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First-Timer's Guide to Oahu

First-Timer's Guide to Oahu

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—then go beyond.

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, surfing, swimming, and more. Once you’ve gotten your fill, take in the rest of Oahu by venturing to points further afield. Full-daycircle island tourscircumnavigate the island and are an excellent way to take in highlights such as Honolulu’sChinatown,Kaneohe Bay, the surfing mecca ofthe North Shore, theHanauma Baysnorkeling hot spot, the Dole Plantation, hidden waterfalls, and scenic overlooks along theKoolau Mountain Range.

See cultural sites, museums, monuments, and more.

Head out on a guidedPearl Harbor tourto learn about Hawaii’s World War II involvement, and check out sites like the authoritativeBishop Museumand theme park-esquePolynesian Cultural Centerwith its authentic North Shore luau. In Honolulu proper, landmarks likeIolani Palaceand theMission House Museumdelve into Oahu-centric history and Hawaiian culture. Once you’ve hit the top spots, follow your interests—you can hike, bike, Segway, and fly around some of the island’s most notable sites during fun food tours, art tours, and photography tours.

Get outside and into the water.

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 dedicatedbeach tour. And to get out on the water, choose fromsnorkeling,fishing,whale-watching, andsailingtours, or try your hand atsurfing,kayaking, orstand-up paddleboardingwith a lesson on the beach.

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9 Tours and Activities | All Oahu Tours

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USS Missouri, USS Arizona Memorial, and Pearl Harbor Tour from Waikiki

USS Missouri, USS Arizona Memorial, and Pearl Harbor Tour from Waikiki

star-4.5
Explore the sites of Pearl Harbor in Honolulu on this tour from Waikiki. You'll receive skip-the-line access for a guided tour of the USS Missouri and visit the USS Arizona Memorial and the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to learn about the Japanese attacks in 1941. Plus, enjoy a sightseeing tour of Honolulu to see attractions such as the King Kamehameha Statue and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl Cemetery).
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  • 7 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$107.70
From
$107.70
Taking safety measures

Ultimate Circle Island Adventure with Waimea Waterfall

Ultimate Circle Island Adventure with Waimea Waterfall

star-5
Take the ultimate Circle Island adventure on this guided, full-day, small-group tour from Honolulu. Stop at Diamond Head, the world-famous icon of Hawaii; beautiful Hanauma Bay, a pristine marine ecosystem; Halona Cove Beach, famous for its appearance in the 1953 movie ‘From Here to Eternity’ and much more. Also, check out one of the most beautiful panoramic views in the world, the breathtaking Pali Lookout and the historic Waimea Valley, featuring a botanical garden and waterfall. Lunch and a Honolulu hotel pickup and drop-off are included.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$129.84
From
$129.84

Oahu Shark Dive

Oahu Shark Dive

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Set out from Oahu’s scenic North Shore to the depths of the big blue Pacific, where you have the chance to observe wild sharks from inside an underwater shark cage. Thanks to your professional, experienced crew, the Oahu shark dive is completely safe as they know the predators’ behavior, and the underwater cage provides proven safety against all different species of sharks. Whether you’re in the cage with sharks right in front of you or watching from up in the boat, Oahu shark diving is a Hawaii activity you’ll definitely never forget.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$109.26
From
$109.26

Oahu Grand Circle Island Day Tour

Oahu Grand Circle Island Day Tour

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Circle the entire island of Oahu by coach, enjoying ocean views, rugged mountains, and fascinating history during this full-day tour. Check out Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Nu’uanu Pali, the Halona Blowhole and Oahu’s beautiful North Shore. Then soak up Hawaiian history and culture with a stop at the Dole Plantation (where you sample some fresh pineapple) and the serene, Japanese-style Byodo-In Temple. This Oahu circle island tour also includes entrance fees at the temple and round-trip hotel transport.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$117.73
From
$117.73
Taking safety measures

Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu

Waianae Coast Snorkel Cruise with Dolphin and Seasonal Whale Watching from Oahu

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Snorkel and swim with spinner dolphins off the west shore of Oahu during this full-day excursion. Sail up the Waianae Coast, then hop in the water to commune with green sea turtles, schools of tropical fish and dolphins. From January to March, you may get an up-close look at the migrating humpback whales. All necessary snorkel gear, lunch after the cruise and round-trip hotel transportation from Waikiki hotels are provided.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$150.80
From
$150.80
Taking safety measures

Diamond Head Crater Hiking Adventure

Diamond Head Crater Hiking Adventure

star-4.5
Diamond Head is one of the best-known hiking sites in Hawaii. On this guided tour you will not only summit the famed crater, you'll also learn about its volcanic creation and Hawaiian history as you walk. At the top you will be rewarded with a panorama of Waikiki and the turquoise waters stretched out below, and receive an ‘I Climbed Diamond Head’ certificate.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$41.88
From
$41.88

Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Half-Day Tour with Equipment

Hanauma Bay Snorkeling Half-Day Tour with Equipment

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Spot schools of bright fish and other marine life on a half-day snorkeling adventure at Oahu’s Hanauma Bay. All snorkel gear is provided with your rental, along with the choice of morning departure times and hotel pickup and drop-off. Bring little ones to the inner reef to safely explore the colorful underwater world. For more advanced Hanauma Bay snorkeling, head to the outer reef.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$26.00
From
$26.00
Taking safety measures

Open-Door Helicopter Tour over Oahu

Open-Door Helicopter Tour over Oahu

star-5
Fly aboard an open-door helicopter over Oahu for unobstructed views of the island on this tour. Feel the high-flying wind in your hair and, with your camera out and ready to snap stunning photos, listen as your pilot narrates your flight over sights like Pearl Harbor, Honolulu Harbor, Hanauma Bay and the Halona Blowhole. This excursion includes a DVD of the flight and round-trip transportation from selected hotels.
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  • 50 minutes
From
$269.00
From
$269.00

Surf HNL: Ala Moana Surf Lessons with Round-trip Transport

Surf HNL: Ala Moana Surf Lessons with Round-trip Transport

star-5
There are few things more iconic to the Oahu experience than catching and riding a wave, and with this surfing lesson at Ala Moana Beach, you can learn to 'hang 10' with a professional instructor while paddling out in the sun. This beach is just minutes from Waikiki, and options range from private lessons to those in a very small group, with lessons available in morning or midday — whatever works best with your schedule.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$109.00
From
$109.00
Taking safety measures