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THE BEST THINGS TO DO ON OAHU

Take an island day trip

All roads lead to Honolulu, or at least it seems that way on the island of Oahu, where a number of scenic drives steer visitors away from THE MODERN HONOLULU for day-trip fun filled with genuine aloha.

Hawaii trip planner

The third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu is roughly 600 square miles and is the perfect destination for a leisurely Hawaii road trip. The Pali Highway is Oahu’s shortest scenic drive, but it never fails to impress, twisting its way up into the misty Koolau Range with its celebrated lookout — Nu’uana Pali State Wayside.

Together, the Kalaniano’ole and Kamehameha highways connect near Kailua, taking THE MODERN HONOLULU visitor on a “Hawaii road trip across paradise” and ending at every surfers’ favorite stop — North Shore. Meanwhile, Farrington Highway hugs the north and west shores of Oahu for plunging views of the coastline.

Oahu activities

Of course, during your Hawaii road trip adventures, you’ll want to stop to take in the many Oahu activities and island attractions, all within driving distance from THE MODERN HONOLULU and its central location. Its award-winning concierge team takes great pride in helping guests navigate the island, and when we say award-winning, we mean it, too. (One of THE MODERN HONOLULU concierge members received a 2014 TripAdvisor Exceptional Service Award nomination.) 

That same concierge team helped assemble the Explore pages on this website (an in-depth guide to Oahu activities), while the above Oahu map helps guests pinpoint some of our favorite attractions. 

Of course, if you want to venture a little farther than Oahu ...

HONOLULU is the perfect start to your island hopping destination >

1. Diamondhead
A 14-minute drive from THE MODERN HONOLULU, Oahu’s Diamond Head state monument offers one of the island’s most breathtaking summits. (Read more)
2. Hanauma Bay
Take a picturesque drive to Hanauma Bay, 15 minutes away from the hotel, where Koko Head hiking adventures and Hanauma Bay snorkeling discoveries wait. (Read more)
3. Kualoa Ranch
Make a day trip to Kualoa Ranch. See where Jurassic Park was filmed or take a horseback ride or an ATV excursion through this pristine ranch. (Read more)
4. Polynesian Cultural Center
An hour from THE MODERN HONOLULU, the Polynesian Culture Center offers 42 acres of island history, complete with replica villages from Tahiti to Tonga. (Read more)
5. Waimea Falls
Spend an afternoon (or the whole day) at Waimea Falls with its beautiful falls, stunning valleys and sacred past. The locale is also a favorite filming location. (Read more)
6. North Shore
Boasting some of the sweetest surf spots for serious surfers, this Oahu day trip is also the perfect place to score Hawaiian eats and Haleiwa wares. (Read more)
7. Shrimp Trucks
Oahu’s shrimp trucks draw long lines near North Shore’s main roads. Giovanni’s Shrimp truck is among the legendary stops. Bring cash. Plates run around $13. (Read more)
8. Dole Pineapple Plantation
Dole Pineapple Plantation is a favorite among foodies. Savor DoleWhip ice cream, explore the garden maze and take a train ride through pineapple history. (Read more)
9. Pearl Harbor
December 7, 1941 — the attack on Pearl Harbor — is know as “the date that will live in infamy.” Honor the 1,777 sailors and Marines who lost their lives here. (Read more)
10. Bishop Museum
Bishop Museum features the most comprehensive collection of royal Hawaiian heirlooms, documents and photographs, plus interactive science. (Read more)
11. Iolani Palace
Discover the history behind Hawaiian’s royalty at Iolani Palace, the last residence of King Kalakaua, and later, his sister, Queen Liliuokalani. (Read more)