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Top 10 Outdoor Adventures in Oahu [Ultimate Guide]

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My husband recently graduated with his masters degree, so we knew we had to go somewhere absolutely amazing to celebrate! After looking into several options, we decided to buy cheap tickets from Southwest to Oahu. Here are the Top 10 Outdoor Adventures in Oahu!

This article covers the first 5 adventures, click next to find the last 5!

1. Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens

The second experience on the top outdoor adventures in Oahu list is the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens! Throughout Oahu, there are several different botanical gardens to visit, but I would recommend visiting the Hoomaluhia Botanical Gardens.

Their mission statement is to “make a place with peace and tranquility” and they have done a fabulous job at that! Entrance is free and is opened for 9am-4pm.

In order to get the photo pictured below, you’ll have to visit outside of their open hours and enter the open gate to the left side of the entrance. They don’t like people stopping and getting out of their cars during the day, for obvious reasons.

The first time we decided to come in the morning and we captured beautiful sun-lit images. Unfortunately, when it was time to take some couple photos, the sun came out from behind the clouds and made it impossible to get well-exposed images.

Additional Reading- How To Avoid This Rookie Mistake in Oahu, Hawaii!

So when we were driving past the gardens on the last day we were there we took a slight detour and tried again and had much better luck! We were told that in the morning most of the clouds are usually gone and you’ll get brighter photos.

However, if you are looking for some moody images, visit in the evenings and the clouds usually dip down and partially cover the mountains before sunset.

2. Lainkai Pillbox Hike

This hike is consistently ranked as one of the top hikes when visiting Oahu so we knew that we had to check it out. Start early in the morning or go late at night, do not attempt this hike during the day because it gets so hot!

As there is not a parking lot at the entrance of this hike, you’ll have to park along the street and then walk to the entrance that is marked with a cardboard sign.

If in doubt that you’re on the right trail, then look for the rope that you’ll use not 2 minutes from the start of the trail. If you find that rope, you’re on the right trail.

There are two pillboxes at the top of this hike but honestly we didn’t think it was worth hiking to the second one. The first provided all the excellent views that we needed.

Wear sunscreen, bring water, and plan to be out for an hour. Looking for another great hike? Don’t miss the Diamond Head Hawaii Hike!

3. Rent A Jeep

Nothing says Hawaii like cruising around in a jeep! Check out this Complete Guide to Renting A Jeep in Hawaii that includes the pros & cons plus the best deals!

4. Aki’s Beach

Next up on our Top Outdoor Adventures in Oahu list is Aki’s beach! This beach has got to be one of the best kept secrets in Oahu!

Found on the west shore, this small cove is known to be the ideal place for sea turtles to sunbathe! We stayed on the west side of the island for two days and the first visit to this beach was unsuccessful in spotting any of the turtles.

After chatting with a few locals while there, they too were surprised they were not out that day.

Don’t MissBest 10 Places To Find Sea Turtles In Oahu [Secret Beaches Included]

We decided to come back the second day and were rewarded with a whole hour alone with five beautiful sea turtles! It has got to be one of the coolest experiences in my life.

There are plenty of signs that teach you what to do while around the sea turtles, like staying 20 feet away and not feeding them. Please, please, pretty please follow these simple rules while visiting this beach. That way everyone can continue to enjoy it, especially the sea turtles!

The beach is accessed by a public beach access path between two houses in the neighborhood. So if you’re not staying nearby, you’ll have to park your car along the street and then take dirt path to the beach. 

Did you know that Oahu is not the only island with sea turtles? Check out this article about Maui where they too have a beach like Aki’s!

5. Polynesian Cultural Center

This has got to be first on my list of the top adventures in Oahu! The Polynesian Cultural Center is a non-profit organization that provides an immersive experience and a look at the exciting heritage of the Pacific Islands.

Our #1 Pro Tip would be to get there right as it opens! There is so much to do on their 42 acre property. We arrived right at opening and honestly wondered if we were going to be able to fill up the entire day with things to do. *facepalm*

We didn’t even get through a 1/4 of what the Polynesian Cultural Center has to offer.

What To Do at the Polynesian Cultural Center

During the day I would recommend wandering to each village and watching one performance and participating in a hands-on activity.

Our favorite interactive experience had to be creating “Maui” Fish hook necklaces at the Carver’s Workshop. While also being taught the history of woodworking and other craftsmanships…score!

Also, if you ask Steve or I, sitting down and watching the Samoan Performance had to be our favorite performance! It was incredibly interesting learning how to crack open a coconut, watching someone climb a coconut tree in 5 seconds, and being given bamboo crowns all while laughing at the comedic performance.

They also provide a free tram tour to the Laie Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Visitors Center.

Which package to buy

Be sure to purchase the package that includes the authentic Luau experience! Being able to feast on Polynesian cuisine while watching the performances made for the perfect break.

Steve’s favorite food was the roasted pig while I enjoyed one (or two) yummy pineapple bars! At night, the most talked about event occurs, the evening performance put on by the students from Brigham Young University-Hawaii.

I have been able to watch cultural shows in Peru & Mexico, but I have never seen such a spectacular performance as this one! I won’t spill all the details of the show, just know that this was my favorite part! A big thanks the Polynesian Cultural Center for providing us Discounted Media Passes.

Click to find out the next outdoor adventures (6-10) plus a surprise bonus one!

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