The Ultimate Hawaii Travel Bucket List: What to Do During Your Visit to Oahu

longboard waves

If you’re visiting Hawaii for the first time, deciding what to do with each day can be a bit overwhelming. While it’s always tempting to sit at the beach with a drink in your hands for the duration of your stay, Oahu is a traveler’s paradise that deserves to be thoroughly explored. A stay at Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore of Oahu will put you in an ideal location to experience everything the island has to offer, from the surf to the mountains and everything in between. If you’re planning a Hawaii vacation, continue reading below for The Ultimate Hawaii Travel Bucket List: What to Do During Your Visit to Oahu.


Hawaii Travel Bucket List Item #1: Learn to Surf

a girl in a body of water

Of course, our number one Hawaii travel buck list item is to learn to surf. Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, and wave riding is woven into the fabric of Hawaiian culture. If want to have a truly authentic Hawaii experience, learn to ride waves. Surfing in Hawaii isn’t as simple as just showing up at the beach with a rental board. The waves here can be dangerous and are often crowded with high-level surfers. To ensure you make the most of your Hawaii surfing experience, take a lesson. Our North Shore Surf Lessons will put you in the water at Turtle Bay with the best instructors on the island. Turtle Bay is a protected cove on the North Shore of Oahu, near some of the best waves on the planet. While the best surfers in the world ride giant waves down the road at Pipeline, our students surf the calm and beginner-friendly waters of Turtle Bay.


Hike Diamond Head

Hiking Diamond Head
Image Credit: Love Oahu


Diamond Head (Lē‘ahi) is perhaps the most iconic geographical feature on the island. Diamond Head towers over the easter edge of Waikiki and encompasses over 475 acres of wilderness space. Diamond Head is a volcanic cone with a crater that formed approximately 300,000 years ago. The trail to the summit of Diamond Head was built in 1908. The hike is short (just under a mile) but strenuous as it climbs 560 feet from the crater floor to the summit. The views from the top are well worth the hike. In the winter, you can sometimes spot migrating Humpback Whales. Our Hawaii travel bucket list would not be complete without a stop at Diamond Head.


Snorkel Hanauma Bay

Hawaii Travel Snorkel Hanauma Bay
Image Credit: Trip Savvy


Hanauma Bay, on the southeast side of Oahu, has some of the liveliest water near shore on the entire island. The Hanauma Bay Nature Reserve was formed within a volcanic cove and has been a protected marine life sanctuary since 1967. Float in the calm, crystal-clear waters of the volcanic bay and spot hundreds of colorful fish and vivid coral reefs. Dive beneath the surface to get up close and personal with the marine life, following them through underwater passages carved by the water’s flow through the volcanic rock. A visit to Hanauma Bay should be on every visitor’s Hawaii travel bucket list.


Visit Pearl Harbor

Visit Pearl Harbor
Image Credit: Love Oahu


Pay tribute to the heroes of the greatest generation with a visit to the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor. The exhibit in Pearl Harbor pays tribute to those who gave their lives during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The exhibit dives deep into the US military’s history in Hawaii and explores the harrowing events of that dreadful December day.


Watch Banzai Pipeline in All its Glory

Surf Pipeline

Banzai Pipeline is the most mesmerizing and terrifying wave on the planet. It breaks consistently without a drop of water out of place and is the focal point for the professional surfing world. If you’re visiting Hawaii from late fall to early spring, you may get the chance to see the Pipeline in all its glory. During a proper Pipe swell, the lineup is full of a mix of the world’s best surfers and local chargers. Watching the world’s best perform at Pipeline is the ultimate Hawaii travel buck list item for surfers and ocean lovers alike.


Start each day of your Hawaii vacation with a North Shore surf lesson in Turtle Bay. Book your stay at Turtle Bay Resort to stay close to the action on the North Shore.


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