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How to Get Off the Beaten Path on Oahu

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How to Get Off the Beaten Path on Oahu
There’s much more to Oahu than Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, and the big wave breaks of the North Shore. To find hidden gems that most tourists miss, venture off the beaten path. Here are some ideas on how to spend your time on Oahu, away from the crowds.
 
Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden
Located on the windward side of Oahu is the 400-acre (162-hectare) Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens. Plantings from the world's major tropical regions fill the garden, aptly named “a peaceful refuge.” It’s a quiet spot to enjoy hiking, bicycling, or a picnic among flowers. On weekends, take advantage of catch-and-release fishing.
 
Waimanalo
For a taste of rural life on Oahu, head to the small town of Waimanalo, on the eastern side of Oahu. Tucked between the Ko’olau mountain range, the area is full of small farms, ranches, and nurseries. Catch a rodeo, play a round of golf, or watch a game of polo. Or, enjoy a quiet, white-sand beach and snorkeling among Hawaiian green sea turtles.
 
Shangri La
Explore one of the largest collections of Islamic and South Asian art in the United States at Shangri La, the Oahu home of American tobacco heiress Doris Duke. Visit the opulent oceanfront estate on a guided tour and view some of the more than 2,500 objects collected by Duke over a period of nearly 60 years.
 
Byodo In-Temple
Tucked away in the Valley of Temples, at the foot of the Ko’olau mountains, the Byodo-In Temple is smaller scale replica of a temple of the same name in Kyoto, Japan. Built to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the arrival of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, the temple is surrounded by landscaped grounds that feature various structures, a koi pond, and a large wooden Buddha.
 
Kaena Point
Not many people make it to the westernmost point of Oahu. The roads don’t go all the way, so you have to hike the final 2.7-mile (4.3-kilometer) stretch. Once you make it to Kaena Point, your reward is secluded sandy coves and stunning views of the Waianae coast, Mokuleia, and the Pacific. There is also a bird sanctuary nearby.
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Oahu Tours & Activities (14)
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Full Day Oahu Luxury Circle Island Guided Tour with Snorkeling at the BeachDay Trips

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Full Day Oahu Luxury Circle Island Guided Tour with Snorkeling at the Beach

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Explore the entire island of O'ahu without the stress of driving. This full-day tour takes you around the island, from the Diamond Head Beach Lookout, to the Dole Plantation, and Halona Blowhole. Includes snorkeling at the North Shore's Turtle Beach.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
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Oahu Grand Circle Island TourDay Trips

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Oahu Grand Circle Island Tour

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Explore Oahu's most popular spots all in one day on this tour, including transportation to and from your hotel. Travel comfortably around the island in an air-conditioned coach or minivan as you pass by Diamond Head and North Shore Surfing Beaches. Make stops at the Dole Plantation, Kualoa Ranch, Byodo-In Temple, and a variety of lookout points.
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  • 9 hours
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  • 9 hours
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Private Customizable Grand Circle Island Tour of OahuBus Tours

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Private Customizable Grand Circle Island Tour of Oahu

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Enjoy beautiful and rarely traveled Oahu sights, without the hassle of driving in traffic or boarding a crowded bus. Hit many of your Hawaii agenda items in one full day with a private circle island tour. Customize it to the tropical nature, beautiful beaches, traditional culture, and history that you want to see, and spend as much time as you would like. Relax in the comfort of an air-conditioned Mercedes van on your way there and back.
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  • 6 to 10 hours
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  • 6 to 10 hours
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Go Oahu All-Inclusive Pass with 45+ Attractions and ToursBike & Mountain Bike Tours

Go Oahu All-Inclusive Pass with 45+ Attractions and Tours

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Make the most out of your trip to paradise with the Go Oahu Pass, available for 1- to 7-day use over the course of two weeks. This Oahu pass offers free admission to over 30 attractions, beach activities, and tours—all to be enjoyed at your own relaxed pace. You’ll also receive discounts to local restaurants and shops, along with a free pocket guidebook. No redemption is required with your pass, just save your pass (ticket) on your mobile device and explore Oahu at your leisure. Please note: Enjoy the extra flexibility in case your travel plans need to change: All passes are valid for one year from purchase date and only become activated with your first attraction visit. After activation your pass will be valid for the number of days purchased.
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  • 7 days
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  • 7 days

Half Day Eastern Oahu Shoreline TourNature & Wildlife

Half Day Eastern Oahu Shoreline Tour

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Enjoy a day on the eastern shores of Oahu with this popular tour that kicks off on the slopes of Diamond Head. Wind along the shoreline from Hanauma Bay to Halona Blowhole. Learn about local myths, ancient legends and fascinating history as you travel alongside your expert guide. This tour concludes with incredible views atop the Nu'uanu Pali overlook.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
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Oahu Grand Circle Tour with Kualoa Ranch LunchDay Trips

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Oahu Grand Circle Tour with Kualoa Ranch Lunch

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Learn why Oahu is known as 'the Heart of Hawaii' on this full-day comprehensive tour around the island. Travel by air-conditioned coach, hotel pickup and drop-off available at select hotels. Full buffet lunch at Kualoa Ranch's Aunty Pat's Cafe included.
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  • 9 hours
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  • 9 hours
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Oahu Off-the-Beaten-Path Sacred Sites Small-Group Tour from HonoluluCultural Tours

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Oahu Off-the-Beaten-Path Sacred Sites Small-Group Tour from Honolulu

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Get off the typical tourist path and discover sacred sites with a local guide. This half-day outing takes you to five or six locations around the island, each of which has a fascinating story behind its cultural significance. Learn about the history, geology, and spiritual practices of Hawaii as you explore this tropical haven.
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  • 6 hours
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  • 6 hours
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Local Expert Private ToursDay Trips

Local Expert Private Tours

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Make the most of your precious time in Hawaii with a private Oahu tour that you can customize to your own interests. Whether you want to see beaches, go for a hike, or check out historical attractions, you can enjoy a day the way you want with a private guide. Possible things to see and do include Diamond Head, Manoa Falls, Hanauma Bay, Kualoa Ranch, a coffee farm, the North Shore, or downtown sites.
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  • 5 to 9 hours
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  • 5 to 9 hours
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Small-Group Tour of East Oahu's Famous BeachesHalf-day Tours

Small-Group Tour of East Oahu's Famous Beaches

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Explore the picture-perfect beaches, historic landmarks and headlands of eastern Oahu on a 4-hour tour that’s a great overview of the scenic area. Learn about Waikiki history, then get sweeping views of the coast from Diamond Head lookout; drive alongside the sandy beach at Hanauma Bay and explore coves and blowholes. Find out why Sandy Beach is ‘the most dangerous in America,’ then look deep into the rainforest from Pali Lookout, where Hawaiian armies clashed in the 18th-century. Take home a video (available for purchase) of your tour that’s a wonderfully personal souvenir.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours
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East Oahu Explorer TourHiking & Camping

East Oahu Explorer Tour

Experience rare island views and hike part of the Ko’olau Summit Trail (KST) on this east Oahu explorer tour. See Sandy Beach and watch experienced surfers brave monster waves. Climb to the summit of a private cliff top in a shuttle and see panoramic views of Waimanalo beach and surrounding islands. Experienced hikers have the option to explore a portion of the KST on a guided hike. Go beyond the tourist sights and avoid the hassles of driving and navigating on this adventure tour.
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  • 4 hours
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  • 4 hours
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Small Group Sunset Tour of East OahuNature & Wildlife

Small Group Sunset Tour of East Oahu

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Visit pristine beaches, lookouts and picture-perfect headlands on a 3-hour sunset tour of Oahu’s scenic eastern edge. Learn about the rich history of the island as you make your way along the coast, with stops at classic and lesser-known destinations. See the scenic stretch of sand at Makapu’u and Waimanalo Beach, and look deep into the lush rainforest from Pali Lookout. Watch the waves crashing on China Wall and the Spitting Caves, then capture sweeping views and warm, sunset colors from the tip of Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach.
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  • 3 hours
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  • 3 hours
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Full-day Circle Island Tour on OahuFull-day Tours

Full-day Circle Island Tour on Oahu

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Circle the island of Oahu on this guided, full-day adventure from Waikiki. Discover the top sites and landscapes on the island and learn about Hawaiian history, culture, and the legends of Oahu along the way. Visit Diamond Head Lookout, the Kahala homes of the rich and famous, Hanauma Bay, Halona Blowhole Lookout, the beach in ‘From Here to Eternity’ and much more. Waikiki hotel pickup and drop-off from select locations included.
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  • 8 hours
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  • 8 hours
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Spiritual Hawaiian Culture Tour from HonoluluCultural Tours

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Spiritual Hawaiian Culture Tour from Honolulu

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Learn about Hawaiian culture as you visit spiritually and historically significant sites around Oahu on this private tour. You'll hear about life and traditions on the island while stopping by places such as Byodo-In Temple. By booking this tour, you'll have the chance to see more of Oahu outside of your resort area with transport planned for you.
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  • 6 hours
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  • 6 hours
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Private South Shore of Oahu TourHalf-day Tours

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Private South Shore of Oahu Tour

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Explore Oahu’s South Shore with your own guide in a climate-controlled vehicle. This private tour is designed for travelers who have limited time and want to see the most scenic spots. Leave the stress of driving in traffic to your guide and relax as you head to the South Shore’s best spots – panoramic lookouts, beautiful beaches, a local lunch spot and the tranquil Byodo-in temple.
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  • 6 hours
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  • 6 hours
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