Getting Around Oahu: Bus, Car, Trolley, Rideshare & More

You’ve booked your flights to Oahu for your vacation, and taken the time to plan the things to do in Oahu. You’ve even looked into what to pack for your vacation!

All set? No, how are you getting around Oahu?

Luckily for you, though Oahu and Hawaii are about 2000 miles from California, you are still in USA.

Renting a car gives you flexibility | Getting around Oahu
Renting a car gives you flexibility to take scenic drives | Getting around Oahu

Many of the same transportation services you have on any trip in the US are still available: car rentals, taxis, Uber, buses, and more.

But where you will stay on Oahu and what are the things you want to do will largely dictate what transportation services you’ll need.

Let’s explore the Oahu transportation services.

Planning your trip to Oahu? Check out our 2024 guide to the most popular tours and excursions in Oahu!

Riding self balancing scooters along the ocean walking path in Waikiki, Honolulu
Riding self balancing scooters along the ocean walking path in Waikiki, Honolulu

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Oahu Airport to Hotel: Shuttle Transfers

First things first, you’ve landed at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and you want to get to your hotel. If you’ve rented a car at the airport, you’re ok.

If not, you should book shuttle transportation in advance! Don’t get stuck in long lines at the airport.

Don’t mind splurging in exchange for the convenience of someone waiting for you? Check out private transfers. Here are some 5-star rated private transfers:

Else, you can consider shared shuttle services.

This shared shuttle can be canceled up to 24 hours from the date of service. It serves hotels in Waikiki and Honolulu and then back again to the airport the day you leave. It’s convenient and inexpensive, and saves time and hassle!

>> Check prices and availability for shared round-trip airport transfer in Oahu now!

Staying in Ko Olina? Consider this round-trip airport transfer instead!

Guided Tours

A retired couple or a solo traveler? A structured experience, with the benefit of a guide to explain what you’re experiencing, such as a guided tour or excursion may be right for you!

And Oahu has some of the best tours and excursions!

Most of these tours offer pickup and drop-off from your hotel or convenient locations around the island, so you are covered as far as transportation is concerned.

On our first trip to Oahu, with smaller kids, we stayed at a resort on Waikiki Beach, and everything was close by.

The only time we ventured out was to explore the north shore of Oahu and the east coast of Oahu, and guided circle island tours worked out fine for us.

Here are some of the best, 5-star rated island tours:

Getting around Oahu: Transportation Services

Renting a Car in Oahu

Vacationing with kids or as a large group? Guided tours can quickly become expensive, since you’re paying per person.

Renting a car in Oahu may be your best option, and will offer a lot of flexibility. We know, plans always change when you have kids around.

Flexibility with renting a car | Getting around Oahu
Flexibility with renting a car | Getting around Oahu

Renting and driving a car on Oahu is quite similar to any other US state, and you’re in familiar ground as far as freeways, gas stations and cars go.

The recent few times we visited Oahu, we preferred to rent a car. With more flexibility, we could cover the bulk of the island, and we were quite happy with the decision.

We always use Discover Cars to book Oahu car rentals. They search across a variety of rental car companies, both budget and brand, to offer you the best deals, AND they offer free cancellations. Plus, there are no hidden fees.

>> Check availability and prices on Oahu car rentals now!

Waikiki Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley

In Waikiki or Honolulu, and wondering what those touristy, top-open, double decker buses are? Waikiki hop-on hop-off trolleys!

The Waikiki Trolley system operates four lines to service a lot of the tourist attractions on Oahu, has convenient pass options, and offers the ability to hop-on and hop-off at stops of your choosing.

Trolley for hop-on and hop-off trips | Getting around Oahu
Trolley for hop-on and hop-off trips | Getting around Oahu

The four lines currently are:

You can buy an all-line pass or individual line passes.

>> Check pricing and availability on Waikiki Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour of Honolulu now!

The Waikiki Trolley is for leisurely tourists who don’t have to be at a stop at a specific time and don’t mind waiting for the shuttle once they are done with a stop.

If that’s not you, consider a different option!

The Waikiki Trolley is one of the transportation options in Honolulu, Oahu, for tourists
The Waikiki Trolley is one of the ways to get around Honolulu!

Mopeds, Scooters & eBikes

What about something different and more adventurous? After all, you’re on vacation!

We tried mopeds and scooters on our last trip to Oahu, and used them to tour the island, especially the north shore and the east coast.

We were in a larger group, and had a lot of company. Everyone had fun, and loved the ability to stop and park easily at every lookout point!

Here are the popular, 5-star rated renting options we took:


BikiBike offers bicycle rentals hundreds of convenient pickup and drop off locations, and multiple plans tailored for a visitor to Oahu.

A fun way to get around while staying active! Note that Honolulu is a big city just like any other US city, so you need to be familiar with biking in an urban environment.

We chose bicycle rentals when we were in Ko Olina and on the North Shore of Oahu, and found biking here a lot easier and relaxing, especially on dedicated bike paths.

Exploring the scenic North Shore of Oahu on bikes | Getting around Oahu
Exploring the scenic North Shore of Oahu on bikes | Getting around Oahu

You can also comfortable, 7-speed, aluminum bikes for a day, week or month from Bicycle Rental.

Oahu Bus Services

Buses are my least preferred choice, simply because I don’t want to be spending my vacation on a bus that stops every few minutes or remains stuck in traffic because it has to take a specific route.

Don’t mistake me, Oahu has one of the best bus services, with multiple awards. But if I am on a time-limited vacation, I want to use my time optimally!

Bus stop in front of Kailua Beach, Oahu, HI | Getting around Oahu by bus
Bus stop in front of Kailua Beach, Oahu, HI | Getting around Oahu by bus

Your situation may be different, and in that case, bus passes are relatively cheap, and the system covers the entire island.

Check the bus website for details on passes, routes and schedules.

Walking, Uber / Lyft / Rideshare

Don’t forget, to really see a place, you need to get out of the car and walk around! Oahu is no different.

Waikiki and many of the surrounding places are highly accessible with friendly walkways with shade.

Well-maintained, paved walking path along the Ko Olina lagoons | Getting around Oahu
Well-maintained, paved walking path along the Ko Olina lagoons | Getting around Oahu

On one of our trips to Oahu, when the kids were older, we covered quite a few beaches and Oahu attractions by just walking.

We used rideshares like Uber or Lyft if we needed to go into Honolulu, like Chinatown. Prices were reasonable within Honolulu, and we could find a ride within a few minutes.

Best Oahu Tours

Have you booked these popular Oahu tours and excursions yet?

Love snorkeling? This Turtle Canyon snorkeling excursion from Waikiki lets you frolic with colorful fish and Hawaiian green sea turtles. Hands down the MOST BOOKED Oahu snorkeling tour: turtle sightings are guaranteed!

The most popular luau in Oahu, Paradise Cove Luau has a 4.5 rating on Viator with over 3.5K reviews. The tour includes pick-up from your Waikiki hotel, pre-dinner games, arts, and crafts, a delicious meal, and an award-winning show.

Based in Waikiki but want to see more of the island? This full-day Oahu Circle Island Tour includes Diamond Head, Hanauma Bay, Haleiwa, the Dole Plantation, and more!

Pay your respects at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor! This popular Pearl Harbor tour includes boat tickets and round-trip transport from Waikiki.

A super popular Oahu North Shore excursion, this Oahu shark cage dive allows you to observe wild sharks in the open ocean from the safety of a cage! It’s a THRILLING Oahu adventure for your bucket list.

We have a detailed guide to the top Oahu tours and excursions if you are in the midst of planning your itinerary for the island.

Where to Stay in Oahu

Honolulu (Waikiki in particular) offers a large number of hotels and resorts, along with shopping and dining options. Most visitors to Oahu choose to base in Honolulu at least for a part of their stay.

While many of the large chains have a presence if you are looking to use your memberships, Honolulu also has several unique boutiques to consider.

Our faves include Halekulani for a splurge stay, the Lotus Honolulu for views of Diamond Head, and The Laylow for its awesome location.

Want more room to spread out or looking to stay elsewhere on Oahu? You will find VRBO listings all over the island!

On previous trips to Oahu, we have stayed in VRBO rentals in Waikiki as well as on the North Shore and the east coast and we’ve found the choice and quality great.

>> Look for an Oahu vacation rental on VRBO now!

Bike lanes in Honolulu, HI | Getting around Oahu by bicycle
Bike lanes in Honolulu, HI | Getting around Oahu by bicycle

More Oahu Travel Inspiration

Planning a trip to Oahu? Check out our other in-depth Oahu travel guides for help finalizing your Oahu itinerary!

Start by discovering the best things to do in Oahu. We also have a detailed guide to Oahu’s North Shore, a round-up of things to do on the east side of Oahu, and the best things to do in Ko Olina, on the west coast of the island.

If you ar planning a short first visit to the island, we have the perfect day-by-day 3 days in Oahu itinerary for you!

Of course you’ll want to learn about all the exciting things to do in Honolulu, Hawaii’s capital, and Waikiki, the touristic core of Oahu. We also have an article on the best places to eat in Waikiki!

Check out our guide to the best beaches in Oahu, and a round-up of the best beaches on the north shore of Oahu. Also read about must-visit Oahu waterfalls and botanical gardens in Oahu you have to visit.

Oahu is home to so many must-visit landmarks! Check out our in-depth article on how to visit Pearl Harbor, and our guides on the beautiful Waimea Valley in Oahu and the spectacular Byodo-In Temple.

Want to enjoy the thrill of observing sharks in the wild? Check out our article on shark cage diving on Oahu’s North Shore!

Discover the top places to go snorkeling in west Oahu, where you will find a long coastline with lovely beaches, and tips for snorkeling Kaneohe Sandbar on the island’s east coast as well as the super popular Hanauma Bay.

And if you love marine life, also check out our complete guide to (respectfully!) see and swim with dolphins in Oahu, and the best spots to snorkel with turtles in Oahu.

For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, we have a round-up of the best Oahu hikes, and if you are looking to exclude the harder Oahu trails, a guide to the best easy Oahu hikes.

Find out how to do the iconic (and VERY popular) Diamond Head Hike near Waikiki for exceptional views. We also have a guide to the very popular Manoa Falls Trail in Honolulu.

More advanced hikers will want to read up on the Koko Head Hike, a long set of stairs leading to expansive views.

Learn where to go for the best sunsets in Oahu, whether you want to hike or enjoy watching a colorful Hawaiian sunset without working up a sweat.

We also have a guide to the best sunrise hikes in Oahu, one of which is the spectacular Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail in the southeastern part of the island. The Lanikai Pillbox Hike is another wonderful sunrise hike on Oahu!

If you are a garden enthusiast, check out our detailed guide to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, our article on the unique Koko Crater Botanical Garden, and our guide to Foster Botanical Garden!

Did you find this article informative? Pin in on Pinterest for later!

Discover all your transportation options in Oahu, Hawaii, from renting a car to the local bus, trolley, rideshare and more! #oahutravel


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