Best Tours and Excursions in Honolulu

10 Best Tours and Excursions in Honolulu and Its Surrounding Areas

Honolulu is home to an abundance of tours and excursions that are sure to satisfy the various tastes and flares for excitement that visitors may have. Travelers can choose from hikes up the side of a cliff, to submerging themselves under the sea to diving with sharks, and off road exploring to an unpopulated preservation area. Outdoors lovers will be in heaven exploring Oahu from high in the mountains to the bottom of the sea.

For a true off the beaten path experience, venture out to Ka'ena Point. Resting between the north and western shores of Oahu, this nature preserve offers peace and serenity by the see. It's not uncommon to see no one else during a trip out there, where endangered birds and plants are protected. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is needed, otherwise head out on foot.

Waimea Valley's guided hikes are a wonderful way to blend education with nature. These hikes focus on culture preservation and education, while weaving through native plants, jungles, and around a waterfall. For a waterfall hike near Honolulu, make the low impact trek to Manoa Falls. After tracing a path through banyan trees, vines, and lush plants, hikers reach a beautiful waterfall and pool to rest at.

But that's not it. Adrenalin junkies can fly through the air with a jet pack with SeaBreeze Watersports for an experience like no other. This is a great way to live out childhood fantasies of being a superhero.


Ehukai Bunker Hike
Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt

Located on the North Shore across from famous Pipeline, the Ehukai Bunker Hike is a beautiful jungle experience with a great reward of a gorgeous view at the end. The Ehukai Bunker Hike is a hidden treasure located right across from the world's best surf break, Pipeline, and Ehukai Beach Park. The trailhead is in the parking lot of Sunset Elementary School, and leads to two World War II bunkers. The trail up to the two bunkers takes about 20 minutes. But this part is just the beginning of the the 6-mile long Kaunala-Ehukai trail, which is located in the Pupukea-Paumalu State Park. The trailhead for the Kaunala-Ehukai trail is located at the Boy Scouts Camp at the end of Pupukea Road, up the road behind Foodland.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: The bunker hike is a moderate work out that results in a panoramic view of the North Shore's coastline.

Jade's expert tip: Tough kids five years old and over can handle this hike.

Read more about Ehukai Bunker Hike →

Hawaii Shark Encounters
Photo courtesy of hawaii shark encouners

With Hawaii Shark Encounters, you'll venture over three miles out to sea where you'll have the opportunity to watch from the boat or hop into a floating cage where you can view sharks just inches away through a poly glass window. No diving or scuba experience is necessary, and you enter from the top and stay on the surface with mask and snorkel. You'll be treated to a shark education on the way out and back where you'll learn about shark safety, health and endangerment. Children as young as five years old are welcome at the rate of $75. Military and kama`aina (resident) specials are $90. Adults cost $105.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Could anything me more exciting than cage diving with sharks?

Jade's expert tip: Make sure to bring a waterproof camera, available at the Haleiwa supermarket if you don't have your own.

Read more about Hawaii Shark Encounters →

Snorkel Hanauma Bay
Photo courtesy of amazing tourism

Created from a collapsed volcano crater, this bay is protected and calm, ideal for snorkeling, as you'll see from the crowds around you. The snorkeling is truly amazing, since the preserve protects the wildlife and creates a favorite place for the fish to come eat. It offers great opportunity for viewing marine life and also boasts a terrific beach and hiking trails. Additional facilities include picnic areas, showers and restrooms, concession kiosks, a volleyball court, and lifeguards. Although parking can be difficult if you don't arrive early, a shuttle bus runs from Waikiki in the mornings and makes return trips in the afternoons.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Hanauma Bay offers the best snorkeling on the island.

Jade's expert tip: The bay is closed every Tuesday.

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What could be more exciting than swimming with sharks? Still thinking of an answer? There's probably not anything better. With North Shore Shark Adventures, the original Oahu shark tour company, you have a choice of two tours beginning at 7 a.m. and leaving from Haleiwa. You'll travel three miles out to sea and there's a good chance of green sea turtle, dolphin and whale sightings along the way. Jump onto either vessel, the Anela or Abunai, and head out into the ocean where you'll hop into the metal cage and enjoy time in the center of a swarm of sharks. Children as young as three are invited, and ages three to 13 cost $60 to actually get in the cage! Children under three can ride on the boat for free. Adults cost $120 but lower specials are sometimes offered. Military and kama`aina (residents) can dive for $50 while a military of kama`aina child is $35. Shark sizes range from five to 15 feet and each boat is 42-feet long. Tours last about two hours.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: This tour company is known for smooth boat rides to shark laden parts of the ocean.

Jade's expert tip: Don't forget an underwater camera!

Read more about North Shore Shark Adventures →

East Oahu
Manoa Falls
Photo courtesy of aoltravel

A beautiful hike leads to gorgeous Manoa Valls in the lush Manoa Valley. The trail is about three quarters of a mile near a rocky stream and comes to an end at the falls. The falls are calming and intriguing, but it's advised to not swim in the pool because the occasional rock has been known to fall in, and you're far away from other people here. The hike takes about a half hour, and is generally easy. Yet be aware of footing on the sometimes muddy and slippery trail. Bring water, a camera, and a lunch if you wish to enjoy the peace and quiet of birds chirping and water rushing.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Manoa Falls is a rather low impact hike that leads to a gorgeous waterfall and pool.

Jade's expert tip: Pick up a sandwich at Andy's below the trail head on Manoa Road to enjoy at the falls.

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The North Shore's Waimea Valley is one of the last partially intact ahupuaa (land division) on Oahu and consists of 1,875 acres that are home to 78 archaeological sites, a 150 acre botanical garden, a waterfall, and several native and endangered birds. The valley has been a sacred place for more than 700 years of Native Hawaiian history. They've recently begun offering guided hikes, that offer some of the best hiking experiences on the island. Head out to the North Shore for guided hikes in the valley. Reservations must be made 10 days in advance and a minimum of six people is required. Hikers must have closed toed shoes and those under 18 must be with an adult. Lucky for avid hikers, shorter hikes are only $10 while the longer ones are $15. Below is a listing of the hike options.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Waimea Valley's guided hikes are education and weave through beautiful native plants and a waterfall.

Jade's expert tip: No hiking sandals allowed, only closed toed shoes.

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The folks at Island Divers Activities will take you snorkeling and scuba diving (as well as whale watching, jet skiing, and para sailing) daily. They have two daily snorkeling trips with the ride out leaving at 9 a.m. and returning at 1 p.m., for just $25. They'll take you to see loads of tropical fish as well as green sea turtles. They also offer discover Oahu scuba diving trips daily. No experience is needed to try scuba diving on this mission. The boat departs at 9 a.m. and returns at approximately 1 p.m. They have the choice between two different dive locations where you can expect to see hundreds of tropical fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles along several types of eel and other sea life. Use of scuba diving equipment is included and prices are $59 for a single tank dive and $89 for a double tank dive.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Island Divers take guests on mind blowing tours both above and under the sea.

Jade's expert tip: A water camera is a must!

Read more about Island Divers Hawaii →

SeaBreeze Water Sports is an all around water sport company providing everything from scuba diving and para sailing to flying high in the air with a jet pack on your back. Yup, you heard me right. Here's your opportunity to do some of the usual water sports in Hawaii like spend time at the bottom of the ocean diving or ride a jet ski. Or, you can relive those childhood fantasies and put on a jet stream back pack and shoot yourself high in the air and even hang 30 feet in the air for a while. The Jet Lev R200 was released just last year, and there are only eight units being used around the world - two of which are being offered here at SeaBreeze for $399 a pop.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: SeaBreeze Watersports offers some of the most exciting water activities on the island.

Jade's expert tip: Just make sure to try the jet pack.

Read more about SeaBreeze Watersports →

One of Oahu's top attractions is located on the east side bordering the North Shore, and this fascinating complex (created and managed by the Mormon church) provides glimpses into the cultures of Polynesia (Hawaii, Samoa, Tahiti, Fimi, New Zealand, the Marquesas, and Tonga). Each one maintains a separate village, where visitors are regaled with information about celebration and survival in ancient days. Demonstrations, performances, narratives, and even a luau are presented, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the spectacle and character of the past. This fantastic show and park like venue is located on 42 acres on Oahu's North Shore.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: PCC provides a full day of educational fun through activities, shows, and tours.

Jade's expert tip: Make sure to see Ha, the Breath of Life show.

Read more about Polynesian Cultural Center →

Ka'ena Point
Photo courtesy of Andy Jou

Ka'ena Point is a great place for a quick day trip. Although it's on the westernmost tip of Oahu, it's something that fits in with a visit to the North Shore. Day trippers can reach the point by foot from Mokuleia on the east side of the mountain range, as well as the west side on the Waianae Coast. At Ka'ena State Park on the east side, a paved road passes a beach and then turns into an unpaved road. After a few miles an low impact hike takes visitors to a beach with protected birds and beautiful views of the coast. It's a very secluded and peaceful area to enjoy and explore.

Recommended for Tours and Excursions because: Ka'ena Point is the most off-the-beaten-path excursions on Oahu.

Jade's expert tip: Do not leave any valuables in the vehicle at Ka'ena Point.

Read more about Ka'ena Point →


Meet Jade Eckardt

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Jade has traveled the world and doesn't intend to stop, yet the Hawaiian Islands are still her favorite place. She spent seven years living on Oahu and...  More About Jade