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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
Ala Moana Hotel
Waikiki Beach
1 minute ago 4 stars $180
Turtle Bay Resort 40 minutes ago 4 stars $249
Ambassador Hotel Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
45 minutes ago 3 stars $104
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Waikiki Beach
1 hour ago 4 stars $259
Pacific Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
1 hour ago 3 stars $188
Aqua Waikiki Wave
Waikiki Beach
1 hour ago 3 stars $98
Vive Hotel Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
1 hour ago 3 stars $188
The Modern Honolulu
Waikiki Beach
2 hours ago 5 stars $289
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Waikiki Beach
3 hours ago 4 stars $295
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3 hours ago 3 stars $139

Recently Rated Oahu Hotels

Hotel Reviews Stars Price from
Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort
Waikiki Beach
4.3 / 5
400 reviews
4 stars $319
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.9 / 5
1340 reviews
4 stars $198
Aqua Waikiki Wave
Waikiki Beach
3.5 / 5
374 reviews
3 stars $98
Aston at the Executive Centre Hotel
Oahu
3.8 / 5
16 reviews
3 stars $224
Pacific Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.8 / 5
505 reviews
3 stars $188
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.4 / 5
410 reviews
3 stars $139
Ala Moana Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.8 / 5
483 reviews
4 stars $180
Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk
Waikiki Beach
4.8 / 5
82 reviews
5 stars $393
Stay Hotel Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
2.9 / 5
116 reviews
3 stars $104
Turtle Bay Resort
4.3 / 5
602 reviews
4 stars $249

Featured Oahu Hotels

From $499

1 Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa

5 stars
4.6 / 5 30 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...

Fun
Lazy river was fun even mom went on it twice was kinda of disappointed first night did not see any Disney characters but the next morning we saw them all Great time thanks
Jun 2, 2015
From $249

2 Turtle Bay Resort

4 stars
4.3 / 5 602 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,...

great conference site
Stayed for a week for a conference and had a great time. The resort does an excellent job of immersing you in the north shore culture and environment. Close to lots of surf and water activities....
Jun 25, 2015
From $229

3 Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

4 stars
4.2 / 5 933 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...

awesome business trip
The staff was fantastic! I was amazed how there was constant cleaning day and night. The food was out of this world. Thank you
Jun 5, 2015
From $249

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 $258

5 Paradise Bay Resort

4 stars
3.8 / 5 28 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...

Beautiful ocean view from Lobby area
Beautiful ocean view from Lobby area but not from every room. Make sure ask front desk.
Jun 14, 2015
From $544

6 Aulani - Disney Vacation Club Villas

5 stars
4.7 / 5 20 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 trip
Went during spring break. It was busy but no overly crazy. Kids had a blast. Disney knows how to make kids happy.
Jun 24, 2015
From $104

7 Ambassador Hotel Waikiki

3 stars
3.4 / 5 417 reviews

2040 Kuhio Avenue

Book Now and Save 35%

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 for family
The room has a small kitchen, you may cook for family members. Free wireless internet was useful and small but cozy swimmimg pool is prepared and good for kids. You're to pay the daily amenity fee...
Jun 14, 2015

8 Tiki Moon Villas

3 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 $170

10 Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

3 stars
3.6 / 5 460 reviews

120 Kaiulani Ave

4th Night Free + Daily Breakfast for 2

The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani is a moderately-priced hotel with 1,142 rooms and suites across three individual buildings. Rooms in the Ainahau Tower and the Kaiulani Wing have balconies, while...

a beautiful hotel
We loved how it was just a short walk to the beach and great restaurants near by with great prices! The hotel gave us chairs and a snack each day at the beach. We also enjoyed the shows each night...
Jun 20, 2015
From $259

11 Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

4 stars
4.1 / 5 758 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...

anniversary trip
Everything in the hotel was very clean, and The room had everything we needed.
Jun 22, 2015
From $188

12 Pacific Beach Hotel

3 stars
3.8 / 5 505 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...

Dated
We stayed at the Pacific Beach Hotel mainly because of the price. The hotel is quite dated and lacks many details that are standard in the better hotels…my conclusion is that if I am going to come...
Jun 26, 2015
From $355

13 The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

5 stars
4.4 / 5 163 reviews

2259 Kalakaua Avenue

Already Discounted Non Refundable Rates

The Royal Hawaiian - A Luxury Collection Resort is filled with the history, romance and casual sophistication of Hawaiian culture, blended with the charm of Spanish-Moorish architecture. Opened in...

great trip great location
When we arrived at the hotel, the staff assigned us a room in historic building. But the rooms in historic building are old. And the staff changes the room in the new building. The rooms in the new...
Jun 15, 2015
From $315

14 Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa

4 stars
4.3 / 5 306 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 to...

Two friends on vacation
There is no hotel comparable to the Moana Surf-rider on Waikiki. It is the definition of old world charm. Our room had been redone in 2013. Heavenly bed, lovely large shower, very quiet even though...
Jun 20, 2015
From $198

15 Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel

4 stars
3.9 / 5 1340 reviews

2570 Kalakaua Avenue

Save With Already Reduced Non-Refundable Rates

The Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel Honolulu combines a Hawaiian beach setting with bright, contemporary furnishings and nature inspired décor. About 85 percent of the rooms have partial-to-full...

Getaway
Great staff- we were able to check in early and the location is great for walking and tours.
Jun 23, 2015
From $199

16 Shoreline Hotel Waikiki, a Joie de Vivre Hotel

3 stars
3.9 / 5 35 reviews

342 Seaside Avenue

Save 20% on your stay

The freshly renovated,"island-chic" Shoreline Hotel Waikiki, just two blocks from world famous Waikiki Beach, has a prime location that makes its value incomparable. Enjoy a day of sun...

Cool Vacation
it was a super great vacation. ready to go back again.
Jun 8, 2015
From $209

17 Hilton Waikiki Beach

4 stars
4.2 / 5 183 reviews

2500 Kuhio Ave.

Rate includes 7th Night Free

The Hilton Waikiki pairs the amenities and professionalism of a business hotel with the pampering luxuries of a resort. Recently renovated with hip dining space and glamorous common areas, Hilton...

20th aniversity
the hotel was great from the moment we arrived. valet parking only for a fee with no self parking. easy walking distance to the beach. room was clean, quiet and nice size. the mountain view was...
May 15, 2015
From $199

18 Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki

4 stars
4.2 / 5 243 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...

family visit
It was nice being home to see family and to see how the islands have changed....
May 30, 2015
From $470

19 The Kahala Hotel & Resort

5 stars
4.7 / 5 52 reviews

5000 Kahala Avenue

No Resort Fee! Complimentary WiFi!

The Kahala Hotel & Resort is Hawaii's reigning luxury resort, set on a secluded beach just ten minutes from the world class shopping and entertainment of Waikiki. This legendary hideaway resort...

Beautiful Hotel and Resort
Our stay at the Kahala Hotel and Resort was wonderful. The service was top notch. Everyone took the time out to make you feel like they were glad you chose to stay at the resort. We loved the...
Jun 17, 2015
From $157

20 Waikiki Resort Hotel

3 stars
3.8 / 5 139 reviews

130 Liliuokalani Ave

Book Now and Save 30%

A total overhaul has reinvented the peaceful, tucked-away Waikiki Resort Hotel. A surprising find, the hotel offers more for your money than meets the eye. Located a half-block from Waikiki's best...

Solid for Business Travel
I stayed here one night for business, and the location was perfect, but I didn't experience many of the amenities offered, so I cannot vouch for those things. The value was the reason I chose this...
May 29, 2015