7 Day Oahu Itinerary | Ultimate Hawaii Itinerary

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Discover the ultimate 7 day Oahu itinerary and prepare to fall in love with Hawaii’s most popular island.

Oahu is the heart of Hawaii and is home to stunning beaches, lush mountains, and a rich cultural heritage. After spending over a week in Oahu I got to see and experience a ton of the beauty and magic Oahu has to offer.

From the iconic Waikiki Beach to the majestic Diamond Head crater, this island offers endless adventures. You can immerse yourself in Polynesian history, savor local cuisine, and embrace the spirit of aloha amidst breathtaking natural beauty.

Below is the complete 7 day Oahu itinerary made to maximize your time in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)

7 Day Oahu Itinerary

Short on time? Below is a quick summary
➡️ Day 1: Honolulu (hotel here for 4 nights)
➡️ Day 2: South Oahu
➡️ Day 3: West Oahu
➡️ Day 4: Beaches
➡️ Day 5: North Shore (hotel here for 2 nights)
➡️ Day 6: North Shore
➡️ Day 7: Honolulu (hotel here for 1 night)

These are the TWO best hotels in Oahu:
HONOLULU: The Royal Hawaiian
NORTH SHORE: Turtle Bay Resort

THIS is the top-rated helicopter tour – a BUCKET LIST experience.

Day 1: Honolulu

Honolulu is Oahu’s bustling capital and offers the perfect blend of urban excitement and tropical charm. This is the best place to start your Oahu itinerary with a bang.

Morning: Arrival in Honolulu

Upon arrival in Oahu, you will head straight to the capital of Honolulu. The city can easily be reached from the airport via various transportation options, including airport shuttles, taxis, or rental cars.

➡️ Book your rental car here!

After checking in at your hotel it is best to unwind, unpack, and settle in before embarking on their island adventures.

➡️ The best place to stay in Honolulu is The Royal Hawaiian

You will stay in this hotel for FOUR NIGHTS. Everything in the first four days of this itinerary is pretty close together and to prevent having to check in and out constantly staying in one place is best.

Afternoon: Waikiki Beach & Acai Bowls

Spend the afternoon at Waikiki Beach, where you can enjoy various activities such as sunbathing, swimming, or trying out water sports like surfing.

💡 Be sure to also grab an acai bowl from Island Vintage Coffee. This is one of my favorite cafes on the island with amazing Acai bowls!

This is also a great time to take leisurely walks along the beachfront promenade and shop at the nearby boutiques.

Day 2: South Oahu

On day two you will have a more adventurous day where you will fully appreciate the landscapes and beauty of Hawaii.

Morning: Diamond Head Hike

Hiking Diamond Head is one of the most popular hikes in Honolulu. It is quite easy and results in breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the Pacific Ocean from the summit.

  • It’s best to visit early in the morning to avoid crowds and to enjoy cooler temperatures.
  • The hike typically takes around 1 to 2 hours round trip, including stops for photos and breaks. However, I did the hike with stops and everything in 1 hour.

💡 INSIDER TIP: You MUST book your time slot for this hike in advance or you CANNOT go on the hike. Book your time here (cost is $5).

Afternoon: Helicopter Tour

Spend the afternoon going on the adventure of a lifetime with a helicopter tour of Oahu’s stunning landscapes. Fly above lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, and jagged cliffs, taking in the UNREAL views of the island’s landscapes.

Admire landmarks like Diamond Head Crater and Pearl Harbor from a unique vantage point high above. With experienced pilots guiding your journey, you’ll witness the island’s natural beauty in all its glory, making memories to last a lifetime.

This is a MUST DO during your 7 days in Oahu that I urge everyone to book ASAP.

➡️THIS is the top-rated helicopter tour – a BUCKET LIST experience.

Day 3: West Oahu

Spend day 3 of this Oahu itinerary exploring some of the waterfalls and hikes Oahu is so famous for.

Morning: Manoa Falls & Pali Notches

🚗 The drive from Honolulu to Moana Falls takes approximately 20 minutes.

Moana Falls

Start your morning with a scenic hike through lush rainforest to reach the captivating Manoa Falls.

Located just outside of Honolulu, it’s easily accessible by car or public transportation. I suggest driving there for more time freedom.

The trail is ~1.6 miles round trip and takes about 1-2 hours to complete, offering picturesque views along the way. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring water as the path can be muddy and slippery.

➡️ CLICK HERE to book the top-rated Manoa Waterfalls Hike with Local Guide

Pali Notches

After this – if time permits and you aren’t too tired from hiking Moana Falls – head to the Pali Notches, a series of rocky outcrops along the Ko’olau Mountain Range.

This challenging hike requires rock scrambling and is best for experienced hikers.

Allow 3-4 hours to navigate the rugged terrain and reach the summit for breathtaking panoramic views of the island. Remember to exercise caution and wear appropriate hiking gear for safety.

Afternoon: Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Gardens

After a morning of hikes spend some time driving through and exploring Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Gardens.

This is my favorite place in Oahu which has some of the most beautiful mountain views on the island. Entrance to the Hoʻomaluhia Botanical Gardens is FREE which is an added bonus!

Right when you arrive you are greeted by the lush greenery and serene atmosphere of the gardens. While exploring the expansive grounds, plan to spend approximately 1-2 hours to fully appreciate the beauty and diversity of the plant life.

This is the perfect place to have a picnic and relax and simply drive around explore.

Day 4: Beaches

Time to enjoy some of the many beautiful beaches Oahu is known for!

Morning & Afternoon: Lanikai Beach

🚗 The drive from Honolulu to Lanikai Beach takes approximately 30 minutes.

Lanikai Beach is easily one of the most beautiful beaches in Oahu. Renowned for its powder-white sand and clear blue waters this is the perfect place to visit to soak up the sun and enjoy the natural beauty of Oahu.

The surrounding mountain views only add to the magic and beauty of this beach making it the PERFECT place to lay out on for a few hours.

It is best reached by car from Honolulu – only a 30 minute drive.

Afternoon: Hanauma Bay

After your morning at Lanikai Beach head to another one of Oahu’s best beaches – Hanauma Bay. This a pristine marine sanctuary famous for its vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life.

The best thing to do at Hanauma Bay is snorkeling! Here you will encounter colorful fish, sea turtles, and other fascinating sea creatures. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced snorkeler, Hanauma Bay offers an unparalleled underwater experience.

After exploring the underwater wonders, relax on the golden sands of the bay, soaking up the warm Hawaiian sun and reveling in the breathtaking coastal scenery.

Day 5: North Shore

Experience the laid-back vibe of Oahu’s North Shore, known for its legendary surf breaks, charming beach towns, and stunning coastline.

Check out of your hotel in Honolulu and prepare for your new hotel in North Shore!

Morning: Kualoa Ranch

🚗 The drive from Honolulu to Kualoa Ranch takes approximately 30 minutes.

Kualoa Ranch is a private nature reserve and working cattle ranch offering various outdoor activities, including ATV tours, horseback riding, zip-lining, and movie site tours.

It is one of the best places to visit in Oahu to admire some of the island’s more stunning landscapes that have been featured in many Hollywood films. Here you can also learn about Hawaiian culture and history, and enjoy a range of adventurous activities suitable for all ages.

  • Entrance fee: Prices vary depending on the activities chosen, starting from around $25 for basic tours and experiences.

➡️ CLICK HERE to book this top-rated Kualoa Ranch – UTV Raptor Tour

Afternoon: Haleiwa

🚗 The drive from Kualoa Ranch to Haleiwa takes approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.

Haleiwa is a charming town on North Shore known for its surf culture, boutique shops, art galleries, and eateries. Here you can enjoy browsing local shops, trying shaved ice, exploring art galleries, or simply soaking up the laid-back vibe.

Check into your North Shore hotel and plan to spend the next TWO nights here.

➡️ The best hotel on North Shore is Turtle Bay Resort

Day 6: North Shore

Continue the adventures on the North Shore by enjoying the amazing beaches and surfing conditions it is best known for!

Morning: Shark’s Cove

Shark’s Cove is known as one of the best FREE snorkeling spots on the island. With its clear waters and diverse marine life it’s the perfect place to see colorful fish, explore lava rock formations, and relax on the beach.

  • Entrance fee: There is no entrance fee to access Shark’s Cove

Safety note: While Shark’s Cove offers excellent snorkeling opportunities, it’s important to be cautious of strong currents and sharp coral.

Afternoon & Evening: Waimea Valley & Sunset Beach Park

Explore the lush Waimea Valley, home to botanical gardens, ancient Hawaiian archaeological sites, and a picturesque waterfall. Take a guided walk through the valley, learn about Hawaiian culture and history, and cool off with a refreshing dip in the waterfall pool.

End your day enjoying the beauty of Sunset Beach Park, renowned for its stunning sunsets, golden sands, and world-class surfing. Take a walk along the beach, watch surfers ride the waves, or simply relax and soak up the serene atmosphere.

Day 7: Back to Honolulu

🚗 The drive from Kualoa Ranch to Haleiwa takes approximately 45 minutes.

Travel back to Honolulu from the North Shore, allowing for a scenic drive along Oahu’s coastline.

Check-in to your accommodation in Honolulu or drop off rental vehicles as needed.

  • Spend the afternoon exploring Honolulu’s vibrant neighborhoods, shopping districts, or cultural attractions such as the Bishop Museum or Iolani Palace.
  • Grab lunch at a local eatery or food truck to sample delicious Hawaiian cuisine.
  • Explore any places or get any last minute souvenirs as needed.

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