Oahu is the main hub of the vast Hawaiian Island Chain. Although it is the third largest island, it has the highest population, due partly to its diverse land, culture, and activities. Oahu lives up to its nickname, “The Gathering Place”, by being home to the capital of Hawaii, Honolulu, and the only place to offer visitors a taste of both modern day and old Hawaii on one island.

Oahu is also the home of the famous Waikiki area with a long shoreline of white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water, surrounded by its majestic mountain ranges and the famous Diamond Head. Waikiki has always been a place of attraction for both the local people and tourists with its many places to eat, shop, or enjoy a cocktail as you watch the sunset.

There is never an end to what you can do on Oahu from theme parks, hiking, tours, shopping, nightlife, and endless white sand beaches. Oahu is always alive with adventure, whether you want a quiet day in the tranquil areas of the island, or whether you want to set sail on the blue ocean to go snorkeling or enjoy a mini dinner boat cruise.

Main Regions

There are five main regions on Oahu. The first is Honolulu, which is the largest and most industrialized city in Hawaii. It encompasses hotels, shops, parks, beaches and its very own China Town. This is where you will find the mix of the old Hawaii with historical sights critical to the Native Hawaiian culture. Traveling towards the north side of the island, you will also experience old Hawaii in the North Shore surfing community. If you love to surf, this is the spot for you. Beautiful white sand beaches surround this region with small shops and dining areas.

The Windward and Leeward Coasts are surrounded by lush greenery of its Native Hawaiian forests. The Windward Coast is surrounded by the Koolau Mountains, and the Leeward Coast is surrounded by the Waianae Mountains. Both towns hold true to the “laid back” lifestyle of Hawaii as it embraces the Hawaiian culture. Traveling inward to Central Oahu, you will find a mainly residential area located between the Koolau and Waianae Mountains. This area still holds remnants of the old Hawaii plantation land of the once highly producing pineapple and sugar cane industries.


Oahu is a great place for both families and couples to visit where everything “Hawaii” can be experienced on one island. It is a romantic island to visit to get married or honeymoon with its many sunny days. You can experience the fast-paced style of a city, or experience the “laid back” style of Hawaii with no crowds where you can relax and unwind on the beaches or on an ecotourism tour through the green mountain ranges.

Relaxation is valued on this island, so there are many spas to treat yourself to a relaxing facial or massage, or unwind on the greens of its golf courses. Oahu also offers its preserved Hawaiian heritage throughout the island, despite its large growth in population and technology. There are still many museums and monuments to experience what Hawaii was like before becoming a part of the United States.

Things to Do

There is no end to the activities that Oahu has to offer. In each region you will find towns that offer access to its white sand beaches where you can relax and sunbathe, swim, or take a surfing lesson in the yearlong sunshine of Oahu’s coastlines. There are also hiking and horseback riding adventures, as well as island tours that allow you to view Hawai`i in a different way – by sea or mountain, Oahu is never at an end for adventure. If you want deeper relaxation and pampering, day spas are abundant on the island.

If you are on a family vacation, there is a zoo, aquarium, and theme parks that can be enjoyed by the young and young-at-heart. Shopping is abundant on Oahu for both local products to the higher end, luxury stores. Day or night, shopping is always available for any taste. And if you are looking for a great nightlife, Honolulu is the place to be.

Places to Stay

Depending on your budget and what you want to experience, each region on Oahu offers great places to stay, from luxury hotels to Bed-and-Breakfast establishments, finding a place to stay is never a problem.

There are small hotels available in many towns, as well as resorts for those who want a little more in the place they choose to stay.

If you decide that you want to stay in a particular area of Oahu for a longer period of time and want more privacy than a hotel or Bed-and-Breakfast, you can also choose to rent a condo or home. This will give you the experience of what it is truly like living in Hawaii by shopping for your own food and even experiencing some of the local Hawaiian food.