Travel to Oahu: Welcome to "The Gathering Place"
Oahu became Hawaii’s vibrant heartland over a century ago, when Kamahameha III chose Honolulu as his capital and sailors from around the world turned the little port village into a rowdy melting pot. Today, Honolulu’s gleaming skyline testifies to the city’s global success, while its multicultural population forges a unique meld of American energy, Pacific Rim diversity and Hawaiian heritage. Beyond the bustling capital, Oahu boasts some of Hawaii’s most famous attractions—as well as some of the state’s best-kept secrets.
Roam from city to country, beach to mountain
Few places offer Oahu’s signature mix of natural beauty and urbane sophistication. Waikiki, perhaps the world’s most famous beach, fronts Honolulu’s bristling skyscrapers, while the green colossus of Diamond Head looms above. A visitor can go from Kapahulu Avenue’s funky shops and restaurants to the Pali Highway’s scenic forest reserves in a matter of minutes. Meanwhile, the island’s laidback Windward side and the surfing meccas of the North Shore capture Hawaii at its most classic.
Catch Oahu’s wave
How will you plan out your Oahu vacation? Which of the island’s vast array of lodging options is right for you? With home base established, do you hike Diamond Head? Disappear to a secluded beach? Or absorb the momentous history and dignified monuments of Pearl Harbor? On Oahu, some of the best snorkeling waters anywhere lie just minutes from world-class luxury shopping. A custom Oahu vacation package will help you sort it all out and explore the Gathering Place’s limitless potential.
OAHU VACATION FIVE WAYS
Check out five distinctive takes on Oahu life.
1. Dig Into Honolulu’s Chinatown
This 15-block historic district at the capital’s heart percolates with cultural energy drawn from Asia and beyond: traditional herbalists and old-school dim sum restaurants sit next to cutting-edge galleries and hip nightclubs.
2. Scale the Manoa Cliff Trail
From a trailhead in a thick guava forest, this locally renowned (and relatively easy) three-mile hike achieves stunning views of the Manoa Valley and its three waterfalls. Native plants and fauna abound.
3. Go Windward
Honolulu’s bustle is invigorating, but many locals think Oahu’s Windward (i.e., eastern) shore shows off island life at its most relaxing. State parks, small towns, plush, crowd-free beaches, turquoise ocean water—sounds good, right?
4. Redefine “Awesome” in the Valley of the Temples
The Ko’oalu Range’s lush volcanic mountains serve as the dramatic backdrop for the Byodo-In Temple, an ornate Buddhist sanctuary built in the 1960s to commemorate 100 years of Japanese culture in Hawaii.
5. See Oahu’s Edge
Much of remote Ka’ena State Park, at the most western point of Oahu’s jagged coast, can be reached only by foot. Your rewards: the beach at Keawa’ula Bay; frequent dolphin sightings at Kaluakauila; big-time traveler bragging rights.