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Located in the mid-Pacific, Oahu is home to the Hawaiian state capital of Honolulu. This beautiful tropical destination has been featured in countless films and television shows, and is famous for its surf scene, stunning beaches, natural wonders, and historic monuments like Pearl Harbor. From zoos and golf courses to museums and shopping, Oahu has something to offer everyone, making it the ideal vacation spot.
Things to Do in Oahu
During your stay in Oahu, one of the first places you’ll want to visit is downtown Honolulu, specifically Waikiki Beach. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is one of the most iconic destinations – a stunning beachfront hotel that stands out from other hotels due to its bright pink color. Grab a tropical drink at their famous Mai Tai Bar, or relax in their world-class Abhasa Spa. Go for a stroll on Kalakaua Avenue and take in all the shops, restaurants, and tourist attractions, or rent a board and learn to surf on Waikiki. The Ala Moana Center is Honolulu’s premiere shopping destination and has everything from Sephora to Chanel. Check out the scene in Chinatown, where you can enjoy fine dining that includes Dim Sum and the popular restaurant The Pig and the Lady, which features modern Vietnamese cooking in a communal table setting. Go golfing in Kapolei, a resort area with many world-class courses, which is approximately a 37-minute drive from Waikiki. Check out the happening surf scene in the North Shore, where you can try the world-famous shave ice from Matsumotos, and be sure to stop at the Dole Pineapple Plantation on the way for a tour and a Dole Whip. Go for a scenic morning hike on beautiful Diamond Head volcano, then spend the afternoon at the Honolulu Zoo, which is located between the slopes of Diamond Head and Waikiki. Indulge in a history lesson at Bishop Museum, which contains an extensive collection of artifacts and royal heirlooms, then end your evening with an exciting Paradise Cove Luau. Don’t forget to go for a Pearl Harbor Tour, which includes the Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Arizona Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Ticket prices range from $7.50-$27 per person, depending on the attraction, and can be purchased in advance online.
Day Trips Near Oahu
Due to its close proximity to the other Hawaiian Islands, there are plenty of great day trips that you can take on inter-island flights. The lush island of Kauai is 50 miles off the coast of Oahu, and flights typically last about thirty minutes. Maui, which is the second most developed island after Oahu, is also a 30-minute flight from Oahu. Other nearby islands include Molokai (20-minute flight), Lanai (25-minute flight), and the Big Island (45-minute flight).
Depending on the type of accommodation you’re looking for, Oahu has it all. In the downtown Honolulu area, there are many modern high-rise condos and apartments scattered along Kalakaua Avenue that offer stunning city and ocean view, not to mention close proximity to major hotels, shopping centers, and tourist attractions. The Diamondhead neighborhood wraps around the Diamond Crater and is located south of Waikiki past the Honolulu Zoo. This area is home to some of the most exclusive and luxurious homes around, as well as a select number of homes right on the ocean. Manoa is a residential neighborhood about twenty minutes outside of Honolulu and is home to the University of Hawaii, so it is bustling with college students and lots of inexpensive eateries and hangouts. Ko’Olina is 17 miles northwest of Honolulu and is a cute, family-friendly resort town with smaller beaches, lots of shops, and the Disney Aulani Resort. If you’re looking for a quiet getaway from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu, the North Shore is another great area to stay. It is a laidback surf community with access to world-famous surfing spots, beaches, older Hawaiian homes and cute beach shacks.
Transportation in Oahu
TheBus is the most frequently used form of public transportation on Oahu throughout the island, offering reasonable rates, routes that go all over the island, and special visitor passes for multiple day uses. There is also a trolley in Waikiki, which is a fun way to see the town at a low price. Its routes are not as extensive, but the trolley does visit most major attractions. There is an abundance of taxis at the major shopping areas and in the downtown area, and many visitors also rent cars, motorcycles and mopeds to get around the island.