If you have only one week to spend in Oahu, Hawaii, this itinerary will help you make the most of your time – whether you’re looking to explore the beaches and nature or enjoy some of the island’s famous nightlife, this guide has got you covered to help you get the most out of your time on this beautiful Hawaiian island!
In this post, you’ll learn about all the best things to do and see on Oahu, including famous beaches, outdoor activities, and historical attractions in Oahu. We’ll tell you what to pack for Oahu when to visit the island and give you a perfectly curated 7-day Oahu itinerary for your trip!
By the end of this post, you’ll have everything you need to plan an unforgettable vacation to Oahu.
Are 7 days in Oahu enough?
Whether you’re a first-time visitor or an experienced traveler, it’s difficult to say whether seven days in Oahu is enough time.
Trying to pack it all into one week will leave you stressed out and exhausted – it’s a recipe for disaster!
However, that doesn’t mean that seven days isn’t enough time to have an incredible experience!
A week is plenty of time to explore the most popular attractions and get a taste of what Oahu has to offer with out feeling rushed.
Remember that there’s no need to try and fit everything into one week. You can always come back for more!
7-day Oahu Itinerary
Day 1: Relax
After a long flight across the Pacific, you’ll probably want to spend your first day or two on Oahu just relaxing and exploring Honolulu.
Start by checking into your accommodation and getting settled in, then head out to explore the city.
Head to the beach, take a dip in the pool, or just explore your neighborhood.
In the afternoon, take some time to stroll through Kaka’ako and visit some of the local shops.
Be sure to try some delicious Hawaiian shave ice – it’s like nothing you’ve ever had before!
End your first evening in Oahu with a sunset catamaran cruise around the island!
View the Hawaiian sunset from the deck of a luxury catamaran as you enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
It’s the perfect way to relax after a busy day of exploring and a great way to kick off your week on the island.
Day 2: Explore Honolulu
Day two in Oahu is all about exploring Honolulu and getting to know the city!
Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of the many local cafes, then head out to explore.
Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Hawaii, so today is a great day to get out into nature!
Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day hiking through one of Honolulu’s many parks.
Kapi’olani Regional Park is a great option for beginner hikers as it has relatively easy trails with stunning views of the Diamond Head crater.
For something more challenging, try the Manoa Falls Trail, which takes you to a 150-foot (45-meter) tall waterfall.
For a more advanced hike, head to the Koko Head Crater Trail.
This steep, one-mile (1.6 kilometers) trail takes you up more than 1,000 steps to the top of a crater for incredible views of Honolulu and the surrounding area!
This hike is not for the faint of heart, but the views from the top are definitely worth it.
After a day of hiking, treat yourself to a nice dinner and some live Hawaiian music!
Honolulu is home to many great restaurants, so you’re sure to find something to your taste.
And if you’re in the mood for some entertainment, head to a free hula show at the Royal Hawaiian Center!
This is the perfect way to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and learn more about the history of this beautiful island.
Day 3: Tour the Island 🏝
Today, head east across the island and explore Oahu’s hidden gem – the windward side!
This side of the island is much quieter and less touristy than Honolulu, but it also has some of the most beautiful scenery on Oahu.
There are tons of things to do on the windward side of Oahu, but here are some of my favorites:
Lanikai beach and hike: This beach is famous for its soft white sand and crystal-clear water. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun! The hike to the Lanikai Pillboxes is a short but challenging hike with stunning views of the windward coast.
Hanauma Bay State Park: A stunning natural bay with clear blue waters, perfect for snorkeling or swimming for the whole family.
Hanauma Bay is also home to a living reef, so be sure to pack your snorkel gear and spend the day exploring!
Be sure to check out Hanauma Falls, a small but beautiful waterfall located in the park.
Halona Blowhole: Just east of Hanauma Bay is Halona Cove, home to one of Oahu’s hidden gems – the Halona Blowhole.
Every time the tide is high, the waves crash into a natural
Kailua Beach Park: A beautiful sandy beach with calm waters, perfect for swimming, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding.
Kailua Beach is also a great place to watch the sunrise.
Be sure to try the famous Kailua pork at one of the local restaurants!
Kualoa Ranch: This ranch is a great place to go for a horseback ride, ATV tour, or zip line adventure!
Many movies and TV shows have been filmed at Kualoa Ranch, including Jurassic Park and Jumanji.
Hoomaluhia botanical garden: This garden is a great place to escape the business of city life and take a stroll through nature.
The garden is full of native Hawaiian plants, flowers, and trees.
Hoomaluhia is about 45 minutes from Honolulu and has some of the most beautiful views on Oahu.
Nu’uanu Pali Lookout: Nu’uanu Pali lookout is another great spot for breathtaking views of the city and the ocean.
Pali Lookout is a scenic lookout point above the Pali highway that offers panoramic views of Oahu’s windward coast, including Kailua and Kaneohe Bay.
It’s a great place to visit in the afternoon when the weather tends to be a bit clearer, and you can get some amazing photos!
Day 4: Day trip to the North Shore
Today, set off on a day trip to the beautiful North Shore of Oahu.
Here you’ll find stunning beaches, lush green mountains, and some of the world’s best surf breaks.
Spend your day swimming or snorkeling in the clear blue waters or relaxing on the beach.
Some sights to see on the North Shore are:
Waimea Bay: A large bay with a beautiful sandy beach, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.
This beach is famous for its large waves and board-riding contests.
Sunset Beach: As the name suggests, this is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. It’s also one of the best places to surf on Oahu, so if you’re feeling adventurous, you can give it a try!
Ted’s Bakery: This local bakery is famous for its delicious manju – soft cake balls filled with coconut and other flavors.
Try one of their signature flavors like the chocolate macadamia nut or haupia (coconut) cream!
Around lunchtime, stop at one of the many North Shore food trucks serving up local favorites like plate lunches, poke bowls, and acai smoothies!
These make a perfect lunch after a morning spent swimming and exploring.
Wrap up the day with a visit to Haleiwa Town, where you can browse the shops, grab some ice cream and take in the beautiful views.
Day 5: Scuba diving or snorkeling
If you love spending time in the water, today is all about exploring Oahu’s underwater world!
You can choose to go scuba diving and explore the beautiful coral reefs or simply snorkel and marvel at the colorful fish swimming below you.
If you’ve ever considered renting a stand-up paddleboard or taking a surf lesson, Oahu is the place to do it!
Oahu is the perfect place to learn with its gentle waves and warm water.
Kayaking in Oahu’s pristine waters is also a great way to explore the island’s coastline!
Many companies on the island offer lessons and rentals, so be sure to do some research beforehand and choose one that suits your needs and budget.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, go shark diving without a cage!
This thrilling experience will let you get up close and personal with these majestic predators.
Day 5: Explore the historical and cultural side of Oahu
Today, spend your day exploring the historic sites of Pearl Harbor. Start by visiting the USS Arizona Memorial – a monument to the over 1,000 lives lost when the battleship was tragically sunk in 1941.
Other notable sights at Pearl Harbor include Battleship Missouri Memorial, Ford Island Historical Monument, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.
After exploring Pearl Harbor, take some time to learn about Hawaii’s rich culture and history at the Bishop Museum.
This museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing the cultural heritage of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.
In the afternoon, visit Lolani Palace – the former royal residence of Hawaii’s last two monarchs.
This beautiful palace is a National Historic Landmark and a must-see for anyone interested in Hawaiian history.
End your day with a traditional Hawaiian luau dinner at the Polynesia Cultural Center!
These dinners typically include a feast of Kalua pork, poi, lomi salmon, haupia, and other local specialties.
Many luaus also feature other live entertainment, such as fire knife shows!
Luaus are a great way to experience Hawaii’s culture firsthand and are sure to be a highlight of your trip.
Are you a night owl and want things to do? As a local, these are my top things to do at night on the island.
Day 7: Discover Waikiki
To wrap up your trip, spend your last day exploring Waikiki’s famous beaches, shops, and activities.
Head to the Ala Moana Center for some shopping at their high-end boutiques and popular chain stores.
This open-air mall consists of over 350 stores, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for!
For lunch, enjoy some of Hawaii’s freshest seafood at one of the many restaurants lining Waikiki Beach.
After lunch, take a stroll down Kalakaua Avenue – Waikiki’s main shopping street.
This street is lined with stores, cafes, restaurants, and beautiful hanging flower baskets and fountains.
Late in the day, visit one of Waikiki’s many rooftop bars for panoramic views of the city.
As night falls, experience some of Waikiki’s exciting nightlife – from raucous dance clubs to laid-back bars.
It’s the perfect way to end your trip to Oahu!
Oahu Travel Tips
Before you head to Oahu, it’s essential to know a few things about the island. Here are some quick tips to help you plan your trip:
Oahu is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, but it’s by far the most populous. With over a million residents, Oahu is a bustling island with plenty to see and do.
Oahu is also a popular tourist destination, so expect crowds at popular attractions.
Plan your days accordingly and try to avoid the busiest times if possible.
– The island is divided into four main regions: Honolulu, East Oahu, Central Oahu, and the North Shore. Each region has its own unique character and attractions.
– The island is home to many beautiful beaches, each with its own personality.
Choose a beach based on what you’re looking for, whether it’s secluded and peaceful or lively and social.
Now that you know the basics let’s answer some frequently asked questions about traveling to Oahu!
When is the best time to visit Oahu?
When planning when to take a vacation to Oahu, there are many things to consider.
Some people may be looking for warmer temperatures and sunny days, while others might be more interested in the best time to visit to escape the crowds.
Historically, the ideal time to visit this beautiful island is between April and June or September and November when the weather is pleasant, and there are fewer crowds.
This is the perfect time to appreciate all that Oahu has to offer, whether you’re splashing in the waves at famous beaches like Waikiki or relaxing on a scenic hiking trail with striking views of the Diamond Head crater.
Regardless of your travel preferences, Oahu offers something for everyone any time of year!
Are you planning a trip to Oahu? And feeling overwhelmed and lost? Do you have specific questions you’d like answered, need guidance around which activities to choose, review your itinerary, or want advice on travel logistics? Or maybe you want some simple reassurance about your trip. I’m here to help! ➡️ Click this link to schedule your call! ⬅️
How to get to Oahu?
Getting to Oahu can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be with a little advanced planning and some insider tips.
The first step is to book your flight to Hawaii as early as possible.
As one of the most popular tourist destinations globally, tickets sell out quickly, especially during peak season.
If you’re struggling to find an affordable flight, consider traveling in the off-season or mid-week instead of on weekends or holidays.
You could also consider flying to other airports on the islands – there are multiple flights per day from Los Angeles to Hawaii’s airports on Oahu and Maui.
Airlines like Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines usually offer affordable flights to secondary airports.
Check the cost breakdown for a trip to Hawaii.
How to get around on Oahu?
Once you’ve arrived on Oahu, getting around can be fairly straightforward.
The island has extensive public transportation options, including buses, and taxis that are easy to figure out and book online ahead of time.
It’s totally up to you which transport option works best for your needs and budget!
Of course, there are pros and cons to each transportation method.
Taking the bus around the island of Oahu is a convenient, cheap, and easy way to get around, especially if you’re staying in Honolulu.
The buses run frequently and can take you to most of the major tourist destinations on the island.
The daily bus ticket in Oahu is around $7.50, so it’s an excellent option for budget travelers.
However, traveling by bus does have its drawbacks – they can get really crowded during rush hour, so it’s best to avoid taking the bus during those times if possible.
Another great option for getting around on Oahu is to use ride-sharing apps like Uber.
This can be a more convenient and often times cheaper option than taking a taxi, especially if you don’t need door-to-door service.
The average cost for an Uber ride in Oahu is around $25, but it can be more dependent on your location and the time of day.
If you’re planning on taking an Uber everywhere on the island, it can get quite expensive – so it’s best to use this option in combination with other transportation methods.
Also, keep in mind that there are sometimes delays in picking up drivers at popular tourist destinations, so it’s always a good idea to leave extra time for your trip.
Shuttles are another great option for getting around on Oahu.
Many hotels and resorts offer free or discounted shuttle services to popular tourist destinations, which can be a convenient way to get from place to place without having to worry about parking or driving yourself.
However, it’s important to do your research ahead of time to know what type of shuttles are available and where they take you.
Some shuttles might not go everywhere you want to go, so make sure to read the fine print before booking. Also, not all shuttles in Oahu are free – some companies charge a small fee for their services.
If you’re looking for a truly unique way to explore Oahu, consider taking the Waikiki Trolley.
This famous red tram is one of the most popular attractions on the island and offers visitors an easy way to get around between some of the top tourist destinations, including Diamond Head, Waikiki beach, and Pearl Harbor.
A day-pass ticket for the Waikiki trolley car costs around $30-45, depending on which tram lines you plan on using.
Just keep in mind that the trolley only runs during certain times, so it’s important to plan your trip accordingly.
Usually, the trolley runs from 8:45am to 6:30pm, so if you want to take it for a spin, make sure you’re up and about early enough in the day!
If you’re planning on exploring the city past 6:30pm, you’ll need to find another way to get around.
Renting a car in Oahu is an excellent option for travelers who want to explore the island at their own pace.
Not only does it give you the flexibility and freedom to visit off-the-beaten-path attractions, but it also means you can skip public transportation options that may be unreliable or overcrowded.
Keep in mind that parking can sometimes be difficult and expensive, especially in popular tourist destinations like Waikiki or Honolulu.
The average daily parking rate at hotels on Oahu is $35, so it’s important to factor that into your budget.
There are many different ways to get around on Oahu – what’s most important is that you do your research ahead of time and pick the option that best suits your needs and travel style!
What to pack for a trip to Oahu, Hawaii?
Now that you’ve figured out how to get around on Oahu, it’s time for the fun part – to start packing for your trip!
Here’s in depth 7-day Oahu packing list to help you make sure you don’t forget anything important.
Essentials Items to Pack for Hawaii
Reef-Safe sunscreen with non-nano zinc oxide
With an average of 300 sunny days per year, it’s no surprise that sunscreen is a must-pack item for any trip to Oahu!
The sun in Hawaii is incredibly strong, and even if you don’t typically burn, you’ll want to make sure you’re protected from the harmful UV rays.
Be sure to pack ample SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, and make sure it’s reef safe so you can enjoy all the snorkeling and swimming Oahu has to offer without harming the environment.
Many popular sunscreens contain chemicals that can be harmful to marine life, so opt for a reef-safe sunscreen made with non-nano zinc oxide instead.
Make sure that it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate, as these have been linked to coral bleaching.
Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world, so it’s essential to do your part in protecting them!
Don’t know which one to buy here is a list of the best Reef-Safe sunscreens for Hawaii.
Hat and Sunglasses
Another key item for a sunny beach vacation! A wides brimmed sun hat will help keep your face protected from the sun, while sunglasses will help shield your eyes.
If you’re planning to spend time hiking or walking around outdoors, a brimmed hat will also help keep you cool and prevent heat exhaustion.
If you don’t have a pair of sunglasses that you love, now is the time to invest in a good quality pair.
Not only will they help protect your eyes from the sun, but they’ll also help reduce glare and improve your vision when you’re out on the water.
Clothing layers and a light jacket
Oahu tends to be hot and humid year-round, but temperatures can vary depending on the time of day or where you’re on the island.
Layers are always a good idea for any trip, as they’ll help you stay comfortable no matter what the weather is like.
Light layers can include things like a t-shirt and shorts for daytime or a light sweater and jeans for cooler evenings.
A lightweight jacket or raincoat is also essential if you’re planning to head up to the mountains or visit one of Oahu’s many waterfalls.
Whether you prefer a one-piece or a bikini, make sure to pack at least one swimsuit so you can enjoy the island’s beautiful beaches and warm waters.
Oahu is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and other water sports, so you’ll definitely want to maximize your time in the ocean!
Be sure to pack at least one more bathing suit if you’re going to be spending time at the beach, as saltwater and sand can be hard on swimwear.
If you’re planning on spending time in the ocean, be sure to pack a pair of reef shoes or aqua socks.
These will help protect your feet from sharp rocks and shells, making exploring tidepools, beaches, and coral reefs easier and safer.
Many of the best spots on Oahu are only accessible via water, so bring along a pair of aqua socks or waterproof shoes to help keep you comfortable while exploring tidepools and walking over rocks.
If you want to capture the beauty of Oahu’s underwater world, be sure to pack an underwater camera.
Many smartphones now come equipped with excellent waterproof features, so bring your phone along if it’s not too bulky, and you won’t have to worry about breaking or losing a more expensive camera.
An underwater action camera like a GoPro is also a great option, as they’re designed to be durable and can take high-quality video and photos. Perfect for capturing memories that will last a lifetime!
Hiking shoes or sneakers
Oahu is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Hawaii, so make sure you pack a pair of comfortable shoes for exploring.
If you’re planning on doing any serious hiking, consider investing in a pair of hiking shoes or boots.
Even if you’re just looking to take a leisurely stroll through one of Oahu’s many parks or nature reserves and not planning on doing any serious hiking, a sturdy pair of sneakers or walking shoes is still a good idea.
Just be sure to pack something that you know won’t give you blisters!
Reusable tote bag
A reusable tote is essential for carrying things like sunscreen, towels, and snacks!
If you’re planning on doing any shopping while you’re on the island, a tote bag will also come in handy for carrying your purchases.
Plastic bags are banned on Oahu, and if you don’t have your own reusable bag, you’ll be stuck paying 15 cents per bag every time you go to a shop or grocery store.
Look for a reusable tote that’s big enough to fit everything you need but not so big that it’s annoying to carry around.
And if possible, try to find one that’s made from recycled materials or can be easily reused or recycled when you’re done with it.
Still here? Great I have a Free editable packing checklist just for you.
Where To Stay in Oahu
When it comes to accommodation options on Oahu, there are plenty of options to choose from for any traveler.
If you’re traveling on a budget, plenty of affordable apartments and vacation rentals are also available.
For something more luxurious, you may want to opt for a hotel or resort on the beach.
Many resorts offer ocean-view rooms, private beach access, and other amenities like spas and fine dining.
If you’re looking for a truly Hawaiian experience, consider staying in a traditional cabin or beach house at one of the island’s many campgrounds!
✔️ Hotel Renew– Hotel Renew’s prime location in Waikiki offers easy access to some of the island’s best beaches, shopping centers, restaurants, and nightlife. The hotel is perfect for travelers seeking the ideal blend of convenience, luxury, and relaxation.
✔️ Kaimana Beach Hotel– This beautiful oceanfront boutique hotel with stunning views of the Waikiki skyline and Diamond Head. It is an ideal accommodation for those seeking a peaceful and luxurious beach-front vacation away from the busy streets in Waikiki.
✔️ Halekulani Hotel– This hotel is a true gem for anyone seeking a luxurious and unforgettable vacation experience. Boasting stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, this hotel offers guests the perfect blend of natural beauty and contemporary design.
Final Thoughts: 7 Day Oahu Itinerary
No matter what kind of evening you’re looking for, Oahu is sure to have something perfect for you!
With this 7-day Oahu itinerary, you’ll be able to experience all that this beautiful island has to offer and have some unforgettable adventures along the way.
Don’t forget to pin this post for later, and start planning your trip to Oahu today!
Loved This Post? PIN IT!