Explore Oahu: its beaches, oceanfront, sunsets, and more!

On the Hawaiian island of O’ahu, Honolulu is the center of activity. It’s where you can enjoy white-sand beaches and high-end shopping only blocks apart. Just west of Honolulu, find memorials to those who lost their lives in the Pearl Harbor bombing and World War II counterattacks. Continue on to Waipahu to visit a Hawaiian plantation village or enjoy golf and shopping.

An hour’s drive from Honolulu, the North Shore features 8 miles (13 kilometers) of beach, from Hale’iwa to Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. Visit in winter to watch international surf competitions. In summer, snorkel or dive at Pūpūkea Beach or simply relax on the North Shore sands, enjoying a picnic or spectacular sunset.

Stay at the Turtle Beach Resort, which has easy access to North Shore beaches. The resort offers luxury accommodations and extensive outdoor activities from mountain biking to surf school. Learn to dance the hula, make a lei or play the ukulele.

On the eastern shore, find scenic beaches, generally with smaller waves. Beaches near Kailua are great for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Some offer beach access for the disabled. Near the area of Kāne’ohe experience peace and tranquility in a botanical garden. Makapu’u Beach has glorious shoreline views. Hike to vistas above the working lighthouse here to spot whales and passing ships.

O’ahu has much more to offer in addition to beaches and surfing. Rent kayaks, outrigger canoes or paddleboards to enjoy gentler waters. Mountain bike, ride a horse or hike on jungle trails to reach lookout points with stunning views. Explore plantations or spy on sea turtles. Play golf on well-kept courses and shop at high-end boutiques or outlet stores. Or, simply relax with a treat of tropical shave ice.

Reach O’ahu by flying into Honolulu International Airport and then get around the island using a rental car, moped or motorcycle, taxis or the public transport system called “TheBus.” O’ahu is a popular vacation and honeymoon destination offering a pleasing mix of city and countryside, relaxation and excitement, modernity and history. Come see why visitors from around the world enjoy “the gathering place” of O’ahu.

For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our thngs to do in Oahu page.

Known for

Beaches, Shopping and Ports

Explore map

Where to stay in Oahu

Waikiki
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Waikiki

Beaches, Sea, Sunsets

4.5/5 (7,660 Ratings)

Located on the south shore of Honolulu, this neighborhood is known internationally for its great surfing and beautiful beaches.

Downtown Honolulu
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Downtown Honolulu

Chinatown, Culture, Shopping

3.5/5 (31 Ratings)

Many of Hawai’i’s most important historic sites and beautiful buildings are clustered together here at the hub of the city, with the ocean just a short walk away.

Ala Moana
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Ala Moana

4.5/5 (84 Ratings)

While visiting Ala Moana, you might make a stop by sights like Ala Moana Center and Magic Island.

Hawaii Kai
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Hawaii Kai

While visiting Hawaii Kai, you might make a stop by sights like Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and Sandy Beach.

Western Honolulu
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Western Honolulu

Ports, Monuments, Football

3/5 (469 Ratings)

The abundant dining options and waterfront views are top of the list for many visitors to Western Honolulu. A stop by USS Arizona Memorial or Aloha Stadium might round out your trip.

Diamond Head - Kapahulu - St. Louis
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Diamond Head - Kapahulu - St. Louis

4.5/5 (29 Ratings)

If you're spending some time in Diamond Head - Kapahulu - St. Louis, Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium are top sights worth seeing.

Top Hotels in Oahu

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Image for Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
4 out of 5
2005 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI
$150/night
Sep 11 - Sep 12
4.1/5Very Good! (14,672 reviews)

"It was amazing would definitely recommend to family and friends"…"

Reviewed on Aug 17, 2019

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort
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Ala Moana Hotel
3.5 out of 5
410 Atkinson Drive, Honolulu, HI
$189/night
Aug 24 - Aug 25
3.9/5Very Good! (3,777 reviews)

"All staff are friendly. Hotel parking is easly accessable. The room in the Kona tower was nice for it's size. Was well worth the price."…"

Reviewed on Aug 17, 2019

Ala Moana Hotel
Image for Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort
4 out of 5
2169 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI
$213/night
Sep 1 - Sep 2
4.4/5Excellent! (5,454 reviews)

"We liked the location. The pool food service was good. My kiddos liked the French fries."…"

Reviewed on Aug 16, 2019

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort

Popular things to do in Oahu

Diamond Head
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Diamond Head

4.5/5 (2,694 Ratings)

Make the short climb to the rim of this extinct volcanic crater for spectacular views of Honolulu, the Pacific Ocean and the rugged ranges of Oahu’s interior.

USS Arizona Memorial
Image for USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

4.5/5 (1,417 Ratings)

Learn about one of the most tragic days in America’s history, and pay your respects to the sailors who lost their lives, at this Pearl Harbor memorial.

USS Missouri Memorial
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USS Missouri Memorial

4.5/5 (1,143 Ratings)

Explore this huge vessel and learn about the Battle of Pearl Harbor on the spot where World War II ended.

Aloha Tower
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Aloha Tower

4/5 (421 Ratings)

Head to the top of one of Hawai’i’s most iconic buildings for remarkable bird’s-eye views of Honolulu on one side and the ocean on the other. 

Kailua Beach
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Photo provided by Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau

Kailua Beach

4.5/5 (1,763 Ratings)

Paddle a kayak to the nearby islands, relax in the white sands or enjoy a picnic in the shade of the native trees at one of Oahu’s most popular beaches.

Honolulu Zoo
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Honolulu Zoo

4/5 (694 Ratings)

What began as the exotic bird collection of the island’s king is now a park with over 1,200 animals, including several rare and endangered species.

Top activities in Oahu

Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial
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Pearl Harbor & USS Arizona Memorial

$36

Become immersed in the history of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which resulted in the United States' involvement in World War II. Experience the sobering memorial to the sunken USS Arizona, and learn fascinating details about the attack from your guide and the comprehensive museum.

Germaine's Hawaiian Luau
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Germaine's Hawaiian Luau

$85

Delve into the ancient traditions of the islands and celebrate the cultures of the South Pacific at Germaine's Luau—where dance, cuisine, and customs meld seamlessly together to capture the beautiful spirit of old Hawaii.

Paradise Cove Luau
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Paradise Cove Luau

$100

Embrace the culture and spirit of Hawaii with an evening of lively entertainment and delicious cuisine at the spectacular Paradise Cove Luau. Participate in island games and crafts, learn about traditional ceremonies, and savor a buffet dinner while you watch a revue filled with music and dance.

Catamaran Sunset Cruise
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Catamaran Sunset Cruise

$49

Barefoot, board the boat right on Waikiki Beach and sail out through the surf line, leaving the hustle and bustle of Waikiki behind. Sit back and enjoy Hawaii's beauty as you experience a true Hawaiian sunset and sip beverages such as Mai Tais, beer, champagne, wine, juice, and soft drinks.

Xtreme Parasail
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Xtreme Parasail

$41

Enjoy a bird's-eye view of Honolulu and beyond as you take to the blue skies above Waikiki on a thrilling parsasailing adventure. With room for up to 2 people, you can fly solo or team up with a friend to take a tandem flight that lets you out on lines up to 1,000 feet (305 m) long.

Oahu Parasailing Tour from Honolulu
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Oahu Parasailing Tour from Honolulu

$71

Your Oahu parasailing adventure departs from the Hawaii Kai Shopping Center in Honolulu. You can show up anytime between 9am and 2:30pm (rides depart every 30 minutes and are included in the price), or opt for pickup from your Waikiki hotel at your pre-selected departure time.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Oahu

5 best places to eat in Oahu
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5 best places to eat in Oahu

Feasting on the top foodie favorites in Hawaii's capital city.

5 best beaches on Oahu
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5 best beaches on Oahu

Uncovering Oahu's best beaches

My top 5 meals from around the world
Image for My top 5 meals from around the world

My top 5 meals from around the world

Savoring the best bites in Hawaii, South Korea, and more