Oahu, one of the most visited islands in Hawaii, and now I know why, it looks like paradise. Located in the central pacific and home to the state capital, Honolulu, Oahu has much to offer in terms of exquisite sights, spectacular beaches, bustling nightlife, and delicious cuisine. The warm beaches have long been famous for their laid-back feel and soothing vibe, with cheerful locals adding to the charming climate.
Whether you are a beach bum traveler or a history buff, water sports enthusiast, or prefer the luxurious seaside resorts to unwind, Oahu is bound to surprise you by going above and beyond your expectations. The one thing you need to keep in mind when visiting Oahu is to make sure you have sufficient time to explore all the treasures thoroughly this island has to offer.
Visit Oahu On Your Next Vacation
Even though your itinerary is going to be packed, you will return from your vacation to Oahu, sporting a gorgeous tan and counting days to head right back. You might be wondering what it is about Oahu that draws thousands of people from around the globe each year to visit this island? If you want to know, keep reading! Check out more Oahu activities at The Best Things to do in Oahu, Hawaii
Why Visit Oahu?
If we start counting the reasons why Oahu should be on top of your travel bucket list, the article is going to be endless. However, to explain the charm of this warm and vibrant island, we will enumerate attractions that fascinate numerous tourists every year and play a significant role in the rising popularity of Oahu. So, let’s dive in! Check out our article on The Best Things to do in Oahu, Hawaii for more ideas.
1. Spectacular Beaches
Being an island of Hawaii and over 110 miles of coastline, Oahu has no shortage of stunning beaches. The clear turquoise waters are bordered by the warm golden sands and blessed with pleasant sunny weather; the beaches are one of the main attractions of Oahu. One of the most popular ones is the Waikiki beach, which offers visitors an opportunity to top up their tan and relax under a brightly colored umbrella.
With the sun shining brightly, a cool breeze blowing, and the sound of waves crashing softly into one another in the background, lounging on Waikiki beach seems like a dream come true. However, you should know it is very popular among the tourists, just like Turtle Beach and Hanauma Bay, and hence highly likely to be buzzing with activity and people most of the year. If you are looking for something more secluded, the soothing atmosphere of Lanikai Beach or Waimea Bay will suit you.
Waimea Bay Beach Park
Waimea Bay Beach Park is famous for its gigantic waves. If you are a surfer or paddleboarder, Waimea Beach Park is going to provide you with plenty of massive winter waves to ride. If you are a beginner and would like to try out surfing, visit the beach during summers when the wind is relatively controlled, and the waves are smaller. You can also give stand-up paddleboarding a try or dive into the clear turquoise waters for a fun swimming experience. Not only that, but summers at Waimea also offer the perfect opportunity to go snorkeling with the turtles and the schools of local fish.
2. Endless Adventure
Magnum Helicopter Tour
The rugged landscape of Oahu offers numerous opportunities to thrill-seekers to find adventure in the lush green forests and steep cliffs. Magnum Helicopters tours offer some of the most exciting expeditions you’ve ever been on. Whether it’s a doors-off helicopter tour of the island or a private helicopter ride that ends with the helicopter landing in a spot among the mountains that can only be accessed by the helicopter, Magnum fulfills their promise of providing an exhilarating experience that cannot be found elsewhere.
Magnum’s crew is experienced and very informational. The experience is designed to give you more than just a tour of the island but an experience as soon as you walk through the doors. Magnum Helicopters may look familiar because they have the exact Ferrari and helicopters that were used in the American crime drama television series Magnum, PI. Book this Magnum PI Helicopter Tour
Scuba Diving from a Helicopter
Not only that, for water sport enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies who want to go one step ahead, you can dive into the sparkling Pacific from the helicopter and scuba dive into the hidden aquamarine depths with your personal NAVY Seal Instructor. Click Here to see more information about how to book Magnum Tours.
Hiking Wild Oahu
The Pink Pillbox or the Pu’u O Hulu Trail is an exotic hiking trail over 2.5 kilometers long and often marked with heavy foot traffic. This trail is for you if you want to explore the wild Oahu with lush green forests. The trail starts at a 45-degree incline but once you reach the summit, you’ll view jaw-dropping views of the ocean and the city below. Once you’re finished, it’ll be a great option to explore some of the beaches of the less-traveled west side of the island. Read more: 15 Best Hikes On Oahu For Incredible Views
The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is another hike that will leave you stunned by the raw beauty of Oahu. It is a four-kilometer-long paved trail that hugs the cliff’s edge and offers unprecedented views of the inky Pacific waters and leads to the lighthouse and an observation deck. Out of all the trails in Oahu, it is regarded as the most family-friendly trail. Make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes as there’s no shade along the way, and the sun can get unbearable at times.
Nu’uanu Pali Lookout
The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout is located at the edge of the cliff, overlooking the spectacular landscape of Oahu, and marks the site of the Battle of Nu’uanu. The lookout is a drive-up attraction with plenty of paid parking. You can use this cliff to view much of Oahu, including Hawaii Pacific University’s Windward campus, Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, and the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden.
3. Interesting Landmarks
While Oahu seems like a vacation getaway with beaches and parks, hikes, and water sports, the island actually has numerous hidden gems that will appeal to your inner history buff. One such landmark is the Byodo-In Temple. Located at the base of Ko’olau Mountains in the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, the Byodo-In Temple is a smaller version of an over 900-year-old Byodo-In Temple in Japan.
While the temple is Buddhist, it is non-practicing and encourages people from all faiths to visit and connect with their inner self. The grounds surrounding the temple are vast and lush, nestled between the mountains, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Numerous wedding ceremonies take place here. With an imposing statue of a golden Buddha, reflecting ponds, meditation niches, and a small gift shop, the temple is an often-visited site in Oahu.
The Pearl Harbor and USS Arizona Memorials are also located in Oahu, serving as grim reminders of a deadly war. These military landmarks are a much-visited site since the Pearl Harbor Museum is open for visitors. You can see the personal effects of soldiers, their uniforms, some letters, and other curiosities from World War. Book this highly rated Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour for a complete tour of Hawaii’s most visited attraction.
4. Exotic Food
While tourist attractions in the form of beautiful sights, warm beaches, and impressive landmarks are bound to bring you joy, the cuisine of a location forms the soul of the trip. If all you come across is mediocre food, the vacation may not be as enjoyable. However, you will not face such a setback in Oahu because of street vendors to high-end restaurants. The city is brimming with delicious local delicacies and foreign cuisines that will make you love the location a little more.
If you’re looking for fine dining at affordable rates, Senia has you covered. Senia’s bone marrow served with oxtail marmalade, and Hawaiian sweet rolls, and piccalilli are to die for. You can also witness the chefs creating magic by opting to dine in their open kitchen.
On the other hand, Ethel’s Grill is the go-to spot for the juiciest hamburger steak, and taco rice. You can also stop for lunch at The Pig and The Lady, a famous restaurant visited by celebrities. Don’t forget to try their banh mi pho French dip. It has meltingly soft slices of brisket paired with tantalizing Thai basil chimichurri and bean sprouts, served with a side of mouthwatering pho broth for dipping.
Mahina Sun’s is an eatery that focuses on locally sourced seafood seasoned with its unique blend of spices. You can get the best value for money by ordering Mahina’s Family Feast, a whole fried fish served with buttered breadfruit cucumber ume salad, and for dessert, a creamy banana pudding pavlova.
5. Luxury Accommodation
When on vacation, your top priority should be the comfort and satisfaction of yourself and your loved ones. After exploring the stunning city, coming back to your accommodation should allow you to relax instead of worry. When opting for luxury, you will want accommodation that offers everything you need if you do not want to leave the property at all.
The Laylow is a part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection but offers service and amenities above its status class. With the customer’s comfort being the top priority, the staff at Marriott is accommodating and helpful. The warm mid-century aesthetic combined with modern amenities creates a unique experience that you won’t experience anywhere else on the island. Details and character are etched into every square foot of the property. The Laylow is designed to give you a secluded escape from the busyness of Waikiki.
As you walk into each room of the Laylow, you are greeted with thoughtful decor and a welcome basket full of goodies and Laylow gear. You will notice the famous feature wall that is picturesque. If you don’t feel like lounging on the beach, you can lay low by the secluded saltwater pool. The pool is called the watering hole and is surrounded by tropical foliage that presents a style of an oasis. The decor of the oasis allows for an environment where you can relax, have drinks or capture great photographs.
The real hidden gem of the Laylow is the Hideout which offers the Modern Hapa Hawaiian cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Hideout offers inside seating or lanai still seating that offers fire pits, bar seating as well as a coffee bar that operates late night and early morning. Being one of the only hotels that offer live nightly entertainment, the Laylow offers a well-rounded experience. The Laylow sports the badge of being the most Instagrammable hotel in Oahu while also winning awards through Travel & Leisure, Tripadvisor, and more. See rates and availability on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
The Ritz Carlton Residences
The Ritz-Carlton Residences in Waikiki beach is the perfect location to stay at when visiting Oahu if you are looking for the ultimate luxury experience. The Ritz-Carlton name speaks for itself but let’s explore the property. Service is the top priority at any Ritz-Carlton Residence, and you are met with that consistency of service for every second you are on the property. The property sports an open-air concept and luxurious accommodations including kitchens and in-room laundry.
You will notice all rooms with ocean-facing rooms and hallways showcasing the city and landscapes of the island. One of the biggest selling points is the eighth-floor infinity pool that is awarded as the highest in Waikiki with dining, drinks, and private cabanas. Every day at a specific time you can enjoy Hawaiian specific flavor of ice cream.
Customers will enjoy the adults-only pool that is open 24/7. Not only that, La Vie and Sushi Sho offer the fine dining you can have nowhere else. La Vie presents its guests with mouthwatering French cuisine, or you can opt for Sushi Sho, where you can enjoy the classical style of Edomae sushi. If you have never stayed at the Ritz-Carlton before, only living the experience will truly justify words and visual content that you read and see. Check rates and availability on TripAdvisor | Booking.com
Getting Around The Island of Oahu
The best way to get around Oahu is by car. Hawaii has versatile options to secure vehicles through rental. One of the ways you can rent a most luxurious vehicle is through Turo. Turo is the world’s largest car-sharing marketplace. The majority of Turo car rental hosts in Oahu offer a fleet of vehicles to meet every need and desire that you will want. For example, Turo Chase has a fleet of vehicles that provides the variety of luxury, utility, and family needs. The Turo platform allows you to pick from the most adventurous to the most luxurious style of vehicles.
Oahu is a spectacular location that deserves a spot on your travel itinerary. From its numerous warm beaches that offer the perfect opportunity to relax, the lush forests and cliffs that add to the exotic appeal of the city, and delicious cuisine that is locally sourced and fresh, Oahu offers the perfect blend of activities that will help you unwind while also witnessing some of the best views on the planet.
Whether you stay at The Ritz or Marriott, the eternal charm of the city coupled with the friendly locals and jaw-dropping landscape will have you returning to Oahu soon!