The volcanic island of Oahu is the third largest island in the U.S. state of Hawaii, which is located in the centre of the Pacific Ocean; it is 48 km across and 40 km long, with 365 km of shoreline. Known as the 'Gathering Place' by the locals, Oahu is comprised of two shield volcanoes, with a saddle (valley) in between. It's the location of the largest, busiest city in the state, Honolulu – the state capital, home of the state's international airport, and the main deep-water marine port for Hawaii. In the south part of the island you will also find such familiar-name places as Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, Hanauma, the resorts and beaches of Waikiki, and the North Shore and Banzai Pipeline, famous for some of the biggest waves in the Pacific.
Bodysurfiung at Makapuu Beach
Snorkelling at Hanauma Bay
Oahu Islands Map
Top Regions to Stay
Oahu Holidays Overview
As the largest of the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu is home to almost 85 percent of the state's population. The island's major industries (outside of tourism) can be seen here, including the Dole Plantation where you will taste some of the freshest, most luscious fruit ever, the Pali lookout point, one of the most memorable panoramic scenic views found anywhere on Hawaii, and the Polynesian Cultural Center – a must-see educational experience of traditional villages from Hawaii, Samoa, Maori New Zealand, Fiji, and much more. You can visit the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and the Iolani Palace – the only royal palace on U.S. soil, and Queen Emma's Summer Palace. Once you've seen it all, it's time to do it all.
For water fun try windsurfing, body-boarding, and surfing, at Waikiki for crowds and fans, or the North Shore or the Kailua region beaches for prettier, less crowded conditions. The snorkelling and diving here is incredible, and trips leave from most hotels regularly; you'll see the wealth of coral, turtles and other marine life, as well as many wrecks of ships and planes sunk during World War II. Then sail surrounded by whales, swim with dolphins, and sample fresh macadamia nuts right from the farm. If you have more energy to burn, take it shopping! The Ala Moana Center, the Royal Hawaiian Center, the Kahala Mall, and more give you the chance to go Hawaiian in style.
Oahu Accommodation Guide
For accommodations you can find every style and every price range in the Waikiki area but surprisingly little in the way of accommodation in downtown Honolulu. Outside of Honolulu-Waikiki it's a little harder to find a place to stay, but there are some vacation rental, holiday apartments and cottages in the seaside towns of Kailua, Haleiwa and Makaha and there's a large resort complex at KoOlina on the south-west about an hour drive from Honolulu and another at the Kulima Golf Course on the northern tip of the island.
Oahu Travel Information
Hawaii's main airport is the Honolulu International Airport on Oahu, which is the entry point for the majority of travel to the island state. From here you are just minutes from Waikiki, where everything from luxury resorts to B&Bs can be found. Rentals are available; to be safe it's a good idea to reserve a rental car at the airport, as availability varies and prices often fluctuate based on availability. Bikes, scooters, and mopeds are also available to hire, but as the eastern side of the island is the wetter, it's perhaps best to have an automobile available. Many tour operators provide shuttles, and taxis are readily available, as is the excellent public transportation system, called simply TheBus.