The Most Amazing Things To See in Oahu, Hawaii
Due to corona virus travel bans, maybe you’ve been putting off a trip to Hawaii for a while now. But once an end to social distancing, self-isolation, and even quarantining is finally here, you’re going to want to get outside and rejoice!
You will want to be ready once traveling is safe again, so now is the perfect time to make visiting Oahu one of your get-outside travel priorities.
Related Article: Tips for Visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center
Why Oahu, Hawaii?
With so much to see, experience, taste and do, Oahu is one of the top destinations not only in the United States, but also in the world. Home to Honolulu, Hawaii’s state capital, and the famous Waikiki Beach, Oahu is a great destination where visitors can experience everything that is unique to the islands.
The state’s major airport, Honolulu International Airport (HNL), welcomes major domestic and international carriers from around the world, making it convenient to access. Hotels, AirBnbs, and even hostel options are plentiful, so finding a place to rest between your adventures is easy.
Don’t forget to check out my article 11 Tips to Become a Master Traveler for additional travel planning tips.
Ready for some Hawaii travel inspiration? Here are 14 of my favorite photos that will definitely inspire you to visit Oahu and learn more about the island.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is open year-round every day except for Tuesdays, Christmas and New Year’s Day. This is a great place to snorkel with the fish!
Plan to arrive early as this is a very popular tourist area or wait until the crowd trickles out in the mid-afternoon. During summer, the state park opens at 6 am and closes at 7 pm. It closes at 6 pm in winter.
The Byodo-In Temple is a non-practicing Buddhist temple which welcomes people of all faiths to worship, meditate or simply appreciate its beauty.
Diamond Head Crater
Hawaii’s most recognized landmark is known for its historic hiking trail, stunning coastal views, and military history.
The last entrance to hike the trail is at 4:30 pm. The gates are locked at 6:00 pm daily and all visitors must be out of the park by this time.
Honolulu, on the south shore of Oahu, is the state’s capital and perhaps best of all, is known as the home of the Mai Tai drink and Hawaiian luau.
It might be considered a tourist trap but no vacation to Oahu is complete without a visit to Dole Plantation.
Located outside Wahiawa town along the way to Oahu’s North Shore, the plantation offers a number of fun activities, including their world famous Pineapple Garden Maze, the Pineapple Express Train, the Plantation Garden Tour and their extensive Plantation Center and Country Store.
Sunrise at Lanikai Beach
Lanikai Beach is quite popular for photographers because of the two islands in the background called the Na Mokulua or “mokes”. Kayakers frequently paddle out to the larger northern island, but no one is allowed on the southern island as it is a bird sanctuary.
Hike the two mile round trip Makupu’u Point Trail for a chance to view migrating humpback whales in season (November – May). Binoculars are suggested for viewing the whales and seabirds.
An interpretive sign and viewing scope along the trail help you view and identify the whales seen from this location.
Although the Makapu’u Lighthouse itself is off limits, hikers on trail have two opportunities to view it, including a great side view with a private curving walkway that leads to the structure.
The USS Arizona Memorial
Oahu is the only place in the United States that was physically affected by World War II. On December 7, 1949, Japanese bombers flew over Pearl Harbor and dropped the bombs that would officially bring the United States into the war.
A trip to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor is perfect for history buffs and families of all ages looking to add an element of education to their trip. Take the ferry out over harbor waters to view the memorial and learn about the fateful day that changed the country forever.
Hawaii Pineapple Company is the last family owned and operated commercial-scale pineapple farm in Hawaii.
Located in Kunia on the island of Oahu, they are dedicated to growing Hawaiian Crown™ Sweet Gold™ Pineapple for Hawaii and export markets.
Typical beach weather means that daytime highs hover in the low 90s in the summer months and dip into the low 60s in the winter.
When planning your trip, remember that November through March tend to be the islands’ rainy period. But no matter when you’re visiting Hawaii, sign up for surf lessons and hang 10!
Green Sea Turtles
High on the list of nearly everyone who visits Hawaii is seeing the elusive and endangered honu (Hawaiian green sea turtle). Lucky scuba divers and snorkelers sometimes spot them in the waters near Turtle Bay, Lanikai Beach, and Hanauma Bay.
If you’re not a diver or snorkeler though, there is one place that almost never disappoints, whether you are swimming in the ocean or watching from land: Laniakea Beach on Oahu’s north shore.
Hanauma Bay and Port Lock Peninsula
View as seen from the Koko Crater Trail. This hike is located on the hot, dry south side of the island with no shade. Start as early as possible as it will only get hotter as the sun rises.
Life is always a beach on Oahu. With water temperatures ranging between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure to allow time for swimming in the clear, clean, and generally warm Pacific.
Whether you choose to go snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, a nature reserve on Oahu’s south east side, or try your hand at surf lessons on Waikiki Beach, it’s sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget.
Hike the Koko Crater Railway Trail
This Oahu hike will test your endurance and strength to continuously take each step up the mountain as you climb over 1,000 steps to reach the top! As challenging as it sounds, hiking the Koko Head trail is a fun and very popular hike on Oahu.
Give yourself 1 ½ to 3 hrs for this hike, depending how much time you wish to spend at the top.
Ready To Plan Your Trip?
After viewing these 14 spectacular inspirational travel photos, are you ready to start planning your trip to Oahu? I know I am!
If you do plan a trip to Hawaii, what place do you want to see the most? Let us know in a comment below.
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I am ready! I would love to be dipping my toes into that warm water.
You and me both!!
Oahu was one of our very favorites!!! Koko Crater was a wonderful accomplishment for me. We plan on going back in September – sure hope we get to! Thank you for this lovely reminder of why Hawaii is such a fabulous destination!! Blessings.
I visited Oahu many, many years ago and definitely want to make a return visit.
Hawaii is on our list for one of our next trips once we can travel again – I’ve only got a few more years with the kids at home so we definitely need to make it happen!
I hope you get to go soon Pam. Enjoy!
My husband I love Hawaii. All these places make visiting Hawaii so unique and wonderful. I can’t wait to take my kids.
Oahu is a fun place to visit with kids. I hope you get to go soon!
My husband and I have been wanting to plan a trip to Hawaii! Might have to be in Oahu! Looks incredible! So many cool things to do! Great post!
Thanks Jordan! I’m happy to help!
I most want to see an active volcano if I ever get to Hawaii. It is on the bucket list.
I’d love to go to Hawaii one day. The beaches are gorgeous, and I have to see the Dole Plantation. I’d love to see the sea turtles, too!
Hawaii is so wonderful! I can’t wait to go back!
I’m sold! 🙂 Ready to book right now. Your photos are amazing!
I’m ready for my Hawaiian fix! I’ve only done a day trip to this island so definitely want to return.
Loved the Arizona Memorial! We only had one partial day, so we couldn’t do much. I would love to go back!
I haven’t been here in years but it looks like you hit all the top places! Great little virtual trip.
Your photos are spectacular! We usually head straight for the North Shore of Oahu but it looks like we will need to check out a few places on your list. The hike to the crater would be at the top of my list!
I’d love to go back this time with my family (I went with a couple of girlfriends on my first visit). There’s definitely plenty of things to do and visit in Oahu! I might attempt the Koko Crater Trail hike next time.
Oahu Hawaii looks like a lovely place to visit
I went when I was graduating high school, it was cool but I missed so many of these! I want to see more so I will have to go back!
Your pictures are stunning. You’re right, they definitely make me want to plan a trip to Hawaii. My kids would love to see a sea turtle while snorkeling. That would definitely make for a memorable trip.
These photos are gorgeous! I’d have to say the lighthouse was my favorite, but I want to visit all these places!
I can’t get enough of Hawaii! LOVED our Big Island adventure. We will have to make it back to Oahu.
This looks like such a great trip! Hawaii has been my dream destination for as long as I can remember. I hope to be able to go soon, but I really want to be able to explore all the islands so I’m thinking of doing a cruise.
Oh how i miss the beach! Thank you for the beautiful photos!
Love this list! Definitely agree with all of them!
I think visiting a pineapple farm would be great. I like learning how things grow.
The Dole Plantation is the most visited but I think the other off the beaten path plantations are better for learning about the crop.
Love Hawai’i so much! Been 3 years since we’ve been, too long ago. Dying for all this crazy to be over and get back to traveling
It’s been way more than 3 years for me and I miss Oahu a lot. Hopefully we can all travel again soon.
The Hawaiian islands are so magical! I have yet to get to Oahu, perhaps that’s next on our list once we can get back to traveling!
I hope you can visit Oahu soon Tara!
Why are rainbows more magical in Hawaii? Seriously though. Great tips for our next trip there. Thanks..
There are many, many rainbows in Hawaii. I think they are more magical too!
Wow! Oahu is so beautiful! I would love to see that lighthouse perched high upon those rocks! Thanks for the list!
You can hike to a spot where you can see the lighthouse a bit closer! So fun!
I wish I was there right now! So beautiful and so many great adventures.
You and me both!
Hawaii has always been a dream of mine. Thanks for sharing. The photos are beautiful!
Thanks Michele. I’m happy to help!
Oahu is so much fun. These are some really great photos too!