Home Travel Inspiration

The Aloha Update! 5 fun-tastic ways to holiday on Oahu

Calling all paradise seekers. After being stuck at home for so long, this month's Aloha Update is here to remind you of all the amazing experiences waiting for you in the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawai'i.

Calling all paradise seekers. After being stuck at home for so long, this month’s Aloha Update is here to remind you of all the amazing experiences waiting for you in the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawai’i.

Oahu is one of the most popular destinations in The Hawaiian Islands, famous for its incredible beaches, surf, nightlife and shopping. But there is so much more to do once you dive in a little deeper.

Whether you’re looking to take a holiday to spend quality time with loved ones, enjoy a break from work, seek new and exciting adventures, or want to explore unique foods and cultures, Oahu caters to absolutely every travel style.

Check out our dynamic map and explore the myriad of experiences on offer in Oahu, from restaurants and bars, beaches and bike trips and so much more!

1. Embrace Aloha

Family Surf Lesson
Family surf lesson, Waikiki Beach, Oahu. Image: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono

One of the best ways to bond with your travel party is by getting the team involved with some wet and wild watersports.

Keep it intimate by booking a private surfing, bodyboard or paddleboard lesson at Waikiki Beach with Ohana Surf Project opt for a thrilling parasail, jet ski or flyboard activity with X-treme Parasail.

For duos, Honolulu has lots of sophisticated bars that are date-night approved. Make a reservation for two on the mezzanine level of Bar Maze or in a cozy booth at Podmore. These new venues offer creative cocktails and delectable small bites.

For families, let Bubble Rentals Hawaii organise a dreamy sunset picnic inside a bubble tent.

If Oahu holds a special place in your heart, consider giving back on your trip. Voluntourism is a great way for travellers to show their love and appreciation for the destination they’re visiting.

There are plenty of voluntourism opportunities, like restoring a Hawaiian fishpond, removing invasive plant species or planting a native tree.

 2. Ho’omaha (relax) into wellness

Hawaii Oahu
Stand up paddleboard yoga class at Ala Moana Beach, Oahu. Image: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) / Ben Ono

Hawaii’s tropical shores are known to welcome weary travellers in need of rest and relaxation, and let’s face it, after 2021, we’re all in need of some extra R&R time.

Home to an array of well-being activities, Oahu is perfectly-suited for recharging your battery.

Visitors of all ages can reap the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga while on Oahu. Hawaii’s great outdoors is the best place to relieve stress, especially by partaking in an open-air yoga class by the beach at sunset, next to a waterfall on a jungle yoga hike or while floating on a stand-up paddleboard.

Chill-seekers staying in Waikiki, Oahu’s largest resort area, have access to world-class massage treatments. Unwind with a lomi hookipa at Moana Lani Spa, a Hawaiian massage that uses long kneading strokes.

Alternatively, try a pohaku (hot stone) massage at Abhasa or a dream massage at Shiatsu & Massage Center with two, three or four therapists at once.

 What a treat!

3. Seek Le’ale’a (fun) adventure

Papahana Kuaola, Kaneohe, Oahu. Image: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Goodman

Hawaii’s spectacular natural beauty can be witnessed from different vantage points – on land, out to sea or up in the air. 

Skip Oahu’s mainstream tours for a raft of fun and active island adventures.

Steer away from the crowds on a small-group bike tour led by an expert rider/guide. Choose to pedal around the historical sights of Honolulu with Bike Tour Hawaii or coast downhill on a Honolulu rainforest ride with Bike Hawaii.

If independent bike riding is more your style, rent a bicycle or e-bike from Hawaiian Style Rentals in Waikiki and explore at your own pace.

Most people visit Hawaii’s beautiful beaches to relax on the sand, but it doesn’t have to be all lazy days in the sun. 

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii runs hands-on beach cleanups across the island of Oahu. Environmentalists and nature lovers, visitors and locals can join together help Hawai‘i tackle plastic pollution by volunteering to remove it from Oahu’s coastlines.

 4. Eat ‘ono (delicious)

Garlic shrimp and kalbi from Oahu’s North Shore. Image: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA)

Good food = a good time, right?

Oahu’s food scene is a good time indeed; shaped by Hawaii’s melting pot of cultures. Here, travellers can taste everything from Native Hawaiian food to hybrid local food and Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

Authentic Hawaiian food has been dished up at Helena’s and Haili’s since the mid-1900s. Try kalua pig (slow-cooked smoky-flavoured pork), laulau (salted pork wrapped in leaves and steamed), chicken long rice (similar to a chicken noodle soup) and poi (a purple starch made by pounding cooked taro root).

Hawaii’s local food consists of classic meals derived from varying historical and cultural influences. The most popular eats include Loco Moco, Poke, Saimin, SPAM Musubi and the Plate Lunch. Taste them at Oahu’s iconic eateries, including Liliha BakeryHawaii’s Favorite KitchensZippy’sMusubi Cafe Iyasume, and Rainbow Drive-In (respectively).

Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine (HRC) is a form of farm-to-table cuisine that blends ethnic flavours with fresh homegrown ingredients. 

Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman were among the first champions of HRC. Savour this delicious genre of food at one of their esteemed Oahu restaurants, including Eating House 1849, Roy’s WaikikiMerriman’s Honolulu and Moku Kitchen.

 5. Live kama’aina (local) culture

Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Oahu. Image: Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Culture lovers can get excited because this island is jam-packed with plenty of opportunities for storytelling, art and culture.

One of the best ways to soak up Hawaii’s local culture is through the arts. Oahu has the most opportunity for exploring painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music and performance.

Get to know Hawai‘i better by spending time in one of Oahu’s stately museums. Start at the Bishop Museum. It houses important Polynesian natural history specimens, exhibitions on Hawaiian culture and is home to a planetarium.

Follow up with a guided tour of Iolani Palace, this storied building was the official residence of Hawaiian royalty and is the only palace on U.S. soil.

Did you know Waikiki’s major shopping centres also offer free cultural programs led by friendly practitioners?

For example, try a kui lei (lei making) lesson or a lauhala weaving lesson at the Royal Hawaiian Center or learn ka lei hula (the adorned dance) at Waikiki Beach Walk Plaza.

Discover Oahu’s vibrant arts community inside the island’s famous art museums. The Hawaii State Art Museum features permanent displays of Hawaiian art and rotating exhibitions by Hawai‘i artists. 

Honolulu Museum of Art houses 50,000+ pieces of art from around the globe, showcasing Hawaiian artists alongside artists like Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso.

Whichever type of holiday floats your boat, it’s safe to say that the island of Oahu has you covered.

Click here for more information.

Content inspired by this blog post written by Ashlee Galea. Ashlee Galea is an Aussie living in Hawaii who enjoys sharing Hawaii insider knowledge and travel advice on her blogs The Hawaii Admirer and Waikiki Beach Stays).