It’s the third largest and the most heavily-populate Hawaiian island and continues to be a popular destination for honeymoons, destination weddings, family getaways and a gathering place for groups who want to enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer. The island of Oahu encompasses the county of Honolulu and is a popular tourist destination for first-time visitors to Hawaii.
Honolulu itself is among the largest cities in the United States and is the only real metro city in Hawaii. The city spans about five miles along the ocean, and is home to several trendy restaurants, art galleries and museums, historic attractions and cultural attractions. Waikiki Beach is one of the most-visited destinations in Hawaii and is located on the island of Oahu. It’s the picture-perfect destination for relaxation, picnicking and enjoying some water activities. The beach is surrounded by waterfalls, hiking paths and lush valleys so you can also spend a good portion of your trip taking an eco-tour around the area to see the natural scenery and wildlife.
Oahu is a tourist’s paradise, the place to shop ‘til you drop, enjoy a thriving nightlife and dining scene, and also explore several historic and cultural attractions. Whether you’re visiting the Iolani Palace or learning about the island’s history at the Pearl Harbor museum, you’ll find a wealth of things to do and exciting places to explore on any given trip.
The island of Oahu attracts approximately 4.5 million visitors each year and most are from the United States and Japan. You’ll find most of the larger hotels, resorts and condominium complexes are located in Waikiki, but there are also plenty of boutique hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts in the city of Honolulu and other sites. The island has a rich history and you’ll find many attractions featuring displays of the island over the century and significant events that have shaped the local area. Waikiki Beach is considered to be the most famous beach in the world and is also the most photographed beach. The island of Oahu has served as the site for movie filmings and TV shows, and continues to be an attractive vacation destination for celebrities.
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway, destination wedding or a solo trip to explore the beautiful islands of Hawaii, you’ll find a wealth of things to do and places to explore around the stunning island of Oahu. Take some time to learn about Oahu attractions, activities and annual events so that you can make the most of your vacation.
Oahu Weather and Best Time to Visit
Peak season in Oahu runs from the middle of December through the middle of April when travelers from other parts of the world head to the Hawaiian islands to escape from the cold weather. If you’re planning to visit Oahu during the holiday season, be sure to plan your trip well in advance so that you can take advantage of the best available rates and affordable flights. Rates do tend to increase closer to the holiday season and most of the larger hotels and resorts will be completely booked over Thanksgiving through Christmas if you don’t plan ahead.
Traveling to Oahu in the off-season means you can enjoy fewer crowds and more comfortable temperatures. Head to the island from the middle of April through the middle of June, or from September to the middle of December to enjoy great weather and more affordable rates on hotel and resort stays.
Average year-round temperatures in Oahu stay in the upper-70s to mid-80s, and nighttime temperatures are about 10 degrees cooler. Average highs in the summer reach the mid- to upper-80s, while average highs in Hawaii’s “winter” stay in the upper 70s. The island of Oahu does have several “microclimates”, so don’t be surprised if the temperature changes suddenly when you are traveling from one side of the island to another on any given day.
The main attractions in Oahu are located within a short drive of each other so you’ll find it fairly easy to get around and see some world-famous destinations all in one trip. Central Oahu is home to Honolulu and Pearl Harbor, and you’ll find dozens of places to visit and historical sites to explore here. If you’re looking for some fun and relaxation, head to South Oahu to settle in at the 2 1/2-mile stretch of Waikiki Beach, also the center of island life. This is where you’ll find the Diamond Head Crater, sailing and canoeing areas, surfing shops and opportunities for snorkeling and pole fishing.
Learn about Polynesian culture with a trip to East Oahu where you can visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. This cultural center features exhibits and shows that tell the story of the seven island villages and demonstrations that showcase some of the area’s cultural traditions. East Oahu is also a great destination for snorkeling, swimming and nature walks around the Koolau Moutnain Range. Head here to explore the botanical gardens, visit a beautiful ranch or tour an historic temple.
The North Shore is a relatively rural area that’s home to several banana plantations, giant fields filled with exotic flowers and a handful of picturesque towns. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, make sure to set your sights here for an amazing hiking and trekking experience. This part of the island is also known as “surf country” and Haleiwa is known as the surf capital of the world. You can spend your days exploring some of the arts and crafts galleries, visiting some of the area restaurants, and purchase gifts and souvenirs at some of the small stores in the charming town of Haleiwa. This is also the place to just sit back and relax the paradise-like setting.
Adventure seekers can set their sights on the Waimea Valley in West Oahu, the place to play in the beautiful waterfalls, enjoy hiking and nature activities around the scenic mountains, and watch cliff diving performances and hula dancing shows on any given day. Rent an all-terrain vehicle and had out to enjoy some of the trails that wind around the mountains and through the lush forests.
Whether you’re staying in Oahu for a few days or more than a week, you’ll find a wealth of interesting things to do and places to explore during your trip. Oahu is an attractive year-round destination for beach lovers, adventure seekers and anyone looking for an escape to paradise. From the buzzing nightlife district in Honolulu to the relaxing and serene beachfront setting on the North Shore, you’ll find a variety of things to do and enjoy during your visit.
Considered to be the only real metropolitan area in the entire Hawaiian Islands, this popular tourist destination has been nicknamed 'The Gatherin Place'. You'll find several cultural attractions, museums and sports venues here, as well as miles of untouched coastline to make the most of your beach vacation.