Oahu Hawaii Travel Guide

Oahu Hawaii Travel Guide

My Oahu Hawaii Travel Guide.

Oahu Hawaii is a tropical island paradise only a short 5-hour flight from California. Oahu is the perfect island getaway for a relaxing vacation, family fun trip, adventurous paradise, romantic honeymoon, or wedding. Basically it has it all, including some of the most famous sites in all of the Hawaiian Islands!

In order to help you plan your trip to Oahu Hawaii, I have put together the best places to stay and eat, the top hikes, beaches and sites to see while on the island in my Oahu Hawaii Travel Guide. Let’s go to Hawaii!

When to Visit

With warm temperatures, year-round any time of the year is a great time to visit Hawaii. Summer months, May-Aug will be the hottest and the most crowded time to visit.

Pacific Typhoon season runs from Jun to Nov but tropical cyclones can happen offseason as well.

Oahu Hawaii Travel Guide

Things To Do on Oahu

  • Pearl Harbor
    • Tickets available at the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites ticketing counters, located in the courtyard of the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Open daily from 7:00am to 4:00pm. 
    • Admission to Arizona Memorial is free. The entire program lasts an hour and 15 minutes and includes a 23-minute documentary on the history of Pearl Harbor and a short boat ride to and from the memorial.
    • Bags are not allowed, they do offer bag storage for $5 per bag. 
    • Over 1300 free tickets to the USS Arizona Memorial are available on a first-come-first-serve base so arrive early. 
      • All information from the pearlharborhistoricsites.org.
  • Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens 
    • Open daily from 9am- 4pm.
    • Address: 45-680 Luluku Rd. Kane’ohe Hawaii 96744
  • Visit the Dole Plantation 
    • The address: 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy. Wahiawa, Hawaii 96786
  • Hanauma Bay
    • A stunning Nature Preserve with beach and snorkeling.
    • Arrive early as it gets very busy.
    • Park opens from 6 am to 6 pm, closed every Tuesday. 
    • Plan to spend a few hours to a half-day here at least. 
    • You can rent snorkel gear for $20.
  • Valley of the Temples Memorial Park
  • Kualoa Ranch
    • A Nature preserve, ranch and famous film shooting location(Jurassic Park, Kong: Skull Island and more).  
    • You can take many different tours including a movie set tour, ATV tour, jungle tour, horseback riding and more. Be sure to reserve your spot in advance because some of the tours do sell out.
    • Website
  • Surf or learn to surf
    • Waikiki is a great spot for lessons as well as most beaches.
  • Attend a Luau
    • Many great ones. Your hotel may have one in-house also.
  • Go for a traditional outrigger canoe ride
  • Explore the North Shore
    • Watch surfers ride the big waves(largest in the winter months).
    • Towns to explore: Haleiwa, Kahuku.
    • Eat the famous shaved ice at Matsumoto’s.   
    • Look for sea turtles on Laniakea Beach. 
    • Watch the sunset on Sunset Beach.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Top Hikes on Oahu Hawaii

  • Diamond Head
    • Most famous hike, does get busy.
    • 1.8 miles, 452 ft of elevation
  • Koko Crater
    • 1.9 miles, 990 ft elevation
  • Makapuu Light House
    • 2.5 miles, 500 ft of elevation
  • Lanikai Pillbox Hike- Kaiwa Ridge Trail 
    • 1.8 miles, 650 ft of elevation
  • Waimea Valley Trail(falls)
    • 1.9 miles, 216 ft of elevation
  • Kuliouou Ridge Trail
    • 4 miles, 1624 ft of elevation
  • Maunawili Falls Trail
    • 2.4 miles, 1007 ft of elevation
  • Many many more hikes on Oahu. All trail information taken from Alltrail.com
Oahu Hawaii
View from Diamond Head

Best Beaches on Oahu Hawaii

  • Waikiki
    • Beautiful but crowded.
  • My favourite: Waimanalo Beach
    • Very long and not busy.
  • Lanikai Beach
    • Will also get very busy.
  • Sunset Beach
    • Great for sunsets.
  • Kahana Bay Beach
    • Beautiful Bay, hidden, not crowded. 
  • Kualoa Beach
  • Laniakea and Haleiwa Beaches- Sea Turtles

Best Hotels on Oahu Hawaii

You can opt to stay in Honolulu which is by Waikiki and you will be close to restaurants and bars. Or you can opt to stay out of the big city where things will be a little quieter. Below are my top hotel picks for both options.

In Honolulu

  • Halekulani
    • My clients receive(2020):
      • An Upgrade at the time of booking, subject to availability and are valid in select categories only.
      • Daily breakfast for two guests per bedroom. Full Buffet at House Without A Key (Daily) or Choice of any Complete Breakfast Selection at Orchids (Mon-Sat).
      • $100-$200 Hotel Credit- depending on room category.
      • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability.
      • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • The Royal Hawaiian 
    • My clients receive(2020): 
      • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability.
      • Full breakfast daily for two guests per bedroom at Surf Lanai restaurant.
      • A $100- $200 USD Resort Credit to be utilized during stay- depends on room category.
      • Daily resort charge waived at time of check-out, benefits included. 
      • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability.
      • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Hilton Hawaii Village Waikiki Beach Resort 

Outside Honolulu

  • Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
    • My clients receive(2020):
      • An Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability.
      • Continental breakfast daily for two per bedroom served in restaurant.
      • A $100 USD Spa Service credit to be utilized during stay.
      • Welcome Amenity.
      • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • The Kahala Hotel and Resort
    • Website
    • My clients receive(2020): 
      • Upgrade to next room category upon check-in, subject to availability.
      • Daily continental breakfast at Plumeria Beach House, for two guests per bedroom.
      • $100 USD Food & Beverage credit, once per stay, valid at our signature restaurant Hoku’s. 
      • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability.
      • Welcome amenity.
      • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Turtle Bay Resort
  • Aulani, A Disney Resort and Spa
Oahu Hawaii

Best Restaurants

  • The Pig and the Lady
  • Helena’s Hawaiian
  • Senia
  • Sushi Sho
  • Koko Head Café
  • Beet Box Café
  • Ethel’s Grill
  • Kyung’s Seafood
  • MW Restaurant
  • Alan Wong’s Honolulu
  • Ahi Assassins
  • Fete Hawaii

Best Bars and Breweries

  • Bar Leather apron
  • Beer Lab HI
  • Kona Brewery 
  • Lanikai Brewing Company
  • Waikiki Brewing Company
  • Aloha Beer Company 

I hope you enjoyed my Oahu Hawaii Travel Guide!

Need more help planning your trip? As a professional Travel Advisor, it’s my job to design you the perfect Hawaiian escape. Visit my travel planning page or planning process page to learn more. 

Krista Suletic
Krista Suletic

Full-service, luxury Travel Advisor/Agent. Travel Blogger. Married, dog mom, plant-based. Based in San Jose California but often traveling the world.

Find me on: Instagram

Leave a Reply