Oahu Circle the Island Tour – Updated
Oahu Chinamans Hat Tour Drone 2

Oahu Circle the Island Tour – 2022

One of the most enjoyable ways to discover Oahu is to do a ‘Circle the Island Tour of Oahu.’ In this article, we provide you with tips and recommendations on how to make the most of this 1-Day Island Tour!

There is a lot to discover on the island of Oahu! Even visitors who have visited the island multiple times discover will new things about Oahu with each visit. So how are you expected to discover all there is to do and see on Oahu in one visit let alone one day?

You can’t and you won’t. But this Oahu Travel article will give you tips on how you can make the most of a 1-Day Tour of Oahu. You’ll discover beaches, great food, amazing views, hikes and if you’re lucky you’ll see Turtles and you’re sure to meet some amazing people too.

The following Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘Oahu Circle Island Tour – 2022’ will help you see the most of this beautiful island in a single day. But we must warn you, it will be a full, long day and you will need a rental car. There are a number of tour companies offering ‘Circle the Island Tours’ and some are very good, however with these Group Tours include a larger group of people and you will follow a set schedule with no freedom to take advantage of spontaneous stops along the way…and spontaneity often creates the best experiences.

Keep in mind this plan is very ambitious and will require an early start and a FULL day, but you will see a lot of the beautiful island, and best of all, after you enjoy this first ‘Circle the Island Tour’ you will have a list of amazing things you will want to see and do (again) on your next day or next visit.

O.k. let’s go!

  • You’ll want to grab a Snorkel, Mask & Fin set for each of the people in your group who will want to Snorkel. You can buy these Snorkel sets inexpensively at Walmart or Costco here on Oahu.
  • Leave from Waikiki as early as possible to arrive at 6:00 a.m. should do it. Drive to Diamondhead Crater for a beautiful, early morning hike. This a reminder that you will need a reservation to hike Diamondhead in advance of your hike.
  • Take Hwy 72/Kalanianaole Hwy for the next part of your tour, and grab breakfast to go to a local spot along the way. You’ll see plenty of options!
  • Stop at Hanauma Bay…don’t go down to the water, just stop to take in the spectacular view of this amazing landmark – you’ll likely want to come back another day to Snorkel.
  • Back in your car and drive along the coast and enjoy the stunning views. Stop at Lanikai Beach…Snorkel a bit if you like or just enjoy a quick walk on the beach…come back another day if you like to spend more time on one of Oahu’s most beautiful beaches.
  • If you like to hike, you can do the Lanikai Pillbox Hike. This is a wonderful easy hike with incredible views…could replace your stop at Lanikai Beach if you plan to go to this beach on another day.
  • Now on your way to the North Shore on Highway 83 or Kamehameha Highway. Keep an eye out for the many roadside Fruit Stands and Food Trucks along the way and stop to grab some of the BEST fruit you will ever have. You will see a LOT of beaches along the way. Stop. Go Snorkel a bit, walk along (a likely) near an empty beach and make a ‘Chicken Friend’ – you’ll see.
  • Back in the car, stop for an AMAZING lunch of Garlic Shrimp at one of the Road-side Food Trucks. You’ll thank us again.
  • Back in the car and stop at Sharks Cove for a quick swim…or another Snorkel session.
  • Stop at 1 or 2 of the beautiful North Shore Beaches; Sunset, Laniakea (Turtle Beach), etc.
  • Drive to the town of Haleiwa for Shave Ice, Shopping, Food, etc. The Kamehameha Highway/83 Highway will turn into Highway 99/H2 on your way to your next stop.
  • Back in the car and drive to (or past) Dole Plantation…Stop for a Dole Whip if you like.
  • Now for the drive back. You will have a very full day, but we promise you will have a GREAT understanding of the island and a list of places to go back to another day.
  • Another option you may wish to consider is to leave from the town of Haleiwa and go back the same way around Oahu. Trust us, you will have a long list of things you will want to see for the first time or see again on that day or another day.

Alternative Stops – These stops will require more time and a second day, but they are well worth it:

  • Go Shark Diving out of North Shore Harbor….this is a 3+ hour activity but a GREAT time. Polynesian Cultural Center, is a great stop but allow a minimum of 3 hours to a full day.
  • Polynesian Cultural Center – this is most definitely a several hours stop or a full day depending on your plans.
  • Kualoa Ranch – ATV Tour, Horseback Riding, this is easily a several-hour stop but well worth it.

That’s about it! It is a very full day but you will be rewarded for your efforts with a most memorable day…enjoy!