A few weeks back, we highlighted some of the best activities the Hawaiian island of Maui has to offer. This week let’s take a look at some of the best things to do on the "Heart of Hawai’i," the island of Oahu. Most people know Oahu for being home to Honolulu, the popular Waikiki Beach, and Pearl Harbor.
However, there is so much more that Oahu has to offer on all of its shores. Since Oahu hosts the largest city and beach in Hawai’i, there is a lot going on. It is the perfect island for someone wanting to experience the laid-back beach and surfing culture of Hawai’i while also wanting a city-feel that the other islands do not have.
While Hawai’i is still requiring a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours before departure to the islands, travelers are not required to receive an additional test to return to the continental United States. This makes Oahu and the rest of the Hawai’ian Islands a flexible and accessible destination for all travelers coming from the mainland. in the coming months and through Summer 2021.
Top 5 Oahu Activities
1.Honolulu and Waikiki Beach
We can start with the obvious attractions on Oahu – Waikiki and Honolulu. Waikiki Beach (above) is the main resort area of Honolulu and home to the very first hotel in Hawai’i. It's a great place to take a surf lesson or watch the windsurfers just off the coast. Since it is right in the heart of Honolulu, you can expect a good amount of people, but access to everything the city has to offer. Honolulu is the capital of Hawai’i and is home to many popular attractions such as Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona, as well as Diamond Head State Park which has great opportunities for hikers and provides beautiful views of the city and beach.
2. Exploring the North Shore
When talking about the island of Oahu, the North Shore cannot be overlooked. The North Shore is home to some of the biggest surfing competitions in the state during the winter months held in the popular Waimea Bay. However, there is something for everyone and every time of year. The North Shore is booming with small towns full of character and offer some incredible food trucks (above) that highlight all the different culinary cultures within Hawaii. Stop in the artsy town of Haleiwa to experience music, art, and the laidback vibe the North Shore is so well known for. The best way to experience the North Shore is by car, so definitely consider renting a car for all or some of your stay on the island.
3. Polynesian Cultural Center (above)
The Polynesian Cultural Center is considered to be Hawai’i’s number one attraction. It is located on the North Shore and is 42 acres of cultural immersion. It highlights the unique cultures of Hawai’i, Fiji, New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, and Tahiti all separated into their own village. Each village provides interactive experiences to learn about the culture, and then it is all brought together at their Canoe Pageant where each island displays their dancing and native clothing on their own boat in a parade-like showcase. The center is run by Brigham-Young University, and they also offer an option to attend their luau during the evening of your visit.
4. Take to the Air
A trip to Hawai’i would not be complete without seeing the amazing views of not only the mountains and beaches, but also the city scape of Honolulu from the air. The great thing about Oahu is that your options to catch these views are plenty. Helicopter tours and parasailing (above) are a couple of family-friendly options. For those who are a bit more daring, skydiving and paragliding adventures are also offered. Seeing Oahu from the air gives you a different perspective and shows you that the island is more than beautiful beaches and city lights.
5. Ecotourism and Farm Tours
Hanging out on the beach all day is relaxing, but if you want to fully appreciate Oahu’s land, a true farm-to-table experience is a great option. Oahu has so many farms and gardens that are open for tours that walk you through the grounds and explain the process of planting, harvesting, and ending up on the table. Kahuku Farms (above) is a beautiful farm that gives guided tours of their crops and gardens and provides some tastings of what they grow. While many people visit Hawai’i for the beaches and beautiful weather, ecotourism is a huge part of what makes the islands so special and keeps strong ties to their roots.
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