Tours and Activities: on Oahu

Tips, Trips, and Stories From Oahu

Here is a list of tours and activities we think would round out your Hawaii vacation.  While we often enjoy exploring on our own, whenever we’ve added a couple of tours and extra activities to our trips, they’ve always had such a positive impact on our experience and our kids will talk about them forever!

We’re including tours and activities either we have tried personally or someone we know did and enjoyed very much. They were a boatload of fun and we hope they will enhance your Hawaii trip as well! Meanwhile, if something has changed or if you have a negative experience, kindly let us know so that we can reflect it on this page.

Some of the items here are affiliate links and when you book through our site then we will earn a small commission.  As for others, we currently don’t have an affiliations with them, but we think they are worth the experience so we included them too!


Our favorite luaus are the Polynesian Cultural Center luau, Aloha Kai Luau at Sea Life Park Hawaii, and Toa Luau at Waimea Valley – all on the North Shore. Paradise Cove Luau on the Leeward (west) side of Oahu, is another awarding-winning luau for those looking to visit another part of the island.

So far, we haven’t become big fans of the luaus hosted by various Waikiki hotels, BUT if you want to stay in the Waikiki area, then we’d recommend Queens Waikiki Luau at International Market Place. Queens Waikiki Luau takes place in the center stage area of International Market Place.  Since the center stage area is open to the rest of the shopping mall, it may not feel as private – with shoppers able to catch glimpses of the show from the 2nd level of the mall – however, the overall experience is very captivating and enjoyable.

Polynesian Cultural Center

 Full day activities with dinner and and evening show. Entertainment is good for all ages.

*Including the Ha: Breath of Life show, the program ends at 9 PM and may be difficult for those with early bedtimes.  

Six Pacific Island Villages

 Experience six different Pacific Island cultures divided into villages around the PCC.

Based on your luau package, there are options to explore on your own, with a group tour, or with a private guide.

We usually explore on our own. The activities they provide are very fun and engaging and our kids have always a great time. Each village has something specific to each culture which makes it a great learning experience for them too!

Luau and Dinner

There are two buffet options: the Ali’i Luau Buffet and Gateway Buffet.

For the full Luau experience the Ali’i Luau Package offers a luau and entertainment. We took my in-laws there and they loved it. It was their first time in Hawaii we wanted them to the have the full luau experience.

If you don’t need the luau but still want to enjoy a meal before the Ha: Breath of Life show, then the Gateway Buffet with live music is the way to go.

Evening Show

The finale for the evening is the HA: Breath of Life show. 

Whenever we play “tour guide” for visiting family and friends, we usually take them PCC and the HA: Breath of Life show. 

This show is often rated one of the best shows on Oahu. If you’re visiting for the first time, a taking around visiting friends and family, it’s definitely worth the trip to the North Shore.

*Polynesian Cultural Center also offers motor coach transportation and island tours for their luau and show if you don’t want to drive!

Aloha Kai Luau

 An entertaining luau at Sea Life Park surrounded by gorgeous views of the Koolau Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. 

VIP Package

Enjoy special perks including complimentary drinks, free parking, 10-Day Sea Life Park passes, exclusive VIP seating, and more!

  • Adult: $230
  • Children (4-12): $205
  • Lap Children (0-3): FREE

More info here.
Direct Booking here.

Gold Package

Enjoy free drinks, Gold seating, 10-day Sea Life Park passes, and more!

  • Adult: $210
  • Children (4-12): $185
  • Lap Children (0-3): FREE

More info here.
Direct Booking here.

Silver Package

Enjoy free drinks, Silver seating, 5-day Sea Life Park passes, and more!

  • Adult: $175
  • Child (4-12): $150
  • Lapchild (0-3): FREE

More info here.
Direct Booking here.

Bronze Package

Enjoy a complimentary drink, bronze seating, and an unforgettable luau experience.

  • Adult: $135
  • Children (4-12): $110
  • Lap Children (0-3): FREE

More info here.
Direct Booking here.

Toa Luau

at Waimea Valley offers three luau packages.

    Toa Luau is located on the North Shore in Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens and Falls. They offer both lunch and dinner programs at 12:30 PM and 5 PM, respectively. 

    Tickets to the luau include entrance into Waimea Valley; please allow time to explore the gardens and paved hiking paths. 

    Luau packages range from:

    • Adult (21+): $115-$195
    • Youth (13-20): $95-$175
    • Child (5-12): $75-$155
    • Infant (0-4): FREE



    Paradise Cove Luau

    at Ko’Olina Resorts offers three luau packages.

    Paradise Cove Luau is a popular venue among locals and visitors to Oahu, entertaining guests for over 20 years.

    Located in the resort area of Ko’Olina, Paradise Cove Luau, also offers shuttle service for a separate fee for guests making the journey from Waikiki.

    Luau package pricing ranges from: 

    • Adult (21+): $150-$240
    • Youth (13-20): $125-$210
    • Child (4-12): $110-$185
    • Lap Child (0-3): FREE


    Dolphin or Whale Watching

    We went on a dolphin tour once, and we had no idea what to expect. What if we didn’t see any dolphins? Well, on our boat excursion we saw dozens and dozens of playful spinner dolphins. It was amazing and one of the best things we’ve ever done. Best of all? It was priceless watching my kids in awe of the dolphins playfully dancing along side the boat. I really think they talked about that trip for months afterwards! 

    Unfortunately, the company we went with closed down a few years back so I can’t recommend them specifically (sad face). However, I highly recommend going on a whale or dolphin-watching tour if you have the opportunity. And while it’s never guaranteed you’ll see whales or dolphins on your trip, as long as you don’t get seasick, it’s so worth it just to see Oahu from the water instead of by land or by airplane. 

    Please note: Whale watching is seasonal. Whales come to the Hawaiian islands between December through April so if you want to see whales, you’ll need to plan your visit during that time (January through early March is usually the best!). 


    Iruka Hawaii

    Swim with wild dolphins. Tours available on Oahu and the Big Island.

    Dolphins and You

    Experience  viewing wild dolphins, snorkeling with turtles, hiking, and food tours on Oahu. 

    Dolphin Excursions

    Take a boat tour to see wild dolphins, humpback whales, or go snorkeling with sea turtles.

    Hawaii Nautical

    Dolphin, Whale-watching, and scenic tours available on Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island.