7 Popular Extreme Oahu Activities to Check Out


Many have the impression that Oahu is all about beaches, volcanoes, food, and shopping. After living there for three years, I found that Oahu is a paradise for extreme activities. Some are adrenaline pumping and leave me talking about them for years and there are others I still need to rack up the courage to try during my return trip to Hawaii.

Extreme things to do on Oahu Hawaii

Those extreme activities are not for the faint of heart, but if you are a thrill seeker and desperately need some adventure, be sure to add these extreme Oahu activities to your next Hawaii vacation.

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7 Popular Extreme Oahu Activities

Skydiving on North Shore

Get on a plane with Skydive Hawaii on North Shore and start tandem skydiving from 12,000 – 14,000 feet high at the world’s most beautiful drop zone. The skydiving consists of 20 seconds of free fall. It allows you to have a bird’s eye view of the stretch of North Shore, the Waianae Mountain Range, and the pineapple fields. Your instructor and a cameraman will jump with you to take pictures and make sure you are safe.

Read more: Skydive Hawaii – My First Skydiving Experience 

Skydive Hawaii – My First Skydiving Experience


Surfing North Shore’s winter waves

When it comes to surfing on Oahu, the beaches in Waikiki and Ala Moana are too boring for locals to have fun. Between November and January, big waves at the Waimea Bay and Banzai Pipeline have become surfers’ paradise. The 25-35-feet-tall waves roll in for surfers to marvel at the ocean’s ferocity. They happily embrace the ultimate surfing challenge while the lifeguards increase their rescue crew.

extreme Oahu activities, Hawaii

Cliff jumping

The outcropped rocks on Waimea Bay and China Walls are the two most popular places for cliff jumping. A jump from the cliff on Waimea Bay leads you to dive deep into the ocean and you can swim back to the shoreline. China Walls does not have a sand beach but has waves frequently crashing against the wall. There, you can jump and climb back through the jagged and slippery rock surface with bare feet, or swim two miles to another beach in Hawaii Kai.

Read More: Cliff Jumping at Waimea Bay

extreme Oahu activities, Hawaii

China Walls, Hanapepe Pl, Honolulu, HI | photo credit: Jason Jacobs via Flicker

Shark Diving at Haleiwa Beach

Overcome your fears and get to know the ocean’s elegant creatures including Galapagos sharks, sandbar, gray reef, whales, and dolphins at the beautiful Haleiwa Beach with Hawaii Shark Encounters, and have a chance to swim with them in the crystal-clear water of up to 600 feet deep.

You don’t have to be afraid when 10 feet long Galapagos sharks swim towards you and get close to the glass, as they cannot get in. Instead, put your nose against the glass to experience the thrill of being a quarter of an inch away from the big sharks. If you are fortunately enough, you will spot about 30 sharks at one time.

extreme Oahu activities, Hawaii

Shark cage diving on North Shore, Oahu Hawaii


Take a ride with Hawaiian Parasail and give yourself an opportunity to soar up to 1000 feet high over the Kewalo Basin. You will get a spectacular view of Oahu’s coastline while witnessing a few airplanes flying overhead. If you fear the high altitude, parasailing1000 feet high may not be your only option. Rather, you can choose to enjoy it at 300feet, 600 feet, or 800 feet high as well.

The whole parasailing process involves a dry take – off and landing directly from the boat, and you will also experience “water touchdown” before going back to the boat. The activity lasts for about 5 to 7 mins, and the crew member will help you with the life jackets and set everything for you prior to take-off.

extreme Oahu activities, Hawaii

Parasailing on Oahu | Photo credit: Daniel Ramirez via Flicker

Stairways to Heaven (Haiku Stairs)

A walk up 3,922 stairs on an vertical incline leading to the summit of Puu Keahiakahoe is not for the faint of heart. Owing to the deteriorating situation of the stairway, Stairways to Heaven is deemed unsafe and not legally accessible to hikers. However, each year, thousands of locals and travelers take the risk of trespassing and climbing up the stairways around 2-3am. The risk is worth it because it provides a dreamy vista of Haiku Valley, Kaaawa, Mt. Olomana, the ocean, H3 Highway, and Kaneohe at the top. The captivating sunrise that breaks through the clouds and softly lights up the greenish mountain range will keep you mesmerized for a lifetime.

extreme Oahu activities, Hawaii

Stairways to Heaven, Oahu Hawaii

Hawaii Waters Adventure Park

This 25-acre water park offers over 25 rides for a family-friendly adventure. There are many wild and thrilling activities you can think of, such as a seven-story water slide, wailing rapids, a giant wave pool, and a raging river. For extreme thrill seekers, take the Tornado Slide that takes you through the raging water of a 40-meter tunnel before dropping you into a splash pool.

extreme Oahu activities, Hawaii

Tips for extreme activities in Oahu

  • Check the weather forecast before you go and wear proper clothes and shoes, especially if you plan to climb up the Stairways to Heaven.
  • If you are a solo traveler, be sure to follow the group and the guide. Some activities are dangerous and there are incidents occurring in the past.
  • Activities such as skydiving, parasailing, and shark diving will cost you a fortune but make sure to try out a few, even it is cliff jumping and tubing in the waterparks to experience the best of Oahu.

Any other favorite extreme Oahu activities? Comment below.

If you plan to travel in Oahu on a budget, I highly recommend you to stay at the Beach Waikiki Boutique Hostel. I stayed there for a week during my return trip. Amazing location and the staff there are very knowledgeable about Hawaii and can give you great recommendations on things to do and places to visit. This hostel also offers free breakfast and affordable day tours. Click here more information about this hostel.

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7 extreme popular activities to do on Oahu Hawaii

Julie Cao

Julie is the creator of Always On The Way. She lived in Hawaii and now resides in London (Ontario, Canada). In 2017, she went on an overland trip from Bogota Colombia to Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. She believes travel is not only about visiting tourist attractions but more about getting to know the culture, people, and the place.

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