Explore Oahu

Off-the-Beaten Path Things to Do on Oahu

With a record of 8.2 million visitors coming to the Hawaiian Islands in 2014 and an average of 200,000 tourists on any island on any given day, Oahu's hotspots easily pack with crowds. After you've checked off the Top Things to Do in Oahu, take in the path less traveled and discover new things to love about the island.

Escape Waikiki and travel to Kailua, where less-crowded beaches and restaurants await. Spend some time swimming or snorkeling at Lanikai Beach in Kailua or rent a kayak and paddle with friends to the Mokulua Islands.

After a day at the beach, opt for shave ice at Local Motion or build-you-own ice cream sandwiches at ChadLou's Coffee Lounge. Or, take a scenic drive to the North Shore and wade in the tide at Waimea Beach, then stop for tacos at Luibueno's or Thai food at Opal Thai. There's nearly an endless amount of options to entertain when visiting the island, so plan your itinerary wisely. Venture away from the crowds or Waikiki, and explore local heritage, take in some adventurous activities or sprawl on less-crowded beaches. 


Named a “culinary mecca” by Fodor’s Travel Guides for its wonderful selection of restaurants, Kaimuki is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods on the island.

Kualoa Ranch

The stunning, 4,000-acre working cattle ranch is a windward Oahu signature, a landscape of valleys, dense rainforest, sheer cliffs and white-sand beaches. With its backdrop of the Ko‘olau Mountains, it’s popular among filmmakers, with “Jurassic Park” and “Lost” among its location credits.

The Surf Bus

Choose from several different activities to jump-start your vacation. It all starts with a beach cruise to Pipeline, Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay. Next you’ll get dropped off for your 2 1/2 hour tour.

Hawaii Shark Encounters

Guests are taken three miles off shore to where Galapagos, Sandbar and Tiger sharks can be observed from a floating cage equipped with large plexiglass windows. Scuba experience is not necessary, as guests will stay on the ocean surface and use a mask and snorkel.

Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens

Endangered and rare plants, divided according to geographic regions, are pampered in this 400-acre botanic garden in the folds of the Ko‘olau Mountains. Visitors meander through a network of trails leading to a 32-acre lake. Free guided tours Saturday 10 a.m. and Sunday 1 p.m.

Sunset Beach

With a long stretch of white sand running two miles long and about 200-feet wide, this beach is great for lounging, snorkeling or watching big wave surfers tackle some of the island's best waves, depending on the time of year. With its crystal-clear waters, this North Shore beach is great for swimming and snorkeling during ca

Kaena Point

Located at the westernmost tip of the island, Ka‘ena Point is a relatively remote wild coastline that boasts a large sandy beach at Keawa‘ula Bay. Stroll along the 2.7-mile (one way) volcanic coast and discover tide pools, small natural stone arches and picturesque views of the Makua coastline.

Hawaii's Plantation Village

Step back in time when sugar was king in the Islands at this outdoor museum showcasing the experience of Hawaii’s migrant plantation workers.

Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha

Enjoy all-natural, homemade shave ice and local sweets at this family-owned and operated Hawaiian treat shop. Customize your shave ice with flavors such at milk chocolate and coconut topped with fresh strawberries, homemade mochi and granola.