Oahu - Adventures

Soar in Silence in a Glider: Imagine soaring through silence on gossamerlike wings, with a panoramic view of Oahu. A ride on a glider is an unforgettable experience. Glider rides are available at Dillingham Air Field, in Mokuleia, on Oahu's North Shore. The glider is towed behind a plane; at the right altitude, the tow is dropped, and you (and the glider pilot) are left to soar in the thermals.

Surf Waikiki in a Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe: It's summertime and there's a South Pacific swell rolling into Waikiki from Tahiti; here's your chance to try surfing--in a Hawaiian outrigger canoe. Numerous beach concessions on Waikiki Beach offer the chance to paddle an outrigger canoe and surf back into Waikiki. Not only do you get a great view of Waikiki Beach from offshore, but also the thrill of actually catching a wave and gliding back into shore.

Float on the Thermals on a Tandem Hang Glider: See things from a bird's-eye view (literally) as you and an instructor float high above Oahu on a tandem hang glider.

Leap into the Ocean: Even though all the signs say dangerous, stay off the rocks, a favorite pastime on Oahu is climbing the stone precipice next to Waimea Bay and leaping into the ocean. This is for experienced swimmers and is a summer-only experience, as the thundering winter waves drive everyone from the sea, except the professional surfers and the very, very stupid.

Venture into the Deep: It's Hawaii--you have to see what it's like under the waves. Try scuba diving; you can enjoy a "scuba experience" with absolutely no previous diving experience. Here's your opportunity to glide weightlessly through the ocean while you admire the multicolored marine creatures.

The Best Authentic Experiences

To have the absolute best experiences on Oahu, be prepared for a different culture, language, cuisine, and way of doing things. Slow yourself down--you're now on an island that operates on its own schedule. To really experience the island, we recommend the following:

Get Out on the Water: View the islands the way Mother Nature does--from the sea. There are many different boats to choose from, ranging from tiny kayaks to 100-foot sightseeing vessels. Even state-of-the-art boats guaranteed to prevent seasickness are available. You'll take home memories of an emerald island rising out of the cobalt sea with white wispy clouds set against an azure sky or the Waikiki shoreline colored by the setting sun.

Plunge Under the Water: Don mask, fins, and snorkel and dive into the magical world beneath the surface, where clouds of colorful tropical fish flutter by, craggy old turtles lumber along, and tiny marine creatures hover over exotic corals. Can't swim? No excuse--take one of the many submarines or semi-submersibles, but don't miss this opportunity. If you come to Hawaii and don't see the underwater world, you're missing half of what makes up this paradise.

Meet Local Folks: If you go to Hawaii and see only people like the ones back home, you might as well stay home. Extend yourself, leave the resorts and tourist quarters, go out and learn about Hawaii and its people. Just smile and say "howzit?" which means "how is it?" "It's good," is the usual response--and you'll usually make a new friend. Hawaii is remarkably cosmopolitan; every ethnic group in the world seems to be here. It's fascinating to discover the varieties of food, culture, language, and customs.

Drive to the North Shore: Just an hour's drive from Honolulu, the North Shore is another world: a pastoral, rural setting with magnificent beaches and a slower way of life. During the winter months, stop and watch the professionals surf the monster waves.

Watch the Hula: This is Hawaii, so you have to experience the hula. There's no excuse--many performances are free. For just about as long as we can remember, the Eastman Kodak Company has been hosting the Kodak Hula Show at Kapiolani Park. The show is really more 1950s nostalgia than ancient culture, but it's a good bit of fun any way you slice it. Some 1,500 people flock to the shows at 10am every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; they last until 11:15am.

Experience a Turning Point in America's History: The United States could no longer turn its back on World War II after December 7, 1941, the day that Japanese warplanes bombed Pearl Harbor. Standing on the deck of the USS Arizona Memorial, which straddles the eternal tomb for the 1,177 sailors and Marines trapped below deck when the battleship sank in 9 minutes, is a moving experience you'll never forget. Admission is free.