12 Top Things To Do In Honolulu Hawaii

August 15, 2021

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Best things to do in Honolulu Hawaii

Hello from Honolulu Hawaii! If you’re looking for a beachy vacation, I got you. I hopped on the new non-stop flight from Austin to Honolulu on Hawaiin Airlines last month for a beachy getaway. I’ve only been to Hawaiian islands Maui and Big Island so O’ahu has been on my list to visit.

SEE ALSO: 5 Top Things To Do In Maui Hawaii

The island of Oahu is located in the Pacific Ocean – we went for a quick 4-day vacation and here were our 12 favorite things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii! 


Ocean canoe from Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii Beach

Ocean canoe from Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii Beach

1. Ocean canoe from Kailua Beach

This was our favorite activity on this trip! Three-hour ocean canoe from Kailua Beach through the clear, beautiful waters of Kailua Bay – I was surprised by how incredible this 4-mile paddle was!

Tip: eat beforehand and pack water and sunscreen! 

Book here


Island Snow in Kailua, Hawaii

2. Shave ice at Island Snow

After the ocean canoe, we headed straight to Island Snow for shave ice!

130 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI, islandsnow.com


Prince Waikiki Hotel in Honolulu Hawaii

Prince Waikiki hotel in Honolulu Hawaii

3. Stay at Prince Waikiki

This was the view from our room at Prince Waikiki – waking up to this view every morning was breathtaking! Loved how convenient this was to the shopping district and restaurants and the infinity pool overlooking the harbor. 

The lobster fried rice with truffle at 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar was SOOO good.

100 Holomoana St, Honolulu, HI 96815, princewaikiki.com


Leonard's in Honolulu Hawaii

4. Fresh malasadas at Leonard’s

When in Hawaii, you have to eat malasadas and the spot to go in Honolulu is Leonard’s – they make all of their malasadas fresh to order. Our favorite was the macadamia and guava. 

933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI


5. Makapu’u Tidepools

The Makapu’u tide pools are one of the most beautiful spots on Oahu, Hawaii. We also stopped by the Blowholes at the Makapu’u Tide Pools.

8 7th St, Honolulu, HI 96819


Secret island beach adventure at Kualoa Ranch, Honolulu, Hawaii

6. Secret island beach adventure at Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch has something for everyone – ATV raptor rides, Jurassic Valley zipline, electric mountain bike, horseback walking tours, a taste of Kualoa farm tour, secret island beach adventure, and more. We did the Secret Island Beach Adventure, which was a quick ferry across to the private island where you can kayak, paddleboard, canoe, and more. 

49-560 Kamehameha Highway Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744, Book here


Waikane Fruit Hut in Honolulu Hawaii

7. Waikane Fruit Hut

We stopped by this fruit hut for some fresh coconut, pineapple, and papaya after Kualoa Ranch. 


Shimazu shave ice in Honolulu Hawaii

8. Shave ice at Shimazu Shave Ice

This was our second shave ice stop on this 4-day trip in Honolulu. Shimazu Shave Ice is located next door to the iconic Rainbow Foods restaurant and this was the medium! 

Tip: cash only

3111 Castle St, Honolulu, HI 96815


9. Hike Koko Crater Railway Trailhead

Everyone recommended me to hike Koko Crater Railway Trailway but nobody bothered to tell me it’s a real life StairMaster! This is a very steep hike 1,048 railroad ties of 990 feet up an abandoned railroad track on Koko Crater with an incredible view of Honolulu. We saw so many hikers running up and down the trailhead but be careful if you do visit. Honolulu is home to many hiking trails!

7604 Koko Head Park Rd #7602, Honolulu, HI 96825


Musubi Cafe in Honolulu Hawaii

10. Eat musubi at Musubi Cafe IYASUME

Spam musubi at Musubi Cafe ranges from $2 – $5 – we loved the teriyaki SPAM and eel egg SPAM. So surprised that they made the musubi fresh to order! Honolulu is a mecca of Asian food.

2427 Kūhiō Ave. #1F, Honolulu, HI 96815, iyasumehawaii.com


Pink hotel at Waikiki Beach

11. Visit Waikiki Beach

You have to visit Waikiki Beach when in Honolulu – it’s one of the most famous beaches in the world! 


Garlic shrimp in Honolulu Hawaii

12. Garlic shrimp 

One of our last meals in Honolulu was the garlic shrimp from Sam’s Kitchen – so good!

353 Royal Hawaiian Ave, Honolulu, HI


Other things to do in Honolulu Hawaii

  • Diamond Head State Monument
  • ‎Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve
  • Pearl Harbor National Memorial – sunken battleship is still visible from the memorial floating above it
  • Shopping in downtown Honolulu
  • Manoa Falls – 150-foot waterfall that empties into a shimmering rock pool
  • North Shore – professional surfers from across the globe flock to Oahu’s North Shore
  • USS Arizona Memorial – built over the remains of the bombed battleship that claimed more than 1,700 lives
  • Bishop Museum
  • Honolulu Museum of Art
  • Honolulu Zoo
  • helicopter tour of Honolulu
  • Makapu’u Lighthouse
  • Battleship Missouri Memorial – go aboard USS Missouri
  • Diamond Head Crater
  • Iolani Palace -built in 1882, this 10-room historic house and museum details the reigns of King Kalakaua and his sister, Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s final monarchs. It is the only official state royal residence found in the U.S.
  • Ala Moana Center
  • Kapiolani Park
  • Chinatown Historic District
  • Lanikai Beach – more tranquil with relatively calm waters and a mile of white sands
  • USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
  • Waikiki Aquarium – great place to learn about the marine life on Hawaii
  • Royal Hawaiian Center
  • Honolulu Botanical Gardens
  • Shangri La Museum
  • Shark’s Cove – Hawaii boasts more than 1,200 feet of coral reef, so it’s one of the biggest destinations in the world for snorkeling and scuba diving
  • Experience a traditional Hawaiian luau 
  • Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.