No trip to the island is complete without a visit to Pearl Harbor. It’s one of the most popular Oahu tours as it charts the events of the infamous 1941 attack by the Japanese during the Second World War. The experience is poignant and powerful, as the site remains an important piece of Hawaii’s history.
You’ll get to ride the Navy launch to the USS Arizona Memorial, a stirring monument above a sunken battleship. Pay your respects at the Wall of Remembrance and enjoy a self-guided tour of the USS Missouri before finishing with a war-themed city excursion in historic Honolulu.
Capture some of the island’s most spectacular scenery on these nature-themed Oahu tours. You’ll take in cultural sites, natural wonders, and outdoor activities as you circle the island in search of adventure. Travel up into the lush Ko’olau Mountains and visit Nu’uanu Pali Lookout which was once the site of a famous battle.
Next on the agenda are the surfing beaches along the North Shore and the dazzling waterfalls of the Waimea Valley. Finally, there will be photo opportunities from the beautiful Amelia Earhart Lookout Point on the slopes of Diamond Head Crater. Private tours are available for more tailored experiences.
There’s only one thing that makes a snorkeling tour in Oahu better, and that’s when turtles are added into the mix! As you can guess from the name, Turtle Canyon is the place to swim with these majestic sea creatures.
You’ll head out from Waikiki by catamaran, before plunging into the ocean with your snorkel. Thousands of green turtles call the canyon home, so there’s no better place on earth to see them, and sightings are pretty much guaranteed. Enjoy lunch on board after your swim while keeping watch for dolphins and whales during the voyage back to the island.
For a jam-packed day of adventure, head to the North Shore for some sensational Oahu tours. You’ll start with a stroll through sleepy Haleiwa Town, before heading out to see filming locations for Hollywood greats such as Kualoa Ranch, the set of Jurassic Park and Jumanji. It’s the sort of landscape where a dinosaur wouldn’t be out of place!
Then hit the beaches for snorkeling and kayaking in the blue waters of Waimea Bay, where dolphins, rays, and turtles often make an appearance. There’s shark diving too if you’re feeling courageous! Don’t leave without visiting the famous Dole Pineapple Plantation and tasting the fruit at its source.
If you’re looking for paradise, then get yourself to Kailua Bay for some fun in the sun. This pristine beach on Oahu’s eastern coast boasts clear waters, dazzling sand, and year-round warmth so it’s a prime contender for your must-see list.
As well as swimming and snorkeling, you can join a kayaking excursion to explore the coastline and feel at one with nature. Highlights include paddling out to the Mokolua Islands to see the bird sanctuaries and bathing in a freshwater lagoon called Queen’s Bath inside an ancient lava tube. Both guided and self-led kayak tours are available.
Sometimes the best views are from above, which is why Oahu tours by helicopter are a must if you have a head for heights. You’ll experience a heady mix of forest, mountains, and coast as you hover over the island on this unique aerial adventure.
See if you can spot iconic landmarks like the Aloha Tower, Diamond Head, and Chinaman’s Hat from your lofty perch, as well as countless beaches. The ocean reefs and swirling blue currents make for pretty pictures, while the verdant Ka’a’awa Valley and the Sacred Falls will make your heart pound and your spirits soar.
Set sail on a luxury catamaran or glass-bottom boat to experience the most magical time of day on the southern shores of Oahu. You’ll float along the dramatic coastline towards the volcanic cone of Diamond Head, enjoying Hawaiian cocktails and traditional snacks on deck to toast the onset of dusk.
As the light slowly fades, sunset steals the show, bathing the ocean with its fiery luminescence. There’s no better place to watch the sun sink below the horizon than here! Waikiki Beach makes a gorgeous backdrop for photographs and romantic moments, leaving you with an evening to remember.
One of the most popular family-friendly Oahu tours is whale watching, where bonus dolphins and sea turtles are often spotted too. These trips are best enjoyed between December and April when thousands of humpback whales migrate from Alaska to enjoy the warmer Hawaiian waters.
You’ll be sailing by catamaran or motorboat, allowing you to see the whales from close range, without disturbing them. There will be plenty of time for photos, and your guide will talk about these marine giants and why they love coming to Hawaii so much. Boost your energy levels with lunch on board the boat before returning to Oahu.
Seeing a traditional Luau show at Paradise Cove is the perfect way to end your vacation in Oahu. These energetic performances are colorful and loud, with dancing and music that is sure to get your foot tapping.
Before sitting down for dinner, you can explore the traditional Hawaiian village and try some local crafts and games. Enjoy a shower of flowers and learn about ancient fishing techniques as you join in the beach Hukilau. Then it’s time for the feast! Behind you, the sunset coastal views provide a fitting stage for the cultural extravaganza, as you settle in for an evening of entertainment.
One of the more unusual Oahu tours is this bike sightseeing excursion, with added food! By the time you’ve finished the ride, you’ll feel like a true insider, after discovering some of the hidden gems on the island’s culinary scene.
Cycle along rural roads and tracks to work up an appetite, taking in the local neighborhoods of Kaimuki, Kapahulu, and Diamond Head. Then treat yourself to some Oahu delicacies at 5-6 different food stops along the way. As you sink your teeth into loco moco, laulau, and Poi, you’ll realize that food is the key to understanding the real Hawaii.
Hawaii’s third-largest island really packs a punch when it comes to spellbinding nature and enchanting outdoor adventures. Oahu tours cover everything from hiking in rainforests to exploring beneath the waves, with dramatic volcanic scenery that will have you constantly grabbing for the camera.
Oahu is a place of strong Hawaiian tradition, and it’s the striking contrast between ancient and modern cultures that make a visit here so fulfilling. With laid-back surfing towns, bustling cities, and remote beaches, Oahu is an island that knows how to put on a show. You’ll need at least a week here to scratch the surface!
Most visitors stay in the Waikiki and Honolulu area, which is an ideal base for exploring the rest of Oahu. The bus network is extensive with several routes running from the city to most of the main sightseeing locations. Alternatively, you can rent a car, but to avoid the hassle and traffic, sign up for some Oahu tours instead and discover the island in style.
The Go Oahu Pass is a good investment, giving you access to over 45 tours and attractions at discounted rates. Finally, if you want to eat out, make reservations in advance to avoid having to queue at the popular spots.
After you’ve visited hotspots like Pearl Harbor and Kailua Bay, it’s time to delve deeper into Oahu. Take a hop-on hop-off trolley bus tour around Waikiki or roll around Honolulu by Segway for a quirky take on a historic city excursion.
Don’t miss the Polynesian Cultural Center to learn more about the people of Hawaii and visit the Bishop Museum for scientific input on island life. For a free afternoon out, enjoy the sun at Waikiki Beach or take a stroll around the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden.