The Island of Oahu

The Gathering Isle

The island of Oahu

Welcome to the Gathering Place

Known as the "Gathering Place" for good reason, Oahu is a vibrant Pacific hub merging the urban pulse of Honolulu and Waikiki with rural charm and surf culture of the epic North Shore. 

Visit Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on U.S. soil. Ogle Kakaako’s edgy street art scene, or share nosh in traditional and trendy Chinatown eateries. End a Diamond Head hike by savoring local delicacies at the KCC Farmers’ Market. Or learn to catch a wave off Waikiki Beach, the legendary birthplace of surfing. 

Ocean action thrives here, whether you’re into SUP treks or sunset dinner cruising with Waikiki’ shoreline painting the backdrop.

Explore the Island

Oahu Island Facts

Explore the Island

These are actually two separate areas, although Waikiki is actually located within Oahu’s state capital city and commerce hub of Honolulu. Waikiki is the island’s urban resort area that is located on Oahu’s south shore just two miles east of Downtown Honolulu.

Oahu’s North Shore welcomes professional surfers from across the globe between mid-November to mid-December for the Vans Triple Crown of Surf. You’ll find competitions at Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline Haleiwa’s Alii Beach. 

  

Only in the summer when the winter surf has toned down. If you’re visiting in the winter, the island’s south shore is the place to be. Look for the Waikiki Beach Boys concession on the beach or check out the variety of surf schools that provide lessons in other mellow south shore locations.

Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail is a view-packed paved route with moderate incline to the 647-foot summit. This one sees a spike in traffic during whale watching season. On the North Shore, Waimea Valley presents a mellow .75-mile paved pathway that waterfall trail that meanders through beautiful botanical gardens and historical sites to the waterfall that’s perfect for cooling off.

Kualoa Private Nature Reserve takes it from mild to wild with activities that include movie set and culinary tours, ocean voyaging, ATVs, horseback riding and ziplining. The ranch’s Secret Island Beach Activities tour includes options for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, glass bottom boat trips, beach volleyball and table tennis. 

First stop is at Honolulu’s Bishop Museum that’s designated as the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History. On Oahu’s North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center is the only cultural tourist attraction of its kind in the world. Six Polynesian villages each offer exciting ways discover Polynesian culture, traditions, food, music and dance. Dine like royalty at PCC’s Alii Luau, or catch this Polynesian fete on Oahu’s leeward (west) coast at Germaine’s & Paradise Cove

Absolutely! The Pearl Harbor Historic Sites is home to the USS Arizona Memorial, plus the Battleship Missouri Memorial, USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park and Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum. The best bet is to purchase a Passport to Pearl Harbor that covers admission to each plus the Pearl Harbor Virtual Reality Center.

Haleiwa is the quintessential surf town that’s popular among surfers, anglers, stand up paddlers and artists selling crafts in their North Shore shops. Its main thoroughfare of Kamehameha Highway is lined with local-style eateries, colorful surf shops and shave ice icons known for this traditional island sweet treat.

 

Oahu Attractions, Tours and Activities

Known as “The Gathering Place”, the island of Oahu has something for everyone. Visit a historic landmarks at Pearl Harbor and Arizona Memorial. Go on a romantic dinner cruise. Take the kids on an underwater adventure in a real submarine or view the scenic beauty from a Helicopter. And no visit to Hawaii is complete without experiencing a Hawaiian Luau. Check out more activities and attractions

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