What are the 10 most popular Oahu Categories?

Jun 1, 2022 | General Information

Oahu was the first of the Hawaiian Islands to offer activities and tours. There are a great variety of activities and obviously some will be more popular than others. As a curiosity it is interesting to know which ones are most popular but as a practical consideration it is important to know as well because the most popular tours are the ones that are going to be booked up first and be more difficult to make arrangements for. In fact some of these tours are booked up` weeks in advance and if you don’t book early you won’t be able to go at all.

Here at Tom Barefoot’s Tours we have scrolled through the achieves of the last 10 years and have chronicled the top 10 categories of activities on Oahu in terms of popularity and have listed them below for your reference. Generally speaking, the categories of activities that rank highest on the list should be booked first to avoid availability problems. Here is the list from 10 down to 1st place:

#10 Inter-Island Excursions
Ranking number ten, Inter Island Excursions, oddly enough isn’t even a tour that occurs on Oahu but are actually a wide selection of activities that provide a 1 day (same day) tour from Oahu to visit another island. Each of these tours leaves from and returns to Oahu on the same day. These are a fantastic value as they give you the opportunity to see the live volcanoes for instance on the Big Island, or take the road to Hana tour on Maui and return to sleep in your hotel bed that same evening. You will be able to enjoy the sites of another island without having to set up special air-fare, make hotel reservations or rent a car on your stay there.

#9 Parasailing
Parasailing is a full time activity on Oahu unlike on Maui when it is only available for half of the year. As such, it is popular the entire year long. Generally the more popular times are earlier in the morning when the climatic condition are the very best. These are times when the ocean is the calmest and it is not too windy. Don’t feel as though you cannot sleep in and then do a parasail in the late morning or afternoon, but the best conditions are earlier in the day. Also, we often offer special discounts for the first parasail trips of the day, usually around 8 am.

#8 Attractions
When we refer to attractions on Oahu we’re referring to the large attraction events such as the Polynesian Cultural Center, Sea Life Park and Kualoa Ranch. Although these attractions are capable to catering to vast numbers of people, we still have problems with finding availability at certain times of year. A case in point is with the Kualoa Ranch when we often have great difficulty in making bookings for their ATV excursions of Zipline tours for two or three weeks out or even more. People are routinely disappointed because they simply did not think to make reservations early enough.

#7 Sunset Cruises
The sunset cruises we are referring to here are not dinner cruises but rather sunset cocktail sails or cruises without dinner. These are less expensive than the dinner cruises but still provide a great time out on the water to enjoy the sunset wth cocktails and Hawaiian pupu’s. These have always been popular as an inexpensive way to get out onto the water.

#6 Fishing
One of the oldest and longest standing activities available on Oahu for decades has been its sport fishing charters. These boats generally leave from Honolulu and often travel many miles up or down the coast or out to an off-shore buoy. Fishing can be very good off Oahu and and it can often be difficult to arrange for a boat to accommodate you on short notice.

#5 Whale Watching
Whale Watching activity and buy discounted tickets” href=”https://mauisnorkeling.com/whale-watching/”>Whale watching tours only go out a portion of the year, generally between mid December and April, but it is so popular during those times that this category ranks in the number five position for the total year, regardless. Whale watching tours go out all through the day during the season but the early to mid morning tours are the most popular because the ocean conditions are at their best.

#4 Helicopter Tours
Although helicopter tours rank number four overall, that ranking is a bit deceptive. Because popularity and availability go hand in hand, this is a difficult one to rank. The individual helicopters usually only hold either four or six people so they can fill up quite rapidly. We can often have availability one minute and none the next so this is definitely a category of tours you would want to book as soon as you have decided to take one.

#3 Dinner Cruise
Dinner cruises are one of the prime forms of evening entertainment on Oahu. Restaurants are great for dinner but you would be hard pressed to find the ambiance or the views that you would find on one of Oahu’s fine dinner cruise vessels. Dinner, drinks, entertainment, views of the island at sunset time with incredible colors…….You can’t beat it!

#2 Luaus
These last two categories put us in the realm of the real ‘heavy hitters’. Since a ‘Luau’ is really only available when you visit Hawaii, this is something everyone wants to do. We do have lots of space on these Oahu luaus but it is truly amazing how fast they will book up. Most of these luaus will pick you up at your hotel and take you there so they are made very convenient and you should just take the time to make your bookings early.

#1 (drum roll, here it is) Snorkeling
The waters off the coast of Oahu are warm and clear and there are snorkeling locations all around the island. Included in these snorkeling trips are the dolphin snorkels which include a snorkel stop after swimming with the dolphins in the open ocean. It is a real treat to get out into the ocean and snorkel when the water is so comfortable and inviting. The lure of our #1 activity is simply too overwhelming for most people to pass up. Depending upon the time of year and the particular boat you may be interested in, these can often be a challenge to book but once you’re out there, you’ll be glad you did.