The 7 Best Oahu Snorkeling Tours 🤿 [2020 Reviews]

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Oahu is an island blessed with natural beauty, from the sublime heights of Diamond Head down to the turquoise waters where dolphins frolic and giant turtles swim.

But you cannot explore all of Oahu’s stunning scenery unless you dive below the waves and snorkel along its coral reefs. The best way to enjoy this hidden treasure is on an Oahu snorkeling tour.

Not all Oahu snorkel tours are the same. Some are combined with relaxing cruises. Others feature delicious food and tasty drinks.

I’ve selected 7 of the top-rated snorkel tours in Oahu to review. All of these offer extra features that I think you’ll love. You only need to decide which one is best for you.

Best Snorkeling Tours In Oahu

 Oahu: Hanauma Bay Guided Snorkel TourOahu: Morning Snorkel Sail along Waikiki BeachOahu: 3-Hour Dolphin Watching & Snorkel Excursion in Waianae
editors choice
Oahu: Hanauma Bay Guided Snorkel TourOahu: Morning Snorkel Sail along Waikiki BeachOahu: 3-Hour Dolphin Watching & Snorkel Excursion in Waianae
Departure Point:Hanauma Bay Gift ShopPick up from your hotel in WaikīkīPick up from your hotel in Waikīkī
Departure Times:7:30 AM, 10:15 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM8:00 AM7:30 AM – 11:00 AM (times can vary)
Duration:1½ hours2 hours3 hours
Includes:Expert instructors, small groups, snorkeling equipment hire, and flotation devicesExpert guides, boat cruise, snacks, soft drinks, and snorkeling equipmentTransport from Waikiki, expert guides, cruise, snorkeling equipment, and lunch

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Oahu Snorkeling Tours For 2020

  1. Hanauma Bay Guided Snorkel Tour
  2. Morning Snorkel Sail along Waikiki Beach
  3. Oahu 3-Hour Dolphin Watching & Snorkel Excursion in Waianae
  4. Oahu Snorkel & Sailing Adventure along Ko Olina Coast
  5.  Eco-Friendly West Oahu Snorkel Sail with Dolphins
  6. Kane’ohe Bay Guided Kayak and Snorkel Adventure
  7. Hidden Gems of Oahu Tour with North Shore Turtle Snorkeling

Our reviews to the top rated oahu snorkeling tours with our travel guide which will help you choose the right oahu snorkeling tour for you.

#1. Oahu: Hanauma Bay Guided Snorkel Tour

Oahu: Hanauma Bay Guided Snorkel Tour

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

This is a fantastic introduction to snorkeling for beginners and novices.

Within the calm protected waters of Hanauma Bay, you’ll benefit from small group instruction (maximum 5 students) by certified trainers using high-quality equipment.

After ½ an hour of instruction, your guide will take you on an adventure through the bay. You’ll snorkel through crystal-clear waters teeming with over 400 species of tropical fish.

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There is also a high possibility you’ll come face-to-face with Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Hanauma Bay is a submerged volcanic crater formed 32 thousand years ago.

That’s why it has its near-perfect horseshoe shape. Your experienced instructor will know the best places in the bay to seek out green turtles.

With professional instruction, you’ll learn how to snorkel safely and correctly.

Your instructor can answer all your questions about the local sea life and teach you about marine ecology.

You’ll also have the opportunity to take underwater photographs you’ll treasure forever.


Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Hanauma Bay Gift Shop
  • Operating Times: 7:30 AM, 10:15 AM, 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM
  • Duration: 1½ hours
  • Includes: Expert instructors, small groups, snorkeling equipment hire, and flotation devices

#2. Oahu: Morning Snorkel Sail along Waikiki Beach

Oahu: Morning Snorkel Sail along Waikiki Beach

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

If it’s turtles you love, this is a wonderful Oahu boat excursion for you. Your sailing trip around Waikiki Bay is a perfect opportunity to observe Hawaiian green sea turtles in their natural environment.

During your cruise, you can admire the scenery around Waikiki and Diamond Head from offshore.

Then your professional guides will help you don your snorkeling equipment so you can dive under the waves and see the hidden scenery inside the ocean.

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The tour operator guarantees you’ll encounter turtles during your tour. You’ll either meet Hawaiian green sea turtles, hawksbill turtles, or both.

If you fail to see any turtles, you can come back for a second cruise free of charge.

December through April, you’ll also see humpback whales as they migrate into the warm Hawaiian waters to procreate and give birth.

While you’re admiring these magnificent creatures, you can relax on the boat eating snacks and drinking refreshing beverages.


Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Pick up from your hotel in WaikÄ«kÄ«
  • Operating Times: 8:00 AM
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Includes: Expert guides, boat cruise, snacks, soft drinks, and snorkeling equipment

#3. Oahu: 3-Hour Dolphin Watching & Snorkel Excursion in Waianae

Oahu: 3-Hour Dolphin Watching & Snorkel Excursion in Waianae

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

This is a fantastic Oahu cruise for anyone who loves snorkeling and marine wildlife.

During this Oahu boat trip, you’ll stop twice to snorkel in 2 different spots and maximize your time in the water swimming with the fishes and dolphins.

Enjoy the scenery as you set out into the water on a state-of-the-art, 34’ cruise boat.

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Your experienced guides know where all the best snorkeling spots are and will select the 2 best for your snorkeling adventure.

The Oahu boat tour operator is so confident you will see dolphins on your snorkeling adventure you are guaranteed a free second cruise if you don’t catch sight of your favorite marine mammal.

And during the winter months (December through May), you also have a high chance of seeing humpback whales off the shore of Oahu.

Your guides will provide you with a safety briefing and sterilized snorkeling equipment.

Then they will guide small groups into the warm Pacific waters. You’ll snorkel along coral reefs and come face-to-face with colorful fish and giant turtles.

The knowledgeable guides are happy to answer all your questions about dolphins or other marine life.

You can chat with them over the delicious lunch provided or simply enjoy the passing scenery of the Oahu coastline.


Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Pick up from your hotel in WaikÄ«kÄ«
  • Operating Times: 7:30 AM – 11:00 AM (times can vary)
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Includes: Transport from Waikiki, expert guides, cruise, snorkeling equipment, and lunch

#4. Oahu: Snorkel & Sailing Adventure along Ko Olina Coast

Oahu: Snorkel & Sailing Adventure along Ko Olina Coast

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

If you love watersports, this is a perfect Oahu sailing excursion for you.

You can enjoy stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) or head underwater with the snorkeling equipment provided to explore the amazing natural landscape of Oahu’s coral reef.

You can choose between a motorized (Fridays and Saturdays) or sailing (Sundays through Thursdays) catamaran.

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Whichever means of sailing you choose, you’ll be transported to a pristine spot for snorkeling.

Your guides will provide the snorkeling equipment and a safety briefing. Then you can follow the experienced guides into the water.

They will lead you on an amazing underwater adventure and show you natural sights you can only dream of elsewhere.

But if you prefer, you can choose standup paddleboard surfing. This is a fun new craze that is easy to learn. Why not try it out for the first time in the crystal-clear waters of Oahu?

During your return cruise, you can enjoy cookies, potato chips, and pretzels. You’ll also be served with soft drinks and 2 alcoholic drinks of your choice.

This is a great opportunity to share what you’ve seen and done with your fellow adventurers. Maybe you can even make a few new friends.


Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Waianae Harbor, 85-491 Farrington Highway, Waianae
  • Operating Times: 1:30 PM
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Includes: Expert guide, stand-up paddleboard & snorkeling equipment hire, catamaran cruise, snacks, 2 alcoholic drinks, and unlimited soft beverages

#5. Oahu: Eco-Friendly West Oahu Snorkel Sail with Dolphins

Oahu: Eco-Friendly West Oahu Snorkel Sail with Dolphins

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

This is a fantastic Oahu snorkeling tour for anyone who loves marine wildlife.

During this eco-friendly cruise, you’ll have the opportunity to swim alongside spinner dolphins and colorful tropical fish.

As your boat sets sail, you’ll be treated to a delicious continental breakfast. You can enjoy as many non-alcoholic drinks as you wish and 2 alcoholic beverages.

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While the boat sails toward the Ko Olina coast, watch out for the spinner dolphins who like to trail alongside.

Your expert guide will provide a safety briefing and snorkeling equipment. You can then dive into the turquoise water and swim through the corals.

This provides you with the chance to come face-to-face with local marine life.

Toward the end of your relaxing cruise, you’ll be treated to a picnic lunch.

This will give you the opportunity to question your knowledgeable guide about all the wonders you’ve seen underwater.

This Oahu sailboat tour is a wonderful way to learn all about the marine ecosystem around Hawaii.


Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Waianae Harbor, 85-491 Farrington Highway, Waianae
  • Operating Times: 9:00 AM
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Includes: Knowledgeable guide, sailboat cruise, snorkeling equipment hire, breakfast, lunch, sodas, and 2 bar beverages

#6. Oahu: Kane’ohe Bay Guided Kayak and Snorkel Adventure

Oahu: Kane'ohe Bay Guided Kayak and Snorkel Adventure

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

If you would prefer the money you spend on your vacation goes towards supporting children’s education and a state park, you’ll love this Oahu excursion.

It’s a perfect tour for anyone who loves watersports and wants to contribute toward conserving the beautiful places.

You’ll be transported to Kane’ohe Bay where the calm, crystal-clear waters are protected.

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This tour is eco-certified to ensure your pleasure will leave behind a minimal carbon footprint and environmental impact.

The expert guides will also ensure your safety with a briefing and instructions. Your adventure begins as you paddle your kayak to the best snorkeling spot in Oahu.

The great advantage of this location is that you’ll have the opportunity to snorkel along the healthiest coral reef on the island. Many of the tropical fish you’ll see are endemic to Oahu.

During your adventure, you’ll also come face-to-face with manta rays and Hawaiian green sea turtles. Your professional guide will introduce you to Hawaii’s unique marine ecosystem.

After you’ve seen all the underwater wonders of nature, you’ll paddle back to shore for a tasty barbecue lunch at He’eia State Park.

While eating, you can enjoy stunning views over Kane’ohe Bay and the nearby Ko’olau mountain range.


Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Pick up from your hotel in WaikÄ«kÄ«
  • Operating Times: 9:00 AM, 12:00 Noon
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Includes: Expert guides, transportation from Waikiki, kayak & snorkeling equipment hire, safety equipment, bottled water, light snack, and lunch afterward

#7. Hidden Gems of Oahu Tour with North Shore Turtle Snorkeling

Hidden Gems of Oahu Tour with North Shore Turtle Snorkeling

For tour prices, transportation and availability:

This is a perfect tour for anyone who wishes to explore all the key landmarks around Oahu, both on land and in the ocean.

You will visit the most beautiful locations and have the opportunity to sample unique local foods and freshly picked tropical fruit.

Although you can see Diamond Head from Waikiki, you haven’t truly experienced this amazing volcanic cone until you’ve visited its peak. The views across the island and ocean are breathtaking.

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This tour takes in all the major sights in Oahu, including China Man’s Hat, Diamond Head, Halona Blow Hole, Hanauma Bay, Makapuu Point, and Sunset Beach.

However, what’s truly special about this excursion around Oahu is that it aims to show you the hidden side of the island.

You’ll visit places most tourists don’t get to see. These include Dole Pineapple Plantation, Macadamia Nut Farm, North Shore Fruit Stand, and North Shore Shrimp Trucks.

Pineapples picked fresh from the bush taste completely different from those bought in a store. They’re much juicier and melt in your mouth.

The highlight of this Oahu tour is your opportunity to snorkel alongside giant green turtles.

Your experienced guide knows the best place to find these elusive sea creatures so that you can come face to face with a legend.

Snorkeling equipment hire is inclusive. Your expert guide will assist with your equipment and ensure your safety.

You will also learn about the life cycle of this magnificent animal as well as hearing all about the culture and history of Hawaii.


Tour Highlights At A Glance:

  • Departure Point: Green Awning on Koa Avenue behind Hyatt Regency
  • Operating Times: 7:00 AM
  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Includes: Experienced tour guide, transportation around the island, snorkeling equipment, and swim in the ocean.

Oahu Travel Guide

best snorkeling tours in oahu

Although Hawaii has been a US State since 1959, it still feels like another country. Oahu is the most popular of the Hawaiian islands, hosting many of its iconic attractions.

Where else in the US can you visit not just one but two genuine royal palaces?

Whether you’re most fascinated by volcanic features like Diamond Head, the abundance of marine life in the surrounding ocean, or local traditions like lei greetings and luaus, you’ll find something amazing to see and do in Oahu.

Airports & Entry

For most visitors, the only practical means to get to Oahu is by air. There are no ferries from the continental US to Hawaii.

However, you can opt to join a cruise to Hawaii from Vancouver, San Francisco, or Los Angeles.

By Air

Hawaii’s main airport is Honolulu International Airport in Oahu, which is also known as Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Most visitors to Hawaii arrive here, and the airport handles over 21 million passengers a year. By air, you can reach Oahu from almost anywhere in the world.

If you compare the price of flights on a ticket site like Skyscanner, you’ll find one-way flights from LA for as little as $232, from NYC for $367, and from London for $484.

As one of the 30 busiest airports in the US, Honolulu offers all the facilities you’d expect inside a large airport.

International flights land at Terminal 2, which is the main terminal sometimes referred to as the Overseas Terminal.

You’ll find most of the food outlets, stores, and other services in Terminal 2. All 3 terminals of the airport are linked by the Wiki-Wiki shuttle bus service.

You can reach central Honolulu or Waikiki from the airport by shuttle bus, public bus, taxi, or hire car. Some hotels offer a free shuttle bus service.

Shuttles are the easiest economical option, costing around $16 one way. The public buses are cheaper, but they’re slow and don’t allow luggage. Taxis usually charge between $40 and $45.


Cruises from the continental US depart from Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Canadian cruises depart from Vancouver.

The shortest duration of such a tour is 11 days from Vancouver, but that would involve 5 days at sea and 5 in port.

A 14-day cruise from LA consists of 9 days at sea and 4 in port. If you want to reach Oahu by cruise liner, you’ll sacrifice half your vacation to just getting there.

But the biggest disadvantage of taking a cruise over flying is that a cruise will typically only spend one day in each port.

You won’t have enough time to adequately explore Oahu or any other Hawaiian island.

Planning Tips

Oahu is arguably the most interesting of the Hawaiian Islands to visit, boasting many of the top attractions in the state. Here are 5 tips to help you plan your visit.

Tip #1: If you love whales, go in winter

Every winter, humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the waters around Hawaii to mate and calve.

If you want to see whales breaching the surface, come to Oahu between December and April.

Between 10 and 12 thousand whales gather in the nearby ocean. You can often see them from the beaches, and they are known to circle small boats that approach their pods.

If you’re not interested in whales, the best time to visit Oahu is between September and November.

There are fewer crowds in the shoulder season, and accommodation prices can be cheaper. The fall isn’t as hot as summer but not as busy as winter.

Tip #2: Explore beyond Honolulu and Waikiki Beach

Many visitors to Oahu don’t travel far from their hotel in Honolulu, but many of the island’s more interesting attractions are further afield.

During your stay, make sure you explore some of the more unusual and remote attractions Oahu has to offer.

Tip #3: Book Oahu accommodation and tours in advance, especially during winter

Oahu is a popular destination, so accommodation and tours are sometimes fully booked well months ahead.

To ensure you get the room you want and tickets for the tours you’re interested in, book in advance.

Tip #4: Pack smart clothes and raincoats

Because Oahu has a tropical climate, you’ll spend a lot of time in shorts and T-shirts. However, occasional heavy rainstorms do occur, especially during the summer months.

For that reason, you might want to pack a light raincoat.

And, if you plan to attend any special events in the evenings, such as a traditional luau, or you want to visit a plush cocktail lounge for a romantic evening, then ensure you pack some more formal clothes for such occasions.

Tip #5: Buy traditional local craft souvenirs

You’ll see “authentic Hawaiian crafts” in gift shops around the island, but many of the carvings and traditional clothes are actually “made in China”.

However, there are several arts and crafts stores around the island that specialize in locally produced goods.

For example, check out Na Mea Hawaii, 1200 Ala Moana Boulevard, Honolulu.

Na Mea Hawaii is a store where you can buy books written by and about Hawaiian people, original art, crafts, and cultural products.

Restaurants & Eating Out

Oahu is an island where the indigenous Polynesian inhabitants boast an uninterrupted cultural history. This means it’s a great place to sample authentic Polynesian food.

But the vast numbers of immigrants who have settled here from Asia, Puerto Rico, and Mexico add to the rich cultural mix.

Oahu is also a great place to eat traditional Korean, Japanese, and Mexican dishes.


Because it’s an island, you’ll find lots of seafood dishes in Oahu. Poke is a popular traditional delicacy. Poke is similar to sashimi but the fish is presented in chunks instead of slices.

Monchong is marinated and grilled, deep-water fish. And opakapaka is baked, grilled, or steamed crimson snapper.

If you want to sample traditional poke, check out the Highway Inn in Waipahu. This renowned, award-winning restaurant has served authentic Hawaiian food since 1947.

The Highway Inn also has branches in Kaka’ako and inside the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.


A popular Polynesian cooking technique is using an earth oven called an imu. Any dishes cooked this way are described as luau.

Luau parties are actually named after this kind of food because it is often served at Hawaiian parties.

A popular luau dish is laulau, which features fish, chicken, or pork wrapped in taro leaves.

These wraps are slow-cooked for hours until the meat grows tender. The resulting delicacy has a smoky taste.

For hand-wrapped laulau, again head over to the Highway Inn in Waipahu. While there, also check out the smoked meat loco moco with mushrooms over brown rice. Delicious!


In Oahu, taro is the staple food source. This versatile root crop is often found crushed down into poi, a steamed or baked paste.

Poi is thick and tastes a little sour because of the fermentation that occurs during preparation.

For the best hand-pounded poi, check out the Waiahole Poi Factory on the Kamehameha Highway north of Kahaluu.

Here you can not only eat delicious poi in their restaurant, but you can also attend Hawaiian traditional food demonstrations and tastings. You can also enjoy laulau here.

Asian Food

Honolulu Kitchen in Waipahu, despite its name, is a great place to taste traditional Asian dishes, such as Sichuan pork eggplant, furikake garlic chicken, and kung pao chicken.

Manapua (cha shao bao) are popular all over the island, and Honolulu Kitchen serves a broad variety from spicy, deep-fried Korean style to traditional steamed manapua.

If you enjoy Korean dishes, Sara’s Café (Jun Café) on Beretania Street in Honolulu is popular with the locals. It has a reputation for good-quality, affordable Korean meals.

But if it’s authentic sushi you desire, check out Sushi Sasabune on South King Street in Honolulu. It’s highly rated on both TripAdvisor and Google.


Kulolo is a traditional pudding made from steamed taro, sugar, and coconut milk. You won’t be surprised to hear that you can taste it at the Highway Inn.

Breadfruit is often eaten as a dessert, served steamed, baked, deep-fried, or boiled.

You’ll also love Haupia, a delicious pudding made from coconuts. You can sample haupia, fresh apple bananas, pineapples, and kulolo at Haili’s Hawaiian Food in Honolulu.

Nightlife & Entertainment

Nightlife on Oahu is focused around Honolulu and Waikiki. Typically, the night doesn’t get started until sunset.


With so many tourists here ready to have a good time, Hawaii’s capital is blessed with lots of great bars.

Check out Buho Cantina, a swanky rooftop bar and Mexican restaurant in the Waikiki Shopping Plaza that features panoramic views of Waikiki.

It’s a great place to watch the sunset and start the night. Or if you’re looking for something more upscale, head over to the Halekulani Hotel.

Inside, you’ll find Lewers Lounge, where you can sip cocktails in a plush environment while listening to live jazz.

This is one of those places where they won’t let you in wearing flip-flops and T-shirts.


If you’re looking for a lively nightclub where you can dance to live music and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, you’ll love The Republic.

This popular club is centrally located opposite the famous Ala Moana Shopping Center. They feature regular concerts and special events.

Nearby is the more upmarket The District. You must be 23 to get inside. They feature a broad dance floor, a VIP section, 3 bars, and live DJs.

Alternatively, check out Addiction Nightclub inside the Modern Honolulu Hotel. Addiction features a stunning light show, with 40,000 lights to light up your dance moves.

Luau and hula hoops

While you’re in Hawaii, it would be a shame not to experience some of the traditional evening entertainments.

You can enjoy a FREE traditional torch lighting, Hawaiian hula show, and blowing of the conch shell at around sunset on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Go to the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound near the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Hotel.

The show starts at 6 pm November through January, 6:30 pm February through October, and lasts for an hour.

If you want a fun-packed evening of laulau food, drinks, traditional songs, and epic stories, go to a traditional luau.

At a luau, you can experience a lei greeting and eat traditional cuisine cooked in an imu while watching indigenous performers perform traditional acts.

At the best luaus, you’ll see locals dressed in authentic Hawaiian clothing and performing Ha: Breath of Life, one of the most famous traditional epic sagas.

There might even be brave fire-knife dancers and fire walkers. Just don’t stand too close.

There are several venues where you can enjoy a luau, such as the Germaines Luau and the Paradise Cove Luau.

Getting Around

If you’re staying around Waikiki, many great attractions, bars, entertainment venues, and restaurants are within easy walking distance.

However, if you’re staying elsewhere on the island, or want to explore the island, you probably ought to hire a car.


The major urban area around Honolulu and Waikiki features pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. You’ll also want to explore the beaches in this area on foot.

When walking any great distance, remember to take a light raincoat. Rain showers are always a possibility, especially during summer.


Cycling is a great, eco-friendly way to cover longer distances. It’s faster than walking but still provides you with the freedom to stop wherever you want and explore.

Bicycles and mopeds are easy to hire around the island.

However, if you’re headed anywhere hilly, or you want to visit other towns, you must make sure everyone in your group is fit enough to go the distance.

Hotel shuttles

Many of the larger resorts and hotels provide shuttles to help you reach the beach and major attractions around the island. These are often complimentary.

However, some hotels charge for their shuttle services, and often those services are limited. Before you set off for the day, ensure you know what your hotel shuttle is going to cost and the timetable.

The Bus

The public bus service in Oahu is literally called The Bus.

There are mixed opinions about The Bus, with some travelers finding the service great for getting around the island, but others complaining about crowding and slow services.

The Bus does provide 93 routes around the island with an astounding 4,200 stops. You can go anywhere on The Bus!

You pay cash on the bus or purchase a bus pass. You can buy a 1-day pass on the bus for $5.50.

When traveling, keep an eye out for your destination. To stop The Bus, you must pull the cord in advance.

For information about ticket prices, concessions, maps, and schedules, visit The Bus website.

Waikiki also has a trolleybus service with stops along Waikiki Beach. Trolleybuses are great fun for short journeys in the immediate area but useless for really exploring the whole island.

Car hire

If you want the freedom to travel anywhere whenever you want, you can always hire a car. It’s a lot more expensive than purchasing a 1-day bus pass, but you will get places quicker.

You can easily hire a car at the airport, though some rental companies require drivers to be over 25.

However, note that parking in Honolulu and Waikiki is difficult.

Traffic all around the island gets congested during the busy winter months. And speed limits are lower than in the continental US and strictly enforced.


Because of the problems with parking, congestion, and navigation, you’ll find it easiest to explore the island on a tour where the tour operator provides the transport.

You won’t have the same flexibility as when you rent a car, but you’ll get where you need to go with less hassle.

Taxis and Uber

Taxis in Oahu can be expensive, and they’re difficult to find outside of the main urban area. Hailing taxis isn’t common practice in Hawaii.

However, Uber and Lyft can often offer more affordable solutions to your travel problems.


Most accommodations for tourists in Oahu are found in Waikiki. But you can also find a range of accommodations in Leeward Waianae, along North Shore, and Windward East.


Premier hotel brands, such as Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, and Sheraton, are found around Waikiki.

Business-class hotels are clustered around the downtown and airport areas of Honolulu.

Prince Waikiki is the top-rated hotel in Honolulu on TripAdvisor and is also highly rated on and Google.

Prince Waikiki is a modern and stylish luxury hotel with an infinity pool, wall-to-ceiling windows, and a popular rooftop bar.

If you’re working to a tight budget, you can also find cheaper hotels in this area.

The Inn On The Park in Waikiki offers low rates and free parking, which is useful if you intend to rent a car.

And the Ambassador Hotel is also affordable, though it does have relatively low ratings on both Google and TripAdvisor.

Leeward Waianae

The Makana Valley area contains a luxury resort, championship golf course, and a few vacation rentals.

The Hawaiian Princess Resort is highly rated and offers great surfing conditions in a much quieter setting than Waikiki.

North Shore

This area mainly offers B&Bs and vacation homes, though there is a major resort at Turtle Bay.

The Turtle Bay Resort is situated in a stunning location on a peninsula overlooking the bay. If you love snorkeling and turtles, it’s a great place to stay.

Windward East

This is a residential area, and the accommodations in this area are mainly vacation homes.


The weather in Oahu doesn’t fluctuate much over the year. There are really only two seasons: winter and summer. Most of the rain falls during the summer.

And there is only around an hour’s difference in sunrise and sunset times between midsummer and midwinter.

Generally, the leeward (west) side of the island is drier than the windward (east) side. This is why the eastern coast is greener than the west.

The hurricane season is from June to November, though bad hurricanes are rare.

The coldest winter month is February, with an average daily high of 780F and a low of 630F. By May, temperatures have risen to an average high of 810F and low of 670F.

August is the hottest month of the summer, with an average high of 850F and a low of 710F. By November, the average high drops to 810F and the low to 680F.


Oahu boasts many iconic attractions that make it the most visited of the Hawaiian Islands.

Royal Palaces

Honolulu boasts 2 authentic royal palaces!

The more sumptuous of the 2 is the Iolani Palace. It was built in 1882 for King Kalakaua and became the official residence of the Hawaiian Royal Family.

In recent years, the palace has been lovingly restored. Docent-led tours of the grand halls and opulent rooms are available.

Queen Emma Summer Palace (Hanaiakamalama) was built as a summer retreat in 1857.

This house is a museum filled with displays of the personal possessions of Queen Emma, her husband King Kamehameha, and their son Prince Albert Edward.

You can enjoy a self-guided or docent-guided tour of this royal residence.

Pearl Harbor

While you’re in Oahu, it’s only polite to pay your respects to the servicemen who lost their lives to defend your freedom here during WWII. The Arizona Memorial draws 1.8 million visitors each year.

The USS Missouri (WWII battleship) and USS Bowfin (WWII submarine) are permanently anchored in the harbor.

You can explore these nautical relics and learn about sailors’ lives during the war. You can also visit the Pacific Aviation Museum.

Diamond Head

You can’t not notice Diamond Head while you’re strolling along Waikiki Beach. The Diamond Head Trail is a great way to explore the volcanic cone that dominates the Honolulu skyline.

Although there are some steep sections, and it looks daunting, the hike to the summit is easier than it looks. It only takes between 40 to 60 minutes for the average hiker.

From the top, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of Waikiki and the Pacific Ocean.

Waimea Falls

This waterfall at the back of the Waimea Valley is relatively easy to reach. The 15-feet waterfall is surrounded by botanical gardens, and you’re allowed to swim in its plunge pool.

The Waimea Falls trail is only Âľ miles long. Your whole family can follow the paved path that passes important archaeological sites to reach the waterfall.

And if your walk leaves you hungry, you can find the Na Mea Ono Snack Bar at the visitors center.

Waikiki Aquarium

Your whole family will love the Waikiki Aquarium. Inside you’ll find 3,500 species of marine life native to Hawaii, including crabs, jellyfish, sea horses, octopus, squid, sharks, and seals.

You’ll find the aquarium across from Kapiolani Park near San Souci Beach. It’s a great place to see all of Hawaii’s marine life in one place.

Polynesian Cultural Center

This is a great attraction for anyone fascinated by Hawaiian culture.

The center demonstrates traditional music, dances, food, and other traditions. But it’s not only limited to Hawaiian culture.

The center features 7 separate villages each representing a different region of the South Pacific. You can learn about all Polynesian cultures at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

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Robert Baker

Robert is a content writer and editor at Outside Pursuits where he shares his love for the great outdoors. He also writes in-depth travel blogs for other websites around the world. Robert is passionate about the environment and uses his writing to educate people about the advantages and importance of sustainable living. Robert enjoys creative writing. In 2009, his children’s novel Sally Hemings & the Good Associates won the Children’s Fiction section of the You Write On Book of the Year Award.

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