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.

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 can I care for my dental hygiene away from home?

Get flossing.

A lot of people don’t and wouldn’t want to carry floss around with them, but if you’re concerned about food particles between the teeth, this is a great idea. You can opt for traditional string floss, proxy brushes, or even dental picks.

You shouldn’t be embarrassed when it comes to flossing in public or in your car when away from home. If so, floss in an empty, public bathroom, even in a stall if you have to!

Try a toothpick.

Not wanting to carry around floss or even a toothbrush? Your next best option is to go for a toothpick, which can either be bought in bulk or picked up for free at a restaurant.

Toothpicks are important in clearing away excess food particles, especially after eating a messy meal. Leaving food particles to decay within the teeth can increase your risk of dealing with oral-related issues such as cavities. Leaving these particles can also cause worsened breath, so a toothpick can be powerful.

Drink plenty of water, or at least rinse the mouth out with water.

Drinking plenty of water can combat dry mouth and even provide fresher breath given that it can wash away smelly oral bacteria and food particles stuck within the teeth.

Just a simple swish and rinse with water can also provide the same benefit.

Rinsing with water is ideal if you recently consumed anything sugary or acidic, washing away the excess particles to reduce the chances of enamel erosion.

Need quick fresher breath? Opt for a mint or sugarless chewing gum!

We all want fresh breath. With no mouthwash or toothbrush and toothpaste on hand, this can be difficult to achieve. However, opting for a breath mint or minty, sugarless chewing gum are great temporary options.

Breath mints will mainly mask your bad breath for a limited time, but sugarless chewing gum can stimulate saliva, combat dry mouth, and even collect food particles and oral bacteria. Either option is a great way to clean the mouth, or at least freshen up the breath for a bit when you don’t have a toothbrush at hand.

Choose smart foods.

In addition to these methods. It’s important that you select foods that don’t worsen your breath or provide harm to your oral health such as highly acidic drinks or foods or sugary substances when you can’t brush your teeth.

Also, opt for foods that are helpful for your oral health. Foods such as celery (very refreshing, light, and capable of freshening the breath), carrots, and cheese are great options that can provide the vitamins and/or nutrients to keep your oral health where it needs to be. Make wise options when it comes to what you consume away from home.

Stuck without a Toothbrush? Try these 5 Options

#1 Opt for raw celery

Because raw celery contains frilly fibers, these help clean the teeth and wash away food particles and excess oral bacteria present on the teeth. Celery is also mild in scent and flavor, leaving a faint and fresh aftertaste and better-smelling breath.

This may be an ideal snack after consuming strong foods such as onions and garlic. In addition to this, the crunchy and chewy texture of the celery allows for plenty of saliva flow, preventing dry mouth and helping to combat bad breath (halitosis).

#2 Drink plenty of water

Water is healing in many ways. As for the mouth, water moistens the mouth to prevent dry mouth, thus, preventing foul-smelling breath. Water is also helpful in washing away oral bacteria and food particles, leaving the mouth in general much cleaner.

#3 Chew sugarless chewing gum

Opt for sugarless chewing gum when it comes to cleaner teeth as well. The gooey texture of the gum is helpful in catching pieces of food in the teeth and oral bacteria present in the mouth.

The chewing of the gum itself allows for saliva production to rid of dry mouth symptoms. Also, the minty flavor and scent of the gum allow for fresher feeling and smelling breath. Just be sure that the gum doesn’t contain sugar. Chewing gum with sugar can be harmful to the teeth and will not be as helpful in cleaning the teeth as would sugarless gum.

#4 Gargle and rinse your mouth with water after eating

Besides drinking water, a simple rinse with water can also do the trick in cleaning your teeth and mouth in general. This is especially important to partake in after eating. Gargling and rinsing away bacteria and particles in the mouth result in a cleaner, fresher, less-smelly mouth.

#5 Use floss or a toothpick

If you happen to have floss on hand, be sure to thoroughly floss your teeth. You can choose to use any type of floss from traditional string floss to floss picks. If you don’t happen to carry floss with you, a toothpick will also do the trick. Many restaurants offer complimentary toothpicks free after you eat. Otherwise, a third option that’s not recommended would be to use the tip of a straw to clean out food between the teeth. However, this is a last resort option.

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