Oahu is known as the gathering place, because the island was formed by two volcanoes that “gathered” or overlapped. This happy coincidence formed Oahu as it looks today – a tropical paradise! A mountainous coastline gives way to soft sand and turquoise blue waters, and it is impossible to resist their call. However, it can be difficult to decide where to paddle on Oahu. The whole island is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean!
things to do in honolulu
Here is our list of the best spots to explore the pristine waters of Oahu. Adventure abounds with so many activities near Honolulu!
When you think of Hawaii, surfing is one of the first things that comes to mind. The waves in Hawaii are world renowned for surfing. In fact, Oahu is one of the best places to learn this exhilarating art of riding the waves. You’re in luck! Rent a surfboard or take surfing lessons from the experts on Waikiki Beach.
For surfing, visit Sandy Beach in Honolulu (advanced), Yokohama Bay on the West Side (intermediate), and Diamond Head Beach in Honolulu (beginners). Where you go also depends on how long you want to rent your board and whether you have transportation. Waikiki is also a great place to ride the waves.
STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING (SUP)
Featuring calm water and beautiful, classic Hawaiian scenery, Ala Moana Beach Park is a picture perfect place to paddleboard. It can be more crowded than other parts of Oahu due to its proximity to Honolulu, but for good reason – it’s gorgeous! If you are able to drive up to the North Shore for paddleboarding, we recommend paddling at Sunset Beach. You can even paddle there from Waimea bay if you are up for the 8-mile round trip paddle!
SNORKELING AND STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING
There is nothing like the view under the ocean in Oahu. Coral reefs, sea turtles, fish, and other fantastic ocean life abound under this sea. This scene is even better in the waters off Hanauma Bay in the South, Sharks Cove in the North, and Kaena in the West.
Rent snorkeling equipment with delivery to area hotels, or try a snorkeling and stand up paddleboarding tour if you would like to combine both activities in the calm waters of Waikiki. Enjoy abundant wildlife like sea turtles and monk seals.
You can also sign up for a canoe surfing tour in the clear waters of Waikiki! If you’ve never heard of it, it’s an ancient Hawaiian pastime, and a fun way to get your whole group out to enjoy the ocean.
surfboard rental honolulu
TripOutside features the best local shops in Honolulu for surfing lessons, gear rental and other outdoor adventures like paddleboarding and biking.