Oahu, Hawai’i: A Perfect Blend of Natural Beauty, Cultural Exploration and Relaxation
Traveling to Oahu, Hawai'i can be a wonderful and enriching experience for a variety of reasons. Oahu is a vibrant and diverse island that offers a mix of natural beauty, cultural attractions, outdoor activities and relaxation opportunities.
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Where to stay in Oahu, Hawai'i
‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach
Upscale resort on Waikiki Beach with family-friendly amenities.
Serene and elegant Waikiki accommodation with top-tier service, award-winning cuisine and unique amenities in a beautifully designed space.
$100 resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki
Iconic pink-walled property on Waikiki Beach with 528 warmly decorated rooms and suites.
$100 hotel / resort credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
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Things to do in Oahu, Hawai'i
Traveling to Oahu, Hawai'i can be a wonderful and enriching experience for a variety of reasons. Oahu is a vibrant and diverse island that offers a mix of natural beauty, cultural attractions, outdoor activities and relaxation opportunities. Here are some compelling reasons to consider traveling to Oahu:
Oahu is known for its breathtaking beaches, offering soft sands, crystal-clear waters and opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. Iconic beaches like Waikiki, Lanikai and North Shore attract visitors from around the world.
The North Shore of Oahu is famous for its world-class surfing conditions, attracting surfers and spectators alike. During the winter months, massive waves create a surfing spectacle, while calmer waters during the summer are ideal for beginners.
Historical and Cultural Sites
Oahu is home to several important historical and cultural sites, including the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, which commemorates the events of December 7, 1941. You can also explore the Bishop Museum and Iolani Palace to learn about Hawaiian history and royalty.
Hiking and Outdoor Activities
The island offers numerous hiking trails, such as Diamond Head and Manoa Falls, that lead you to lush landscapes, stunning viewpoints and waterfalls. Oahu's diverse terrain makes it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
Oahu's culinary scene is a blend of Hawaiian, Asian, and international flavors. You can savor traditional Hawaiian dishes like poke, laulau, and loco moco, as well as explore a variety of restaurants offering diverse cuisines.
Vibrant Arts and Entertainment
Oahu boasts a lively arts and entertainment scene, with galleries, theaters and live performances showcasing local talent and cultural diversity. The Honolulu Museum of Art and the Polynesian Cultural Center are must-visit attractions.
Sunrise and Sunset Views
Oahu offers some of the most captivating sunrise and sunset views. Watching the sunrise from places like Sandy Beach or catching the sunset from Magic Island can be truly magical experiences.
Shopping and Nightlife
Oahu's shopping districts, like Waikiki, offer a range of options for retail therapy, from high-end boutiques to local markets. The island also offers a vibrant nightlife with bars, clubs and live music venues.
From lush rainforests to volcanic craters, Oahu offers diverse landscapes that you can explore through guided tours or on your own. The island's natural beauty is truly captivating.
Relaxation and Wellness
Oahu provides ample opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation, with luxurious resorts, spas, and wellness retreats. You can unwind on the beaches, practice yoga, or simply enjoy the soothing atmosphere.
Ultimately, the decision to travel to Oahu depends on your interests and preferences. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, cultural exploration, or a mix of everything, Oahu has something to offer every traveler.
If you decide to rent a car, I would definitely also visit the following places. Waimanalo Beach, my favorite beach on the island, and if you go on a weekday, you have it almost all to yourself. Don't miss going up to the Pali Lookout and take in the amazing views of the Windward side of the island. I would make a stop at Byodo-In Temple, I would visit Kualoa Ranch and make sure you stop at Tropical Nuts Macadamia Nuts right by Kualoa, on the other side of the road. I would make a stop in the quaint surfing town of Haleiwa. You have to get a shave ice! The most famous place to get it is in Haleiwa at Matsumoto Shave Ice and the line is always super long. My favorite is Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha (this is where the locals go) in Aina Haina. Just for the record, President Obama gets his at Island Snow Cafe in Kailua.
Check out this video made by one of my guests while on a trip with me!
Places to eat & drink in Oahu, Hawai'i
Oahu, Hawaii offers a wide variety of dining options, ranging from local Hawaiian cuisine to international flavors. Here are some popular places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the island:
Known for its creative brunch menu with a mix of Hawaiian and global influences.
Famous for its delicious pancakes and other breakfast items.
A classic breakfast spot offering a range of egg dishes, pancakes, and local specialties.
A North Shore staple known for its garlic shrimp plates.
Offers authentic Hawaiian cuisine and traditional plate lunches.
A local favorite for plate lunches and the famous "mixed plate."
In Haleiwa for the best burgers and Sandviches on the Island.
Alan Wong's Restaurant:
A renowned fine dining establishment known for its contemporary Hawaiian cuisine.
Relaxed beachside venue serving pupu, fish tacos & tropical drinks, plus weekend brunch
Popular option known for its beachfront location, surf 'n' turf, tiki vibe & umbrella drinks
Located in the Halekulani Hotel, it's a high-end French restaurant with oceanfront views.
Offers a seasonal tasting menu that highlights Hawaii's bounty of ingredients.
Michel's at the Colony Surf: Elegant, classic French restaurant at Colony Surf offering fine dining with beach or city views.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Maui nō ka ʻoi! Means Maui is the Best.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Hawai'i.