Oahu is host to some of Hawaii’s most popular luau, such as the Paradise Cove Luau, where guests participate in a hukilau catching fish the old Hawaiian way, the thrill to a Polynesian extravaganza and get to savor sumptuous Hawaiian and continental cuisine. Other Oahu luaus include Germaine’s Luau and the luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Oahu activities such as those at Kualoa Ranch allow you to explore the vast wilderness and valleys and see the sites of many movie sets. You have the option of chosing combo tours such as horseback riding, ATV, movie set tours or an ocean voyage. Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorial are very popular tours, while golfing in Hawaii is some of the best in the world. Not necessarily an Oahu activity, Hawaiian lei greetings are very popular and will make your visit to Hawaii even more memorable.
For centuries Hawaiians have celebrated with the luau. The best Hawaiian luau for a visitor to Hawaii is the “commercial luau”. These are designed to offer you maximum enjoyment while introducing you to the legend and music of the Polynesian islands. Many of the luaus offer fun activities such as lei-making, canoe rides, spear throwing, learning hula or playing Hawaiian games. A Hawaiian luau is an event not to be missed while vacationing in Hawaii and will provide a fun-filled evening.
The Paradise Cove Luau is the most interactive luau on Oahu, where you are treated to the traditional Hawaiian feast and an exciting Polynesian revue. You may also be invited to participate in the hukilau (pulling in the fish nets from shore), the ancient Hawaiian arts and crafts, games of skill, songs, dances and the food making.
This luau is one of the most authentic Hawaiian luaus you’ll find on Oahu. Germaine’s Luau is known for its excellent feast of traditional Hawaiian foods from the imu roasted pig to the haupia (coconut pudding). Under the stars and swaying palms, their luau show celebrates the cultural heritage of Polynesia and offers a warm aloha to you.
Polynesian Cultural Center
Hawaii’s number one attraction is the Polynesian Cultural Center and it offers a great Hawaiian luau that’s best known for its highly acclaimed Polynesian luau show. The Ali’i Luau Package is the best deal because it includes admission to all of the Polynesian Cultural Centers daytime activities, upper level seating at Horizon, the Polynesian extravaganza, and an authentic luau dinner with preferred seating at the show.
Oahu Helicopter Tours
Soar above the hidden rainforests, valleys, waterfalls and beaches via Oahu helicopter tour. While many visitors to Hawaii attend the Pearl Harbor and Arizona Memorial tours by land, a helicopter tour will allow you to gain a different perspective, as you will see the entire outline of the USS Arizona beneath its distinctive white memorial. See the sights of Diamond Head Crater, Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, the amazing Dole Plantation Maze, Waikiki Beach and the famous North Shore, all from the narrated and air conditioned comfort of a helicopter tour.
Oahu helicopter tours offer a wide variety of tours, including custom and package tours because along with spectacular natural beauty, Oahu has so many famous landmarks to see.
Some Oahu helicopter tours provide a sound track with detailed narration and background music. Supplied with high quality headphones, these helicopter tours allow for a more educational and enjoyable experience. The best Hawaii helicopter tours will provide either narration via CD or in some cases narriation from the pilot themselves. Both are a great way to learn about the sights you are seeing below.
A North Shore helicopter tour during Hawaii’s winter when the Bonzai Pipleline and other legendary surf breaks are producing monster size waves for the world championships is truly amazing. North Shore helicopter tours also reveal hidden rainforests, valleys and waterfalls.
Some of the most popular Oahu helicopter tours take you to locations seen on movies and television shows like Jurassic Park, Magnum P.I., and Gilligan’s Island, as well as to locations with historical significance such as the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and Nuuanu Valley where King Kamehameha defeated the Oahuns in 1795 to unite the Hawaiian islands.
Favorite sites among Oahu helicopter tours are Waikiki Beach with its stretch of white sand and turquoise waters, the Aloha Tower and Diamond Head, but there’s nothing that compares to the night time Oahu helicopter tours that take you over Waikiki where you’ll view the city lights on the beach, highlighting the surf and swaying palms.
Water Activities in Oahu
If you’re looking for a beach vacation with lots of ocean sports, you’ll love the many Oahu activities that include activities such kayaking, whale watching (during season), dolphin and snorkel cruises, diner cruises, submarine tours, and deep sea fishing charters. With over 100 miles of sunny coastline, Oahu’s water is a perfect place to make a splash. The clear water is filled with marine life, especially dolphins and sea turtles, which makes for great fun for most everyone.
Just off Waikiki, with Diamond Head in the background, you can fish for wahoo, mahi mahi, blue marlin, ahi or yellowfin tuna, while fishing in Oahu. Most Oahu sport fishing charters leave from the Keawalo Basin, nearby to Waikiki, making fishing in Oahu easily accessible.
Oahu deep sea fishing charters provide you with everything you need for a great day of fishing. Pricing and amenities vary slightly, but they all share something in common – the excitement of fighting a big game fish.
Oahu sport fishing may just be for you if you want to land the really big ones, like ono (wahoo), colorful mahimahi, and the granddaddy of them all – blue marlin. Book your Oahu sport fishing charter with Best beach Vacations to save money.
Oahu Horseback Riding
Oahu has many hidden treasures and horseback riding is a great way to experience them. If galloping along a beach trail at sunset or riding into Jurassic Park’s mountainous movie set sounds like the perfect horseback riding Hawaii activity for you, then you’ve come to the right island!
Whether a first time horseback rider or experienced equestrian, there’s an Oahu trail ride and a horse just right for you. While you won’t find horseback riding tours in Waikiki or Honolulu, some of the stables send drivers to pick up their guests at hotels in these areas. The horseback riding stables are found in the laid back and very beautiful country areas of the green Windward Side (east) and the famous North Shore.
Among the most popular horseback riding Hawaii tours on Oahu are trail rides along the amazing North Shore beaches where in the winter the great surfing championships are held. Horseback rides in the later part of the day often are timed so that you can enjoy one of the North Shore’s signature sunsets.
Another popular Oahu horseback riding tour takes you into Jurassic Park territory. Oahu is home to the famous Kualoa Ranch where Jurassic Park, Godzilla and Windtalkers were filmed. Oahu offers much in the way of beautiful scenery, and a horseback riding tour allows you relax and enjoy the view while your horse minds the trail.
Sea Life Park – Swim With Dolphins
Oahu’s Sea life Park has become synonymous with Swim With Dolphin Programs. This is great Hawaiian fun and entertainment for the entire family. Located just 15 miles from Waikiki, Sea Life Park Oahu is a short drive from the hustle and bustle and is nestled between the Koolau Mountain Range and the scenic Makapu’u Point. Along the way you will pass Diamond Head, Koko Head, and the world famous Hanauma Bay. Sea Life Park Oahu features many marine attractions and several interactive shows that even allow participants to swim with dolphins, sea Lions and cradle the famous Hawaiian ray.
General admission to Sea Life Park Oahu allows access to generalized areas such as the Hawaiian Ocean Theater, Sea Lion Show, Hawaiian Reefs, Pirates Lagoon, the Café and gift shops. However, the interactive shows cost extra but allow you access to get up-close and personal with the various marine life of Sea Life Park.
Fun for the entire family, Sea Life Park is the best place to swim with dolphins in Hawaii. The various swim with Dolphins programs of Sea Life Park, as well as The Sea Lion Swim, the Hawaiian Ray Encounter, and the Sea Trek Adventure are briefly explained below.
- Dolphin Royal Swim – Features two dolphins that can give handshakes, kisses on the cheek, a dorsal fin ride through the water, as well as push you through the water by your feet. This is exhilarating and the most popular Swim With dolphins program at Sea Life Park Oahu.
- Dolphin Swim Adventure – Enjoy a belly ride and kisses while learning training techniques and communication methods while on this Swim with Dolphins program.
- Dolphin Encounter – experience the high energy behaviors of the Dolphins as you observe from a waste deep platform. Dolphins play, kiss and dance with guests on this swim with dolphin program.
- Sea Lion Swim – learn hand signal communications and pet sea Lions as they swim and play around you.
- Sea Trek Adventure – wearing a special suit you will be able to descend into the Hawaiian reef tank for 30 minutes and walk through the tank feeding fish, sea turtles and Hawaiian rays. (Currently not available).
- Hawaiian Ray Encounter – great for families and children, you’ll be fitted with a life vest, snorkel and mask and swim in a special lagoon as the Hawaiian rays glide through the water around you allowing your touch.
Snorkeling in Hawaii is exciting and easy. If you have never snorkeled before it is recommended to go on a snorkeling tour where you will learn the basics, have the equipment provided for you and get to snorkel at some of the prime Hawaii snorkeling spots. These inclusive Hawaii snorkeling tours on Oahu allow you to get away from the crowds, increasing your chances of swimming with turtles and dolphins. Below are a few favorite Hawaii snorkeling spots on Oahu.
Snorkel tours abound on the West side of Oahu where the water clarity is excellent and sunny days are practically guaranteed. You can find eco friendly Hawaii snorkeling tours also led by marine biologists, such as Dolphin Excursions. In the areas of Honolulu and Waikiki there’s no reef and it’s very crowded with surfers, boats and other water sports enthusiasts, which is why we recommend a snorkel cruise to a secluded area.
Snorkeling tours on the Eastern side can encounter more wind but it is well worth it. Kailua Beach and Lanikai Beach have been voted best in the U.S. for swimming, snorkeling and a number of other water sport activities. Combination kayak and snorkeling tours let you explore the waters of the Mokulua Islands and transportation from the Waikiki area is provided.
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
One of Dr. Beach’s top picks and where Elvis and Joan Blackman took their moonlit swim in Blue Hawaii is a Hawaiian snorkeler’s paradise. This picture perfect bay with its calm, clear waters and shallow reef has more tropical fish than you are likely see anywhere else on Oahu. The reef begins just a few feet from shore, and the bay is formed inside a crater in the shape of a crescent. The best way to experience this reef is on a guided tour, where you will learn many interesting facts about the reef and about reef preservation. There’s also a Marine Education Center, concession stands and all terrain wheelchairs (rented free of charge by Honolulu county).
If you’re visiting Hawaii during high tourism season, activities can sell out fast. Make sure you plan ahead so you can enjoy your time in the water with the turtles and dolphins. If visiting other Hawaiian islands, check out the snorkeling on them as well because each island has its own unique snorkeling attractions.