Outbound Collective logo

5 Reasons You Should Plan A Trip To Oahu

By: Tyler Drake + Save to a List

Let's be honest, there's never really a bad time to head to the islands. With world-class beaches, incredible hiking, and an eclectic fusion of delicious food, Oahu provides endless reasons to visit. The tough part is that you're not the only one with that same thought. Now for the good news...there are plenty of adventures and spots on Oahu that you can enjoy without the tourist crowd; I've listed a few favorites below. Check out these adventures and dining options, and take full advantage of your next trip to Oahu.

1. Beach days

Photo: Brian Governale

This one may be the most obvious, but it's best to you know where to get the most bang for your buck. If you're looking to avoid the crowds and you have some free time on a weekday, head to Lanikai Beach. This beach is touted as one of the best beaches in the world. If you want a shorter drive from the Waikiki area, head to Makapu'u, where you can go for a quick hike up to the lighthouse then head to the beach to bodysurf. If you head up to the North Shore, I know it's a little touristy, but always fun to head to Waimea Bay and jump off the rock.

2. Chasing waterfalls

Photo: Kanaka Menehune

For an easy hike for the whole family, head to Manoa Falls. This 2-mile roundtrip hike isn't too taxing and is close to town, so you pack on plenty of other adventures. If you're looking for something a little more challenging, head to Maunawili Falls. This 3.2 mile roundtrip hike ends at a really nice swimming hole and you may see some people on the rope swing or jumping from the cliff - proceed at your own risk.

3. Hikes with stunning views

Photo: Leonard S. Jacobs

Head up Koko Head for amazing views of Hawaii Kai. This trek is best in the morning or the evening as you'll be breathing hard while climbing up the railroad steps to reach the top. Hike the coastal trail at Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve and look for wildlife that frequent the shores. If you're up for a real challenge, hike the Olomana Trail to one (or all three) of the towering peaks. You'll be rewarded with some of the best views on the entire island.

4. Off-the-beaten-path Adventures

Photo: Unreal Hawaii

There’s no need to fight with the crowds to have a memorable adventure and take in the beauty that Oahu has to offer. Head to the eastern side of the island to rent kayaks and paddle from Kailua Beach to Moku Nui. Remember to pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic at the secluded beach. Another great option is hanging out with your friends and cliff jumping at Alan Davis. There is plenty of parking, typically small crowds, and poles jutting out from the cliff that make for easy and safe cliff jumping.

5. Delicious food

Photo courtesy of Waiola Shave Ice

What makes an adventure even better? Delicious food to either get you going or to enjoy and reminisce on the great times you just had. From arguably the best shave ice to delicious ahi poke bowls, I’ve outlined a few of my favorite stops. If you’re staying in Waikiki, head over to Diamond Head Market & Grill for one of their blueberry scones in the market or any of their lunch and dinner options. Feeling a midday treat? Head to Wailoa Shave Ice for the best shave ice in town. If you head up to the north shore, you can get some of the freshest poke bowls at Kahuku Superette, I’m a big fan of the shoyu poke. If you’re looking for some leafy greens or an acai bowl, head to Pupukea Grill.

To discover more amazing adventures on Oahu, click here.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Do you love the outdoors?

Yep, us too. That's why we send you the best local adventures, stories, and expert advice, right to your inbox.


10 Things you need to do in Baja

wyld honeys

Journey to Wyoming’s premier snowmobiling destination: Togwotee Mountain Lodge

Samuel Brockway

A peek through God's window

Heather Arnold

Big Bend Bound: Crafting Your 3-Day Adventure

Erin Newman-Mitchell