Oahu 3 Days Itinerary: A Guide to the Best Attractions

Oahu 3 Days Itinerary travel guide

Oahu, the most populated Hawaiian island and the third largest in the island chains, is the perfect place to visit.

It dons some of the most spectacular landscapes, such as the Diamond Head, amazing waterfalls, and beautiful beaches.

As such, here is a 3-day itinerary for your visit to Oahu.

Table of Contents

Oahu 3-day Itinerary

Oahu, a famous tourist destination, is one of the largest pacific islands in the Hawaiian string.

Visiting Oahu in 3 days travel guide
Visiting Oahu in 3 days

The island, which looks like Vincent van Gogh’s painting, sees over 500,000 tourists monthly, making it one of the most toured in the world.

The landscape, the beaches, the people, and the waterfalls are all part of the charm offered by the island.

With such magnificent attractions, it would make sense to want to visit Oahu for your solo, family, or friends vacation or even a romantic getaway.


We want to help you get the most out of your visit to the island, hence a 3-day itinerary mapping out all activities to enjoy before heading home.

Day 1: Morning hike and snorkeling

For your first day, prepare for a day of walking by the beach, snorkeling with green turtles, and watching beautiful sunsets.

Budget-friendly Option

Hawaii can be expensive sometimes. Therefore, if you are on a budget consider the following options:

8:00 am – 11:00 am: Hike the Diamond Head Summit Trail

What better way to start your vacation in Oahu than tackling the infamous Diamond Head Summit trail?

Diamond Head Summit Oahu
Diamond Head Summit

The path stretches for 0.8 miles and takes about 2 hours to ascend and descend. At the top of the summit, you get rewarded with a panoramic view of Honolulu.

12:00 pm -1:00 pm: Enjoy brunch at a local cafe

After the hike, you must be left exhausted and hungry.

Luckily, there are a few breakfast/lunch spots near Diamond Head trail, so you do not have to search for long. You can have waffles, a cup of coffee, or a light juice cocktail there.

Alternatively, you can go to Hanauma Bay and have breakfast there.

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay

If you had snorkeling on your bucket list while visiting Hawaii, then Hanauma Bay is the place to visit.

Hanauma Bay Oahu
Hanauma Bay

The bay has thousands of sea turtle species, nurseries, and reefs that you can see clearly during the day.

You can visit daily from 6:45 am to 4:00 pm, except on Mondays and Tuesdays. However, note the last entry into the bay is at 1:30 pm.

Luxurious option

If you have the budget for it, you can opt for an informative and enjoyable trip around Oahu with a personal guide taking you around.

9:00 am – 12:00 am: Take a lesson on WW II at Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial

The best way to start your vacation at Oahu is by learning about its rich history.

One of the gems to learn about all this is at the Pearl Harbor USS Arizona Memorial.

The place operates with a reservation system. Once you have your ticket, your tour starts at the visitor’s center, where you watch a film that recounts the dreadful morning of December 7th, 1941.

Once your film ends, your guide gives directions to the next stop, a boat ride to the USS Arizona memorial.


1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Helicopter tour of the island

If you want to take your trip to the next level, you can opt for an open-door helicopter ride around the island.

The ride will give a spectacular view of Pearl Harbor, Diamond Head, Lanikai Beach, and much more.

3:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Snorkeling in a yacht

What better way to end your adventurous day in Oahu than deep in the ocean? These yacht cruises normally cost around $282 per person.

This option is great since it allows you to go to places that are not overrun by swimmers. 

Additionally, most of these cruises also include a 45-minute guided tour of the reef.

Day 2: A day in Honolulu

Your second day will be all about exploring what Honolulu has to offer.

Honolulu Oahu view

Budget-friendly option

Having a bike is the best way to move around in Honolulu. It is convenient and takes you up trails that a car couldn’t.

So, as you begin your day, wear something comfy, and hit the road.

Most importantly, remember to carry your camera; you will see many amazing things today.

9:00 am – 10:00 am: Have breakfast at Moana Surfrider Hotel

Before hitting the road, start the day with a shot of caffeine.

Trust us; you will need the energy. The Moana Surfrider is the perfect place to enjoy your breakfast before starting your busy day in Honolulu.

The hotel opens every day from 6:00 am to 4:00 pm.

10:00 am – 2:00 pm: Shopping Spree at Ala Moana Center

A visit to Honolulu can only be complete if you visit the famous and world’s largest open-air mall, the Ala Moana Center. 

Ala Moana center shopping Oahu
Ala Moana center

There are plenty of stores offering both local and international products. In short, there is something for everyone who walks into the mall.

Once you finish your shopping spree, you can enjoy a meal at the massive food court. Here you will find plenty of restaurants offering a wide variety of foods.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm: A trip to Iolani Palace

If you love history, you should visit the Iolani Palace.

Here, you get to see firsthand what the royal residence of the Kingdom of Hawaii looks like.  

It was built in 1882 by King Kalakaua and was home to the last reigning monarchs.

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm: Honolulu Zoo Twilight Tours

Honolulu Zoo twilight tours are one way to appreciate wildlife.

The 2-hour tour allows you to observe nocturnal animals and learn the zoo’s role in animal conservation.

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Luxurious Option

Some of the luxury options you can indulge in include:

7:00 am – 8:00 am: Enjoy A Cup of coffee at the Honolulu Coffee Experience Center

The first order of business will be to get a delicious breakfast in you.

Kona coffee is extremely rare as it is only cultivated in an area that stretches just 30 miles. This shop serves some of the best coffee as well as pastries to go with it.

Enjoy Oahu and have fun
Enjoy Oahu

8:00 am – 5:00 pm: Take A Guided Tour of Oahu

There are plenty of guided tours around Oahu; however, the best ones usually cost at least $130.

This tour covers all areas of Waikiki, all the way to the North Shore, going through hidden gems like waterfalls, and a trip to a macadamia farm.

Note that you will be traveling in a group (each group has around 10 members) with a personal, local guide.

On your trip around Honolulu, you will hike the Diamond Head, visit the Hanola Blowhole and enjoy a wide variety of food during lunchtime.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Visit the International Market Place

Once you are in Waikiki, you should visit the International Market Place.

The area is packed with stalls and restaurants offering fine dining experiences, entertainment, and over 90 stores.

You can easily walk into a Balenciaga, Burberry, or Hollister store or make a friend as you move from one bar/food court to another.

Day 3: Beach and Hiking

On the last day, you should enjoy what Hawaii is known for; beaches and nature trails.

Budget-friendly option

Below are some options if you do not wish to break the bank.

6:00 am – 7:00 am: Get yourself a cup of coffee

Having a nice breakfast while watching the sun rise is the perfect way to start your day.

You can do so at your hotel’s rooftop or balcony or even walk into the Waikiki beach for a more fantastic view.

There are a lot of restaurants around, and you can enjoy a warm cup of coffee to wake you up.

8:00 am – 10:00 am: Hit the Koko Crater Trail

You can start your morning by going up over 1,000 steps at the Koko Crater trail at the eastern end of Oahu.

Koko Crater trail Oahu
Koko Crater trail

The thigh-burning experience will lead you to the crater-top bunkers used in World War II.

Once at the top, you can see the coastline extending for miles and an aerial view of Hanauma Bay.

10:00 am – 12:00 am: Walk up the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail

You can experience another perfect view of Honolulu on top of the Makapuu Point Lighthouse.

The lighthouse is 500 feet above, allowing you to take in the views of the Makapuu Lookout and Makapuu Beach.

Makapuu Point Lighthouse Oahu
Makapuu Point Lighthouse trail

If you visit between November and May, you can see humpback whales as they migrate.

1:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Drop by the Lanikai Beach

Once you come from Makapuu, your next stop should be Lanikai beach, featuring soft, pale sand and two islets.

You can also see a seabird sanctuary, with narrow alleys leading you into the shore neighborhood.

Lanikai Beach Oahu
Lanikai Beach

You can even rent a kayak and paddle out to the islands for a better view of the coastline.

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Watch as the sun sets on Kaneohe Bay

The last stop for the day will be Kaneohe Bay, where you can participate in boating and water sports activities.

You can enjoy paddle boating and kayaking, much more.

Luxurious Option

If you are willing to splurge a few more bucks, here are some of the places you should go instead.

8:00 am – 11:00 am: Speed Boating at the Kaneohe Bay

Do you want to experience speed boating? If so, you should visit Captain Bruce Sandbar Snorkel in Kaneohe Bay.

Kaneohe Bay Oahu
Kaneohe Bay

The exclusive morning charter offers the best experience for small groups of friends, family, and lovers.

12:00 am – 5:00 pm: Enjoy a tropical rainforest hike and swim at the waterfalls

A final island tour should be a nice way to end your stay at Oahu.

With a custom hiking tour, you can get an exclusive hiking experience with some of the best personal tour guides.

The trail ends in front of a waterfall, where you can enjoy a swim before heading back, ready for your Luau dance.

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm: Attend a Luau at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

Enjoying a luau dinner show is the perfect way to end your trip to Oahu.

You can watch the Polynesian dance performance at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel while enjoying your gourmet dinner and the sun setting in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Knowing when to visit Oahu and how to get around the island is also important.

How To Get Around Oahu

Public transportation and taxis work best for nearby attractions. However, if you enjoy touring without fixed schedules, you could rent a car or a bike. If it is your first time visiting Oahu, local adventure companies could offer the best experiences.

What’s The Best Month To Visit Oahu?

Off-peak seasons are the best times to visit Oahu if you are on a tight budget. This would include the months of April and May, September, and early October. However, you can also plan to tour the island during the holiday and summer seasons.


Final Thoughts

Oahu remains a beacon of beauty and a major tourist attraction in the Hawaiian Islands.

Whether you want to visit the coral reef sanctuary or sunbathe on the beaches, you are sure to get your money’s worth.  We hope this Oahu 3-day Itinerary will help you have an amazing stay at Oahu.  

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