Things to Do on Oahu: Outdoor Adventures

Don't forget to pack the sunscreen, because Oahu's endless summers mean outdoor activities abound all year long. From mountain vistas to tropical gardens and clear oceans, the Aloha State's third-largest island has something for adventure junkies and nature lovers.

Forty-four miles long and 30 miles wide, Oahu is sandwiched between parallel extinct volcanic cones—the Koolau range to the east and Waianae to the west—creating beautiful peaks, valleys and bays along 112 miles of sandy coastlines. A perfect backdrop for adventuring, Oahu's great outdoors offer underwater exploring, surfing, scenic hikes and breathtaking views. 

A few of our favorites include hiking up Diamond Head and taking in stunning coastal and city views, submerging underwater and swimming with tropical fish, kayaking to Mokulua Islands, touring the lush valleys at Kualoa Ranch or the verdant rainforest at Foster Botanical Garden—or even facing our biggest fears and skydiving over Haleiwa or cage diving with sharks. Whether it's land or sea (or both!) for your chosen Oahu adventure, you'll want to be sure to bring your camera!


Diamond Head State Monument

One of the most visited destinations on Oahu, offering a two-hour, 1.6 mile hike from the inside of the crater to the summit. At the summit, hikers are awarded with the most breathtaking views daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is limited parking during peak periods. To avoid crowds, opt to arrive between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Foster Botanical Garden

Exotic Plants and trees, collected over 140 years, flourish at this oasis of green near downtown Honolulu. Rare plants from Asia, an orchid garden, and a collection of rare palms both educate and delight.

BOB's Hawaii Adventure

BOB stands for Breathing Observation Bubbles. These are “underwater scooters” that offer 360-degree visibility. After a 30-minute introductory course, you’ll sail out to Maunalua Bay where you’ll spend 20 minutes underwater “scooting” around.

Hawaii Eco Adventure Tours

With its natural beauty and distinctive plants, animals and landscapes, Hawaii is the ideal place for adventure tours. This company specializes in guiding small groups to locations of natural and cultural interest: hidden waterfalls, sacred sites, Waimea Falls, and other locations on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui and Kauai.

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.

Pacific Skydiving Honolulu

Taking off from Waialua on the north shore, skydivers can reach 14,000 of altitude and soar over mountain and ocean views. It’s a breathtaking experience.

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.

Hawaii Water Sports Center

For a day of water fun, visit Hawaii Kai and rent bumber tubes, banana boats, water rockets, jetskis or powerboats. If you're looking to explore the ocean underwater, opt for scuba or snuba lessons, or stay above water, and try parasailing or wakeboarding and take your water excursion to new heights.   

Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks

Kayak, snorkel, paddle board, boogie board or kite surf at one of the best beaches in the world. Try a kayak tour to the Mokulua Islands and visit a protected bird sanctuary.

Ty Gurney Surf School

Ty Gurney is a highly respected, nationally prominent surf instructor offering private and customized lessons tailored to personal needs. You can choose one-on-one instruction or group lessons in Waikiki, or full- and half-day surf safaris to east Oahu and the North Shore.