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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 hour ago 4 stars $191
Aulani - Disney Vacation Club Villas 1 hour ago 5 stars $622
Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk
Waikiki Beach
2 hours ago 5 stars $406
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa
Waikiki Beach
3 hours ago 4 stars $238
Aqua Pacific Monarch
Waikiki Beach
4 hours ago 3 stars $157
Hilton Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach
4 hours ago 4 stars $216
Pacific Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
5 hours ago 3 stars $169
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa
Waikiki Beach
6 hours ago 4 stars $322
Sheraton Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
7 hours ago 4 stars $284
Halekulani
Waikiki Beach
7 hours ago 5 stars $596

Recently Rated Oahu Hotels

Hotel Reviews Stars Price from
Aulani - Disney Vacation Club Villas
4.7 / 5
18 reviews
5 stars $622
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Waikiki Beach
4.1 / 5
602 reviews
4 stars $226
Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.3 / 5
308 reviews
3 stars $123
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Waikiki Beach
4.4 / 5
311 reviews
4 stars $273
Hokele Suites Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
3.0 / 5
105 reviews
2 stars $121
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.9 / 5
1080 reviews
4 stars $186
Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
4.1 / 5
209 reviews
4 stars $226
Vive Hotel Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
4.2 / 5
34 reviews
3 stars $182
Ala Moana Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.8 / 5
398 reviews
4 stars $191
Aston Waikiki Sunset
Waikiki Beach
3.8 / 5
95 reviews
3 stars $232

Featured Oahu Hotels

From $622

1 Aulani - Disney Vacation Club Villas

5 stars
4.7 / 5 18 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...

Best family destination in Hawaii
Aulani was amaaaazzing... Worth every dollar .. The staff are friendly the resort is beautifully located with the nicest views .. Their kids Club is free and is fantastic and so secure .. My son...
Jul 22, 2015
From $252

2 Turtle Bay Resort

4 stars
4.3 / 5 511 reviews

57-091 Kamehameha Hwy.

Book Now 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,...

Memorable Honeymoon
My husband and I booked a 5 days and 4 nights stay at Turtle Bay Resorts for our honeymoon. The resorts location was beautiful. It was remote, quiet and provided us an exquisite view of the Oahu...
Jul 26, 2015
From $210

3 Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

4 stars
4.2 / 5 762 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...

Wonderful for family or couples
We extremely enjoyed Hilton Hawaiian village! The staff were very nice, the rooms were clean and everything was just perfect
Jul 25, 2015
From $226

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 $205

5 Paradise Bay Resort

4 stars
3.8 / 5 26 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...

Best vacation trip
The staff was extremely helpful and friendly. The location if isolated, but it's away from the craziness of Wakiki. I truly enjoyed the canoeing also. The cleaning crew had our room cleaned very well.
Jul 20, 2015
From $570

6 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...

Beautiful and welcoming hotel
We have returned to Aulani four times and love it each time. Tip 1: during holiday periods, get to the pool early in the morning to make sure you get a good deck chair near the amazing pools. Tip...
Jul 17, 2015
From $226

7 Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

4 stars
4.1 / 5 602 reviews

2552 Kalakaua Avenue

Rate Includes Breakfast

If you travel frequently, you should join Marriott's Rewards Program to receive benefits like free breakfast, room upgrades and free Wi-Fi at the resort. When booking your room, consider...

Great Hotel in Waikiki Beach
I stayed at Waikiki Marriott in July and it was one of the most amazing experience I've ever had! I upgraded to a oceanfront junior suite and the view was absolutely phenomenal. If you want best...
Jul 24, 2015

8 Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort

5 stars
4.5 / 5 17 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 $112

9 Ambassador Hotel Waikiki

3 stars
3.4 / 5 340 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...

Maybe not
Not sure i would stay THERE AGAIN! The curtains had holes in them, the paint was coming off in the bathroom. The sliding door To balcóny was broken. Charging For amenties?? Why?? There was nothing!...
Jul 10, 2015
From $169

10 Pacific Beach Hotel

3 stars
3.7 / 5 398 reviews

2490 Kalakaua Ave.

Book Now and Save 35%

When you book your stay, ask for an oceanfront room above the fifth floor for the most impressive window panoramas.Consider stocking up on snacks or small breakfast treats at the ABC Store in the...

Older property, great location and fab view
Great staff, great ocean views from higher floors in beach tower, great central Waikiki location (noisy, but lovely). Older rooms, pool area is minimal. If you get a good price, this is a great...
Jul 17, 2015
From $322

11 Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa

4 stars
4.3 / 5 262 reviews

2365 Kalakaua Avenue

4th Night Free + Daily Buffet Breakfast for 2

The Banyan Courtyard is a popular place to relax under the trees while sipping umbrella drinks and enjoying live music, along with occasional hula dancing.Book a room in the Tower Wing for balcony...

awesome family trip
Nice hotel. Best service. Love the view and breakfast there.
Jun 13, 2015
From $186

12 Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel

4 stars
3.9 / 5 1080 reviews

2570 Kalakaua Avenue

Save With Already Reduced Non-Refundable Rates

Everything about Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel is fun and full of life - from the modern-Hawaiian beach theme in the lobby (surfboards and all) to the naturally inspired decor of our guest rooms....

Just one night
Nice location. The Tiki bar and grill onsite was great. Hotel reminded me of an older establishment. Balconies have zero privacy and the access doors were new when I was a little kid. very Clean...
Jul 21, 2015
From $169

13 Luana Waikiki Hotel and Suites

4 stars
4.0 / 5 113 reviews

2045 Kalakaua Avenue

Complimentary Yoga and Cruise bikes available

Forget about your everyday worries and get away from it all at the Luana Waikiki in Honolulu. Located 10 minutes from Waikiki Beach, this modern Honolulu boutique hotel features spacious rooms with...

Great Time!!! ALoha!!!
We had a great time. I recommend this hotel anybody. They have great kitchenettes,great location, and wonderful staff.
Jul 15, 2015
From $210

14 Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

3 stars
3.6 / 5 366 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...

Staycation 2015
My family and I stayed here for the 4th of July weekend. My daughter was a participant in the canoe regatta that weekend so we wanted to be close. This hotel was great. Good location, not...
Jul 25, 2015
From $116

15 Aqua Waikiki Wave

3 stars
3.5 / 5 296 reviews

2299 Kuhio Avenue

Book Now and Save 50%

The 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 access, Aqua Waikiki is the perfect...

Could have been better Trip
This was a last minute trip planned the same day I purchased my vacation package. What a horrible experience to learn that they did not have my reservations when I arrived after a five hour flight....
Jun 28, 2015
From $226

16 Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki

4 stars
4.1 / 5 209 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...

Honeymoon
Great stay!! Loved this location . The people were so generous and valet was superb
Jul 21, 2015
From $182

17 Vive Hotel Waikiki

3 stars
4.2 / 5 34 reviews

2426 Kuhio Avenue

Save 5% Off 2 Nights

Newest boutique hotel in Waikiki, 125 rooms, opening June 12, 2013. Contemporary design, Continental Breakfast in the Vive Cafe for all guests. All guestrooms equipped with refrigerator,...

Visiting friends
Valet service was quick thanks to all the valet guys! Living room has chic vibe and was a great place to hang out and have complimentary breakfast. I like the simplicity of the room, some say it is...
Jul 21, 2015
From $155

18 Waikiki Resort Hotel

3 stars
3.8 / 5 106 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
From $216

19 Hilton Waikiki Beach

4 stars
4.2 / 5 159 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...

Unique design
My friend decided to get married in Hawaii, but had never been there before. She booked this hotel for their families, thinking it is next to the ocean or one block away, but it turned out it is...
Jul 16, 2015
From $367

20 The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

5 stars
4.5 / 5 153 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...

40th aniversity
it was very nice , a bit more commercialized than I thought it would be . BUT overall a great expiriance
Jul 20, 2015