Active Outdoor Adventures on O‘ahu


Golden sunshine and azure skies, silky soft sands and crystal clear waters, and emerald valleys and mountain rainforests provide the perfect playground for active adventures. O’ahu is an outdoorsman’s paradise.

With 112 miles of shoreline, O’ahu is water sports heaven. Hawaiian royalty once surfed Waikīkī Beach  where year round calm conditions provide great breaks for every surfer, from beginning to advanced. Outfitters offer surfing and stand up paddle lessons along with outrigger canoe rides and catamaran sailing.

While the North Shore’s massive waves are a magnet for expert and pro surfers in winter, summer’s gentle conditions are fine for beginners. However, North Shore surf instructors know spots where even newbies can learn to surf in winter inside protected reefs at Ali‘i Beach Park in Hale‘iwa and by Turtle Bay Resort . On the Windward Coast, Koko Marina Center  has wake boarding, parasailing, water skiing, jet skiing, scuba, snuba, and snorkeling. Head to Leeward O‘ahu for year round dolphin and whale watching cruises and dolphin encounters with Wild Side Hawai‘I.

O‘ahu’s varied terrain offers wonderful hikes. Climb Diamond Head, the iconic volcanic crater, for awe-inspiring panoramas. In a scenic Honolulu valley, follow the trail to Mānoa Falls  through a bamboo jungle and rainforest. Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail  in Southeast O‘ahu thrills with outstanding views of the Windward Coast, off shore islets, and Moloka‘i and Lana‘i on clear days. Hiking is the only way to reach the dramatic lava shoreline at remote Ka‘ena Point  on the Leeward Coast. Hawai‘i Trail and Mountain Club  offers different trail hikes every weekend and Sierra Club has easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes along with photography hikes.

O‘ahu’s hiking trails are also excellent for running. The annual XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at breathtaking Kualoa Ranch has courses for competitors of every level. H.U.R.T. Hawai‘I is a non-profit club for trail runners with weekly training sessions, monthly trail competitions, and the annual H.U.R.T. 100-Mile Endurance Run.

Road runners will find plenty of competition here at the annual Honolulu Marathon, the Great Aloha Run, and small local races. The island also hosts the Waikīkī Roughwater Swim and the Honolulu Triathlon .

Cyclists will find an abundance of opportunities for on and off road biking. Visit the Hawai‘i Bike League website  for a calendar with group rides and recommended routes. HBL also sponsors two major cycling events: the Honolulu Century Ride, Hawai‘i’s largest cycling event, and the Hale‘iwa Metric Century Ride on the North Shore.

O‘ahu is the perfect place to enjoy yoga and other movement practices. The Chocolate-Pineapple Sports-Yoga Studio offers a shaded beach yoga class as well as yoga in Kapi’olani Park under a Banyan tree. Still & Moving Center’s diverse offerings include the benefits of aerial yoga, the joy of Nia, a body-mind-spirit fitness practice incorporating soul stirring music, and different classes in Pilates, dance, martial arts, and yoga. The annual Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival is the ultimate mind, body, and soul experience on the North Shore. Wherever you are on the island, there are numerous opportunities for you to stay active.

Think you’re up for a different Hawaiian adventure? Take the “Hawaii My Way” quiz to see what other island itinerary fits your traveler profile. Share this with your friends and see who else has the same traveler spirit.

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