10 Non-Touristy Things To Do In Oahu From A Local (2023)

We all love to explore new places, but now, everyone ends up in the same place with social media. Sometimes even overcrowded that you don’t want to explore that site anymore.

Visiting a new destination is about exploring and enjoying, not waiting in line to get the perfect Instagram picture. I love to explore things that locals also explore.

Locals tend to know the secret, great spots. Many things posted online on things to do in Oahu are super touristy.

There are many places that Hawaii has to explore from the beach to deep in the mountain. There is something to explore for everyone.

Here are great things that even locals enjoy doing.

But first, some tips on exploring Oahu responsibly…


Things to Know Before Visiting Hawaii

Respect the signs 

Beach warning signs

Many things posted online, like the “Stairway to Heaven Hike,” are illegal.

Always research the place you’re planning to go to.

You don’t want to have your visit to Hawaii ruined by getting fined. 

Check for signs like Private Property, No Trespassing, No Hiking, Danger Falling Rocks.

Look at the signs posted on the beach.

Many signs say jellyfish in the water, no swimming, strong current. Stay safe.

Pick your trash

Cleaning the beach from plastic

Always look around before you leave to make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.

There are trash cans everywhere

Hawaii is such a beautiful island that we don’t want to cause damage to it.

Let’s keep Hawaii clean and beautiful.

Don’t touch wildlife

Sea Turtle in Oahu

It’s illegal to touch sea turtles and monk seals; they are endangered species in Hawaii. 

If someone touches the endangered animal in Hawaii, it’s considered a Class C felony under federal and state laws, and penalties can include up to $50,000 in fines or up to five years in jail.

Rember to always keep your distance between yourself and the wildlife.

Stay at least 10 feet away.

Know you are a guest and be respectful

Hula Performance

Hawaii is so much more for the locals than just a dreamy beach destination.

Hawaii is rich in culture and famously friendly people. 

The people of Hawaii always warmly welcome visitors and want you to experience the special culture of their beautiful land. 

In return, they ask visitors to arrive with an open mind and learn from Hawaii’s locals. 

When you’re visiting Hawaii, make sure you show kindness and respect to everyone.

10 Non Touristy Things To Do In Oahu


A great activity is to go Kayaking to the twin islands in front of Lanikai beach.

On the way there, you can see sea turtles, monk seals. 

There is a sandy beach that you can arrive at with your kayak and hike to the island’s top. 

Always check weather conditions to be safe in the open ocean.


Flowers play a huge role in the culture of Hawai’i.

Most resorts show you how to make a traditional Lei.

A Haku lei is the “weaver of lei,” and the lei Haku is the braided/woven lei.

A Haku Lei is a Lei worn around your head or flower crown.

Making a  Haki Lei, you are learning more about the Hawaiian culture and know how to do a piece of artwork that you can wear. 

Anyone can wear one anytime – there is no need to be a special occasion.

Flower crowns are a popular accessory for weddings, christenings, baby showers, wedding showers, birthdays, and more.


Most people opt for a helicopter ride. 

I don’t know what it is about a glider that it feels like you are a bird in the sky. 

The glider has no engine. 

Yes, no engine.

Another airplane tows the glider to a certain height and then releases it. 

The glider stays up in the sky cause of the wind. One of the best experiences ever. 

And the pilot lets you fly it too! 

It is so unique that you fly over the mountains and the ocean best of both worlds.


Poke is diced raw fish served either as an appetizer or as a main course and is one of the main dishes of Native Hawaiian cuisine.

I knew what a poke bowl was, and a bowl with rice with other sides and your choice of fish. 

In Hawaii is more common to just have the fish on its own and maybe with a side of rice. 

In Hawaii, it is a staple and can be found in lots of grocery stores. 

I see locals get their poke at the grocery store, and tourists get to poke shops.

My favorite place to buy poke is Foodland, a local grocery Hawaiian chain.

Every time I go for poke is fantastic.


I love to check out the art distinct from each city I visit. 

Hawaii is no exception. 

Hawaii alleys are transformed into colorful art representing the island lifestyle and culture. 

Most of the art is located in Honolulu and Kakaʻako.

 If in Oahu on the weekend, I suggest visiting the Kakako Farmers Market on Saturday (8 am – 12 am) morning and then head to the murals. 

It’s just a few blocks away from each other.

You can even rent a bike in Waikiki and head to Kaka’ako to see the murals.

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Oahu beaches are one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. 

Oahu has some spectacular views from above that you will see the turquoise blue water and the green scenery. 

There are multiple hikes for all levels.

A great easy hike for all ages is Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail. 

Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is 2.5 miles all-paved. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round. 

This hike is popular to watch the sunrise.

Give yourself about 2 hours to enjoy this hike and the incredible views. 

Don’t forget to bring water and sun protection. No shade up here. The good idea is to bring a lunch box and have lunch with amazing views.

Kaiwa Ridge (Lanikai Pillbox) Trail is a super popular hike with impressive views of three beaches and a view of the mokes islands. 

The hike is 1.8 miles, and it’s a rocky hike that takes about 30 mins to reach the top. 

I have seen families of all ages do this hike. 

Look up Oahu trails here. 


Hawaii is the perfect place to learn how to surf.

If you are five years old or if you are 80 years old. 

Waikiki is known for great small waves and is perfect for beginners. 

You will see locals and tourists learning to surf in Waikiki. 

There are many places on the beach that offer lessons.

Surfing Lessons range from $80-$145, depending on the length of the lesson and group size.


 Shave ice (not “shaved” ice) became popular in Hawaii in the 20th century. 

The shave is an iconic food enjoyed by Hawaii locals year-round and a must-try for visitors. 

After a day on the beach, shaving ice helps you cool off.

 Countless places around the islands sell shave ice with many flavor combinations. 

I recommend looking for a place with all-natural fruit and not artificial high fructose corn syrup.

Cost; $8-10 


Surf culture is a big part of Hawaii’s life. Hawaii is famous for surf competitions.

The best surfers surf in North Shore.

 During the winter months, many competitions are going on.

 I recently watched one, and wow, I couldn’t believe how many people go just to watch. 

I couldn’t believe the size of these waves; they were 15ft. Massive!

I recommend bringing snacks, drinks, a towel to relax and enjoy. 

There is no shade, so bring an umbrella. 

There’s not much parking, so just watch when people leave and don’t park in front of people’s driveways.

Best time: Winter Months


Grab your walking shoes and bug spray and head to the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden. 

You can’t go wrong visiting a botanical garden.

This one is 400 acres, and it is full of plans from all over the world. 

This is a great place to spend the day. There are picnic tables too

They offer guided tours and with a permit can go camping too.

They have a lake and duck everywhere. 

​​Hours: Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm

Admission: Free.

IN SUMMARY: 10 Non-Touristy Things To Do In Oahu From A Local 

As you can see, Hawaii doesn’t only offer touristy things to do. 

There are many other things that locals also enjoy that visitors can also enjoy. 

Not everything you do in Hawaii is going to cost you a fortune. 

Half of the list above is free and will make great memories when you visit. 

Let me know in the comments below what you will be adding to your list to visit during your time in Hawaii. 


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