Things to Do in Oahu When It Rains: 12 Best Indoor Activities

Nobody likes a rainy day on their vacation! However, there is so much to see and do in Oahu that you won’t mind the gray skies one bit!

We have scads of things to do in Oahu when it rains. Some of the best indoor activities—you might have planned to do anyway. So, check the forecast and knock these pursuits off your list. Then when Mister Sunshine reappears, you can snorkel, surf, and sashay to an island luau–all to your heart’s delight.

You probably know it rains somewhere in the Pacific Islands just about every day. The sudden showers might even damper your tanning aspirations since it’s sometimes slightly overcast. Nevertheless, the island is rich with compelling history and culture, unparalleled beach recreation, and spicy nightlife.

Oh, Oahu!

It’s the most visited island in Hawaii for a reason! This garden isle paradise continues to dazzle with much to offer: exquisite turquoise beaches, spectacular sites, sublime entertainment, and fabulous cuisine. The nearly perfect climate contributes to its heaven-like vibe.

Oahu attracts beach lovers with its water sports and history buffs with its museums and cultural centers. However, if you’re going to explore all of the island gems, you’ll need sufficient time and some guidance.

We have your rainy-day itinerary right here! Don’t be stuck with the hotel blues. You can still stay dry and have a blast on this balmy beach, Eden! Check out our things to do when it rains in Oahu.

beach during sunset at Paradise Cove Luau
photo credit: Paradise Cove Luau via Facebook

What to Do in Oahu When it Rains

There’s no shortage of local Oahu attractions, from the best nightlife to endless beach activities, dining, and shopping. It’s the lively epicenter of paradise with its dynamic culture. Over 500,000 active travelers flock to this famous island monthly. With exotic scenery, tropical breezes, and edgy volcano landscapes, this “Gathering Place” hypnotizes visitors with its magnificent, striking beauty and wonder.

When you visit the Ala Moana Center, Honolulu’s sizeable open-air shopping mall with more than 350 shops and restaurants, souvenir stores, and food vendors, you can also uncover the historic Aloha Tower and observation deck for beautiful Harbor views.

Most importantly, let’s not forget Oahu is the site of Pearl Harbor, the deadly location where the Japanese first attacked the U.S. in WWII.

Oahu Attractions

Battleship Missouri Memorial Mighty Mo Pass

This pass to the Battleship Missouri Memorial (the last U.S. Battleship ever built ‘aka Mighty Mo’) is a must-see attraction. Visitors can view the ship’s decks and quarters and learn historical accounts of the Japanese surrender. Your pass includes a 35-minute guided, audio, and self-guided tour.

Consequently, children under ten are not permitted on the Heart of the Missouri Tour. However, if you’d like to explore Pearl Harbor’s grandeur, keep reading!

photo credit: Battleship Missouri Memorial via Facebook

Passport to Pearl Harbor

The Passport to Pearl Harbor includes four destinations in one historic location. You might be hoping for a rainy day for this Pearl Harbor experience, as there is so much to see and do.

Using the passport by 10 am is recommended to see all the powerful sites, including the Battleship Missouri Memorial & Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum on Ford Island, a secured military base.

Photo Alert: Cameras are allowed at Pearl Harbor, and you can take photos everywhere, EXCEPT on the Admiral Clarey Bridge to Ford Island.

Bishop Museum

The incredible Bishop Museum and all of its signature galleries will astonish you with Hawaiian art, traditions, and Polynesian culture. Founded in 1889, the Bishop Museum is the largest Hawaiian museum. Designated the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, this institute of science is located in the historic Kalihi district of Honolulu.

Its research projects, educational programs, and consulting services are known worldwide. The museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm and is loaded with top-tier exhibits and more than 24 million natural history specimens.

Pro Tip: Oahu’s wettest period is during winter, from mid-November through late March. Considering the weather, crowds, and accommodations, the best time to visit is early April, May, September, and October.

Skeleton display of a whale at the museum
photo credit: Marsha Graton Whitmarsh Klein via Facebook

Polynesian Cultural Center

Just under 75 minutes from Honolulu, the Polynesian Cultural Center features extraordinary attractions, including eight simulated tropical villages, IMAX shows, canoe rides, and exhibits. Guests can also experience the renowned Ali’i Luau, one of Oahu’s best and most original luaus.

Visitors can mingle with the Pacific natives and learn about island culture. Get a temporary tattoo, enjoy the live music, and learn to dance one of the hip-shaking Tahiti island dances.

Pro Tip: You can still sunburn on a cloudy day in Hawaii, especially if you’re in and around water. Slap some good U.V. protection on and catch an H.I. island wave.

ground view of Fijian Skyscraper surrounded by greenery during sunny day at Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu, Hawaii, USA
photo credit: Polynesian Cultural Center via Facebook

Aloha Pub Crawl

Rain or show, travelers can still visit the best local bars in Waikiki. So grab your friends and explore some electric-charged Waikiki pubs. During this Aloha Pub Crawl, you’ll learn about the island’s culture, people, and history while enjoying tasty Hawaiian craft beers.

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park

Imagine life as a WWII submariner on this unforgettable tour of the USS Bowfin Submarine. The newly renovated Pacific Fleet Submarine Museum and Waterfront Memorial offer self-guided tours with free audio (child-friendly versions available). Check out the museum’s galleries and exhibits and learn about the Navy’s Submarine Force during World War II.

wide shot of the USS Bowfin in a harbor with people strolling on top and an American Flag blowing in the wind under a blue sky The Ultimate Pearl Harbor Experience

Pearl Harbor is the essence of our country’s pride and dignity. Synonymous with the momentous attacks that spurred the United States into World War II, this is a can’t-miss tourist destination. Visitors will Experience Pearl Harbor in a new light and hear about the bravery and sacrifices encapsulating our nation’s spirit.

Iolani Palace

Another historic, important thing to see in Honolulu is the official residence of the Hawaiian monarchy. Built in 1882 for King Kalakaua, the Palace reopened as a museum in 1978, offering guests an unforgettable rainy day Honolulu activity.

The Palace, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, resembles medieval battlements, and the throne room still has the original carvel throne and chandelier. It’s a Honolulu marvel.

photo credit: Iolani Palace via Facebook

Queen Emma Summer Palace

The Summer Palace served as a retreat for King Kamehameha IV’s reigning sovereigns and his wife, Queen Emma. The secluded mountain home in the cool Nuuanu Valley allowed the royal family to escape the oppressive Honolulu heat. Today the Palace is a historic landmark, museum, and preserved tourist attraction by the Daughters of Hawaii.

Looking for even more fun things to do in Oahu? Check out our Top Ten Things to Do in Honolulu Every Visitor Should Know and our Things to Do in Honolulu: 10 Tourist Mistakes to Avoid.

The Shangri-La Museum

This elaborate mansion is the perfect setting for a Honolulu rainy day. The Shangri-La Museum hosts the complete collection of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art. Duke, the richest girl in the world, decided to build an island castle in Honolulu.

The result became the Shangri La, one of the world’s most beautiful and storied homes. Today the house is open to the public as a museum. The most significant portion of the collection is ceramic art, including medieval Persian architecture and styles.

people gathered around a tour guide inside a museum with brightly painted trim around an entryway
photo credit: Persian New Year Festival via Facebook

Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium is another popular institution along the scenic Honolulu shoreline with a versatile array of tropical fish, mammals, and ocean habitats. The Aquarium collection includes sea dragons, giant clams, octopuses, and jellyfish. It also features a living coral reef and beautiful native gardens.

Visit Kailua

On the windward coast of Kailua Bay, about 12 miles northeast of downtown Honolulu is the town of Kailua, known for its gorgeous windswept beaches. So if you happen to be stranded in K-town when those nasty clouds roll by, these are some of the best things to do in Kailua Oahu when it rains.

  • Tour the Manoa Chocolate Hawaii company for some divine chocolate delights.
  • Hit the Lanikai Brewing Company for some great local crafted beers made with local ingredients.
  • Visit the Oeno Winery & Vineyard to explore delicious tasting wines in an elegant setting.

Ocean at Kailua Beach - Oahu, Hawaii, USAMore Honolulu Museums

When you’ve got the Hawaiian rainy-day blahs – chin up, the city is loaded with indoor activities and art museums out the wazoo. The Honolulu Museum of Art showcases over a 50,000-piece Asian Art collection with natural Hawaiian art also a museum focal point.

The museum is home to 18,000 European and American art pieces and an extensive collection of 19th-century European artists, including Van Gogh, Cézanne, Rodin, and Monet.

Best Things to Do in Oahu When it Rains

As you can see, there’s no shortage of excellent rainy-day activities in Oahu. Whether you’re vacationing with family and friends or going solo, you’ll create lifelong memories on this extraordinary island oasis.

We also have endless non-rainy day attractions to keep you busy, from Sunset Dinner Cruises to Paradise Cove Luaus to Turtle Snorkeling Adventures.

To create unforgettable vacation celebrations, let Tripster help with easy planning, exclusive hotel deals, Hawaiian shows, and amazing vacation packages.

What Did We Miss?

What are your favorite rainy day things to do Oahu that we missed? Please share with us and others in the comments below!

close up of Erin smiling on a sunny day

Written by Erin Poche

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie...

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