go at least once” kinda place. Visiting Hawaii is truly a dream. It has so much to offer its visitors! Like to lay around and relax? There’s a place for you! More of the “get out and explore” traveler? You’re in the right spot! Oahu, Hawaii is a family-friendly oasis that demands one of the top spots on our list of favorite destinations.


The island of Oahu is home to the Honolulu, the capital city of Hawaii. In our opinion, the city of Honolulu is really just like any other metropolitan area. With that, there are some fantastic things to do in Oahu, outside of Honolulu! We’ve assembled our top 5 favorite things to do in Oahu just for you! 

Top 5 things to do in Oahu, Hawaii

North Shore of Oahu

Starting off our Top 5 things to do in Oahu is visiting the North Shore. It is one of the most beautiful places to sit back, relax, and almost feel like a local! There are several beaches that are lesser-known to tourists, so you can have plenty of space. One of our favorite North Shore spots was Camp Harole Erdman Beach, located near the town of Haleiwa. The sand and surf were fantastic! Pack a picnic, grab the beach chairs, and check out the North Shore!

North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

Camp Harole Erdman Beach

Pearl Harbor National Memorial 

December 7, 1941, is known as “a day which will live in infamy.” The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a beautiful tribute to the surprise attack that the Empire of Japan launched on the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor. It serves as a remembrance of the thousands of Servicemembers who lost their lives as the US plunged into WWII. 

Today, Pearl Harbor is home to a great museum and memorial that honors those who were lost that day. First, take a ferry to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial- a somber experience that allows us to honor those brave Servicemembers. Next, see the U.S.S. Missouri which is now a floating museum and the exact spot on board where the Japanese surrendered in 1945. Lastly, learn more about the history of Pearl Harbor by walking through the museum.

Diamond Head Crater

Of course, next on the list of our favorite things to do in Oahu- The Diamond Head State Monument. Looking for a hike to some of the most breathtaking views you’ve ever experienced? Head on over to the Diamond Head Crater! It’s located right next to Waikiki Beach and is, undeniably, one of the more popular destinations on the island. The Crater is formed by eruptions from a now-dormant volcano. 

The beginner-friendly hiking trails around the crater lead you to Diamond Head Lookout. Here, you can find a platform that offers hikers a truly jaw-dropping view. A serious pinch-me moment. You can see much of the island of Oahu as well as the entire city of Honolulu. And once you’ve returned from your hike, don’t forget to stop at the snack stand for a famous Dole Whip! (Think Disney World Dole Whip but straight from the source… drooling over here- don’t mind me.) There are stairs on this hike and you need to make a reservation in advance. You can check out everything you need to know about visiting the Diamond Head State Monument here.

Diamond Head Lookout

Diamond Head Lookout

Waterfall hikes

Need we say more? Manoa Falls was a lush, easy hike that earned a spot on our list of favorite things to do in Oahu. When you visit the area, make sure you add this to your must-do list! According to All Trails, the trek is roughly 3 miles total and has just over a 6-foot elevation gain. The hike is great for beginners but it does get a bit muddy! Make sure you pack some shoes you don’t mind getting dirty! (Trust us here… Whitney made the mistake of wearing white shoes. Oops.) 

Manoa Falls boasts a 150-foot waterfall that is surrounded by beautiful greenery. Ready for a lil trivia bit? This area was actually a filming location for Jurassic Park and LOST! Hop on the platform at the top of the hike and grab a family photo that you’ll treasure for years!

Manoa Falls Hawaii

Manoa Falls

Best Food in Oahu

One of the best things about visiting Oahu was the food! Ohhhh the food! And seafood connoisseurs, this is your mecca. For brunch, stop into Café Kaila in Honolulu. They’ve won several awards for Best Breakfast in Honolulu and they would 100% get our vote! The pancakes topped with strawberries and blueberries are to. dieeeee. for. Another incredible breakfast spot is Cinnamon’s at the ‘Ilikai. Located in the ‘Ilikai Hotel, Cinnamon’s is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Grab a beautiful cocktail and listen to live music or enjoy Hunter’s personal favorite, the red velvet pancakes.

For lunch or dinner, check out the Paia Fish Market. With a location on almost every one of the Hawaiian Islands, it’s clear to see why Paia Fish Market made our list of Oahu favorites. You’ll be hard-pressed to find fish served more fresh than on the Hawaiian Islands, and Paia has some of the best! Another favorite was Poke Bar at the Waikiki Beach Walk. It had a vast selection for you to create a bowl to fit your cravings! 

Ready for dessert? Or maybe you’re like Whitney and like to live life with a “dessert first” mentality. Make sure you save room for a visit to Lahaina Shave Ice! Enjoy your favorite flavor of ice and top it off with sweetened condensed milk for that extra little cherry on top.

Hawaii is such a special place with so many great things to do. It was hard to stop at 5 of our favorite things to do in Oahu! Our best advice? Plan out at least 3 days to spend in Oahu so that your family can fully enjoy what the island has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing beach or a history-filled museum, Oahu has definitely got you covered! Above all, make sure you take time to soak in all the beauty that Oahu has to offer! 

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