Recent Searches
Clear
See all Oahu tours
883 tours & tickets
Things to do in Oahu
See all things to do in Oahu
Dancers perform at a Hawaiian luau
10 Ways to Experience Hawaiian Culture in Honolulu

Visiting Oahu for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do


Visiting Oahu for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do

Though it isn’t the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, tropical Oahu is the most populated and receives the most visitors. Navigating its urban culture, waterfall-backed valleys, and long stretches of white sand takes some planning—here are some tips for your first Oahu visit.


Check out Waikiki

And take to the waves.

Most visitors’ introduction to Oahu is through the famed, hotel-lined stretch of Waikiki Beach. The beach is a must-see starting point with plenty to do—shopping, dining, private surfing lessons, swimming, paddleboarding classes, and more. You can even take a trolley from Waikiki to other top Oahu attractions.

Explore Waikiki experiences

Take a Circle Island tour

And cover the major Oahu sites.

Once you’ve gotten your fill of Waikiki, take in the rest of Oahu by venturing to points farther afield. Full-day Circle Island tours circumnavigate the island and are an excellent way to enjoy highlights such as Honolulu’s Chinatown, Kaneohe Bay, the surfing mecca of the North Shore, the Hanauma Bay snorkeling hot spot, the Dole Plantation, hidden waterfalls, and scenic overlooks along the Koolau Mountain Range.

Explore more Oahu tours
The Dole Plantation is one of Oahu's more delicious attractions. Photo: Elyse Butler / Viator

Hit the Honolulu highlights

And make the most of the capital.

In Honolulu proper, landmarks like Iolani Palace and the Mission Houses delve into Oahu-centric history and Hawaiian culture. Once you’ve hit the top spots, follow your interests—you can hike, bike, and Segway in and around Honolulu on fun food tours, art tours, and photography tours.

Explore Honolulu tours

Soak up Oahu's history and culture

And learn about the island past and present.

Head out on a guided Pearl Harbor tour to learn about Hawaii’s World War II involvement. Afterwards, check out sites like the authoritative Bishop Museum and theme park-esque Polynesian Cultural Center with its authentic North Shore luau.

Enjoy the entertainment at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Photo: Elyse Butler / Viator

Take to the water

And enjoy Oahu's extensive shoreline.

Oahu is ultimately known as a beach destination. Sun-worshippers will be thrilled to note that the island has enough white sandy stretches to spend each day of a 2-week vacation in a different place. To explore new spots and find your favorite, take a dedicated beach tour. And to get out on the water, choose from snorkeling, fishing, whale-watching, and sailing tours, or try your hand at surfing, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding with a lesson on the beach.

Explore Oahu water activities

More things to do on Oahu

Keep reading

Keep exploring
See all Oahu tours
883 tours & tickets
Things to do in Oahu
See all things to do in Oahu
Dancers perform at a Hawaiian luau
10 Ways to Experience Hawaiian Culture in Honolulu