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30 Best Things To Do On The East Side Of Oahu, Hawaii


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ronalda Denman


When it comes to tropical paradise destinations, Hawaii is often at the top of everyone’s list. With its stunning beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant culture, it’s no wonder why Hawaii attracts millions of visitors each year. While the entire state offers countless attractions, one side of the island of Oahu – the east side – stands out for its unique beauty and diverse range of activities.

In this article, we will explore the 30 best things to do on the east side of Oahu. Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to relax by the ocean, the east side of Oahu has something for everyone. From hiking to water sports, from exploring historical sites to indulging in local cuisine, this article will guide you through the must-see attractions and experiences on the east side of Oahu, Hawaii.

Explore the stunning Hanauma Bay

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Hanauma Bay, a protected marine life conservation area known for its crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs. Snorkel, swim, or simply relax on the sandy beach.

Hike up to the Manoa Falls

Embark on a scenic hike through the lush rainforest of Manoa Valley and discover the breathtaking Manoa Falls. The 150-foot waterfall is a sight to behold and offers a refreshing escape from the tropical heat.

Visit the iconic Diamond Head State Monument

Climb to the top of Diamond Head, a volcanic crater that offers panoramic views of the surrounding coastline and Honolulu. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the unforgettable vistas.

Explore the historic Byodo-In Temple

Step into a world of tranquility at the Byodo-In Temple, a stunning replica of a 950-year-old Japanese Buddhist temple. Admire the intricate architecture, feed the koi fish, and take a moment to find inner peace.

Take a scenic drive along the Kalanianaole Highway

Embark on a road trip along the scenic Kalanianaole Highway, which hugs the coastline of Oahu’s east side. Marvel at the stunning ocean views, stop at picturesque beaches, and enjoy the captivating beauty of this coastal paradise.

Discover the beauty of Makapuu Lighthouse Trail

Hike the Makapuu Lighthouse Trail and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Keep an eye out for whales during the winter months and enjoy the scenic coastal cliffs along the way.

Immerse yourself in history at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial

Pay tribute to the fallen heroes of the Pearl Harbor attack by visiting the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. Explore the USS Arizona Memorial and gain a deeper understanding of the events that unfolded on December 7, 1941.

Relax at the stunning Lanikai Beach

Spend a day at Lanikai Beach, known for its powdery white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Swim, snorkel, or simply soak up the sun while enjoying the tranquil beauty of this idyllic beach.

Explore the ancient grounds of Kualoa Ranch

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian history and culture at Kualoa Ranch, a working cattle ranch that is also a popular filming location for Hollywood movies. Take a tour, go horseback riding, or try your hand at ziplining.

Experience the natural wonder of the Waimea Valley

Visit the Waimea Valley and embark on a journey through lush botanical gardens, ancient archaeological sites, and a stunning waterfall. Learn about Hawaiian traditions and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

Take a scenic hike to the breathtaking Maunawili Falls

Embark on a picturesque hike through the rainforest to Maunawili Falls, a hidden gem nestled in the mountains of East Oahu. Take a refreshing dip in the pool beneath the waterfall and marvel at the surrounding natural beauty.

Explore the historic town of Kailua

Stroll through the charming streets of Kailua, a historic town known for its laid-back vibe and stunning beaches. Browse local boutiques, dine at delicious restaurants, and spend a relaxing afternoon on Kailua Beach.

Discover the beauty of Waikiki Beach

Spend a day basking in the sun at iconic Waikiki Beach. With its golden sands, azure waters, and world-class surfing conditions, Waikiki is a paradise for beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts alike.

Visit the beautiful Makapuu Beach Park

Enjoy a day of sun, sand, and surf at Makapuu Beach Park. With its clear waters and gentle waves, it’s a perfect spot for swimming, bodyboarding, or simply lounging under the sun.

Take a scenic kayak or paddleboard tour in Kaneohe Bay

Discover the beauty of Kaneohe Bay by kayaking or paddleboarding through its pristine waters. Marvel at the lush green mountains, secluded coves, and the famous sandbar known as “The Sandbar.”

Explore the Puu Ualakaa State Park

Hike to the top of Puu Ualakaa State Park and enjoy panoramic views of Honolulu, Diamond Head, and the surrounding coastline. This hidden gem offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city below.

Visit the charming town of Kaimuki

Explore the vibrant neighborhood of Kaimuki, known for its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the delicious local cuisine and experience the lively atmosphere.

Discover the cultural heritage at the Hawaii Plantation Village

Step back in time at the Hawaii Plantation Village and learn about the diverse cultures that shaped Hawaii’s plantation history. Explore the restored plantation homes and gain insight into the lives of the early immigrants.

Explore the breathtaking Koko Crater Botanical Garden

Take a leisurely stroll through the Koko Crater Botanical Garden and marvel at the stunning collection of desert plants, African plants, and cacti. The garden offers a unique and beautiful contrast to the lush landscapes of Oahu.

Dive into the underwater world at Sharks Cove

Embark on a snorkeling adventure at Sharks Cove, a popular diving spot known for its abundance of marine life. Swim alongside colorful reef fish, encounter majestic sea turtles, and explore the intricate coral formations.

Marvel at the beauty of the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

Visit the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout and enjoy panoramic vistas of the windward coast and the dramatic cliffs of the Koolau Mountain Range. This historic site holds great significance in Hawaiian history.

Take a coastal walk along the Koolau Golf Course Path

Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Koolau Golf Course Path, a scenic trail that offers picturesque views of the coastline and the lush green fairways of the golf course. This hidden gem is perfect for a relaxing walk or jog.

Experience a traditional Hawaiian luau

Immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture by attending a traditional luau. Indulge in a feast of traditional dishes, watch Hula performances, and learn about the rich history and traditions of the islands.

Discover the magic of the stunning Waimanalo Beach

Escape the crowds and visit the pristine Waimanalo Beach, often voted as one of Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches. With its turquoise waters and powdery white sands, it’s a true tropical paradise.

Explore the lush landscapes of the Lyon Arboretum

Take a peaceful stroll through the Lyon Arboretum and discover a vast collection of tropical plants and trees. Enjoy the tranquility of nature and learn about Hawaii’s unique flora and fauna.

Take a surf lesson at Sandy Beach Park

Unleash your inner adventurer and catch a wave at Sandy Beach Park. This renowned surf spot offers challenging waves for experienced surfers and also provides surf lessons for beginners.

Visit the ancient Hawaiian fishponds of He’eia

Learn about traditional Hawaiian aquaculture systems by visiting the He’eia Fishponds. Take a guided tour, discover the impressive engineering behind these ancient fishponds, and gain insight into Hawaiian sustainable practices.

Enjoy a scenic drive through the Tantalus Drive

Cruise along the stunning Tantalus Drive and experience breathtaking views of Honolulu, the Pacific Ocean, and the lush mountains. This scenic drive is perfect for nature lovers and photographers.

Indulge in delicious local cuisine at the North Shore food trucks

Satisfy your taste buds and explore the vibrant food truck scene on the North Shore. From shrimp plates to acai bowls, these food trucks offer a delicious array of flavors that will tantalize your palate.

Relax and enjoy the sunrise at the Lanikai Pillboxes

Wake up early and hike to the Lanikai Pillboxes for a truly breathtaking sunrise experience. Marvel at the stunning colors painted across the sky and soak in the tranquility of this iconic Oahu landmark.

With a diverse range of activities, stunning natural landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, the 30 Best Things To Do On The East Side Of Oahu, Hawaii offers something for everyone. Whether you’re exploring the underwater wonders of Hanauma Bay, hiking to breathtaking waterfalls, or immersing yourself in Hawaiian history at Pearl Harbor, Oahu’s east side is a paradise waiting to be discovered. So grab your sunscreen, put on your aloha spirit, and embark on an unforgettable adventure on the stunning east side of Oahu, Hawaii!


In conclusion, the East Side of Oahu, Hawaii offers an abundance of incredible activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, there is something for everyone on this side of the island.From exploring the stunning beaches and snorkeling in crystal clear waters to hiking through lush rainforests and discovering ancient Hawaiian temples, the East Side is a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural sites.Don’t miss out on the chance to visit the iconic Diamond Head State Monument, soak in the breathtaking views from the Nu’uanu Pali Lookout, or immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture at theHawaii State Art Museum. Indulge in delicious local cuisine and shop for unique souvenirs at the various markets and boutiques scattered throughout the area.With its scenic beauty, rich history, and diverse array of activities, the East Side of Oahu is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an unforgettable Hawaiian experience.


1. What are some of the popular beaches on the East Side of Oahu?

Some of the popular beaches on the East Side of Oahu include Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach Park, and Waimanalo Bay Beach Park. These beaches are known for their pristine white sand, turquoise waters, and various water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.

2. Are there any hiking trails on the East Side of Oahu?

Yes, there are several hiking trails on the East Side of Oahu. The most famous one is the Diamond Head Trail, which offers panoramic views of Waikiki and Honolulu. Other popular trails include the Makapu’u Lighthouse Trail and the Manoa Falls Trail, both offering beautiful scenery and opportunities for nature lovers.

3. Are there any cultural sites to visit on the East Side of Oahu?

Absolutely! The East Side of Oahu is home to several cultural sites, such as the Byodo-In Temple, a stunning Buddhist temple nestled in the Valley of the Temples. You can also explore the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives to learn about Hawaii’s rich history and the influence of Christian missionaries.

4. Are there any local markets on the East Side of Oahu?

Yes, there are various local markets on the East Side of Oahu where you can find fresh produce, local crafts, and unique souvenirs. The Kailua Farmers Market and the KCC Farmers Market are popular choices for fresh fruits, vegetables, and handmade crafts.

5. What is the best time to visit the East Side of Oahu?

The East Side of Oahu can be visited year-round. The weather is generally warm and pleasant, with temperatures averaging around 80°F (27°C). However, it is worth noting that the months between May and September are considered the dry season, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities.