Oahu is one of those places where it’s pretty much impossible to not find something that you love doing. Described by many as the most varied of all the Hawaiian Islands, there’s no shortage of choice in Oahu tours when it comes to being entertained – no matter what you’re into. From passionate city-lovers to adventurous adrenaline seekers and everyone in between, Oahu has something for all tastes.
For more of our top Oahu tours and activities, check out these popular articles:
Owing to the fact it’s the most densely populated and most developed island, many people opt for Oahu when planning their first time visit to Hawaii.
Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital city on the island of Oahu, with its easily-navigable public transport system, world class dining and huge range of accommodation, is an attractive place for those looking to enjoy the comforts of a metropolitan hub whilst being a stone’s throw away from beautiful untouched beaches and spectacular mountainous jungles.
The North Shore beaches of Oahu encompasses the coastal area between Ka’ena Point and Kahuku Point. The laid-back North Shore is known for its world-class waves and professional surfing competitions at Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach.
Oahu is also the location of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. One of several sites that make up the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, the USS Arizona Memorial marks a National Historic Landmark and final resting place of over 1,000 sailors and marines that died during the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII.
Whether it’s the Kualoa Ranch tours, the Dole Pineapple Plantation, Waikiki Beach, Hanauma Bay tours, Iolani Palace, or any of the dozens of hidden gems found around the island, there’s a vast range of Oahu tours to choose from and if you’re a first-timer with a limited number of days on your hands – it can be a tricky task to decide what to see and do!
That’s why we’ve pulled together some of the best options for tours in Oahu that’ll have everyone from hikers to fine diners coming back for more.
Here’s a brief overview of how the Oahu tours, activities, and sightseeing excursions compare to each other:
The Top Oahu Tours Every Vacationer Must Try
Swimming with dolphins has always been one of the quintessential Oahu tours activities and there’s nowhere in the world quite like Oahu, Hawaii when it comes to swimming with dolphins. That priceless Hawaii moment of a gorgeous ocean sunset or a surfer catching a wave usually features a dolphin somewhere – and now you have the chance to swim with them!
If you’ve ever dreamt of encountering these mysterious animals then there’s no better place to do it than Oahu – with the Premium Dolphin Swim Tour, you’ll get a fully inclusive tour that offers transport to and from hotels, meals on-board your boat and a variety of entertainment during your excursion, such as kayaking.
What’s more, you’re just as likely to encounter giant sea turtles and all manner of tropical fish only found in Hawaii! If you want to experience the majesty and magic of snorkeling and swimming with dolphins, you can book this tour here. Or, compare this tour to our other swim with dolphins Oahu tours, and see which one you like best.
a bigger boat with a fantastic crew
organized pick-up and drop-off
interacting with wild dolphins
swimming with Hawaiian green sea turtle
free food and beverage
slight chance of not seeing dolphins
higher possibility of motion sickness
“Oahu is a remarkable island with so much to see and do. No matter what you’re looking to do, Oahu has it all!”
If you’re keen to further explore Hawaii’s warm waters and meet another of the island’s magical sea creatures then the Turtle Eco Adventure may be the Oahu tour for you. Not only do you get the chance to get up close and personal with these friendly giants, but you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful island locations Oahu has to offer.
Perfect for seeing the highlights over the course of a day, you can take it all in or decide which slice of paradise was your favorite and come back for more. The unique combination of close encounters with the turtles, sampling delicious seafood and learning about Hawaiian history and culture has made it a favorite amongst animal lovers and history buffs alike. If you’d like to find out more and book this awesome adventure, go here.
Diamond Head Lookout, a volcanic tuff cone and National Natural Landmark, is one of the defining features of this part of the island.
Multiple stops including Diamond Head Lookout, Halona Blowhole, Macadamia Nut Farm, Dole Plantation and several popular beaches
Lunch stop at Turtle Town
Stop at Turtle Beach with snorkeling
Snorkeling equipment provided
Complimentary transportation from select Waikiki beach hotels
20 passenger vehicles with air conditioning
Spend a lot of time in a vehicle
Feeling adventurous? Rated as one of the best Oahu helicopter tours, there’s nothing quite like the rush of the wind in your hair as you’re gliding over endless lush tropical jungle, soaring past waterfalls and descending into mountainous valleys with the Magnum PI Doors-Off Helicopter Tour.
Helicopter tours on Oahu are wildly popular among photographers, thrill seekers and families alike and the Magnum PI Tour is a 50 minute thrill-ride with an emphasis on the “thrill”. Flying in the very same helicopter seen in the Magnum PI show, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of some of the island’s most breathtaking landmarks including Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay and the famed Jurassic Park Valley.
If you’re a keen photographer then get your camera ready because the doors-off tour means your shots will be unobstructed by the plexiglass found on the doors of other helicopters. To find out more and to book your seat on the Magnum PI Doors-Off Helicopter Tour, click here.
50 minute flight time
Views of Oahu skyline, downtown Honolulu, Ko’olau mountain, Waikiki beach, and Magic Island
Doors off flight
Option for first class seating
Spacious cabin and open air cockpit for maximum visibility
Bose noise-canceling headphones
Great photo options
Up to either four or six passengers
Children must be at least 12 years of age
Maximum weight for passengers is between 250 – 300 lbs.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Oahu without an Oahu luau. One of the most popular forms of entertainment across all the islands, Oahu is no stranger to the unforgettable blend of Polynesian culture, food and performance that is celebrated so fondly in Hawaii.
Produced by the original world champion fire-knife dancer himself, Chief Sielu Avea’s luau is famous for being the highest rated luau in all of Oahu and for good reason. Circled by cliffs at the water’s edge and away from the lights of the city, Chief’s Luau will transport you to an old Hawaii, surrounded by nature and magic.
With a mouth-watering buffet available, including the succulent roast pig, food lovers will not be disappointed. Accompanied by world-class performances directly descended from various Polynesian cultures, this is a luau for the history books. For more information on reservation options and to book your spot, head on over here.
4 hour experience from start to finish
Luau with audience participation
Located next to Wet N Wild Waterpark
Chief Sielu Avea
Buffet Style dinner
Accommodations for allergies and/or vegetarian preference provided
Activities including hula lessons, headband weaving, fire making, tattooing and spear throwing
Roundtrip transportation from Waikiki
Costly compared to other luau’s
Transportation costs an additional fee
Something that keeps bringing people back to Hawaii is the humbling beauty of its traditional culture and practices. Oahu is known for having some of the richest cultural experiences of all the islands and the best way to enjoy these is without a doubt the Polynesian Cultural Center, a cultural theme park and living museum on the north shore of Oahu.
Boasting a stunning array of activities for unbeatable prices, the Polynesian Cultural Center tours offer you an immersive, full day cultural experience in 6 different island villages around the north shore where locals welcome you and craft arts before your eyes. For the history lovers among you, there are also sightseeing tours of some of the most popular historical and cultural sites around the north shore like the Pali Lookout and the Dole pineapple plantation.
Opening as Hawaii’s “Pineapple Experience” in 1959, the Dole Pineapple Plantation has become a popular tourist attraction for families who are able to enjoy a scenic train ride throughout the historic plantation as well as visit the world’s largest maze.
If this weren’t enough, your day will be topped off by the famous Alii Luau and the unforgettable “Ha: Breath of Life” Show. To see the different package options and to book your Polynesian Cultural Center visit, check it out here.
Immersive Cultural Experience in 6 island villages (Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Tahiti, Aotearoa, and Tonga)
“Go Native” hands-on activities
Pageant of the Long Canoes
“Hawaiian Journey” cinematic experience
Tram tour of BYU-Hawaii campus and Laie Temple Visitors Center & Gardens
Island Buffet dining
Reserved seating at “Ha: Breath of Life”
Free 3-day pass to our island villages
Activities including spear throwing, fire making, and canoe paddling, just to name a few
Experience “Ha Breath of Life” show
4 packages to choose from
Transportation available from select Waikiki hotels
Transportation costs an additional fee
If world-class entertainment and food wasn’t enough on the beautiful beaches of Oahu, then why not take to the waters with the Star Sunset Dinner & Show. A remarkable Oahu dinner cruise all around, The Star of Honolulu is the largest, award-winning passenger tour vessel in Hawaiian waters.
The stunning cruiser has 6 dining rooms, private lounges, bars and a 60ft high observation deck for you to enjoy the spectacular Hawaiian sunset from. As a passenger, you’ll be treated to a welcome hula on the pier, followed by an all-you-can-eat crab and tenderloin beef dinner accompanied by a powerful performance from the largest entertainment cast on island waters.
These types of cruises are truly experiences like no other, enjoyed by families and friends alike who keep coming back for the sheer quality of the service and entertainment. To discover the full range of offers when it comes to this cruise, as well as read reviews, head over to this link.
2 hour cruise along Diamond Head to view the beautiful Kahala Gold Coast
1,500 passenger vessel
4 spacious decks for viewing
60’ high observation deck
All you can eat crab and tenderloin of beef dinner
Transportation available from select Waikiki hotels or Kahala area
Transportation is an additional cost
Kualoa is a private nature preserve and cattle ranch. One of the most beautiful places in the Hawaiian islands, this sacred valley is popular tourist attraction and filming location.
One for the adrenaline junkies and nature lovers, the Jurassic Valley Zipline Tour in Kualoa Ranch is one of many tours that combine the breathtaking mountain and jungle landscapes found in Oahu with the excitement of speeding over them at thrilling heights! It is truly a great adventure for the whole family.
Known famously for being the location where much of the Jurassic Park movie was shot, prepare to be flung (perfectly safely!) through lush, seemingly prehistoric jungle as well as learn about the Hawaiian traditions of neighboring Ka’a’awa Valley and its native flora and fauna. This is one of many zipline Oahu tours on the island, but our choice as the best. To get your adventure on, you can schedule your tour here.
3 hour tour
7 exciting tandem sections
2 suspension bridges
3 mini-hiking nature trail
Ziplines range from 200 feet to a quarter of a mile in length
FREE lockers available
Photos taken throughout experience through photo system
Photos can be purchased at the end of the tour for an additional fee
Must weigh between 70 and 280 pounds
Tours sell out quickly
Probably the most in-depth tour to be found on Oahu when it comes to the rich history of not only this island, but many of the others, the Hawaiian History and Culture Tour takes place within Honolulu city itself.
This makes it absolutely perfect for history lovers who will be treated to detailed accounts of how the islands came to be and how their people came to exist. One of the most tempting attractions of the circle island tour is that it can be customized to preference, including stops at The Honolulu Museum of Art or the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History depending on your interest.
One of the most highly recommended of all Oahu tours, this guided tour really does give you an incomparable insight into Hawaii’s history all within a single day. If you’d like to get a look into Hawaii’s culture, you can book this tour here.
6 hour tour
Free transportation from Waikiki hotels and Honolulu area
Tour is customizable
Ability to visit two museums and two palaces
Tour of the city of Honolulu
Enriching hawaiian culture and education about the islands
Accommodates small groups
Minimum of two and maximum of seven guests per vehicle
Photos can be purchased at the end of the tour for an additional fee
Must bring cash to pay for museum and palace entrance fees
Minimum of two for tour to occur
Find the Perfect Oahu Tour For You
We’ve been awed time and time again at the amount of culture, adventure and indulgence there is to experience on Oahu, with all Oahu tours more often than not being of an exceptional quality. It’s little wonder people visit this part of the Hawaiian islands time and time again to experience an adventure of a lifetime.
There are many more tours, activities, and scenic excursions that make Oahu such a popular destination. Hanauma Bay is a gorgeous marine embayment on the southeast coast of Oahu in the Hawaii Kai neighborhood of Honolulu. A world famous Oahu vacation locale, Hanauma also features the Hanauma Bay Beach Park and Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.
Iolani Palace, part of the Hawaii Capital Historic District in Honolulu, is a grand example of Hawaiian renaissance architecture and ancestral residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii.
The tours above are merely a hand-picked selection of the different activities you can experience on the island of Oahu with many more places to visit. Check out our other Oahu pages to discover other perfect tours, activities, and sights. Find out why so many people can’t stay away from Hawaii’s most popular island.