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Oahu guide

Mention the name "Oahu," and many people will instantly envision a tropical island shining with exotic flora and kissed by bright blue waves; a place where the pace of living is slow and the beaches seem endless. In general, that is a pretty accurate description, but there is even more to Oahu: this Hawaiian island is also home to the capital city of Honolulu, which is every bit as vibrant as any major city on the mainland. The third-largest island in the Hawaiian chain, Oahu is also home to some of the best-known sites in Hawaii, including Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head.

Things to see

Unmatched views

A visit to the lighthouse on Makapuu Point is well worth the two-mile hike out of the city. Makapuu Point Lighthouse was activated in 1909 with the largest lens ever put into service on a U.S. lighthouse. The point is a popular spot for whale watching, and its panoramic views of the ocean are both beautiful and humbling. Lovers of heights shouldn?t miss Diamond Head Summit Trail, which takes visitors up to the mouth of the spectacular Diamond Head crater, as well as the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, with vistas that nearly encompass the whole island. Homage to the heroes.

Head over to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to pay respect to one of the defining moments of WWII and its heroes. The memory of 1,177 sailors and marines lost on December 7th, 1941 lives on in the USS Arizona Memorial, which is accessible via shuttle boat following the screening of a documentary in one of the on-site theaters. As part of this incredibly moving experience, visitors can read the names of all the deceased as well as those of the surviving shipmates who decided to have their ashes interred beside them.

Discovering Oahu culture

Both Honolulu's Hawaii State Art Museum and the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie showcase local culture and history. The former features the Ewa Gallery, which houses over 150 works tracing Hawaii's visual-arts during statehood, and the Diamond Head Gallery, which offers themed exhibitions. The Polynesian Cultural Center is situated along Oahu's northern shore, and offers a look into the heritage of the Hawaiian isles. In this ?living museum? you can tour traditional-style villages and witness the creation of native arts and crafts.


Where to stay

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach, on the southern shore of Oahu, has been famous for decades as a haven for surfers, but what most people don?t know is that Hawaiian royalty enjoyed surfing there as far back as the 1800s, when the area was a royal retreat. Modern Waikiki is home to several resorts and hotels, including properties by Sheraton, Hilton and Hyatt, as well as historic and independent hotels. Waikiki Beach also hosts a variety of events: from outrigger races to hula dancing and surfing competitions, guests will never run out of things to see and do in Waikiki.

North Shore and Windward Coast

For those looking to get away from the crowds, enjoy the sheer beauty of Oahu's most rugged areas, or try some of the world's most challenging waves, the scenic North Shore and Windward Coast are marvelous alternatives to the streets of Honolulu. Just an hour's drive away from the island's capital, the North Shore offers some of the island's most impressive resorts, such as Turtle Bay Resort, located near Kahuku, which extends over 840 acres. If you?re trying to stay closer to Honolulu instead, Windward Coast's Paradise Bay Resort is an excellent base for kayaking and boat excursions.

When to go

Weather-wise, there is really no bad time to visit Oahu. However, more tourists book their trips between the middle of December and the middle of April, which results in a 10 to 15 percent increase in prices during these months. Regardless, there are plenty of great reasons for visiting Oahu during the busy season. For those coming to catch the waves, it's worth knowing that surfing high season is between December and the end of February. And for those who wish to gaze at majestic ocean life, whales are more frequently spotted between November and March.

Recently booked Oahu hotels

Hotel Last booked Stars Price from
Waikiki Resort Hotel
Waikiki Beach
12 minutes ago 3 stars $123
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Waikiki Beach
23 minutes ago 4 stars $179
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Waikiki Beach
1 hour ago 4 stars $199
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani
Waikiki Beach
2 hours ago 3 stars $139
Turtle Bay Resort 2 hours ago 4 stars $276
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa
Waikiki Beach
2 hours ago 4 stars $232
Ala Moana Hotel
Waikiki Beach
2 hours ago 4 stars $168
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3 hours ago 3 stars $119
Pacific Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3 hours ago 3 stars $148
Hotel Renew
Waikiki Beach
3 hours ago 3 stars $159

Recently Rated Oahu Hotels

Hotel Reviews Stars Price from
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.4 / 5
409 reviews
3 stars $119
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Waikiki Beach
4.4 / 5
359 reviews
4 stars $235
Ala Moana Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.8 / 5
479 reviews
4 stars $168
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
Waikiki Beach
4.2 / 5
319 reviews
4 stars $219
Sheraton Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
4.0 / 5
383 reviews
4 stars $280
Aqua Palms Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
3.8 / 5
392 reviews
3 stars $139
Turtle Bay Resort
4.3 / 5
599 reviews
4 stars $276
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Waikiki Beach
4.2 / 5
930 reviews
4 stars $179
OHANA Waikiki East
Waikiki Beach
3.6 / 5
139 reviews
3 stars $105
Waikiki Gateway Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.3 / 5
223 reviews
3 stars $109

Featured Oahu Hotels

From $474

1 Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa

5 stars
4.6 / 5 29 reviews

92-1185 Ali`inui Drive

Enjoy New Enhancements at Aulani. A major expansion project is now complete so your family can enjoy more outstanding experiences throughout Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. In the Waikolohe...

Not the same as first stay
This was my second trip to the resort as the first one was exceptional. I was disappointed at the customer service this time around. Last time I got a room with 2 queens and when I asked for one...
May 10, 2015
From $276

2 Turtle Bay Resort

4 stars
4.3 / 5 599 reviews

57-091 Kamehameha Hwy.

Stay 5 Nights or More and Save 20%

Del Webb, the real estate mogul and one-time New York Yankees owner, opened Turtle Bay Resort in 1972 and ever since then, it's been entertaining guests with an involving line-up of activities,...

exploring oahu
great hotel - booked a ocean view room and got a huge room with a great view!! kind of far from town but beautiful hotel
May 25, 2015
From $148

3 Pacific Beach Hotel

3 stars
3.8 / 5 503 reviews

2490 Kalakaua Ave.

Book Now and Save 35%

The Pacific Beach Hotel in Hawaii's Oahu is a haven for both children and those who once were children. The three-story, 280,000-gallon aquarium is a big hit, along with the arcade, pool and...

Great location good value
The hotel is walking distance to Waikiki beach. Very convenient for food and shopping. It offers clean towels and drinking water onsite. The staff are generally very friendly. room service is...
May 20, 2015

4 Courtyard Oahu North Shore

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

55-400 Kamehameha Highway

Rate includes breakfast

The new state-of-the-art lobby at Courtyard provides greater flexibility and choices for our guests. At the center of it all is The Bistro, your destination for a great breakfast, or drinks and...

From $244

5 Paradise Bay Resort

4 stars
3.9 / 5 27 reviews

47-037 Lihikai Dr

Book Now and Save 25%

Visit Paradise, the ultimate true Hawaii vacation experience. Enjoy panoramic views of the Ko olau Mountains and breath taking views of Kaneohe Bay, Chinamans Hat Island, Ocean and the neighboring...

Awesome vacation spot!
This was a great place! Everyone was so friendly and helpful. The room was a great size and super clean. We had an amazing view of the water from our room and balacony. Loved that they offered...
Mar 3, 2015
From $519

6 Aulani - Disney Vacation Club Villas

5 stars
4.7 / 5 17 reviews

92-1185 Ali'inui Drive

Enjoy New Enhancements at Aulani. A major expansion project is now complete so your family can enjoy more outstanding experiences throughout Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa. In the Waikolohe...

Great Family Resort
Kids loved it! Good times but can get pricey but worth it to check out if you have never visited!
Apr 24, 2015
From $279

7 The Modern Honolulu

5 stars
4.4 / 5 54 reviews

1775 Ala Moana Boulevard

Non Refundable Savings

Chic in both aesthetics and service, Polynesian decor characterizes The Modern Honolulu. Neutral colors and themes give the hotel a sophisticated feel throughout, while there is plenty of Hawaiian...

Service Dog
The staff was very professional - bellhops took our bags as soon as we exited the cab, front desk staff was great. They accommodated us for an early check in which was hugely helpful. We were met...
Apr 22, 2015

8 Tiki Moon Villas

2 stars
Not yet reviewed

55367 Kamehameha Highway

Oceanfront Vacation Rentals Two direct ocean front bungalows 1 garden view with direct beach access. 2 with set back views of ocean and direct beach access. All bungalows are air conditioned....

9 Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort

5 stars
4.6 / 5 18 reviews

92-106 Waialii Place

Early Booking Bonus: 7th Night FREE

Vacation in quiet, luxury, beach front seclusion where lush gardens greet you and endless pools absorb you. The Ko Olina Beach Villas offers 270, 2&3 Bedroom oversized Villas, with grand...

From $179

10 Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

4 stars
4.2 / 5 930 reviews

2005 Kalia Road

Book 7 Nights, Get Last Night Free plus Luau for 2

The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort boasts 22 acres of roaring waterfalls, huge water slides, fragrant botanical gardens and fine white sand. Local artists Herb Kane and John Young...

Pearl Harbor trip
Quick, pleasant customer service. Room was upgraded for free to a ocean view! Clean, fun close to everything!
May 25, 2015
From $105

11 Ambassador Hotel Waikiki

3 stars
3.4 / 5 414 reviews

2040 Kuhio Avenue

Book 30 Days in Advance - Save 38%

Welcome to Ambassador Hotel - A Waikiki Hotel, where our ideal Waikiki location meets exceptional value for Oahu Hotels. You'll enjoy contemporary comfort at our Waikiki Hotel, the perfect choice...

Great last minute stay
I had two hours to plan my trip. Flights was convenient and the hotel for the price that I paid was perfect. Good service. Clean room. Comfortable bed. Perfect wifi. Having the kitchen was an added...
May 22, 2015
From $232

12 Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa

4 stars
4.3 / 5 303 reviews

2365 Kalakaua Avenue

4th Night Free + Daily Buffet Breakfast for 2

'The First Lady of Waikiki' was constructed at the turn of the 20th century, and the Moana Surfrider lives up to her elegant name as a Waikiki beachfront property. Upon arrival, you'll be treated...

trip with friends
Location is goood and building is so beautiful. I recommand this hotel.
May 10, 2015
From $199

13 Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

4 stars
4.1 / 5 754 reviews

2552 Kalakaua Avenue

Rate Includes Breakfast

The Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, located a short distance from Hawaii's renowned Waikiki Beach, provides comfortable, spacious and modern rooms – many with ocean views – amid a striking...

Couple Getaway
We had a great time. The hotel was clean. The pool bartenders were great and helpful. We enjoyed Hawaii and everyone was so helpful. Thank you for a wonderful time!
May 19, 2015
From $139

14 Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

3 stars
3.6 / 5 456 reviews

120 Kaiulani Ave

4th Night Free + Daily Breakfast for 2

Canoe rides, surfing, discover Hawaiian culture at Waikiki BeachThe Sheraton Princess Kaiulani is a moderately-priced hotel with 1,142 rooms and suites across three individual buildings. Rooms in...

Good location, slow check in/out, parking is a maze
The hotel is in a good location with reasonable price. However the front desk is not very helpful and very slow in check in/out. The parking lot is so confusing with no proper signs. I parked on...
Apr 25, 2015
From $186

15 Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki

4 stars
4.2 / 5 242 reviews

100 Holomoana St

Adorned with Asian artwork, the Hawaii Prince in Waikiki is a large high-rise hotel that looks out over the tranquil ocean. Guests are welcomed, island-style, inside the spacious lobby, and...

Great!
Overall, great experience. Friendly staff. And a nice view of an ocean.
Apr 30, 2015
From $179

16 Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel

4 stars
3.9 / 5 1336 reviews

2570 Kalakaua Avenue

Save With Already Reduced Non-Refundable Rates

The Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel in Oahu greets guests with surfboards and citrus shades in its lobby, and bright island decor and natural elements of bamboo and rattan in its guestrooms. Start the...

First time to paradise...
We arrived late in the evening to a really dirty room. At about 2am, I decided we couldn't stay in the room as the smell of urine permiated from the bathroom. I was looking for a way to get out of...
May 21, 2015
From $116

17 Aqua Waikiki Wave

3 stars
3.5 / 5 373 reviews

2299 Kuhio Avenue

Book Now and Save 50%

Hip escape in the center of WaikikiThe vibrant Aqua Waikiki Wave is a surprising find tucked into the middle of Waikiki. Offering  hip room decor and complimentary amenities like free Wi-Fi...

Smelly room
Room was smelly and hotel was full so we couldn't switch rooms. Staff tried cleaning and spraying and something with the air conditioner but it just was like old dirty body odor that lingered.
May 20, 2015
From $119

18 Queen Kapiolani Hotel

3 stars
3.4 / 5 409 reviews

150 Kapahulu Ave.

Book Now and Save 30%

Queen Kapiolani Hotel is named for the beloved wife of King David Kalakaua. The spirit of regal patronage lives on in the historic portraits and candle chandeliers which line the lobby, while the...

Awesome as usual!
I had an awesome stay as usual. Hotel is conveniently located right by the beach. The food and service in the 3rd floor Bar/Restaurant area was very good. There are also 2 ABC stores just a few...
May 26, 2015
From $235

19 Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort

4 stars
4.3 / 5 399 reviews

2335 Kalakaua Ave.

No Resort Fees

An honored recipient of the Hawaii Tourism Authority's prestigious Kahili Award, the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort offers free daily workshops taught by well-respected teachers of Hawaiian music,...

best location
This is the best hotel on the best part of the beach. And no resort fees.
May 21, 2015
From $123

20 Waikiki Resort Hotel

3 stars
3.8 / 5 138 reviews

130 Liliuokalani Ave

Book Now and Save 30%

Comfortable, island-style hotel near the beachA total overhaul has reinvented the peaceful, tucked-away Waikiki Resort Hotel. A surprising find, the hotel offers more for your money than meets the...

Clean comfortable room
Hotel was in a good location and the room was nice. However, it was very noisy in the hotel at night with loud voices and doors slamming. There was also a lot of street noise.
May 13, 2015