How to Spend 24 Hours on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii

Spending only a day somewhere as cool as Oahu is borderline criminal, but sometimes all our plans allows us is a one day itinerary.

Trust me when I say that you’ll have no shortage of things to do with your 24 hours in Oahu, however. Thanks to the fact that it’s the most developed of the islands, it is bursting with once-in-a-lifetime experiences!


Start your day by making the most of the morning sunshine and head straight over to Waikiki Beach, only a 30-minute drive from Honolulu airport and one of the most popular spots on the island for people to pop their surfing cherry on the friendly, accessible waves. You’ll have no trouble finding an appropriate instructor from the many that offer classes on the beachfront.

Next, make the short journey up to Diamond Head State Monument, where you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views of the island – from the surf crashing on the shoreline below to the sweeping panoramic views of mountain ranges to the east. If you’re not too tired from the short but steep hike, be sure to check out the enormous lighthouse and the Fire Control Station!


If heading further afield than Honolulu and Waikiki is part of your one day itinerary, then I highly recommend renting a car from one of the numerous rental companies – because you can get so much done in 24 hours in Oahu, I highly recommend doing so! Take a drive down to Laie, where you’ll find some truly authentic island eats. From poke and coconut rice to shrimp and seafood, you’ll be spoiled for choice picking from the various groovy food trucks and eateries found in the neighborhood.

You’ll also find yourself conveniently close to the Polynesian Cultural Center, one of the most eye-opening insights into traditional island culture, that takes you on an immersive, historical journey through Hawaii’s past.


If this is your one chance to see a Hawaiian sunset, then make sure you do it right! Pretty much anywhere on the west side of the island will put on a display you’ll never forget, but the coolest atmosphere by far is found in Haleiwa, a small village on the North Shore where you can comfortably watch the sun dip below the horizon in one of the many groovy waterside bars.

For dinner, you can either hang out in the area, stop off at any of the fantastic beach restaurants along the North Shore, or drive back to Honolulu to spend the evening in town. Aside from the endless luaus found close to the city, the capital itself is an ever-changing hotbed of exciting international cuisine, so feel free to go in search of something more gourmet.


What better way to end your 24 hours in Oahu than with a helicopter tour that will give you a completely new and unbeatable perspective on the sights you saw the day before. Book yourself a thrilling ride with a reliable operator like Novictor Helicopters to complete your single day schedule, and leave content in the knowledge that you maximized your one day island visit!