Oahu is one of the most developed and renowned of the Hawaiian islands, with Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, and Pearl Harbor–all must-see destinations in the United States. Most first-time tourists to Hawaii will stay here because it has the most lodging options and activities.
If you’re planning a trip to Oahu, keep in mind that the island is a great place to visit at any time of year and offers the ideal combination of peaceful resorts, Hawaiian tradition, and natural wonders.
Today, we’ll show you our ideal 3-Day Oahu Itinerary. Of course, traveling is all about doing what makes you happy, so pick and select what best suits your needs! We’ll also explore vacation ideas, a concise summary of this plan, and what to do during your three days on Oahu.
Itinerary for Oahu, Hawaii
Feel free to use this Oahu trip planning template or modify it to fit your needs. While this schedule is designed for people who wish to see Oahu in three days, you may always extend your vacation by visiting one of the beaches listed at the bottom of the itinerary.
This way, you may easily spend four days in Oahu, with a somewhat relaxed last day on the island.
How to Spend the Best Time in Oahu?
We strongly advise you to rent a car for this trip. This will make getting about the island much more convenient. There’s no need to worry if you don’t have a car because the island has public transit.
There are also other tours available online that combine many of the locations listed below into single-day excursions.
The Hawaiian Islands are rich in natural beauty and magnificent scenery. To keep it that way, we must appreciate nature, therefore please don’t trash and leave only traces and smiles behind.
Oahu: Day 1
Start your day with a delicious Hawaiian breakfast at the Highway Inn.
Then, as a starting point for your adventure, we propose visiting Pearl Harbor, a World War II memorial.
Tickets can be booked in advance, which is highly advised because it is the island’s most visited historic site. You can also take a guided tour of the site to learn more about its history.
A ticket to the USS Arizona Memorial event will be included on all tours. Most guests consider the shuttle boat ride out to the USS Arizona Memorial to be the highlight of their day.
During your three days on Oahu, make sure to spend as much time as possible exploring Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital.
The Aloha Tower, a 10-story lighthouse and a Hawaiian landmark, and Iolani Palace, which was the royal residence for the Kingdom of Hawaii’s past rulers, are two sights in this area worth visiting.
Travel to the Dole Plantation in the afternoon. This well-known pineapple farm offers a variety of entertaining activities and is one of the greatest places to take children when travelling.
Riding the Pineapple Express Train and viewing more of the place is a lot of fun. After that, go lost in the Pineapple Garden Maze — it’s a huge maze that’s great for all ages!
Allow time at the conclusion of your trip to sample the world-famous Dole Whip. You’re in for a treat if you’ve never tasted one before! It’s pineapple soft-serve ice cream, and it’s available in a variety of flavours and sizes.
With a variety of scrumptious and unique goodies to choose from, their massive Country Store is ideal for picking up mementos for your family back home.
Watch the setting sun at Magic Island in Ala Moana in the evening, then relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.
Kalakaua Avenue, which runs parallel to Waikiki Beach, is a lengthy stretch of road lined with restaurants and bars, as well as high-end businesses.
Take a sunset stroll along the beach, then replenish with a healthy and delicious meal. The cuisine at Cheeseburger In Paradise was fantastic.
It’s right on the beach, and everything we ordered here was amazing, particularly the coconut shrimp as well as tuna steak.
Oahu: Day 2
Three days on Oahu is enough time to get a taste of the region’s abundant natural beauty, and on day two, we’ll go over it in further detail.
Koko Head Café serves a great breakfast to help you start your day off well. Lee Anne Wong, a well-known chef, runs Koko Head, a brunch establishment.
Then take a trip to Diamond Head Crater, a volcanic crater with a historic military defence station perched on top.
It’s a popular sunrise hiking trail, so go later in the day to enjoy the views while avoiding the crowd.
It’s a one-hour climb that’s rather easy despite being quite uphill. The vistas of Waikiki Beach and Downtown Honolulu are definitely worth the trek, and it’s one of the island’s most popular hikes, so it’s a must-do.
After all, there is nothing really better than trekking among Oahu’s lush and rich natural beauty.
Next, get in your car or take the bus to Hanauma Bay. One of the most popular snorkelling spots in Hawaii’s famous coral reefs is here. Take some cash with you because you will need to pay for park admission.
The marine life here is incredible, and we were fortunate enough to observe a lot of fish while snorkelling! The water is crystal clean, and it will be less busy if you visit early in the morning after your hike.
One thing to keep in mind is to use sunscreen that is reef-safe. This is enforced throughout Hawaii and is critical for the seas’ and wildlife’ health.
Continue travelling to Kualoa Ranch after a morning of swimming. This is a private nature reserve well known for being the setting for the Jurassic World films.
Godzilla, 50 First Dates, LOST, Jurassic World, and Hawaii Five-0 are among the other films that were shot here. The tour selections are numerous, but our personal favourite is the Hollywood Movie Sites Tour.
The tour guides go into great depth about the filming locations, and there are many items and interesting sets from the films on display. Before heading out on a tour, stop by the wonderful cafe on site for some burgers and lunch options.
You could easily spend an entire day here, or otherwise if you do have free time, the Jurassic Valley Zipline and E-Mountain Bike Tour are both excellent options. You can purchase several packages that include activities, and we strongly advise that you plan and book ahead of time.
Return to your hotel after a long day to clean yourself and rest for a few hours.
When the evening arrives, head out to see a genuine Hawaiian Luau. The Paradise Cove Luau on Ko Olina, on the west coast of Oahu, is a fantastic option.
The evening begins with participatory activities for the entire family, followed by the luau itself. The buffet includes traditional Hawaiian fare such as salmon, pork, poi, and a variety of sides, as well as a roasted pig.
The concert is a colourful event that will be remembered for a long time!
The Polynesian Cultural Center is another excellent option for a Luau on the island. The Polynesian Cultural Center’s dance acts and storytelling are amazing, and the food is once again of excellent quality.
Oahu: Day 3
As you’ve seen, there are plenty of things to do on Oahu that you could easily spend a week here.
Enjoy wonderful malasadas for breakfast at Leonard’s Bakery on your final morning on the island. Malasadas are deep-fried sugar-coated doughnuts from Portugal.
Then get ready for the Lanikai Pillbox Hike, which is a different kind of hike. This was our favourite trek on the island, and the views from the top were spectacular.
Because it starts with a high ascent, it’s a little more difficult than Diamond Head from yesterday.
During the hike, you will be exposed to spectacular views of Kailua Beach, Lanikai Beach, and the Mokulua Islands. The round trip will take between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on your fitness level.
Before heading back down, take a moment to enjoy the military history you’re witnessing while sitting on a pillbox.
Head to the Byodo-in Temple next. The Valley of the Temples Memorial Park contains a non-denominational Buddhist temple, which was an unexpected sight for us on the island.
It marks the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. It’s a tranquil and lovely spot to visit, and it’s well worth the drive.
If you’re feeling particularly daring today, including a cageless shark dive in your itinerary. One Ocean Diving is the finest firm to accomplish this with.
They will not only allow you to swim with sharks in open seas, but they will also educate you about sharks and provide you with a wealth of information. It took us roughly two hours to complete the entire activity.
They’ll take you out on a boat to the dive site, where the pristine water will allow you to see the amazing animals. You’ll be swimming in the water for around 30 minutes, and groups can go together.
You’ll definitely want to catch this moment if you have an underwater camera! Even though it is a costly activity, it is one that you should consider doing while visiting Oahu because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Every day is a day to go to the North Shore for lunch if you want to avoid the sharks. The North Shore is famed for its big waves and surfing competitions.
Lunch in Haleiwa town, followed by a stroll around the shops and art galleries.
If you like sweet sweets, stop by Waialua Bakery for an afternoon snack to take with you, and no vacation to Hawaii is complete without a stop at Matsumoto Shave Ice for some shave ice.
Don’t forget to visit Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck on the North Shore; this food truck is known for its wonderful garlic shrimp. Before it even opened, there was a large wait.
The Turtle Bay Resort is a luxury hotel complex on the North Shore including restaurants, a spa, and a golf course. If you want to create a lasting impression, choose an oceanfront view accommodation at this magnificent resort.
If you do have the strength, we recommend hiking to the Manoa Waterfall on your final day in Oahu. It’s a simple and popular trail, so don’t be discouraged if you’re tired!
It will take between one and two hours to complete the trek, depending on how muddy the trail is and how fit you are. You might want to spend some more time by the waterfall to chill off.
The journey, rather than the destination, is the focus of this activity. The hike up to the waterfall is beautiful, and you’ll be surrounded by native Hawaiian vegetation.
Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center in the afternoon. This is an excellent place to learn about Polynesian culture and history, as well as the islands’ relationship with them.
Enjoy a wonderful supper and some downtime in Waikiki or your resort area on your last night. You’ll be delighted on the island, as there are so many wonderful pubs and dining options.
Visit the Island’s Beaches
Your three days in Oahu would be incomplete without a visit to one of the island’s beautiful beaches.
If you plan on remaining on the island for a longer period of time, try expanding out the above agenda to include more beach and pool time at your hotel. Here are some of the best beaches in Oahu:
- Lanikai Beach
- Waikiki Beach
- Kailua Beach
- Waimea Beach
While three days in Oahu isn’t long enough to get a taste of the island, we hope this schedule will assist you in planning a fantastic trip to Hawaii.
Oahu is readily combined with other Hawaiian islands such as Maui and Kauai, and has strong flight connections to many US cities.
There are a plethora of hotel, Airbnb, and apartment options available here, as well as a variety of resort regions to choose from.
Remember that travelling is all about seeing new places, so adjust the above schedule to your specific needs and interests. One thing is certain: there will never be a shortage of things to do in Oahu, and you will want to return the moment you leave this beautiful island!