With world-famous beaches, jagged mountains, and lush valleys, vacationing on Oahu is a no-brainer — Photo courtesy of Magnum Helicopters

Oahu’s capital city, Honolulu, offers easy access to world-famous beaches and the undeniably fun vibe of a coastal city, so one could easily be content spending an entire vacation staying put.

However, getting to know the rest of Oahu is well worth the time. Here are 10 ways to experience several parts of the island in one fell swoop.

Book a vehicle through a car-sharing service

Turo, a car-sharing service, is a great way to explore the island of OahuTuro, a car-sharing service, is a great way to explore the island of Oahu — Photo courtesy of Turo

First things first, you’ll need a car to go exploring. Book through Turo, a car rental app that allows you to rent cars from individuals rather than a traditional car rental company.

Think of it as the Airbnb of cars: Everything is arranged through the app, and keys are left in a lockbox in the car or provided by the host. Cool thing is: it’s often more affordable than a traditional car rental, and you select the brand you want — from Teslas to Mini Coopers — to fit your vacation vibe.

Take a doors-off helicopter ride over Oahu

Get a different perspective of Oahu with Magnum HelicoptersGet a different perspective of Oahu with Magnum Helicopters — Photo courtesy of Aina Images

It’s hard to fully grasp Oahu’s wild topography without taking a gander from above. Take a Magnum Helicopters doors-off flight to get a better look at the island’s valleys, beaches, and waterfalls. Dreamy views include Kaaawa Valley, the famous North Shore waves, Waikiki Beach, and thousand-foot Kaliuwa’a (Sacred Falls).

Give back by volunteering on an Oahu farm

Lend a hand by tending to the taro patch at Kakoʻo Oiwi Farm on OahuLend a hand by tending to the taro patch at Kakoʻo Oiwi Farm on Oahu — Photo courtesy of Wayfinder Waikiki

You don’t have to be a hotel guest at Wayfinder Waikiki to get the chance to volunteer at Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi Farms, where you can contribute to the restoration of the land by tending to the taro patch. Afterward you’ll be treated to kulolo, a traditional Hawaiian dish made with taro and coconut.

Back at Wayfinder Waikiki, a 228-room, pet-friendly hotel, learn the art of lauhala weaving or take ukulele lessons. When you’re ready to hit the beach, stop by the front desk for chairs, boogie boards, towels, and GoPro rentals (included in the resort fee). Moke tours are a fun way to get to know Waikiki. Book directly through WeMoke.com or a QR code at Wayfinder.

Zip-line where “Jurassic Park” was filmed

Because Kualoa Ranch is a popular attraction, it's best to book activities well in advanceBecause Kualoa Ranch is a popular attraction, it’s best to book activities well in advance — Photo courtesy of Kualoa Ranch

Spend the day on the eastern shore of Oahu at Kualoa Ranch Private Nature Reserve. It’s a great destination for nature lovers and a very appropriate place to geek out on films like “Jumanji,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Godzilla” — all of which were filmed there.

With rugged green mountains and access to Kaneohe Bay — where dolphins and turtles are plentiful — it’s easy to fall head over heels for this place. Round out the day with zip-lining and planting a tree.

Swim with sharks on Oahu’s North Shore

Ocean Ramsey often can be found filming sharks off the coast of Haleiwa on Oahu's North ShoreOcean Ramsey often can be found filming sharks off the coast of Haleiwa on Oahu’s North Shore — Photo courtesy of Juan Oliphant (@JuanSharks)

On any given day, you’ll likely find Ocean Ramsey and Juan Oliphant in the water with GoPros in hand boldly documenting tiger sharks, Galapagos sharks, and hammerheads. As owners of One Ocean Diving, they invite people to learn about sharks by hopping in a boat, donning snorkel gear, and swimming with the apex predators.

Throughout the tour, marine biologists will answer all your shark-related questions while simultaneously identifying the sharks and collecting data. Rest assured, there are two safety divers in the water with you at all times, and the company claims a 100% safety record.

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Learn the Hawaiian art of lei po’o

Your first stop in Haleiwa should be Lulu's Lei and Bouquets for leis and floral arrangementsYour first stop in Haleiwa should be Lulu’s Lei and Bouquets for leis and floral arrangements — Photo courtesy of Jessica Pine

Learn about lei po’o, or traditional floral crowns, while supporting small businesses like Lulu’s Lei and Bouquets. The family-owned business, based in Haleiwa, offers two-hour lei po’o workshops. Guests handcraft flower crowns made of fresh blooms, like cymbidium orchids, ginger, tuberose, anthuriums, and fern. Afterward, shop for local honey, bath salts, and tea towels to take home as gifts.

Not ready to leave Oahu’s North Shore? Spend the night at Ke Iki Beach Bungalows, located close to Waimea Bay and the Banzai Pipeline. Amenities include hammocks on the beach, full kitchens, and gorgeous views — all situated on an acre and a half of palm-fringed beachfront land.

Lounge poolside at Prince Waikiki in Oahu

The Prince Waikiki infinity pool and hot tub are hard to beatThe Prince Waikiki infinity pool and hot tub are hard to beat — Photo courtesy of Prince Waikiki

When you’re ready to head back to Honolulu, the Prince Waikiki pool overlooking Ala Wai Yacht Harbor does not disappoint. Whether you are resting in a shaded poolside cabana, taking a dip in the infinity pool, or enjoying yoga class alfresco, it’s instantly relaxing.

If you’d like to stay only for the day, use Resort Pass, an app that provides day-pass access to pools at upscale resorts around the world. For those who want to linger longer, the good news is: All rooms face the ocean and have floor-to-ceiling windows that open so you can feel the cool breeze.

When hunger strikes, grab dinner at 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar.

Stay at one of the best hotels in Oahu

Mugen takes pride in seasonal ingredients with Hawaiian flavorsMugen takes pride in seasonal ingredients with Hawaiian flavors — Photo courtesy of Mugen

In the mood for an ultra-luxe stay? Settle into Espacio The Jewel of Waikiki, a boutique property right across from Waikiki Beach.

The nine spacious, suite-style accommodations come with chef-grade kitchens, private jacuzzis, and balconies overlooking the Pacific. Whether you choose a filling breakfast of lemon ricotta pancakes and avocado toast or the seven-course tasting experience at Mugen, one of Hawaii’s top restaurants, your tastebuds will be pleased.

Top it off with a deep-tissue massage at The Spa at Espacio or a dip in the rooftop infinity pool.

Bump up your surfing skills

Score some ocean time with a surf session with Ohana Surf ProjectScore some ocean time with a surf session with Ohana Surf Project — Photo courtesy of Ohana Surf Project

You certainly can’t leave this surf mecca without catching some waves. Ohana Surf Project in Waikiki provides surf, bodyboard, and paddleboarding lessons for the whole family. Whether you are a newbie just hoping to stand up on a board for the first time or a seasoned surfer looking to add some new skills, it’s a school that caters to your needs.

Afterward, reward yourself with a sweet treat at Gelatissimo Gelato. Choose from 20 flavors, including dragonfruit and passionfruit.

Book a photoshoot to capture your Oahu vacation

Hire a photographer through FlytographerHire a photographer through Flytographer — Photo courtesy of Natalie in Honolulu for Flytographer

You can always ask a stranger to snap your photo, but why not book a vacation photoshoot with Flytographer, a company that connects travelers with local photographers in more than 250 cities. Breathtaking photo locations on Oahu include Kualoa Beach, Makapu’u Lookout, and Mokuleia Beach, or you can choose your own location. About a week after the shoot, you’ll receive an online gallery of edited photos via email.

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