Oahu water adventures

Oahu Water Adventures: Embrace the Splendor of the Hawaiian Waters

If you’re planning a trip to Hawai‘i, it’s easy to have the beach day as your main focus, and dedicating ample time to relax and admire the ocean is certainly a great idea. However, you might want to consider allocating some time for water-based activities.

In this guide, we aim to help you avoid a common oversight made by many visitors here – forgetting that enjoying the beach and engaging in water activities are distinct experiences. It would be unfortunate to reach your last day in Hawai‘i and realize you haven’t explored the waters beyond the shoreline, especially on an island like O‘ahu, where boundless opportunities await.

Whether you opt for a delightful sunset dinner cruise or an adventurous north shore cage dive, there’s a wide array of activities catering to everyone’s interests. We share some of our favorite options below.

Check out these popular Oahu Water Adventures below

Snorkeling tours

You can easily find any beach in Oahu and enjoy a fun experience, but if you want to take it up a notch, check out these fun guided tours for an amazing experience.

Waikiki Snorkel Adventure "Manuiwa"

1. Waikiki Snorkel Adventure “Manuiwa”

Embark on an unforgettable experience with Hawaii Ocean Charters as you explore the mesmerizing ocean views, encounter local wildlife, and witness the iconic south side of Oahu. Join our expert crew for an exciting snorkel adventure and catamaran cruise in the breathtaking waters of Waikiki.


  • Experienced CPR & Lifeguard certified crew allows maximum attention to service and safety!
  • Spacious catamaran to lounge on
  • Soft drinks, waters, and local juices provided
  • Shaded cabin seating
  • Snorkel gear and flotation included
  • Bluetooth sound system


  • Depart from Kewalo Basin Harbor
  • Enjoy coastal views of the south shore of Oahu
  • Guided snorkeling at an offshore reef commonly home to sea turtles and tropical fish
  • Visit Diamond Head state monument & offshore Waikiki (Great Photo opportunity!)
  • Stop along the way to see any turtles, dolphins, or whales (in season)
  • Crew will share local knowledge and the cultural history of the area. (We’re always happy to answer questions!)

Duration – 2 hours

Book this Waikiki Snorkel Adventure “Manuiwa”

Grand Circle Island - Snorkeling

2. Grand Circle Island – Snorkeling

Experience the Unparalleled Magic of Hawaii! Join us and uncover the wonders that make this stunning island truly exceptional. Embark on a journey through Oahu’s natural beauty as we take you to both well-known and hidden gems. Our Grand Circle Island Tour offers an exclusive experience, ensuring a maximum group size of 24 people or fewer. Immerse yourself in the landscape, embrace the local culture, and get a sneak peek of the absolute highlights on the captivating Island of Oahu.


Here is a list of some of the attractions that you can expect to see while on the Grand Circle Island Tour:

• Diamond Head Beach Lookout
• Halona Blowhole Lookout
• Macadamia Nut Farm
• Chinaman’s Hate Viewpoint
• Lunch at world-famous Shrimp Truck (not included, cash only)
• Famous Sunset Beach
• Paddleboarding, Kayaking and/or Snorkeling on the North Shore (equipment rental included)
• Dole Pineapple Plantation

Book this Grand Circle Island – Snorkeling tour

Kayaking Surfing & Snorkeling Turtle Tour

3. Kayaking Surfing & Snorkeling Turtle Tour

Your amazing adventure launches from shore in a short kayak paddle to the offshore destination – Turtle Canyon!

Join the Oahu Adventures in Paradise Tour and prepare to be mesmerized by the vibrant array of tropical fish and inquisitive Hawaiian green sea turtles. This aquatic journey reaches its peak as you snorkel among the exotic marine life native to Hawaii.

Times and Duration

  • Available Monday – Sunday
  • 7am – 5pm
  • 2 hour lesson

Book this Kayaking Surfing & Snorkeling Turtle Tour

Kayaking experiences in Oahu

Kayaking is fun and easy with sit on board Kayaks that are easy to maneuver in the ocean. Check out all these fun kayaking excursions below.

Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Self-Guided Kayak Experience

4. Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Self-Guided Kayak Experience

Discover the breathtaking sights and surreal sensation of standing on the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar during your kayaking adventure. The kayaking route leading to the Kaneohe Sandbar is shielded by a protective barrier reef and adorned with underwater coral islands along the way. Immerse yourself in ample sunshine and enjoy an unforgettable kayaking experience with either the 4-hour or all-day option for the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar excursion.

We’ve made the entire Kaneohe Bay Sandbar experience seamless for you. Meeting you near the launch location, we provide foam pads and straps so that you can conveniently drive just 10 minutes down the road and launch your kayak directly into Kaneohe Bay from He’eia Kea Boat Harbor.

Duration – 4 hours or all day

Book this Kaneohe Bay Sandbar Self-Guided Kayak Experience

Chinaman's Hat Self-Guided Kayak Tour

5. Chinaman’s Hat Self-Guided Kayak Tour

Embark on a thrilling self-guided escapade to Mokoli’i, also known as Chinaman’s Hat, for an exhilarating kayaking journey and awe-inspiring vistas. During this 3-hour excursion, you’ll have the freedom to set your own pace and ample time to explore. We’ll meet you right by the beach, assisting in setting up your kayaks and providing all the necessary gear. After a brief demonstration and safety talk, you’ll be ready to venture forth on your kayaking expedition. Feel free to ask any questions to our local guide before you set off on your self-guided kayaking experience.

The paddle to Mokoli’i is generally gentle, aided by a constant breeze towards the shore. Mornings typically offer the best conditions. Although suitable for beginners, we recommend prior ocean kayaking experience or familiarity with paddling.

For those seeking an authentic Oahu adventure, this is the ultimate experience. You’ll paddle across the ocean, traversing a sunken lava plain sheltered by a protective barrier reef, until you reach the Basalt Islet of Mokoli’i. Here, you can choose to snorkel at the base or embark on a hike to the summit, granting you a panoramic view of the east side of Oahu. The climb to the top is an exciting undertaking, albeit short, featuring a technical ascent up the rocky face of the islet’s final part.

This adventure is ideal for thrill-seekers on the island who crave an exciting activity but need the proper gear and guidance to embark on their journey. We supply everything you need to make your adventure come to life.

Duration – 3 hours

Book this Chinaman’s Hat Self-Guided Kayak Tour

Rainforest Self-Guided Kayak Tour

6. Rainforest Self-Guided Kayak Tour

Experience Active Oahu Tours and Activities, where your destination is just a short drive around the corner. We’ll provide you with pads and straps to transport the kayak to the launch location hassle-free.

The valley where you’ll kayak is nestled in a lush rainforest, boasting a variety of hiking trails and rope swings. It holds a special place in our hearts as one of our favorite spots on the island, surrounded by majestic mountains, creating a truly cool and remarkable atmosphere.

For parking convenience, we recommend using the State Park parking lot: Ahupuaʻa ʻO Kahana State Park. From there, carry the kayak to the grassy area and launch it directly into the river. Please handle the kayaks with utmost care, avoiding dragging them on the asphalt and refraining from sitting or standing on them while on land.

Duration – 3 hours

Book this Rainforest Self-Guided Kayak Tour

Surfing tours and classes in Oahu

Of course if you are visiting Oahu, you just have to give surfing a go and these classes are fun and an easy way to learn the basics and starting riding all the waves here.

Group Surfing Lesson - NORTH SHORE OAHU

7. Group Surfing Lesson – NORTH SHORE OAHU

Enjoy a complete 2-hour surf lesson led by the renowned big wave surfer, Drake Hickman, alongside professional instructors. Fun for individuals of all ages! Surfboards and rashguards will be provided for your convenience. Rest assured, the lesson is both detailed and safe, ensuring a guaranteed enjoyable experience for everyone involved.


Every Day at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm
2hrs Lesson

What to Bring:

Remember to wear swimming attire, sunscreen and bring a hat and/or sunglasses! Life is bright, you gotta have shades!

Duration – 2 hours

Book this Group Surfing Lesson – NORTH SHORE OAHU

Semi-Private Lesson in Waikiki

8. Semi-Private Lesson in Waikiki

All Gone Surfing Hawaii lessons commence on the sandy shore, prioritizing ocean awareness and safety. Following this, we swiftly guide you into the surf, where you’ll experience an exhilarating rush of wind and waves. Rest assured, our licensed instructors are well-trained in first aid and lifeguard CPR.

Once in the water, we expertly demonstrate how to read the waves, position yourself for take-off, and understand the essential wave riding etiquette. Whether you prefer a one-on-one experience or enjoy the company of friends, our tailored lessons are designed to create an unforgettable adventure on the waves.

Each Lesson Consists Of:

  • 15-minute land demo – fundamental technique / ocean awareness and safety
  • 1 hour and 15 minute wave riding and etiquette
  • Rash guard
  • Surfboard

Duration – 1.5 hours

Book this Semi-Private Lesson in Waikiki

Sailing trips in Oahu

Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise

9. Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise

Experience the unmatched beauty of a Hawaiian sunset while indulging in a breathtaking sunset sail at sea – a must-do activity in Waikiki. Embark on a scenic cocktail cruise, sailing southward towards Diamond Head, with pauses along the way to witness the mesmerizing moment when the sun gracefully dips below the horizon, possibly revealing the elusive green flash phenomenon. The vessel is a steady sailing catamaran boat, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey.

MENU: Enjoy a delectable individualized light appetizer during the cruise. Stay refreshed with unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, and adults will also receive two complimentary bar drink tickets.



  • 5:00pm-6:30pm Daily (Except Fridays)


  • 5:30pm-7:00pm Daily (Except Fridays)

Duration – 1.5 hours

Book this Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise

Panorama Sail in Oahu

10. Panorama Sail in Oahu

Hawaii Nautical offers a picturesque sail, perfect for capturing stunning photos and enjoying sightseeing, starting from the trendy Kewalo-Kakaako district and cruising along the picturesque Ala Moana Beach shoreline, passing through the renowned Waikiki area, and continuing towards the iconic Diamond Head. Keep your eyes peeled as you might have the chance to spot turtles and other fascinating marine life from the deck.

The package includes single-serve snacks, unlimited soda, juice, and water, along with two bar drink tickets for each guest to enjoy during the sail.


Daily, April – November

  • 3pm – 4:30pm

Duration – 1.5 hours

Book this Panorama Sail in Oahu

Whale Watching in Oahu

Waikiki Whale Watching Experience

11. Waikiki Whale Watching Experience

Embark on an incredible whale watching experience in Hawaii, one of the most sought-after activities during the winter season! Set sail on the Moana catamaran, a spacious vessel measuring 55 feet long and 30 feet wide. Its generous size ensures exceptional stability, making it one of the most reliable vessels in Hawaii. Enjoy ample deck space and cushioned seating, providing optimum comfort throughout your whale watching journey. As you keep your eyes peeled for majestic Humpback whales, indulge in your favorite premium drink from our onboard Bar. Our experienced captains and knowledgeable crew will share fascinating insights about Humpback whales and Hawaii’s marine wildlife, enriching your adventure.

Cruises are available daily from December 1st through April 1st, departing from Kewalo Basin Harbor, conveniently located just 5-10 minutes away from Waikiki. This 2-hour morning excursion offers the perfect opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures with the stunning Waikiki coastline as your backdrop. Please note that sightings on all whale watch cruises are not guaranteed.

Duration – 2 hours

Book this Waikiki Whale Watching Experience

Whale Watching & Sunrise Breakfast Cruise

12. Whale Watching & Sunrise Breakfast Cruise

Embark on a serene getaway from the vibrant city of Honolulu as the morning sun illuminates the Oahu mountains! Experience the thrill of spotting migrating whales, playful dolphins, Hawaiian sea turtles, and more as you cruise along. Delight in a cup of our 100% Kona coffee and indulge in a chef-inspired specialty breakfast, making this adventure even more enjoyable.

What to Expect: Embrace the early hours in Hawaii by joining our exclusive Whale Watching & Sunrise Breakfast cruise in Honolulu! Witness the breathtaking sunrise over Oahu while relishing in the flavors of our freshly prepared breakfast and savoring the richness of 100% Kona coffee. As the cruise meanders towards the world heritage site of Diamond Head crater, known as Lēʻahi in Hawaiian, you’ll get to admire the beauty of Waikiki from the water during this 2-hour, tranquil journey. The experience of watching whales swim, play, feed, and breach in their natural environment is truly awe-inspiring. Moreover, you may also be lucky to catch a glimpse of other marine life, such as dolphins and sea turtles, as they occasionally make appearances. The Prince Kuhio vessel provides an exceptional platform for this unforgettable experience, boasting a spacious and stable upper deck, perfect for uninterrupted viewing.


  • Freshly Prepared (onboard!) Breakfast
  • 100% Kona coffee
  • Welcoming and Professional Service
  • Views of the Hawaii Sunrise
  • Indoor and Outdoor Seating Options
  • Laid Back and Relaxed Atmosphere
  • Full Cash or Credit Tiki Bar Available
  • All cruises are currently BYOB

Duration –

Book this Whale Watching & Sunrise Breakfast Cruise

Scuba Diving in Oahu

Discover Scuba Diving

13. Discover Scuba Diving

Join us for the Discover Hawaii scuba diving experience – a half-day charter that includes two shallow (maximum 35 feet) introductory boat dives at two different reef sites. There’s no need for classroom tests or studying; we’ll provide all the necessary guidance on the boat before you enter the water. Plus, all the rental gear you require is included in the price!

Discover Scuba Diving in Oahu is tailored to offer anyone the opportunity to try scuba diving for the first time. In the warm, crystal-clear waters off Waikiki Honolulu, you’ll have the privilege of experiencing the thrill of effortlessly breathing underwater under the direct supervision of a PADI certified Instructor from Oahu Scuba Diving.

Here’s how it works: Once we reach the dive site, the boat is securely anchored in place. To facilitate easy access, a wide and stable platform is lowered, allowing divers to embark and disembark effortlessly. Guidelines are extended, descending twenty feet below the platform, providing a sturdy grip for divers as the instructor guides each person through basic skills before they make their way down to the reef below.

Your safety and satisfaction are our top priorities, which is why we maintain a small group size with only four divers per instructor ratio. This ensures personalized attention and a secure diving experience. With 17 years of experience in teaching and leading Oahu scuba divers, Oahu Scuba Diving is a trusted name in the field. Greg, our passionate instructor, still delights in witnessing the wonder on the faces of both young and old as they experience the mesmerizing world beneath the waves for the first time.

Our Discover Oahu scuba diving experience is tailored to welcome first-timers and beginners to explore the fascinating realm of scuba diving in Waikiki. We aim to satiate your curiosity about underwater exploration while prioritizing your safety and ensuring an immensely enjoyable adventure.

Duration – 4-5 hours

Book this Discover Scuba Diving

Advanced Boat Dive

14. Advanced Boat Dive

For certified scuba divers seeking the ultimate Oahu scuba diving experience, look no further – we have everything you need! Our 52′ spacious, Coast Guard certified boat is specifically designed for scuba diving, ensuring a safe and comfortable journey to various captivating dive sites, including shipwrecks, wall dives, drift dives, cave dives, and more.

For certified Advanced Divers, the morning boat charters set sail from Hawaii Kai Marina dock at 8:30 am, returning around noon. The first dive takes you to deeper waters, typically ranging between 80 – 115 feet, depending on the dive site. The second dive is a shallower one, often exploring vibrant reefs or impressive walls, combined with a drift dive experience.

Don’t worry if you don’t have your own scuba gear, as we offer top-quality rental gear for an additional $25. The rental package includes a mask/snorkel, wetsuit, BCD, dive computer/regulator, and fins.

At Aloha Scuba Diving, we take pride in our impeccable safety record, personalized service, and exceptional value. Our Oahu scuba dive boat departs just twenty feet from our full-service dive shop, equipped with a comprehensive gear rental room, all within the Hawaii Kai marina. As an added convenience, we provide complimentary transportation to and from Waikiki for every charter. Our deep love for scuba diving, Hawaii, the ocean, and its magnificent creatures shines through in every aspect of our service.

Duration – 4 to 5 hours

Book this Advanced Boat Dive

Check out these other related topics on Oahu

If you are visiting Honolulu and Oahu, check out all these other attractions and things to do around the island for inspiration.

Oahu Adventure tours

Honolulu Food Tours

Tour the historic downtown Honolulu district

Top things to do around Honolulu area

Oahu Helicopter tours

Conclusion on Oahu water adventures

In conclusion, Oahu offers a world of thrilling water adventures that will leave you with unforgettable memories. From surfing the majestic waves to snorkeling with vibrant marine life, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Don’t miss the chance to explore hidden gems and iconic landmarks along the coast, as well as embark on unforgettable whale watching journeys during the winter months. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or seeking an adrenaline rush, Oahu’s water adventures promise to delight and amaze. So, dive in and embrace the beauty and wonder of Hawaii’s aquatic paradise!

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Noel Morata this Hawaii Life

Meet Noel Morata

Noel Morata is the creator of This Hawaii Life along with a small team of contributors. Living on the Big Island and traveling regularly to the neighbor islands, Noel and team actively search and share the latest information and updates to Hawaii travel, food, adventure and various lifestyle activities on the islands for your planning and vacation. Aloha and enjoy This Hawaii Life.