Don’t Visit This Island if You Want to Laze Around

In keeping with our theme of adventure in Hawaii, we have a word of caution for you: If you’re looking to spend your days lying around on the beach with nothing to do, PLEASE don’t visit the island of Oahu.

You’ll be truly be disappointed when you find that everywhere you turn there are museums to visit, great restaurants to eat at, shops to score deals at, waves to surf on, volcanoes to hike and so many other things that may distract you from a vacation where you do absolutely nothing.

In all seriousness, if you do want to lie out by the pool all day or sun yourself on the sand until the late afternoon, you can do all of that on Oahu too. You can also always escape to the North Shore, where life is a little slower than in the bustling city. Over there, you won’t find a traffic light around for miles.

You can find some great trails for walking through on a peaceful morning on Oahu and even spend time in the lovely Lyon Arboretum just enjoying the tranquility and viewing gorgeous flowers and trees. However, if you or your travel partner are looking for exciting activities and attractions in Hawaii, you’ll find everything you desire for the vacation of your life—all in one destination.

Oahu is a perfect combination of authentic Old Hawaii and modern 21st-century Hawaii. You can really have it all by visiting some of the best contemporary attractions in the state while also taking in ancient ruins and celebrations of Hawaii’s early Polynesian culture. Oahu offers a fantastic mix of East meets West, and you’ll leave for home with vacation stories to tell for ages.

I’ve come up with a five of my favorite activities and attractions on Oahu, so check them out and start planning your itinerary:

1. Old Honolulu Chinatown

Oahu’s Chinatown sits in Old Honolulu’s financial district on the western edge of the city. In this community, you’ll find wonderful shops where you can pick up souvenirs and Asian wares, as well as bars and vendors selling herbal teas and tinctures. You can also simply stroll down the Chinatown Art Walk.

While you’re roaming Chinatown, you’ll probably come across someone who will talk you into buying a homemade lei, and you’ll be able to purchase exotic fruits and other unique items too. Brush up on your Chinese and Japanese history at the Kuan Yin Temple and Izumo Taishakyo Mission Shrine, or grab a meal at a Vietnamese, Chinese or French restaurant.

2. The Sea Life Park Hawaii

Whether you’re traveling with children or on your own, you may want to check out The Sea Life Park Hawaii, one of Oahu’s finest educational facilities focused on marine life.

The Sea Life Park Hawaii is part entertainment facility and part research center. It introduces visitors to the world of sea animals, including sharks, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, penguins, rays and more.

At Sea Life, you can swim with the dolphins, feed some of the animals and hear lectures by trainers on the care and characteristics of the animals that call Sea Life Park their home. Spend time wandering past reefs, pools and lagoons and take a seat in the amphitheater if you want to learn even more about ocean life in Hawaii.

3. The Honolulu Zoo

Another great family-friendly attraction on Oahu is the Honolulu Zoo. Here, more than 300 acres in the Queen Kapiolani Park are filled with approximately 1,200 animals, including African lions, cheetahs, Grant’s zebras, llamas, miniature horses, Sumatran tigers and more than 100 kinds of birds like sun conures and hooded vultures.

You’ll be able to view extraordinary reptiles like the American alligator, crocodile monitor, Galapagos tortoise and Komodo dragon, and also relax in beautiful gardens filled with native shrubs and flowers, such as the endangered Na’u.

4. U.S.S. Arizona Memorial

On December 7, 1941, most of the crewman aboard the U.S.S. Arizona lost their lives when Japanese Imperial forces attacked Pearl Harbor. Today, it’s a memorial structure that commemorates the lives of these soldiers, turning a sunken battleship into a celebration of their service and courage.

The Memorial came about out of a wartime desire to honor the men who died, and in 1949 the first steps were taken to make this vision a reality. Visit the museum to see exhibits of the Pearl Harbor attack and view the names of the fallen servicemen engraved on a wall.

5. Oahu’s Beaches

If you like to spend your time outdoors, you have plenty to keep you busy and out there enjoying the amazing Hawaiian weather on Oahu. Hit any of Oahu’s beaches, which span the entire perimeter of the island and fill up most of the 112 miles of coastline on the island.

Go for a swim, or surf or body board. Try parasailing or zip-lining or just enjoy some playtime on the beach. At Waikiki Beach, the most popular in the world, you’ll find legendary waves at Waimea Bay at Lanikai, a beach rated #1 by Conde Nast.

Of course, you can also visit Diamond Head, the Honolulu Museum of Art and ‘Iolani Palace too.

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Oahu is one of the best islands to visit if you’re the adventurous sort. If you take a little time to plan your trip, you’ll never have a dull moment!