Things to Do in Hawaii-Oahu
||Summer temperatures range from 85 to 87°F, with night time lows of 70 to 74°F. Winter temperatures range from 70 to 74°F, with night time lows from 65 to 69°F.
Come and experience the diversity of an island paradise where cosmopolitan conveniences are surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Envelop yourself in the Aloha Spirit - a way of life in the islands that will leave you longing to return to Oahu, the heart of Hawaii. "Hang loose" at the world-famous Waikiki Beach or find your own secluded stretch of sand. A short drive out of town in any direction will bring you face to face with uncrowded beaches, natural wonders and beautiful scenery. The island of Oahu welcomes you to paradise found.
Oahu is home to historic Honolulu, exciting Waikiki, legendary North Shore and much more. Enchanting for naturalists to explore tropical gardens, lush rainforests and miles of white sandy beaches. Adventurous for outdoor enthusiasts to hike exotic mountain ranges, kayak in sapphire bays, golf the most challenging courses, and surf at the world’s best beaches. Fascinating for history buffs to discover Hawaiian heiau, plantation history, and Pearl Harbor. Experience local traditions, learn to make a quilt, string a lei, surf, eat shave ice and dance hula. Swim with dolphins, snorkel Hanauma Bay and ride outrigger canoes. Oahu is where the Heart of Hawaii beats the loudest.
Oahu has over 125 miles of awe-inspiring sandy shoreline. You are most likely familiar with world-famous Waikiki Beach, and you've undoubtedly heard of the big-wave north shore surf beaches Pipeline and Sunset. But you're in for a surprising treat when you discover the sandy wonderlands in between.
The beaches here offer far more than sunbathing and people watching. They're ideal for all kinds of water sports including swimming, surfing, windsurfing, boogie boarding, snorkeling and fishing. Whether you're looking for high adventure on the waves, a romantic spot to watch the sunset, or a protected swimming for the kids, it's sure to be nearby.
With water temperatures at the island's 139 beaches ranging from 75ºF to 80ºF year-round, it's easy to understand why locals and visitors alike are regularly drawn to the blue waters off Oahu.
The South Shore coastline is known for its many sheltered beaches ideal for families. (However, in the summer the surf can get unusually high.) Snorkeling, tide pooling and swimming make great activities for families picnicking along these beaches.
The West Shore (Leeward side) also has many excellent swimming beaches. This coast is known for offshore fishing spots. Winter months see the largest waves, which reach heights of more than 15 feet.
The North Shore is best known for its world-class surfing and huge winter swells. During the winter months, waves reach heights of 25 feet.
The East Shore (Windward side) beaches tend to be more lush and tropical. Northeast trade winds keep the coast cool 90 percent of the year, making it a favorite location for windsurfing and sailing enthusiasts.
Oahu's rich cultural heritage may be something you seek out, but you'll most certainly find without even trying. It's expressed in the graceful arms of a hula dancer, and words of an ancient Hawaiian legend. It's visible in the eyes of a north shore fruit stand vendor selling papaya, and a woman stringing garlands of frangipani in Waikiki. It's audible in the strum of a slack key guitar and the vibrato of a native Hawaiian singer. It's hidden in the tangled branches of a Banyan, and in the remains of an ancient volcano. And even when you don't see or hear it, it's there -- in a spirit that emanates from the traditions, the people, the music, the food, and the land.
There are several ways to soak up Oahu's colorful history. Museums, temples, cultural centers and festivals just to name a few. Historical artifacts can be found at both the Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace, home to the last reining monarch, Queen Liliuokalani. Take in turn-of-the-century architecture with a stroll through Chinatown, or ride the trolley through Waikiki and you'll see historical hotels such as the Sheridan Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel made famous in the early 1900's.
To guarantee you get a large helping of Hawaiian culture, you might consider attending a luau. Here you will be treated like royalty, or 'alii' (chief). It's an opportunity to sit back and enjoy Polynesian entertainment, including hula dancers and Hawaiian music, along with an all-you-can-possibly-eat island-style feast.
Oahu is all about 'ohana,' (family). It's evident that caring for 'keiki' (children) is important here. There are a variety of exciting activities designed with kids and families in mind.
Take a submarine ride and witness sunken ships, airliners, and reef structures. Ride the waterslides at Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park. Get up close and personal with dolphins, sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, and moray eels at Sea Life Park. Spend the day at the Honolulu Zoo or Waikiki Aquarium and see animal and marine life like you've never seen anywhere else. Or explore the 4,000-acres of fun at Kualoa Ranch by horse, ATV, helicopter, Jet Ski or kayak.
There are also plenty of other educational and cultural excursions for kids and families year-round, including nature walks, hikes, wildlife feedings, fishing, catamaran sails and more.
Many hotels and condominiums also offer programs for kids that include activities such as lei and kite making, lauhala weaving, and sandcastle building. This is one family vacation where boredom is never a problem. Explore the possibilities with your ohana and together you'll create memories to last a lifetime.
Oahu has long been a place of rest and rejuvenation. Rewarding. Nourishing. Healing. Beyond the turquoise waters, the pristine beaches, and the razor-edged mountains, there's a legacy of royalty -- a delicious blend of pacific influences and the luxurious pace of island relaxation.
The healing energy that flows from this island and from its unique blend of Eastern and Western philosophies is almost magical. You'll feel it the moment you step off the plane and breathe your first breath. Even the slightest fragrant tropical breeze blows layers and layers of stress away. You'll feel better just being here.
Rejuvenation might also come from unexpected places; like a meaningful encounter with a dolphin or a meditation near a waterfall. It might come from a yoga or Tai Chi session in the park, or the chants of a sacred Hawaiian healer. It might come from one of many Hawaiian therapies offered at Oahu's luxurious spas. They are wonderfully indulgent way to relax your mind, release your spirit and liberate your soul.
Try a lomi-lomi massage, or a Hawaiian seaweed wrap. Many spas also offer herbal therapies, preventative medical screening and traditional Chinese medicine. There are endless opportunities to drench yourself in the healing wonders available here. Not only will they enhance your stay, but your whole life.
We had struggled for five hours, straight up through dense undergrowth, ohia forests and vast colonies of bamboo. Green, in all its millions of tones and inflections, was the only color we had seen until we reached the top of the ridge where we emerged into a white so thick and featureless it left us dizzy and disoriented. Just in time, the cloud blew over the ridge line and was gone, leaving us gasping at the view that suddenly appeared revealing the sheer, 3,000-foot drop at our feet. It was magic.
The lure of adventure is strong in man and nowhere in the world does it find greater expression than here in the Hawaiian Islands. Is hang-gliding your thing? Do you long to leap from the heights at Makapu'u and, soaring high above the beach, make lazy circles for an afternoon? Perhaps you'd like the heart-pounding intensity of the big winter surf at Waimea. Or the thrill of sailing down the Molokai Channel. Or the skiier's rocket ride down the slope of sometimes snow-capped Mauna Loa; palm trees in the distance, hard lava coming up.
Or maybe a safer, less terrifying adventure would suit you better. Something like a bicycle ride down Haleakala or a hike inside its moonscape crater. Or riding a very sensible mule-who's made the trip a thousand times-down the cliffside to Kalapapa and back again. Or taking a glider ride or a parasail. Because of Hawaii's benign year-round climate, just being outdoors is an adventure to folks fleeing winter. Adventure, after all, like art, is in the eye of the beholder and for every urge there is an outfitter.
For many modern people, ecotourism is a green way to enjoy the great Hawaiian outdoors and learn about something bigger than themselves. But whatever the call to action, the numbers of people participating in outdoor adventure are increasing rapidly. They've been there, done that and the wild places in Hawaii are seductively inviting.
No matter how you define romance, a trip to Oahu will almost certainly redefine it for you. Sunset strolls along miles of soft sand beaches come with the territory, typically followed by scintillating evenings of world-class nightlife and entertainment. The island will send your heart racing.
And while you may be content to just sit in the sand and stare into the eyes of the one you love, we encourage you to explore your options. Consider a horseback ride along the tumbling surf of a deserted beach. Set sail on a starlit cruise. Wander through acres of lush tropical gardens to discover a waterfall plunging into a hidden grotto. Surrender to a his-and-her day of indulgence at an opulent spa.
Of course, if you can't decide what to do, just follow your heart. You're sure to end up somewhere unforgettable.