What to Do in Central Oahu

Despite the fact that a majority of Central Oahu is composed of bedroom communities, you will be surprised to find that the area has several interesting attractions and activities to offer tourists.


There are a lot of places to go to for sightseeing in Central Oahu. Every district has its own point of interest, from Pearl Harbor to the Tropic Lightning Museum of Wahiawa.

Pearl Harbor

This is perhaps one of the first places you would want to visit when in Central Oahu. Located on the southern shore of Central Oahu, Pearl Harbor is the only natural harbor in the island and is a US Deep- water naval base. This is also the home of the US Pacific Fleet. Pearl Harbor was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and contains several other National Historic Landmarks inside its grounds, among them memorial sites for the USS Arizona, the USS Blowfin, and the USS Utah. Pearl Harbor is also the place to go to see the many US naval warships docked in the harbor.

Dole Pineapple Plantation and Maze

This is the second most popular attraction in the Central Oahu area. Hawaii is famous for its pineapple plantations and pineapple exports. The Dole plantation is especially popular for its maze of pineapple gardens which have a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest maze. You can also take a train ride on the Pineapple Ex-Press Train, which will take you on a two-mile tour around the maze. During this time, visitors will also learn information about the history of the pineapple in Hawaii as well as information about James Dole, the pioneer behind the industry of pineapples in the island. After this tour one can take a self-guided walk in one of the mini-gardens in the plantation. They can also learn about the plantation villages and laborers who came from all over the world to work as pineapple growers and harvesters. The last stop would be the plantation store which sells all sorts of goodies made from pineapples and the restaurant for a refreshing meal before departing for other sightseeing destinations.

Another place worth visiting is the Kukaniloko Birth-stones State Monument, which belongs to the National and Hawaii Registry of Historic Places. The place is famous for its formation of 180 stones in an area that spans about half an acre. The Kukaniloko Birth-stones State Monument used to be the place for royal births, where Hawaiian priests would cut the umbilical cord of the newborn child in a royal ceremony.

The Wahiawa Botanical Gardens

The Wahiawa Botanical gardens sits right in the center of Oahu. The whole 27 acres of the park is home to a diverse collection of ferns, flowers, and trees from all over the South Pacific islands and native to Oahu. The site was originally a site for experimental tree planting projects by the Hawaii Sugar Planters Association, but the garden was only officially opened in 1957.

Tropic Lightning Museum

The Tropic Lightning Museum is a memorial museum that houses extensive exhibits reflecting the history of the 25th Infantry Division dating as far back as 1941 to the present day. Visitors can learn about the military history of the island through its display of uniforms, guns and artillery, leftovers of the previous wars. The museum also contains artifacts of the history of the Wheeler Army Airfield. Proceeds from the museum are used to support men and women military trainees.

Plantation Village

The Hawaii Plantation Village is an outdoor museum that contains exhibits of plantation workers who arrived in the islands during the 1800s and up to the 1940s. Plantation Village is part of the Waipahu Cultural Garden Park. One of the most famous and most interesting of the exhibits are the model homes of plantation workers. Guided tours are made from Monday through Saturday.

Pearl City

This is a city in Central Oahu that is known for its retro and 1960s architecture and style. Pearl City is also home to the Aloha Stadium which is the home of the University of Hawaii Rainbows.

Schofield Barracks

This is another place to visit which is known for its rich history and for its place in the movie ‘From Here to Eternity’ starring Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. Schofield Barracks is located just west of Wahiawa.

Wheeler Army Air Field

Another place of interest is the Wheeler Army Air field, although it is not likely that tours are possible inside. However, this is still one point of interest in any sightseeing tour in Central Oahu. The Wheeler Army Airfield is formerly known as Wheeler Air Force Base and played an important role during the WWII attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. The airfield is also a National Historic Landmark.


For a taste of the local shopping crowd, nothing beats a Sunday at the local farmer’s market. You can head to Mililani every Sunday and meet locals and shop for fruits and other produce at the Farmer’s Market at the parking lot of Mililani High School. They also have a website which you can check for a list of that Sunday’s products for sale. This is also a good place to grab a quick breakfast or lunch.

You can also find interesting shopping places over in Mililani, which has its own shopping complexes and known as one of the wealthiest zip codes in the state of Hawaii. This area of Central Oahu is also the future site of the Oahu Arts Center. Mililani was named one of the best places to live in in 2005.

Another interesting place to shop is at the Pearlridge Center, one of the largest shopping malls in the island. From here, one can take shuttle buses to other phases of the city for more sightseeing.

Playing golf

Playing golf is another fun thing to do in Central Oahu. One of the popular golf courses are the Mililani Golf Club, located in one of the wealthiest communities in Central Oahu. The Mililani golf club enjoys a prime location on top of a plateau right between the Wai`anae and Ko`olau Mountain Ranges. The golf course is surrounded by Norfolk Pines, eucalyptus trees, and other kinds of Hawaiian foliage.

Another popular place for a game of golf is the Royal Kunia Country Club, which is only 20 miles from Waikiki and is one of the best golf courses for beginner golfers.

Popular golf courses in Wahiawa include the Hawaii Country Club Golf course and Leilehua Golf course. The Hawaii Country Club Golf Course is an 18-hole course located in Kuhia Road and was designed by John Uldrick. The Leilehua Golf Course sits just right outside the Wheeler Army Airfield and is another 18-hole golf course frequented by locals and tourists alike.

Spending a day at theme parks

One can enjoy a day of adventure at the Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park. It is located in Kapolei, the second-largest city in Hawaii. The park holds 25 wet and wild rides and other attractions for families and other viitors. Popular rides include the Tornado, which lets adventurers ride through a 130-foot tunnel into a splash down pool, as well as the Kapolei Kooler. Waterworld is another attraction for smaller kids that features a maze of fountains, mini slides, dumping buckets, and water canyons. Hawaiian Waters, a 4,000 gallon wave pool, is also another favorite. The Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park is owned by Village Roadshow Limited and is modeled after Wet N’ Wild Water World in Australia.

From Central Oahu, tourists can take the Kamehameha Highway which will lead the you to the North Shore. Another option would be to take Farrington Highway which will lead tourists to the West Side.

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