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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 Beach Marriott Resort & Spa
Waikiki Beach
15 minutes ago 4 stars $185
Ambassador Hotel Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
19 minutes ago 3 stars $100
Aqua Waikiki Wave
Waikiki Beach
20 minutes ago 3 stars $119
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Waikiki Beach
50 minutes ago 4 stars $179
Hilton Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach
1 hour ago 4 stars $170
Pacific Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
1 hour ago 3 stars $128
Turtle Bay Resort 1 hour ago 4 stars $239
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
2 hours ago 4 stars $159
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa
Waikiki Beach
2 hours ago 4 stars $284
Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk
Waikiki Beach
4 hours ago 4 stars $293

Recently Rated Oahu Hotels

Hotel Reviews Stars Price from
Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.9 / 5
1212 reviews
4 stars $159
Aqua Palms Waikiki
Waikiki Beach
3.8 / 5
350 reviews
3 stars $105
Ala Moana Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.8 / 5
434 reviews
4 stars $158
Hilton Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach
4.2 / 5
169 reviews
4 stars $170
Kuhio Banyan Club
Waikiki Beach
2.6 / 5
37 reviews
3 stars $79
Aqua Waikiki Pearl
Waikiki Beach
3.3 / 5
155 reviews
3 stars $86
Pacific Beach Hotel
Waikiki Beach
3.7 / 5
445 reviews
3 stars $128
The Modern Honolulu
Waikiki Beach
4.3 / 5
50 reviews
5 stars $279
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach
4.2 / 5
53 reviews
3 stars $159
Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach
3.7 / 5
91 reviews
3 stars $124

Featured Oahu Hotels

From $444

1 Aulani - Disney Vacation Club Villas

5 stars
4.8 / 5 13 reviews

92-1185 Ali'inui Drive Map

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... More

awesome family trip
Beautiful place , comfortable beds , friendly staff, clean facilities and liked it very much . Happy timed . Only trouble was far from Oahu .
Mar 22, 2015
From $239

2 Turtle Bay Resort

4 stars
4.3 / 5 551 reviews

57-091 Kamehameha Hwy. Map

Advance Bookers Save 15%

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,... More

Wonderful Trip
What a beautiful hotel in a great location. The staff is also wonderful.
Mar 10, 2015
From $128

3 Pacific Beach Hotel

3 stars
3.7 / 5 445 reviews

2490 Kalakaua Ave. Map

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... More

trip with friends
Location was great, rooms are comfortable but bathroom is too small. View from 33rd floor was wonderful, ocean, mountains. But price is high, also there was a bad smell at the lobby. But just...
Mar 18, 2015

4 Courtyard Oahu North Shore

3 stars
Not yet reviewed

55-400 Kamehameha Highway Map

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... More

From $234

5 Paradise Bay Resort

4 stars
3.9 / 5 27 reviews

47-037 Lihikai Dr Map

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... More

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 $408

6 Aulani - A Disney Resort & Spa

5 stars
4.6 / 5 28 reviews

92-1185 Ali`inui Drive Map

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... More

Grandmother/6 yr old granddaughter trip
Beautiful property, swimming activities were awesome. We loved all the fresh fruit but considering the cost of our stay we felt the food options were limited.
Feb 3, 2015
From $179

7 Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

4 stars
4.2 / 5 833 reviews

2005 Kalia Road Map

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... More

Average
Me and my mom stayed in the Diamond Tower, the room decor was outdated, and bedding fabrics were rough not so comfortable to sleep in. You can have a limited ocean view from the balcony. I stayed...
Mar 14, 2015
From $235

8 Tiki Moon Villas

2 stars
Not yet reviewed

55367 Kamehameha Highway Map

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.... More

9 Ko Olina Beach Villas Resort

5 stars
4.6 / 5 18 reviews

92-106 Waialii Place Map

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... More

From $449

10 Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk

5 stars
4.8 / 5 72 reviews

223 Saratoga Road Map

Save 25% on your stay

Step into the two-story lobby at the Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach and feel your troubles melt away as the Pacific Ocean spreads out before you. Head up to the sixth floor to dive into... More

honeymoon
nice!!!!!!! good!!!!!! happy!!!!! great fantastic!!!!!!
Mar 24, 2015
From $176

11 Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa

4 stars
4.1 / 5 285 reviews

2424 Kalakaua Avenue Map

Awake to Breakfast

Inhale that quintessentially Waikiki Beach scent of island flowers at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, where the Hawaiian high-rise meets the infinite horizons of the Pacific Ocean.... More

Good choice
Great choice for stay with family. Excellent location on Waikiki Beach. Recommended !!!!
Mar 24, 2015
From $130

12 Waikiki Resort Hotel

3 stars
3.8 / 5 118 reviews

130 Liliuokalani Ave Map

Book Now and Save 30%

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

Awesome
Good very clean and great customer service also very close to the beach and main restaurants and the stores like main stores that you wild find in California
Mar 4, 2015
From $159

13 Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel

4 stars
3.9 / 5 1212 reviews

2570 Kalakaua Avenue Map

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... More

enjoyable stay
Rooms were comfortable, easy to get to hotel, nice location with break across the street and zoo/park next door.
Mar 20, 2015
From $185

14 Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

4 stars
4.1 / 5 671 reviews

2552 Kalakaua Avenue Map

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... More

best vacation ever (for now)
it was a very pleasant stay. Our room was upgraded without extra fees. staff are all nice.
Mar 21, 2015
From $279

15 The Modern Honolulu

5 stars
4.3 / 5 50 reviews

1775 Ala Moana Boulevard Map

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... More

Excellent Stay
The Modern Honolulu was fantastic. The rooms were clean and comfortable. The staff was friendly. It was nice to be met with some refreshing beverages and hand towels to combat the humidity. The...
Mar 17, 2015
From $158

16 Ala Moana Hotel

4 stars
3.8 / 5 434 reviews

410 Atkinson Drive Map

No Resort Fees

The two towers of the Ala Moana Hotel provide scenic views over the tall city buildings stretching into the distance across the Honolulu skyline, the ocean, or the nearby mountain range. Part of... More

just what the doctor ordered
We had a great time! hotel was great,great location,and very friendly
Mar 19, 2015
From $139

17 Sheraton Princess Kaiulani

3 stars
3.6 / 5 409 reviews

120 Kaiulani Ave Map

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... More

Great Location
Wonderful location, less than a block from the beach. Comfortable rooms, but resent $25 a day resort charge for beach chairs and towel.
Mar 14, 2015
From $105

18 Aqua Palms Waikiki

3 stars
3.8 / 5 350 reviews

1850 Ala Moana Blvd. Map

Book Now and Save 30%

Blending trendy design with authentic Polynesian touches and top-of-the-line amenities, the Aqua brand is a modern answer to the traditional Hawaiian experience. First founded in 2001, Aqua Hotels... More

Good Trip
Everything is wonderful, except that the "partial ocean view" didn't worth the extra money
Mar 24, 2015
From $205

19 Waikiki Parc Hotel

4 stars
4.0 / 5 114 reviews

2233 Helumoa Rd Map

Includes Daily Breakfast for 2+Free Parking

Hip, Hawaiian-style hotel with trendy restaurant steps from the beach Step into an urban oasis at Waikiki Parc Hotel. This boutique hotel merges Hawaiian style, grace and hip sensibility.... More

Very nice !!!
Very nice !!! It was worth its price !!! I really recommended it. Good location.
Mar 24, 2015
From $284

20 Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort and Spa

4 stars
4.3 / 5 277 reviews

2365 Kalakaua Avenue Map

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... More

GREAT LOCATION, AWSOME VACATION
GREAT LOCATION, PERFECT VACATION, CAN NOT GET ANY MORE HAWAIIAN
Mar 23, 2015