Oahu is a tropical paradise year-round, but its no surprise that it’s still a popular destination in the summertime. From sunny beaches with gentle waves to exotic ocean life, the great outdoors in Hawaii is a thing of beauty. Of course, there are other ways to enjoy Oahu in the summer, too!
This year, there are plenty of festivals, summer events, attractions, tours, and more to enjoy in addition to your quality beach time.
If you’re planning on doing a lot during your stay, consider an all-inclusive attractions pass like the Go Oahu® Card, which can save you up to 55% on combined admission costs. Or, build your own pass with two or more attractions and save a guaranteed 20%.
Festivals & Free Events
King Kamehameha Floral Parade – Waikiki
June 13, 2015
This year marks the 99th anniversary of this favorite local parade. It celebrates the reign of King Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian Islands in the late eighteenth century. Enjoy vibrant floats, talented performers, amazing musical groups, and more. Stick around for the festival afterwards!
Prince Lot Hula Festival – Moanalua Gardens
July 18 – 19, 2015
As you may have guessed, this delightful festival is dedicated to the fine Hawaiian art of hula dancing. Troupes of hula dancers will perform for spectators, showcasing their talents in this traditional dance.
You’ll enjoy get to enjoy spotlights on Native Hawaiian culture through crafts, games, and more. A great family event.
Haleiwa Arts Festival Summer ArtFest
July 18 – 19, 2015
If you love art, then this is the event for you. It’s filled with locals artists, musicians, dancers, storytellers, artisans, and much more. You’ll be able to observe their works and even purchase unique pieces for your home or as gifts.
Duke’s OceanFest – Waikiki
August 22 – 30, 2015
Duke’s is truly a summer event, dedicated to exciting watersports from around the globe, including the quintessentially Hawaiian art of surfing. This week-long festival features a variety of exhilarating competitions, from surfing and swimming to standup paddling and beach volleyball.
This festival is held in honor of the Olympian Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, called the greatest Hawaiian waterman who ever lived.
Outdoor Activities in Oahu
Snorkel the bright coral reef of Hanauma Bay and have the time of your life. Meet turtles, rays, and tropical fish. Observe stunning coral and water plants through pristine waters. This gorgeous nature preserve is the perfect place to snorkel, whether you’re new to the game or an old expert.
If you’re looking for an enjoyable hike that’s not too challenging but still provides an interesting payoff, consider a hike to Diamond Head. This volcanic crater is so named because its glittering façade looked like diamonds to early explorers. Today, it’s one of the most photographed sites in Oahu and is arguably the most famous volcanic crater on earth.
If you’re looking for paradise, you’ll find it in Waimea Valley. Nearly 2,000 acres of lush wilderness, parks, hiking trails, waterfalls, botanical gardens, and more await at this popular tropical destination.
You’ll even get the chance to explore several archaeological sites. Go swimming, hiking, or just stroll around to enjoy the scenery.
Secret Island Beach
If sun and sand is really what you’re after, then you want to hit up Secret Island Beach. Located at Kualoa Ranch on the Kaneohe Bay, this stunning beach is the perfect place to just sit back and enjoy the summer weather. Or, you can choose to be active and do anything from canoeing and kayaking to volleyball and Ping-Pong.
Museums & Historical Sites
Pearl Harbor Historic Sites
This is actually a collection of excellent attractions, including the Pacific Aviation Museum, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine, and the USS Arizona Memorial. Visit them all in one day for the full experience. All of these attractions are included on the Go Oahu® Card.
Polynesian Cultural Center
This unparalleled cultural institution is the perfect Oahu destination for those of you looking to immerse yourselves in Hawaiian culture and heritage. Explore historic and modern Polynesia as you journey through six separate regions, witnessing demonstrations, performances, craftwork, dancing, spear-throwing, and more. Stick around later for an authentic luau!
Home to the Hawaiian kingdom’s last two monarchs, Iolani Palace is a beautiful example of ornate “American Florentine” architecture. It’s filled with artifacts, furniture, and décor from the late nineteenth century and showcases the last days of the Hawaiian monarchy in exquisite detail. A great find for history buffs!
Honolulu Museum of Art
Paradise inspires a lot of great art (just ask Georgia O’Keeffe), and the Honolulu Museum of Art sure has a lot to show for it. Featuring one of the best collections of Asian art and artifacts in the country, this museum includes over 16,000 pieces from China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and India. A visit here is another way to immerse yourself in local heritage and to expand your horizons.
While that’s just a small sample of the kind of great summer event and attractions available to Oahu travelers this season, a visit to Hawaii will open up a whole new world.
Remember, if you’re thinking about doing a lot during your trip, pick up a Go Oahu® Card to save on admission to some of the best things to do and summer events in Oahu.