The Hawaiʻian Islands offer travelers so many amazing activities that it’s hard to choose. The good thing is, on the island of O‘ahu you’re never more than 2 hours from the next adventure.
When is the right time to plan things to do in Honolulu during your stay? Start planning at least a month before you visit the island.
Guest lists for tours and day cruises fill up fast. You don’t want to plan a whole day around one activity and find out last-minute that it’s full.
Grab a notepad and make a list of your dream activities. If you need ideas to get started, here are the best things to do in Honolulu.
1. Take a Hike
One of the best things to do in Honolulu is hiking through the island’s forests. You don’t need to drive far to find trails for beginners or experienced hikers.
East of the city is the Hawaiʻi Nature Center. From there, you can access the Makiki Valley Trail. The moderate-level trail loops through the tropical forest.
2. Get a Bird’s Eye View of O‘ahu
From the air, O‘ahu’s beauty is breathtaking. The island’s center is packed with lush forests. For non-hikers, flying is a great way to see the whole island.
Helicopter tours take you across the island for a safe, exciting adventure. Thrill-seekers can try skydiving in the North Shore or parasailing over Waikīkī.
3. Hop on a Snorkeling Cruise
Do you want the excitement of a cruise without the stress of packing for a cruise? Take a day-trip to see some of the 1,200 miles of coral reefs surrounding the islands.
While you’re in the water, keep an eye out for these native species:
- Rainbow Runners
- Yellow Tang
- Green Sea Turtle
During winter months, visitors can charter boats to watch the humpback whales. Each year they gather south of O‘ahu to welcome new life into the world.
4. Stroll Through Honolulu’s Many Museums
Honolulu has a rich cultural history thanks to its past as the capital of the Hawaiʻian Kingdom. To understand Hawaiʻi and its people, you should explore their vibrant art and history.
Plan a trip to at least one of these museums:
- Hawaiʻi State Art Museum
- Iolani Palace
- The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum
The Bishop Museum hosts exhibits about everything from surfing to Pacific marine life. Other family-favorite Honolulu attractions include the zoo and the
5. Stop and Smell the Native Hawaiʻian Flowers
O‘ahu is home to 5 sites for the Honolulu Botanical Gardens. Each garden highlights a different ecosystem within the island.
For you food lovers, local farms host tours to show the farm-to-table process. If you enjoy coffee, do not miss out on the plantation tours that include Kona coffee tastings.
There’s No Shortage of Fun Things to Do in Honolulu
Everywhere you look, there are exciting things to do in Honolulu. It would take weeks, if not months, to visit the important cultural sites.
When you’re planning your trip, keep your schedule balanced. Don’t plan all your skydiving and parasailing trips on the same day. The next day, you’ll be too burned out to do anything except sit at the beach.
Looking for more tips to help plan your vacation? Visit our Travel section.