Sporting Activities in Oahu
Life as a traveler can get extremely exciting at Oahu because there is just so much to do. If you're a sports enthusiast, satisfy your cravings with the best sporting activities Oahu has to offer. Take a look at some of the exciting activities you can do at Oahu, popularly nicknamed as "The Gathering Place."
Jet skiing and parasailing
Test your balancing skills by jet skiing around Maunalua Bay. This extreme sports is not for the faint-hearted as you zoom around the bay with water splashing around you. If you're ready to have the time of your life in Oahu, simply contact rental shops and water sports outfits within the area. One such water sports outfit that offers various exciting water activities is the Hawaii Water Sports Center located at the Koko Marina Center, Honolulu. Because Oahu is a beach lover's paradise, its calm waters and sunny skies are also perfect for parasailing. Whether it's your first time in Oahu or it's your nth time to visit Hawaii's "The Gathering Place," this island has plenty of new adventures to offer, especially in terms of parasailing hot spots.
Scuba diving and snorkeling
If you love the ocean and you want to witness the beautiful marine life of Oahu, then scuba diving and snorkeling are just two of the adrenaline-pumping activities you can do here. Some of the best scuba diving spots in this island include the Mahi shipwreck located off the Waianae shores. Mahi was actually a World War II minesweeper that sunk in the early 1980s. It was then converted into a man-made reef that serves as a home to schools of tropical fish, eagle rays, and moray eels. Hanauma Bay is the perfect spot for off-shore snorkeling, and this pristine bay is home to giant green sea turtles.
Surfing and wakeboarding
No trip to Oahu is complete without experiencing the waters and their magnificent glory through surfing and wakeboarding. If you're a beginner, head to Canoes Beach which is just near the world-class travel destination, Waikiki Beach. Because of its easy-to-ride waves coupled with a friendly ambiance, Canoes Beach can get pretty crowded as plenty of foreign and local tourists flock the waters to learn the basics of surfing. Another amateur surfer's paradise is the White Plains Beach, just a 40-minute drive from downtown Honolulu. While in White Plains Beach, enroll at The Fire Surf School, a surfing school wherein your teachers are firefighters who can give you not only surfing lessons, but also some techniques to make the whole learning experience safer and fun.
If you love snowboarding without the snow, then wakeboarding is the perfect activity for you. Oahu's calm waters and steady winds set the perfect ambiance for an exciting wakeboarding experience.
Conquer your fears and feast your eyes on some of the ocean's magnificent sharks by joining cage diving trips. While inside a cage made of steel bars and plexiglass, you can marvel at some of nature's most fearless predators safely. Experience the thrill of a shark coming right at you but without actually getting hurt or bitten. There are several companies that offer cage diving services, and tours usually depart everyday from the North Shore's Haleiwa Harbor. Learn more about some of the ocean's well-equipped predators by seeing face-to-face gray reef, hammerhead, sandbar, and Galapagos sharks.
Oahu's top spots for swimming and other water sports include Waikiki Beach, Kailua Beach, Sandy Beach, and Sunset Beach. With so many clear blue waters to choose from, you'll never run out of options if you want to swim around Oahu's waters or simply work on your tan.
Add a twist to your swimming adventures by swimming side-by-side with marine animals such as dolphins and Hawaiian sea turtles. Through the island's various water sport centers, get up close and personal with schools of tropical fish and sting rays for a more exciting swimming experience.
If you want to experience several water activities in just one location, visit any of the following water parks in Oahu:
Stay in Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hotel only minutes away from Waikiki, and experience their dolphin adventures: the Adult Dolphin Encounter for guests 13 years up, and the Kid's Quest for Knowledge for kids aged 5 to 12 years old. The dolphin lagoon can be found in the resort, creating a wonderful location for guests to meet and interact with the resident Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins.
Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park
This park is composed of 25 acres of wild, wet fun including a megawave pool, a tube cruising river, and four and seven-story waterslide complexes. Separate pools and activities for adults and children are offered, complete with Jacuzzi-style pools and animal-themed keiki slides.
Sea Life Park
At Sea Life Park, get to swim and dance with dolphins, feed sea lions, watch penguins perform, and swim along with schools of tropical fish. Sea Life Park is a world-class marine attraction located between the majestic Koolau Mountain Range and breathtaking Makapuu Beach.
Aside from picturesque beaches and captivating sunsets, Oahu is also known for its variety of hiking trails that can make anyone an instant nature lover. One of the island's most popular trails is the Diamond Head Trail. This three-quarters-of-a-mile hike begins at the Diamond Head crater and ends at the summit, offering you a picturesque view of Honolulu. The Manoa Falls Trail is another hiking route worth taking. This is just a short walk, perfect for those who want a more serene experience. The hiking trail includes waterfalls wherein you can cool off and swim. Another hiking destination is Kaena, a state park and protected natural area in Oahu. It's made up of hundreds of acres of undeveloped coastline centering on an area which, according to legends, the souls of the ancient dead leaped into as they traveled to eternal darkness. This is the Kaena Point, a tourist destination with breathtaking views, whales spouting offshore in winter, and shells abounding in keyhole coves during calm weather.
Visit some of Oahu's top golf courses for an experience you'll never forget. Start off at the Makaha Resort & Golf Club, a golfer's paradise recognized by Golf Digest. This course is known for its several challenging holes, which include the 18 hole par 72. Surrounded by the majestic Wai'anae Mountains, it offers a mesmerizing backdrop overlooking the glorious Pacific Ocean. Another top golf course in Oahu is the Ko'olau Golf Course. Recognized as one of the top golf courses by Golf Magazine and Golf Digest, this golf course offers challenging holes because of its gargantuan size and tough terrain. Just 20 minutes away from downtown Honolulu, the Ko'olau Golf Course offers breathtaking mountain views, scenic fairways, and a mesmerizing view of the Pacific Ocean.
If you want to experience the spectacular beauty of Oahu's Kaaawa Valley and Koolau Mountain cliffs, then hire a mountain bike and join an off-road mountain biking tour. Ride along picturesque dirt roads as you explore the history of this Hawaiian valley. The countryside has so much to offer to bikers and nature lovers, ranging from charming traditional villages and Hollywood movie and TV sets such as those featured in the TV series Lost and movies such as 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Jurassic Park, and Wind Talkers.
This sport is definitely not for the faint-hearted. If you want to see Oahu in a whole new way, head to Dillingham Airfield and skydive to one of the island's most beautiful drop spots. Feel the excitement build up before the jump and let go of your inhibitions as you freefall from 12,500 to 14,000 feet above Oahu's North Shore. Freefalling at about 120 miles an hour, you'll never forget a skydiving experience in Oahu.
Grab your camera and head to one of Oahu's horseback riding trails to enjoy the island's sceneries in a more relaxed setting. Ride through lush forests, orchards brimming with tropical fruits, and valleys filled with ferns for a one-of-a-kind horseback riding experience. If you want a laidback setting while enjoying the best of Oahu's countryside and lush greenery, horseback riding should definitely be included in your itinerary. Happy Trails Hawaii in Oahu offers various horseback riding tours for visitors six years old and above.
Tips for travelers
Before joining any sporting activities in Oahu, make sure to check for weather conditions. Don't forget to wear appropriate clothing and gear to ensure a fun-filled adventure. If it's your first time to try out a sporting activity, make sure to stick close to the guide or tour group. Some of the activities are quite dangerous, such as skydiving, so make sure you have prepared yourself for the adrenaline rush.
If you want to make the most out of your Oahu vacation, you should definitely try out any of the adventures mentioned above. Whether you want a relaxing horseback riding trip along the countryside or an adrenaline-rushing experience while skydiving, Oahu has plenty to offer adventure-seekers who want to experience the best of Hawaii's "The Gathering Place."