Fun Things to do on Oahu, Hawaii
I have this running list of things to do for when we have visitors or are bored. I've been meaning to share some of my favorites with you all.
Photos taken with my iPhone, not my camera, so excuse the quality. They say the best camera is the one you have with you ;)
1. Dole Pineapple Plantation
It's free to walk around and $12 per person to ride the Pineapple Express train ride
Bonus- they have rare Rainbow Eucalyptuses at the entrance, honestly it's worth the trip just to check out these beauties!
Be sure to get some delicious Dole Whip before you leave!
2. Stand Up Paddle Board Rental
We've rented from the MWR ($25 for the day) and at Tropical Rush in Haleiwa ($25 for two hours) and I vastly prefer renting from Tropical rush and SUPing in the 'Anahulu river on the north shore. The launch is right at Tropical Rush, so no need to bring the board anywhere which makes it super easy. Plus there's always sea turtles in the out there! Both of these photos (first one is my daughter, Clementine, second one is my husband, Dave) were taken in the 'Anahulu.
You can see the quality difference in the board rentals as well. Tropical Rush are much wider and sturdier which made it super easy to balance on, even with a kiddo on board!
3. KidsCity Hawaii in Kapolei
This place is super fun, but it does require a reservation online. It's $20 per child and $5 per adult for 2 hours. My daughter absolutely loves this place. There's a huge jungle gym with a slide, bounce house type play areas, pretend play sections, and even little foot cars for the kiddos to drive around on.
There's another location downtown that's even bigger! We've yet to check that one out, but it's on our list of places to go next! Here's their website- https://www.kidscityhawaii.com
4. The Honolulu Zoo
Who doesn't love seeing all the beautiful animals at the zoo? We usually do a membership because if you go more than once it pays for itself. Information on pricing and memberships can be found and purchased on their website - https://www.honoluluzoo.org
5. Snorkeling at Paradise Cove
Of course, there are tons of good snorkeling spots on Oahu, my favorite just happens to be Paradise Cove (despite the difficult parking situation- we usually park in Tiny lot 1 and walk over). Some other great spots for snorkeling (or so I've heard) are Sharks Cove, Electric Beach, and probably the most popular of all, Hanauma Bay.
6. Turtle Watching at Laniakea Beach (also known as Turtle Beach)
Just remember do not get closer than 6-10 feet per DLNR law.
There are often volunteers there who can tell you all about these magnificent creatures. We just loved watching them nap on the shore.
7. Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe
The Byodo-In Temple is a smaller replica of the 950+ year old Byodo-in Temple in Japan. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children 2-12yo.
8. Pearl Harbor Memorial
Take a short boat ride over to the Arizona Memorial and learn about Pearl Harbor. Make sure you make reservations ahead of time and arrive early so you don't miss your boat!
9. Hawaii Children's Discovery Center
This is another spot that my daughter (and her friend Callie) just LOVE! It's got so much to do! When you first come in there's a large water play area, and as you go through the whole place you realize it's unassumingly big! So many different themed areas. You can definitely spend a few hours exploring in there. Here's a link to their site where you can get more info and purchase tickets- http://discoverycenterhawaii.org
We like to bring a snack to share with the chickens out front :p
10. Halona Cove and Blowhole
This spot is just gorgeous! Parking can be a little rough sometimes, but it's worth it! You're not technically supposed to go down to the cove, but pretty much everyone does anyway- just be careful if you do decide to make the trek.
On the other side of this cove is the Blowhole which resembles a whale's blowhole when the waves crash in just right.
It's also a perfect spot to watch the sunrise.
11. Waimea Falls and Botanical Garden
Waimea Falls botanical garden is a great place to see lots of native plants, and at the end there's a super refreshing waterfall you can swim in.
Admission is kinda steep at $20 per person, but if you think you'll go back more than once it's worth getting the season pass.
Bring bug spray.
12. Wet 'n' Wild Hawaii
The best (and only?) waterpark on the island. Although, the Sheraton has a pretty nice pool with slides, it's no match for Wet 'n' Wild. Like most other places, this one is worth buying a season pass for if you plan to go more than once.
Here's their site- https://www.wetnwildhawaii.com/
13. Horseback Riding at Gunstock Ranch
Definitely a fun activity for kiddos and adults. They let the kids feed and brush the horses after too.
They also have a petting zoo with tons of goats which is free (goat food is available for purchase).
More info can be found on their website- https://gunstockranch.com
14. Go to a Luau
When in Hawaii, right?
I feel like this is top of most people's lists. Our favorite is Paradise Cove, but there are many great options. In my opinion, it's worth getting the upgrade. If you can, buy through ITT to save some money because this is one of the pricier activities. Definitely not something to skip though.
15. Waikiki Aquarium
It's small, but if you like aquariums like we do, it's definitely worth the trip. https://www.waikikiaquarium.org
16. Sea Life Park
Bigger than the aquarium, and the animals are bigger too! They have turtles, sharks, sea lions, and dolphins. You can buy food to feed the turtles, watch the seals and dolphins do tricks, and learn about all the different animals they have on site. The itinerary is easy to follow. We always love it here.
More info here- https://www.sealifeparkhawaii.com/
17. Whale Watching on Makapu'u Lighthouse trail (December-April)
Make sure to bring binoculars and patience. The best months to go are February and March.
18. Explore the Tide Pools at Shark's Cove
See what kind of cool creatures and fish you can find, but be careful where you step because the sea urchins are everywhere on Oahu.
19. ATV Rental at Kualoa Ranch
We did a two hour tour and it was fantastic! It was very dusty, so be prepared. They do provide safety glasses and helmets which help.
This is another pricey activity, but you can save money by buying through ITT. Very fun as long as you don't mind a little dirt ;)
20. Walk Around China Town
Bring cash as many of the vendors don't accept card. Great produce and other hidden treasure to be found in China Town.
21. Visit the "Pancake" Playground
Located on the upper level of the Ala Moana mall outside Target.
Pancake playground isn't the official name, but since my daughter, Clementine, started calling it that I can't think of a better name for it :p
22. Kayak out to Popoia (Flat Island)
My friend and I rented kayaks from Kailua Beach Adventures which included everything- the DLNR tag needed to dock on the island, lunch, and even a bicycle for riding around Kailua afterward!
Highly recommend them- https://www.kailuabeachadventures.com
This was the perfect distance for a couple of beginners too.
23. Feed the Fish at Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden
This is a fun free activity. Great spot for a picnic, and a beautiful location to drive around- it's a lot bigger than it looks!
*Any prices listed are approximate at the time this was written*
Here are some Fun Hikes Oahu