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Your Ultimate Travel Guide to Oahu

What is Oahu?

Oahu is one of the major islands of Hawaii. It is popularly known as “The Gathering Place” as it serves as the home of two-thirds of the population of the Aloha State. It is the third largest among the Hawaii islands with an area of 1,545 square kilometers. The state capital, Honolulu, is situated on the island of Oahu.

According to history, Oahu has been inhabited at least since the third century A.D. It was also once ruled by the most ancient line of rulers as the Kingdom of Oahu. It was reportedly the first island sighted by HMS Resolution during the third Pacific expedition led by Captain James Cook.

Oahu was also an essential island during World War II. It was the site of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s surprise military attack against the United States. The attack on military base led to the entry of the country into the war in 1941.

Where to Go in Oahu

With its breathtaking waterfalls, sugarcane fields, rainforests, scenic beaches, and more, Oahu is a definite must-visit when in Hawaii. A lot of activities can be enjoyed in the area that more than five million visitors come to the island to enjoy the stunning landscapes and its rich foods.

Places to Stay

There is a variety of locations to stay in Oahu, ranging from affordable hotels to luxury resorts including premier hotel chains such as Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, and Hyatt.

At Waikiki, Honolulu, visitors have a lot of hotels and resorts to choose from that can even offer a great ocean view to enjoy in the morning and at night. Being a beachfront neighborhood, the area offers a wide array of shopping choices, a very much alive nightlife, and a haven for entertainment. Tourist attractions are also easily accessible in Waikiki.

However, because of the popularity of the area thanks to the famous Waikiki Beach, it can get crowded and noisy. Traffic can become hectic, and parking can be difficult due to the influx of people. It can also become quite expensive to stay in Waikiki.

Other than Waikiki, you can opt to stay in other, less congested areas like Leeward Coast, Waianae, North Shore, or Windward East.

Leeward Coast is a 30-minute drive to Waikiki and Pearl Harbor. It has pristine beaches where a wide range of water sports and activities can be performed. Although fewer choices than Waikiki, there is still a lot of accommodation to choose from.

Waianae offers less explored beaches and fascinating cultural sites. It is the least-crowded place in Oahu. But the area is quite remote, being 1.5-hour drive from the North Shore and an hour drive from Waikiki.

Despite the limited choices and availability of places to stay, North Shore has beautiful beaches including the world-famous Banzai Pipeline. Summer in the North Shore is suitable for water activities while tourists can also visit historical and cultural places like the Queen Liliuokalani Church.

Windward East is mainly residential and can offer limited accommodations. Still, it is beautiful and scenic, a 30-minute drive from Waikiki and home to attractions like Kualoa Ranch and the Polynesian Cultural Center.

Places to Eat

Never leave Oahu without indulging in the delicious and iconic foods of the island. All over the island, you can find the best restaurants and eateries where you can try modern Hawaiian servings as well as traditional and definite must-try foods of the state.

For a taste of traditional Hawaiian food, Helena’s Hawaiian Food is the place to be. Since opening in 1946, the restaurant founded by Helen Choch has provided Hawaii simple, classy, and delicious plates of quality dishes. A recommended for first-timers is the Set Menu D which comprises of hefty servings of kalua pig, lomi, salmon, pipikaula, squid luau, and poi. They also have a takeout service.

Enjoy fresh-made and refreshing shave ice at the Waiola Shave Ice. For only three US dollars, a large cone or cup of up to three flavors is served. There are various flavors to pick from including mango and salty dried plum.

One of the most well-known dishes in Hawaii is Hawaiian poke. Ahi Assassins serves a fresh catch of fish — slew, weighed, filleted, and made in the Aloha State. The place is too dedicated to its motto of providing fresh catch to its customers that it closes for the day if no fish was caught.

Taste the sweetness of malassada, hot and fresh from the fryer, at Leonard’s Bakery. The bakery, which has been operating since 1952, offers generously-sized balls of dough fried to its golden-brown perfection while maintaining the light and fluffy texture on the inside.  Customers can opt for plain, dusted, or stuffed malassadas.

Get a serving of a must-try Hawaii dish — loco moco — at the Diamond Head Market & Grill. This is a perfect place to fill up the stomach with a mixed plate of teriyaki chicken, hamburger patty, and char siu pork topped with egg and gravy before hiking the Diamond Head or walking the beach of Waikiki.

Make sure to keep good oral health while traveling to enjoy all the foods the island has to offer. In case you need a dentist in Honolulu, check out the Google map below. This map displays the best Oahu dentists in Hawaii.

Oahu also hosts the best dentists in Honolulu – Hawaii Family Dental. If you need a reliable dentist while traveling the island, you can come by their dental offices.

Places to Visit

Oahu offers a variety of places to visit — from historic sites to stunning landscapes. Among the recommended destinations to be included in every Oahu trip are:

  • The iconic volcanic peak, Diamond Head, is best for hiking and viewing of historic military fortifications.
  • Never miss out on Pearl Harbor and look back on the world-famous landmark. Pearl Harbor is a lagoon harbor that serves as the headquarters of the United States Pacific Fleet.
  • Ala Moana Center is the place to go for some shopping and food hopping. It is an upscale, four-level shopping mall.
  • Enjoy the thrills of surfing with big waves at the Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. The waves are the best for every surfer during the winter season.
  • Stunning beaches are all over Oahu. Bask in the sun or feel the refreshing breeze of the wind while enjoying the splash of the waters in beaches including Makapu’u Beach, Laniakea Beach, Sunset Beach, and the Waikiki Beach.

When to Travel to Oahu

Best time to Visit

The peak travel months in Oahu are in mid-December to August. Tourists also flock to the island during March, April, and May in time for spring break in schools in the United States and Golden Week in Japan.

Oahu has two main seasons: dry between April and October and rainy between November to March. For surfers and those intending to whale-watch, the wet months are the most ideal dates to visit the island.

Key Events

Tourists who want to take part in significant events in Oahu can plan their trip in June for Kamehameha Day, in September for the Aloha Festivals, or in December for the Honolulu Marathon.

How to Travel to Oahu

Plan your Trip

A trip from Washington D.C. to Oahu, Hawaii can cost around $3,129 for round-trip airfare for two and a six-night stay at a three-star hotel on Thanksgiving week. Cheaper trips are available depending on the date of travel.

Why Oahu?

Oahu offers a variety of activities and places for all people. It is rich with scenic beaches; pristine waters; and stunning landscapes that allow for activities like water sports, hiking, or a morning stroll. Breathtaking historic sites are also found on the island, and not to mention, the mouth-watering food that Oahu has to offer!


Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.

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