The Best Things to Do in Oahu, Hawaii

We take trips seriously at Travefy, which is why we enlisted one of our own to travel to an island and find the best things to do there. That island is none other than Hawaii’s Oahu. When our developer, Nate, headed out on his month-long journey, he hiked through Oahu’s mesmerizing jungles, snorkeled in the crystal blue waters, and made enough memories to last a lifetime.

We picked his brain to find the best of the best from his travels. We also did the dirty work and created an itinerary you can use to re-live Nate’s adventures for yourself!

View Our Travel Itinerary for Honolulu, Hawaii

One of the most eye-opening discoveries that Nate made was how different each part of the island, neighborhoods, and beach was. “They all have their own personality and are best enjoyed in certain moods.” A suggestion he has for all travelers of Oahu: “Get out of Waikiki. It’s fun, but there’s more to see. Take the bus to a hike, different beach, or other side of the island. Do a little research to see what might be fun for you and just go. Also, if you’re interested, learn a bit about the story of Hawaii. They have a very unique and interesting (sometimes sad) story about how they got here today and have some cool aspects in their culture because of it. Knowing about that helps you appreciate those things.”

Without further ado, here are the best places that Nate recommends for those looking for adventure, serenity, and fun on the island of Oahu.

Best Beaches

Cockroach Cove

If you’re looking for big waves, jumping off rocks and exploring around the beach, this is your place.

Nate’s tip: “Be careful getting down there and I wouldn’t suggest going in the tunnel, it’s pretty gross.”

Lanikai Beach

Lanikai means “heavenly sea”, so it’s no surprise that this beach is a serene portrait come to life. Lanikai beach draws lots of kayakers and paddle boarders.

Nate’s tip: “It’s tough to park, but worth it. Bring snorkel gear!”

Waimea Bay

This is a surf spot legend. Keep that in mind when veering off into the ocean, if the waves are too choppy, come back in.

Nate’s tip: “If you’re brave, jump off the rock!”

Alan Davis

If you want to go cliff jumping in Honolulu, Alan Davis is the perfect starter. There’s even a plank to jump off of (Argh)!

Nate’s tip: “It’s a bit of a walk to the actual beach, but worth it.”

Best Food and Drink

Food Trucks in Haleiwa

While some of the trucks might look far from perfect, the food inside is close to perfection. From seafood delicacies to spicy food of all sorts. There’s something for everyone here.

Nate’s tip: “Try the pineapple coconut shrimp!”

Honolulu Beerworks 

This converted old warehouse holds some of the island’s finest brews. Beer is not the only thing this place succeeds at beer though, the food will also. Try the beer mac and cheese!

North Shore Goodies

Stock up on North Shore Goodies to take back home and watch your family marvel at the tastes of Hawaii.

Nate’s tip: “The coconut peanut butter is amazing!”

Shore Bird Restaurant and Beach Bar

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. It’s been said that this place offers the best breakfast buffet in town when it comes to price. The breakfast buffet usually runs around $15.

Nate’s tip: “The beachside table is worth the wait.”

Teddy’s Burgers

Craving a giant and cheap burger and fries? This is your one-stop shop. One of the locations is right across the Honolulu Zoo too, so stop over and get a bite after you make friends with the local zoo animals.

Arnold’s Beach Bar

When sifting through reviews of this bar, you’ll commonly read “best bloody mary’s,” “cute tiki bar,” and “cheap drinks!” – Nothing beats this hangout! Stop by and grab a quick cocktail or enjoy a late night on the island.

Nate’s tip: “$5 Mai Tai all day!”

Best Hikes and Adventure

Lanikai Pillboxes Hike

This hike can be slippery but it’s still a great beginner hike. Go early during sunrise so you can get good street parking and not hike during the hottest times of the day.

Nate’s tip: “The beginning is tough since there’s nothing to hold on to. You’ll get pretty dirty.”

King Kamehameha IV Summer Palace Ruins

This is an incredible piece of Hawaiian history tucked away. It’s also known as The Kaniakapupu Ruins but is often refered to as King Kamehameha because this was once his summer home.

Nate’s tip: “It’s easy to get lost in the bamboo, but getting lost isn’t such a bad thing.”

Pali Noches

Gain some serious elevation and amazing views during this hike.

Nate’s tip: “Super fun, but a pretty difficult and dirty hike.”

Koko Head Crater Trail

This trail is definitely one for the advanced or for those looking to take on a serious workout. On a clear day, you can even see three of the islands at the top!

Nate’s tip: “An intense workout, but the view is worth it.”

As you can see, the adventures in Oahu are endless. What are some places you recommend stopping by while on the beautiful island?