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Things To Do in Oahu for 4 Days: The Ultimate Itinerary

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After spending four days on the island of Oahu recently and it being my third time on the island of Oahu, I wanted to share the wealth and my knowledge of things to do in Oahu for 4 days. This will allow you to not miss out on the must-see things on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Compared to the other islands of Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island Oahu and Honolulu has the most urban “big city vibe” in comparison, The other islands have more of a laid back demeanor, however, Oahu is a great mix of both.

Oahu is the most popular island in Hawaii, and for good reason. It has something for everyone, from stunning beaches and lush rainforests to vibrant cities and historic sites. If you’re planning a trip to Oahu, you’ve come to the right place! I love trip planning so Oahu trip planning is no different. Let’s dive in on the details of reviewing everything you need to know to be prepared with things to do in Oahu for 4 days (or more!)

View out over Kaneohe sandbar snorkeling area on Oahu Hawaii

When to go: best time to go to Oahu, Hawaii

First things first, you may be wondering what is the best time to go to Oahu, Hawaii? This depends largely on a few different things, what you want to do while you visit and what your budget is. 

The shoulder seasons are generally the best time to visit Oahu (or Hawaii in general.) These are from April to June and September to December. Keep in mind though that November through March is typically their rainy season. Visiting late September to early October turned out to be a perfect time! There were a few brief showers but overall the weather was beautiful. 

March through September are the best times as there is less rain and the best temperatures. Summer months of June-August tend to be the busiest so prices can be higher, things will be more crowded and activities may sell out. 

After about September, the ocean will become more rough and watersports aren’t always advised or can become canceled due to poor conditions. 

When to go: Oahu weather

The weather in Oahu is tropical, with warm temperatures and sunny skies year-round. The average temperature in Honolulu is 78 degrees Fahrenheit, with highs in the 80s and lows in the 70s. 

The wettest months are November through March when there is a chance of rain showers every day. However, the showers are usually short and the sun comes out again quickly. The weather is really pretty great year round in Hawaii which is why it’s such a popular vacation destination.

About Oahu

The island of Oahu is just under 600 square miles. Oahu is the third largest of the Hawaiian Islands, and the most populous. The island of Oahu is just under 600 square miles in size. It is home to the state’s capital, Honolulu, as well as many other popular tourist destinations, including Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, and Diamond Head Crater.

Oahu offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors of all interests. If you’re looking for sun and sand, you can spend your days relaxing on one of Oahu’s many beautiful beaches. If you’re interested in history and culture, you can visit Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial, and Iolani Palace. And if you’re looking for adventure, you can go hiking in the lush rainforests, surfing on the North Shore, or snorkeling in Hanauma Bay.

No matter what your interests are, Oahu is sure to have something to offer. Let’s review the different areas of Oahu to help shape your activities for things to do in Oahu for 4 days.

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is a famous beach located in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and is known for its beautiful white sand, clear blue water, and stunning views of Diamond Head.

Waikiki Beach is a great place to relax and soak up the sun, swim, surf, or go for a walk or bike ride along the shore. There are also a number of activities and attractions located nearby, such as the Honolulu Zoo, the Waikiki Aquarium, and the Polynesian Cultural Center.

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the beauty of Hawaii, Waikiki Beach is the perfect spot. However, it is very busy so if you’re looking for solitude it may not be the perfect location for you. Even if you don’t stay in this area, you have to check it out as one of your things to do in Oahu for 4 days.

waterfall located on Waikiki Beach area in Honolulu Hawaii Oahu

Honolulu

Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and the most populous city on the island of Oahu. It is a major tourist destination, known for its beautiful beaches, lush rainforests, and vibrant city life. Some of the most popular attractions in Honolulu include Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head State Monument, and Pearl Harbor.

Kaneohe

Kaneohe is a beautiful city on the windward coast of Oahu, Hawaii. It is home to a variety of attractions, including Kailua Beach Park, and Lanikai Beach. Kaneohe is also a great place to go hiking, biking, and kayaking.

North Shore

The North Shore of Oahu is a beautiful and rugged coastline located on the island’s northeastern side. It is known for its world-famous surfing beaches, lush rainforests, and historic sites. The North Shore is also home to a number of small towns and villages, each with its own unique character.

Some of the most popular tourist attractions on the North Shore include:

  • Waimea Bay: One of the most famous surfing beaches in the world, Waimea Bay is known for its giant waves, which can reach heights of up to 50 feet.
  • Sunset Beach: Another world-famous surfing beach, Sunset Beach is known for its long, rolling waves.
  • Haleiwa: A small town with a laid-back atmosphere, Haleiwa is home to a number of shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
  • Polynesian Cultural Center: A living museum that showcases the culture and traditions of Polynesia, the Polynesian Cultural Center is a popular attraction for visitors of all ages.
  • Dole Pineapple Plantation: A working pineapple plantation, the Dole Plantation offers tours, exhibits, and a variety of activities, including a pineapple express train ride.

If you’re looking for a beautiful and exciting place to visit, the North Shore of Oahu is definitely worth considering. With its stunning scenery, world-class surfing, and rich culture, the North Shore has something to offer everyone.

photo of beach houses along a beach, one of them the famous volcom surf house on the North Shore of Oahu Hawaii

Where to Stay

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and for good reason. The white sand beaches, clear blue water, and stunning views of Diamond Head are simply breathtaking. There are also a variety of hotels located right on the beach, making it easy to enjoy all that Waikiki has to offer!

Some of the most popular hotels in Waikiki include the Sheraton Waikiki, the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Moana Surfrider Hotel, and the Outrigger Reef on the Beach. These hotels offer a variety of amenities, including pools, restaurants, and bars. They also have direct access to the beach, so you can easily spend your days swimming, sunbathing, or surfing.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, there are also a number of condos and vacation rentals available in Waikiki. These can be a great way to save money, and they often come with their own kitchens and laundry facilities.

No matter what your budget or travel style, there’s a hotel in Waikiki that’s perfect for you. So book your trip today and start planning your dream vacation!

Downtown Honolulu

Downtown Honolulu is the central business district of Honolulu, Hawaii. It is located on the southeastern shore of the island of Oahu. The area is home to a number of government buildings, businesses, and tourist attractions.

Some of the most popular attractions in downtown Honolulu include the Iolani Palace, the United States Pacific Fleet headquarters, and the Aloha Tower. The area is also home to a number of museums, including the Honolulu Museum of Art and the Bishop Museum.

Downtown Honolulu is a vibrant and exciting place to visit. There are always things to do and see, and the area is full of friendly people. If you are planning a trip to Oahu, be sure to add downtown Honolulu to your list of places to visit.

In Downtown Honolulu, in contrast to Waikiki Beach area you will find most hotels offer parking or are a Condohotel type accommodation allowing for a bit more space a little removed from the hustle and bustle but still in decent proximity to the popular tourist area.

Search for your accommodation in downtown Honolulu by clicking below:

Kaneohe

On the other side of the island from Honolulu and Waikiki Beach are Kaneohe and Kaneohe Bay area. A more tranquil respite from the crowds of Waikiki. There are hotels and resorts alike as well as condo style accommodations. 

Properties here aren’t as abundant, so be sure to click below and reserve today if you want to stay in the Kaneohe area of Oahu.

North Shore

The North Shore of Oahu is more laid back, less developed rugged coastline located on the island’s northeastern shore. It is most known for being the home to some of the best surfing in the world, as well as having stunning beaches, lush rainforests, and historic sites.

Especially if you’re visiting Oahu for some respite or to catch some waves on a surfboard the North Shore would be a great place for you to stay. From glamping, beach side condos to luxurious resorts you’re sure to find it all on the North Shore of Oahu. Be sure to at least briefly visit the North Shore of Oahu as one of your things to do in Oahu for 4 days.

Don’t wait, book your North Shore accommodation today by clicking below!

Oahu Practical Tips

Before you travel to Oahu for 4 days there are several practical tips to help you make the most of your time. Below are some practical tips for your trip of 4 days in Oahu:

  • Hawaii Time Zone: The time zone is 5 hours ahead of American Central Time (Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas/Fort Worth), 4 hours ahead of Mountain Time (Colorado), and 3 hours ahead of Pacific Time (California, Oregon, Washington state). You will need time to acclimate! After we traveled a full day and left really early it was only noon in Hawaii time (but evening in our original time zone.) So, we ended up being awake for almost 24 hours!
  • Time of Year: The best time to visit Oahu is during the shoulder seasons (April-May and September-October) when the weather is still warm but there are fewer crowds.
  • Safety and Security: Oahu is a very safe island, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions against petty theft.
  • Accommodations: There are many different types of accommodation available on Oahu, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly hostels. Be sure to shop around!
  • Car Rental: Oahu is a very car-friendly island, but there is also a good public transportation system. Depending on what your plans are and where you’re staying you may not need a car! Parking is difficult (and costly) in the Waikiki area. So, if you don’t need a car it’s best to take some tours & utilize public transportation if you can! Here’s a full list of activities you can do on Oahu WITHOUT a car!
  • Local Food Specialties: Be sure to try some of the local Hawaiian cuisine, such as poi, laulau, and kalua pork.
  • Flying: Keep in mind if you’re flying back to the mainland from Hawaii you will need to screen your luggage (sometimes multiple times) due to agricultural restrictions on items you can bring in and out of the islands. If you’re flying just between islands you won’t be required to do this. But, when you’re flying home this will take extra time so be sure to account for it!
  • Aloha!: Embrace the local Aloha spirit. This generally translates into good vibes and kindness toward others with the expectation of nothing in return. Hawaiian locals are some of the nicest most caring individuals you’ll meet and that will be apparent as you interact with them during your travels to their great islands.
  • Tours: If you want to dive into more details of activities to do in Oahu if you choose not to rent a car on your vacation to Oahu, click on the button below for more details of hand-picked tours that will make your time in Oahu both relaxing and memorable.
Tours on Oahu

Things to do in Oahu for 4 Days: 4 day Oahu Itinerary

Itinerary Day 1

Depending on the time you touchdown on Oahu, your first day could be somewhat abbreviated. 

Head to a local brewery or eatery for some lunch or dinner or spend time on hiking trails before checking into your hotel. Check out this Oahu Craft Beer Guide to help you decide which brewery is close! We chose to hike Diamond Head and had made a reservation to do so in advance. We also partially hiked the Lanikai Pillbox trail but didn’t have a ton of time to do that since we had a specific time booked for Diamond Head.

Hike Diamond Head

Diamond Head is a state monument. You can pay for admission and parking in advance online to reserve a time slot. During the high season, be sure to get a time in advance as the day of reservations aren’t always guaranteed to be available.

Once at the top, you’ll see stunning views of the glittering Pacific Ocean and the Waikiki Beach area of Honolulu.

View out over Waikiki beach from Diamond Head State Monument in Oahu Hawaii

Check into your hotel

After checking into your hotel, explore the Waikiki Beach area. During the day and even into the evening this area is always bustling with activity. Many of the hotels, restaurants and shops are located on Kalakaua Avenue which is kind of like the Las Vegas strip of Waikiki Beach. 

On the beach side of the Avenue, there are several historic monuments, beautiful waterfalls, and unique trees. (The tree was near Kuhio Beach Park.)

Grab dinner

We ate at many breweries throughout Oahu as we wanted to try the beers as well. Waikiki Brewing Company had great food! The beer was so so, but of course, we went to ALMOST all of the craft beer breweries on Oahu and I wrote a full Oahu Craft Beer Guide if you’re interested in more details.

Itinerary Day 2

On your first full day on Oahu, head out of the Honolulu/Waikiki Beach area by taking a road trip or full day tour of the North Shore (and beyond to loop around the island.) You could definitely extend this into a few days and go at a more leisurely pace, but I recommend you spend at least one day driving around on your things to do in Oahu for 4 days.

Drive around Oahu Itinerary:

  • Leave the Honolulu area and head north
  • Spend some time at Waimea Valley Nature Preserve where the main attraction is a beautiful waterfall, they also offer luaus here as well!
  • North Shore Banzai Pipeline/beach
  • The Chinaman’s hat
    • This is near Kualoa Ranch and many people choose to visit as Jurassic Park and other Hollywood movies were filmed here
  • Kaneohe Bay area
    • Calm inlet beach for swimming and snorkeling
  • Lanikai Beach (south of Kaneohe)
  • Nu’Uanu Pali Lookout
  • Makapu’u Lighthouse
    • There is a specific pull off on the road to walk up to the lighthouse up close, but we doubled back to a beach area to take stunning photos of the lighthouse up on the rock.
  • Holona Blow Hole
  • Hanauma Bay Lookout
  • Stop at Kona Brewing before heading back to your hotel
View out over a rocky area with the Makapu’u Lighthouse on Oahu
GoCity Oahu

Itinerary Day 3 

Visit Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Visit the National Historic Landmark otherwise referred to as Pearl Harbor or the USS Arizona Memorial. You can spend as little or as much time here as you want! There are many different experiences available. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is managed by the US National Park Service

The main USS Arizona Memorial and museum is free of charge. You cannot bring large bags inside, be sure to secure them safely in your vehicle out of sight or leave them at home/your hotel. You just have to pay for parking which you can do at the kiosks once you arrive. However, if you’re a big history buff you can tour and see a lot here to spend a whole day!

Click below for more in depth details of visiting Pearl Harbor to decide what experience is best for you.

Itinerary Day 4

Hanauma Bay State Park Nature Preserve

Spend the day snorkeling in the famous Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve. This was one of the activities I did the first time I visited Oahu and Honolulu. It’s up there in popularity with hiking Diamond Head. 

If you visit independently you will pay an entry fee and parking fee. Active military and locals with state IDs are free. 

Manoa Falls Hike

Another option or add-on to your last day is the Manoa Falls Trail Hike. We decided to skip it after looking on All Trails stating there wasn’t much water in the falls. This can frequently happen, so checking before making the trek is a good idea!

This is just a suggested itinerary, and you can tailor it to your own interests and preferences. Oahu is a great place to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery, or to explore the many historical and cultural attractions. No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to have an amazing time on this beautiful island.

Other Oahu Hawaii Itinerary Inspiration

Iolani Palace

Is a historic landmark in Honolulu. This palace was once inhabited by the Hawaiian monarchy prior to becoming the 50th state of the United States of America. Offering many specialty tours, this is the only official royal residence that is located in the United States. It is registered as a National Historic Landmark.

Ho’Omaluhia Botanical Garden

Open daily without an entry fee, this lush botanical garden is located near Kaneohe, Hawaii on Oahu. There are several other botanical gardens on Oahu that are owned by the state department and would make for a lovely stroll to add onto your Oahu itinerary.

Ho’Omaluhia has over 400 lush acres of tropical botanical garden to explore. You really could get lost here!

FAQs: Things to do in Oahu for 4 Days

What airport do you fly into for Oahu, Hawaii?

You fly into the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. The airport code is HNL. It is the largest airport located in Hawaii, so even if you aren’t planning on staying on Oahu or in Honolulu, you can grab another flight to a different Hawaiian island or mainland USA from here. Various other countries offer non-stop flights here as well.

How many military bases are on Oahu, Hawaii?

There are 11 different United States military bases located on Oahu. Hawaii is one of few states that has at least one military base representing each branch of the United States military. (Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, and Space Force.) The most famous of them is the Navy base at Pearl Harbor.

Why is Oahu the capital of Hawaii?

Historically the capital of Hawaii was always dictated by the Hawaiian royal court and their location. Since 1845 the capital has been Honolulu since the King had declared it. However, it remained as such when Hawaii was adopted as the 50th state in 1959 and the United States kept Honolulu as the official capital of the state.

What is the population of Oahu Hawaii?

In 2021 the United States Census Bureau reported Oahu’s population at one million eight hundred ninety (1,000,890) people. With just under 600 square miles of land mass that’s a lot of population density. Not to mention, all the tourist population which is constant a majority of the year.

How long is the flight from Oahu to the Big Island?

It depends on who your airline carrier is and the size of the plane. But on average the inter-island flight between Oahy and the Big Island ranges from 20-50 minutes. Hawaiian Airlines is the biggest carrier and Southwest now offers service to Hawaii from the mainland as well as between islands.

Is Oahu the biggest island in Hawaii?

No. Oahu is the third largest Hawaiian island. The Big Island (hence the name) is the largest of all of the Hawaiian islands. Maui is the second largest and Oahu comes in as the third largest Hawaiian island. Kauai is the fourth largest. 

Greetings from Waikiki Beach Aloha mural located in Honolulu Hawaii with a woman standing in front of it her back faced to the camera with a hawaiian flower in her hair.

Can you take a ferry from Hawaii to Oahu?

No. There isn’t a passenger ferry service from Oahu to the Big Island of Hawaii. In order to get from island to island you must fly. Especially for locals it would be so much more convenient to bring their car on the ferry to get to another island. There used to be a Superferry but it no longer exists.

What is the average price of a meal in Oahu, Hawaii?

Food cost in Hawaii is more expensive than in the mainland United States. The average amount per person you can budget is $50-100. There are several factors to consider such as eating out every meal and the type of restaurant. Drinks (alcoholic or nonalcoholic) will be in addition to this figure.

Is Maui or Oahu better for a first trip to Hawaii?

Hawaii is an amazing location regardless of what island you visit. Oahu has beaches and more modern as well as historic sites to visit. Maui is more beachy but can be very adventurous with hiking and waterfall drives. If you want more relaxation and nature, visit Maui. For more variety, visit Oahu.

Is 4 days enough on Oahu?

Spending four days in Oahu is a perfect amount of time for your first visit. Four days allows you enough time to see some of the major sites. Especially if you’re island hopping and heading to Maui, Kauai, or the Big Island you can extend your total time in Hawaii to 7 days or 10 days when visiting another island. 

How many days in Honolulu?

Four days in Honolulu or Oahu is the perfect amount of time. Four days allows you to see all of the major sites but gives you time to consider adding another Hawaiian island to your Hawaii itinerary. Four to five days on Oahu is perfect then add 5 to 7 days on Maui or Kauai or even the Big Island.

How many days is enough in Oahu?

7 days is the maximum amount of time I’d recommend spending on Oahu. Unless you’re a big fan of really slow travel. But, after 7 days it gives you enough time to explore the many areas of the island as well as relax on beaches or go snorkeling and do water sports.

Is it worth going to Hawaii for 4 days?

Yes! Absolutely. Especially if you find a great flight deal for just an extended weekend. However, I’d recommend spending 7 to 10 days if possible so you’re able to explore more than one island. But if you’re limited on vacation days and 4 days is all you can swing, still go! Hawaii is incredible!

What is the best number of days in Oahu?

Four to five days on Oahu is the absolute best in my opinion. (After visiting three separate times.) I’ve visited and been there for a week and it was a little too long! But, if you want to really relax and have a lot of beach days spreading it out to a week would be my recommendation.

What do do in Oahu for a week or 7 days?

Expand upon my Things To Do in Oahu for 4 days itinerary by adding additional relaxation and beach days. Add to it an evening sunset boat tour or surfing lesson. If you stay longer, you could also choose to split your time between staying in Honolulu and another area of Oahu.

Final Thoughts: Things to do in Oahu for 4 Days

4 days in Oahu is the perfect amount of time to experience the Waikiki Beach area, venture to the North Shore, hike Diamond Head and visit Pearl Harbor. Honolulu and Oahu has no shortage of things to do or if you just want to spend your time relaxing near the water you have plenty of opportunity to do that as well.

I hope this inspired you with things to do in Oahu for 4 days and you’re looking forward to your trip there or it makes you start to plan a trip to Oahu. For more travel planning and Oahu inspiration and information check out the additional blog posts linked below! Coming soon, travel details from the island of Kauai and Haena State Park as well. Aloha!

bronze surfer statue located on Waikiki Beach in Oahu Hawaii
GoCity Oahu

More Oahu Travel Inspiration & Planning

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10 Essential Tips for Visiting Pearl Harbor

The best tours on Oahu (if you don’t want to rent a car!)

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