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Ocean Adventures on Oahu

catamaran at sunset
Boat Tours

You don’t have to be an eco-tourist to appreciate the natural beauty of Oahu. One of the best ways to experience the island’s marine wildlife is by taking a boating tour around the island. See birds, waterfalls and more as you circumnavigate Oahu. Several boat tours leave from Waikiki’s shore, and combine a day of fishing as well.

Catamaran off Waikiki Beach
Catamaran Sailing

Ranging in size and purpose, a small catamaran can be launched from a beach, and like a crew vessel or kayak and can be operated by a small crew. Larger sailing vessels include sailing catamarans and motor-powered catamarans, many times also incorporating a sail. Popular sites for catamaran sailing include the ever-popular Waikiki and the dock at Kewalo Basin, located next to Ala Moana Beach Park. Many catamaran sailing adventure tours will include scuba diving or snorkeling.

kids on an inflatable raft
Banana Boat Rides

Banana boats are large yellow inflatable rafts shaped like bananas, towed at high speeds through the Hawaii Kai marinas by ski boats. The Hawaiian equivalent of popular lake and still-water sport water tobogganing, your only job is to hang on and have fun! Your entire family will love the adrenaline rush of trying not to let go or fall off, cruising across the bouncing surf churned by the ski boat pulling you at a very fast speed. Don’t worry! These boats are driven by United States Coast Guard certified-captains with ample experience.

outrigger canoe on beach
Canoeing

Canoeing is a great way to get out into the water and get a taste of what it must have been like to use canoes as a primary means of travel between islands and over long distances. In honor of the proud canoeing tradition in Hawaii, Oahu has multiple clubs that race outrigger canoes and celebrate the importance of canoes to Hawaiian culture.

2 girls on kayak
Kayaking

Oahu has many beautiful beaches where you can enjoy kayak rides along the shoreline of the open ocean waters. Popular kayaking destinations in Oahu include Kailua Bay, Kaneohe Bay and many North Shore beaches in the summer months. If you are renting a kayak and not joining a tour group, you can take your kayak to many beaches around Oahu for an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Snorkel with the Turtles

Start your day on the south coast at Hawaii’s first Marine Life Conservation District, Hanauma Bay. Once a volcanic crater, today the crescent-shaped bay is Oahu’s most popular snorkeling destination. Learn about ocean preservation at the Marine Education Center then explore the bay’s lively reefs full of colorful fish and sea turtles.

2 dolphins swimming
Swimming with Dolphins

If you’re looking to see dolphins during your stay, Oahu is a great destination with numerous beaches from which they can be viewed and tours in the open ocean water. There are also a number of shallow water lagoons in Oahu with sea parks that offer up-close and personal interactions with dolphins in a controlled environment and guided by experienced dolphin trainers. A bit different than finding these animals in the open ocean, the experience nevertheless allows people a personal connection and the opportunity to learn from and about these highly intelligent creatures. Children are welcome, and a variety of packages are offered.

Scuba diver
Scuba Diving

The calm and clear blue waters with great visibility make Oahu an ideal destination for travelers looking for scuba diving opportunities. The Hawaiian Islands are home to many species of tropical fish and other aquatic sea life that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. In addition to amazing variety in sea life, Oahu waters are also the sunken shipwreck capital of the region. Exploring shipwrecks is an amazing way to explore history and oceanography simultaneously.

view of surfer from underwater
Surfing

Although winter is famous for bringing huge swells to the North Shore that are much too big and fast for a neophyte, surf lessons are offered year-round by utilizing a wide variety of beaches, including protected coves that minimize the large ocean swells. Most first-time surfers will be able to stand up on their first lesson. Learning to read the ocean and how to pursue great waves and maneuver them with skill takes time, and the surf instructors recommend a minimum of three lessons to build a solid foundation for wave riding.