Aloha and welcome to the core of the Hawaiian Islands, O’ahu – an incredible location for a memorable week-long getaway. This remarkable island offers not only its gorgeous sandy shores and awe-inspiring landscapes but a wealth of history, making it the ideal spot to engage in various activities while immersing oneself in the eclectic local culture.
In this article, we present an expertly designed 7-day plan that guarantees an unforgettable experience, while also providing ample opportunities for adventures as well as relaxation. With the perfect mix of adventure and leisure, you’ll soon discover why people fall in love with Oahu.
O'ahu Day 1: Arrival and Exploration of Waikiki
Upon your arrival in O’ahu , your adventure begins in the lively neighborhood of Waikiki. Known for its picturesque beach, Waikiki offers something for everyone. Check into your hotel and explore the countless shops, restaurants, and entertainment options along Kalakaua Avenue. Spend the evening on famous Waikiki Beach, soaking in the breathtaking sunset and indulging in delicious Hawaiian cuisine.
Enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Waikiki Beach, explore the exciting shops and restaurants, and take in the beautiful sunset over Hawaii when you arrive on O'ahu.
O'ahu Day 2: Hiking, Snorkeling and Shave Ice on the North Shore
Start your day with a scenic drive to Oahu’s famous North Shore. Hike the lush Waimea Valley or explore the historic village of Haleiwa, filled with local art, boutiques and food trucks. Soak up the sun on Sunset Beach or snorkel with sea turtles at Laniakea Beach. Complete your day with a delicious shave ice from one of the many roadside stands.
Enjoy a day of hiking, snorkeling, shopping, and indulging in local treats on Oahu's North Shore.
O'ahu Day 3: Kayaking, Shopping, and Local Cuisine in Kailua Town
Head to the charming beach town of Kailua. Rent a kayak and paddle to the nearby Mokulua Islands or stroll along Kailua’s white-sand beach. Stroll through the farmer’s markets and enjoy authentic Hawaiian cuisine, such as poke bowls and acai smoothie bowls. Be sure to check out the local boutiques for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Come to Kailua for a unique experience, including kayaking, beach strolls, farmer's markets, delicious Hawaiian food, and local boutiques.
O'ahu Day 4: Surfing Lessons in Waikiki
It’s time to catch some waves! Sign up for a surfing lesson at Waikiki Beach and learn the basics of wave-riding. After you’ve mastered the basics, explore other beaches around Oahu known for great surfing, such as Sandy Beach, Makaha, and Waimea Bay. If you don’t feel like getting in the water, you can always watch the surfers from the beach!
Explore Waikiki Beach and other great surfing spots on Oahu, and learn how to ride the waves or just watch from the beach.
O'ahu Day 5: Explore the Manoa Valley and Visit Diamond Head
Start your day with a hike up to the rim of Diamond Head, one of Oahu’s most iconic landmarks. Enjoy panoramic views of the island and take some time to explore the historic WWII bunkers scattered along the crater’s slopes. Afterward, travel to nearby Manoa Valley for a peaceful stroll through the lush jungle trails.
Start your day with a scenic hike up to Diamond Head, and then explore Manoa Valley's tranquil jungle trails.
O'ahu Day 6: Discover History at Pearl Harbor
No trip to Oahu is complete without a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Learn about the history of this famous landmark and pay your respects to those who lost their lives in one of America’s darkest days. The nearby museums, monuments, and military facilities offer plenty of educational opportunities for all ages.
Visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those who lost their lives and discover educational opportunities at the nearby museums, monuments, and military facilities.
O'ahu Day 7: Relax and Reflect on Waikiki Beach
Your last day is for relaxation. Spend the morning at your hotel in Waikiki or take a leisurely walk along the beachfront. Enjoy some of Honolulu’s world-famous cuisine and finish the day with a stroll along Waikiki Beach to take in the beauty of Oahu and all that you have experienced.
Spend your last day in Honolulu relaxing and exploring the beauty of Waikiki Beach.
We hope our 7-Day Itinerary will help you make the most of your time on the island of Oahu! Enjoy your stay and Mahalo (thank you) for checking out our "What to do in O'ahu for a Week" itinerary & guide!
Frequently Asked Questions
During your week in O'ahu, don't miss the following attractions and activities:
- Waikiki Beach: Spend some quality time at this iconic beach, famous for its golden sands and fantastic surfing opportunities.
- Diamond Head: Hike up this volcanic tuff cone known for its incredible views of Waikiki and the surrounding area. The hike takes about 1-2 hours.
- Pearl Harbor National Memorial: Visit this historic site to learn more about the events that transpired here during World War II.
- Polynesian Cultural Center: Experience traditional food, dance, and customs from different Pacific Island nations in this immersive cultural center.
- Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve: Snorkel in this stunning nature preserve filled with vibrant marine life.
To get to O'ahu, fly into Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu, which is serviced by several major airlines. Renting a car is recommended, as public transportation is limited outside of Honolulu.
For accommodations, choose from a variety of hotels and vacation rentals in Waikiki or elsewhere on the island. Consider these luxurious options:
- The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach: Upscale suites with excellent amenities and a short walk to the beach.
- Four Seasons Resort O'ahu at Ko Olina: A beachfront resort that offers world-class facilities, restaurants, and exceptional service.
- The Kahala Hotel & Resort: Exclusive property in a serene location, perfect for a luxurious yet peaceful getaway.
O'ahu offers a diverse range of dining options. Here are a few mouthwatering choices:
- Helena's Hawaiian Food: A local gem serving authentic Hawaiian cuisine.
- Giovanni's Shrimp Truck: A must-try North Shore food truck known for its delicious garlic shrimp plates.
- Marukame Udon: A popular Waikiki spot for made-to-order udon noodles.
- Ono Seafood: A take-out eatery famous for its poke bowls
- Roy's Waikiki: A high-end restaurant serving sophisticated Hawaiian fusion cuisine.
For a sweet treat, try the shave ice at Waiola Shave Ice or Matsumoto's Shave Ice on the North Shore!
O'ahu has an array of entertainment options for visitors to enjoy. Here are some of the best activities to try:
- Take a surfing lesson: Learn how to surf or perfect your skills with lessons from one of O'ahu's experienced instructors.
- Explore Museums and Art Galleries: Discover Hawaiian culture and history at Waikiki's Bishop Museum, explore the Honolulu Museum of Art's world-class collections, and admire local artwork at galleries such as the Hawaii State Art Museum.
- Go Shopping: Spend a day browsing the shops and boutiques in Waikiki or head to Ala Moana Center for one of the largest shopping malls in the U.S.
- Head Out on a Water Adventure: Set sail on a sunset dinner cruise, go whale watching, or sign up for an exciting deep-sea fishing charter.
When packing for your trip to O'ahu, you'll want to make sure you have the right items with you. Here are some essentials to bring:
- Sunscreen and insect repellent
- Sandals or flip flops
- Lightweight, breathable clothing such as shorts and t-shirts
- Sunglasses and a hat to protect from the sun
- A reusable water bottle and snacks
- Basic toiletries such as shampoo