Oahu is a dynamic and vibrant island with intriguing cityscapes, pastoral countryside and world famous beaches. Waikiki on the south shore is a gathering place for people from all around the world and nearby is downtown Honolulu with great restaurants and a storied past visible in all the historic buildings. Oahu's lush windward side is towered over by the steep and verdant Koolau mountain range and home to more great beaches including the water sports playground of Kailua Bay. Oahu's north shore has a string of beautiful beaches and is one of the world's premier surfing destinations. Oahu is bustling with activity yet still you can find remote beaches where you swim in the azure waters, relax to the sounds of the waves rhythmically lapping at the shoreline and doze off in the shade of a palm tree.
Things To Do
Waikiki is more than a place, it's an experience! Take a swim at the iconic Waikiki Beach and stroll down Kalakaua and Kuhio Avenues for great shopping, dining and entertainment. Visit Pearl Harbor in Honolulu to see the USS Arizona Memorial, Battleship Missouri Memorial and the Pacific Aviation Museum. A new Pearl Harbor Visitor Center enhances the experience of learning about the infamous December 7th 1941 attack that brought the US into World War II. To beat the crowds to this popular attraction go early before the tour buses arrive. The Bishop Museum in Honolulu is another great way to learn about Hawaii's past and includes a Planetarium with programs for kids. The Waikiki Aquarium is a fascinating place to learn about Hawaii's marine life with exhibits including coral reefs, sharks, eels and a touch tank for kids. A departure from city life is found in Oahu's many botanical gardens such as Senator Fong's Plantation & Gardens where you can take a guided tour through forests of native and Polynesian-introduced plants, tropical fruits, ferns, palm trees and fragrant blossoms. Kids love the Dole Plantation in Wahiawa with its giant Pineapple Garden Maze which covers three acres and includes 2.5 miles of paths creating a challenging labyrinth to navigate. Other botanical gardens include Hoomaluhia in Kaneohe and Koko Crater Botanical Garden (yes, it's in a crater!) in east Oahu. The Nuuanu Pali Lookout is about five miles from downtown Honolulu and provides stunning views of the windward (east) shoreline including Kailua and Kaneohe. Visit Kailua Bay for a variety of water sports in a well-protected bay and enjoy one of Hawaii's prettiest beaches nearby at Lanikai Beach with its crystal clear water and pure white sand.
On the north shore you can visit world famous surfing spots like Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay, hike through a tropical rainforest and go snorkeling at some of the island's most pristine beaches. Learn about Pacific cultures at the Polynesian Cultural Center and enjoy its famed luau feast and Hawaiian-style entertainment including fire knife dancing. Also on the north shore you can stroll through a 150-acre botanical garden in Waimea Valley and enjoy the park's many offerings including hula dancing and cliff diving presentations. Then take a refreshing swim beneath Waimea Falls and go horseback riding or mountain biking. Haleiwa town is known as the "gateway to the north shore" and a nice place to shop, eat and enjoy a shave ice. At Dillingham Field you can go skydiving or take a ride in a glider.
Oahu has many exceptional golf courses. On the south shore there are two golf courses in Hawaii Kai including the Championship Course and the Executive Course, both with nice ocean views. The Ala Wai Golf Course in Waikiki takes in views of the city skyline, Diamond Head and the Koolau mountains. On the west side of Oahu is the top-rated and immaculately groomed Ko Olina Golf Course, and Makaha Resort Golf Club set in Makaha Valley with nice views of the Pacific. On the east (windward) side is Olomana Golf Links with impressive views of the furrowed Koolau mountains. This is the course Barack Obama golfed in his youth and still sometimes plays during vacations as President. Also on the east side is is the Pali Golf Course with lush and tropical landscaping and great views of the windward side. On the north shore the Turtle Bay Resort features championship oceanfront golf courses, and the municipal Kahuku Golf Course is also set along the shoreline.
Beautiful beaches are found on all sides of the island of Oahu with some better than others for particular activities including snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, surfing stand up paddle boarding or just relaxing on the sand and enjoying a seaside stroll. Waikiki Beach is a 3-mile stretch of golden sand fronted by Kalakaua Avenue and its high-rise resorts and hotels, shops and restaurants. This is a great place to take a surfing lesson, ride in an outrigger canoe or go for a swim. Just east of Waikiki is Hanauma Bay, Hawaii's most popular snorkeling location where fascinating fish and other marine life thrive on a coral reef in a submerged volcanic crater bordered by a large, sandy beach. For more fun in the water visit the Kailua Beach on the windward (eastern) shore. Many ocean activities take place in the relatively well-protected waters of the Kailua Bay. Nearby is the picturesque Lanikai Beach with powdered-sugar sands ideal for sunbathing and crystal clear water perfect for a day in paradise. Offshore are the scenic Mokulua Islands making this a fun area for kayaking.
Oahu has an abundance of great restaurants from Honolulu and Waikiki on the south shore to Haleiwa town and Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore and Kailua on the windward side. Take advantage of all the fresh local fruits and vegetables at the Farmers Markets, and make sure to try shave ice, plate lunches and visit a shrimp truck. Luaus are a great place to indulge in traditional Hawaiian fare including poi and pork laulau. The Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki offers eating choices that vary from fine cuisine to hot dogs and burgers. Around sunset is a great time to dine and listen to live music at various venues like the Waikiki Beach Walk and the numerous hotels and resort bars and restaurants along Kalakaua Avenue. In Honolulu, Alan Wong's serves up delicious Hawaiian regional cuisine. Wong, who is one of Hawaii's premier chefs and a pioneer of the cuisine, creates such delicacies as pit-roasted kalua pig, Kona lobster and nori-wrapped tempura ahi. For local home-style cooking try Kakaako Kitchen, on Ala Moana Blvd. in Honolulu, known for its trademark styrofoam plates, budget prices, multi-ethnic entrees and hearty helpings. Roy's in Hawaii Kai is the flagship restaurant of famed Hawaii chef Roy Yamaguchi and known for its "Fusion Cuisine" featuring the freshest seafood and an open kitchen where you can see the culinary artistry first-hand. Ola is located seaside in an open-air beach pavilion literally on the beach near the Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore serving up contemporary island cuisine dishes such as ahi and lobster poke, and open for both lunch and dinner.
Oahu has shopping for every budget from frugal to upscale. Visit downtown Honolulu to shop for everything from designer apparel and handbags to fine jewelry, Island-inspired attire and unique Hawaii gifts that provide true gems as souvenirs of your visit. Chinatown in downtown Honolulu is a fun place to explore and is known for its lively arts scene. Major shopping centers and outlet malls in Honolulu include the Ala Moana Center with 290 shops and restaurants amidst tropical landscaping and koi ponds. The Royal Hawaiian Center in the heart of Waikiki has more than 110 stores and restaurants. A great place to see live music is the new Waikiki Beach Walk with more than 50 shops and 16 restaurants.
A rental car is recommended when visiting Oahu so you have easy access to the many beaches and attractions from Waikiki and downtown Honolulu on the south shore to the north shore beaches and lush windward side. Most major populated areas of Oahu can also reached on the public transit system known as "TheBus."
Weather and Ocean Conditions
Oahu weather ranges from about 70 to 85 degrees F throughout the year with rain and wind conditions varying in different areas throughout the Island. The north and eastern shores are generally a bit wetter and cooler than the south and west shores, and the winter months typically see more rain than summer. Hawaii's predominant trade winds blow from the northeast bringing moisture-laden clouds that typically rain onto the mountains of the east and north shores creating green and lush landscapes. Ocean conditions vary each day though typically the north shore will have the calmest waters during the summer and the south shore will have the calmest waters during the winter months. For swimming and ocean activities visit Oahu's lifeguarded beaches, obey all posted warnings and ask about the conditions on that day for the activities you choose.
Oahu vacation rentals provide a wonderful way to enjoy your Hawaii vacation. Oahu beachfront homes, villas, condos and luxury rentals allow you to enjoy all of the comforts of home along with the luxuries of a resort accommodation.
Stay in a Kailua Vacation Rental to enjoy a private seaside villa near beautiful Kailua Beach in an area so nice that President Obama vacations here! From your Lanikai vacation rental you can enjoy the picture postcard Lanikai Beach, and from a North Shore vacation rental you have easy access to a string of amazing beaches for surfing and snorkeling, and also scenic golf courses. Nice places to eat and shop can be found nearby in the north shore town of Haleiwa. Turtle Bay Resort condos on the north shore provide the ultimate in relaxation along Kawela Bay and Kuilima Cove, great for long beach walks, swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing in the serene surroundings far from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu. Oceanfront Diamond Head vacation rentals provide access to all of the excitement of Waikiki and Honolulu while allowing you the privacy and serenity of one of Oahu's nicest neighborhoods. Browse through our Oahu vacation rental listings to get an understanding of the different amenities and property features we offer. Our goal is to provide you with a with an unforgettable Oahu vacation rental for the perfect Hawaii vacation. If you have any questions about our Oahu rentals or which area is best for your vacation please give us a call at Hawaiian Beach Rentals and we will be happy to assist you.
Oahu's history is steeped in Hawaiian culture which can be seen first hand in many Honolulu buildings that have been preserved and restored from more than a century ago. Learn about Hawaii's royal heritage on a tour of Iolani Palace, and nearby see the unique architecture of the State Capitol building, historic Kawaiahao Church and the Mission Houses Museum. In Waikiki you can follow the Waikiki Historic Trail which is marked with bronze surfboards that provide historical information about many sites including the statue of Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic champion and expert surfer who was known as Hawaii's "ambassador of aloha" and remains an enduring symbol of Waikiki. Oahu has a vast and varied history including the Hawaiian monarchy, the whaling era, Protestant missionaries, and agricultural enterprises like sugarcane and pineapple that brought hundreds of thousands of immigrant laborers to the Islands. This massive influx of immigrant labor is what made Hawaii the melting pot of cultures that it is today.
by Charles Koehl
Snorkel & Whale Watching Tours
Snorkel & Whale Watching Tours - Sail Hawaii is the best Whale watching and Snorkeling company in Hawaii, offering year round tours.
Maggie Joe Sport Fishing - The crew of the Maggie Joe knows how to catch big Marlin's with a 1277 lbs Marlin and another at 1245 lbs.
Waikiki Trolley - Offers great shopping sightseeing and Historic Honolulu Tours.
Polynesian Culture Center - The award winning Ali'i Lu'au includes a lei greeting, an all you can eat buffet, and of course, a hula show!
Pearl Harbor Tour
Pearl Harbor - Visit the site of the United States entrance into WW II. Explore Pearl Harbors museums and memorials.