• Getting a Tan on Waikiki Beach: The best spot for catching the rays on the world-famous beach is in front of the big, pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel — the beach here is set at the perfect angle for sunning. It's also a great spot for people-watching. Get here early; by midday (when the rays are at their peak), it's towel-to-towel out there.

  • Exploring Oahu's Rainforests: In the misty sunbeams, colorful birds flit among giant ferns and hanging vines, while towering tropical trees form a thick canopy that shelters all below in cool shadows. This emerald world is a true Eden. For the full experience, try Manoa Falls Trail, a walk of less than a mile that ends at a freshwater pool and waterfall.

  • Snorkeling the Glistening Waters of Hanauma Bay: This underwater park, once a volcanic crater, is teeming with a rainbow of tropical fish. Bordered by a 2,000-foot gold-sand beach, the bay's shallow water (10 ft. in places) is perfect for neophyte snorkelers. Arrive early to beat the crowds — and don't forget that the bay is closed on Tuesday.

  • Hiking to the Top of Diamond Head Crater: Almost everyone can make this easy hike to the top of Hawaii's most famous landmark. The 1.4-mile round-trip goes to the top of the 750-foot volcanic cone, where you have a 360-degree view of Oahu. Allow an hour for the trip up and back, bring $1 for the entry fee, and don't forget your camera.

  • Heading to Waimea Bay when the Surf's Up: From November to March, monstrous waves — some 30 feet tall — roll into Waimea. When they break on the shore, the ground actually vibrates and everyone on the beach is covered with salt spray mist. The best surfers in the world paddle out to challenge these freight trains. It's amazing to see how small they appear in the lip of the giant waves. And this unforgettable experience won't cost you a dime. Whether you’re learning to surf or a pro, O‘ahu has waves for everyone. Few experiences are more exhilarating than standing on your first wave, and Waikīkī offers lessons, board rentals, and gentle surf. During the winter, the North Shore gets big and rough, so stay out of the water if you’re not an experienced surfer. But even the view from the beach, watching the daredevils take off on waves twice their height, is thrilling. 

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.