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Eco-Friendly Activities on Oahu

a turtle swimming under water

Oahu beckons travelers with its stunning beaches, vast mountain ranges, and beautiful coral reefs. These diverse landscapes are home to fragile ecosystems that thrive best when humans practice conservation and sustainability. Hawaiian culture fosters a deep appreciation for nature and a strong connection to the land, and visitors are expected to embrace this spirit during their stay. As a responsible traveler, you can experience the island’s magic while minimizing your footprint and respecting the local culture. Here’s your guide to eco-friendly activities on Oahu:

oahu lanikai pillbox hike

Do your Research – 

When planning for your trip, look for sustainable accommodations and operators that embrace eco-friendly travel. Alohilani Resort is the first hotel in Hawaii to announce their commitment to achieving carbon neutrality, while the Four Seasons Ko Olina implements several sustainability initiatives such as energy and waste reduction programs. You can filter for hotels with sustainability certifications on or browse

When it comes to getting around, consider utilizing Oahu’s public bus system “TheBus” or renting a bicycle. If you end up needing a car for a one-day excursion Hui Care Share offers eco-friendly vehicles and affordable hourly rates.

Take a Hike – 

The best way to celebrate the earth is to get out and enjoy it! From coastal trails to waterfall hikes, Oahu offers incredible hikes for all skill levels. Be sure to practice “Leave No Trace” principles by staying on designated trails and packing out any trash. Looking for recommendations? We put together a list of our top 5 family-friendly hikes

Snorkel – 

Oahu’s underwater world is teeming with colorful marine life. Opt for eco-conscious snorkel tours, like Ko Olina Ocean Adventures, a locally-owned business that prioritize preservation and responsible wildlife viewing. Always remember to avoid touching the reef and give marine life plenty of distance. Slather on some reef-safe sunscreen and check out these 4 beginner-friendly snorkel spots

a turtle swimming under water

Looking for other ocean-friendly activities? Paddle boarding, kayaking and surfing are all fantastic footprint-free options.

Eat Local – 

Grocery store produce often travels over 1500 miles to get from farm to shelf. Reduce the food miles and support local farmers by visiting one of Oahu’s numerous farmers’ markets. Grab your reusable shopping bag and browse dozens of vendors selling fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables and flowers, handmade goods, and ‘ono grindz from numerous food stalls. 

local fruit and vegetables at a farmers market

The two most popular are the Kakaako Farmers’ Market and the KCC Farmers Market, both of which take place every Saturday morning, but you can find a farmers’ market almost every day of the week on Oahu. 

Looking for a dine-in experience? That are several restaurants that incorporate local ingredients into their dishes. Popular establishments include NatuRe Waikiki, Kahumana Cafe and Farm to Barn Cafe.

Shop Local – 

Beyond the typical souvenirs, consider bringing home a piece of Hawaii that supports the local economy! House of Mana Up is a community of makers and artisans whose products highlight the diverse ingredients and cultures found across the Hawaiian islands. Many of the businesses featured in their stores are female-led and Native Hawaiian-owned and make their products using locally-sourced ingredients.

Made in Hawaii is another resource that showcases Hawaii-based online businesses. Their online database features bath and body products, jewelry, apparel and accessories, artwork, home decor, gifts and more!

Volunteer – 

Pay it forward! Several organizations offer volunteer experiences for residents and visitors looking to give back to the ‘aina. Opportunities include beach and park clean-ups, tree planting, garden workdays and wetland restoration. 

Malama Hawaii is a great resource for upcoming volunteer events! 

beach cleanup in hawaii

Sustainable Coastlines hosts frequent beach cleanups across the island.

Learn about Local Sustainable Practices – 

Throughout history, Native Hawaiians have held a deep reverence for nature, a connection woven into the very fabric of their culture. Today, several cultural centers and museums offer educational programs that highlight some of the sustainable practices of the Hawaiian people. Visit the Polynesian Cultural Center to learn about ancient agricultural techniques, or explore the Bishop Museum to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between humans and the natural world in Hawaiian culture. 

Travelers are also encouraged to utilize the Ma’ema’e Toolkit, a guide developed by the Hawaii Tourism Authority to showcase an authentic Hawaii that is free from misrepresentations and inaccuracies. Here, you’ll find everything from geographical and cultural information, to descriptions of Hawaii traditions and customs.

Mālama Hawai’i

Travelling with respect and intent to nihi ka hele or to tread softly is appreciated by the residents of the islands.  The aqua ocean, lush rainforests, unique wildlife, rich culture and precious resources that we must continue to protect for future generations will flourish as long as we respect and preserve them. Mālama Hawai’i (Take care of) and let the Aloha Spirit light your journey.

a bird swimming in water