The Hawaiian Islands – Oahu
Aloha! Hawai’i is truly America’s paradise. We call it a “Paradise without a Passport.” Whether you’re looking for an active adventure or just lazing on a perfect beach, Hawai’i has something for everyone. It’s definitely worth the trip.
There are eight main islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago and six are open to visitors: O’ahu, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, Lana’i, Maui, and Hawaii – also known as the Big Island. Each one is unique, so make time to visit them all!
In this blog series, we’ll look at all the islands and provide some practical tips that will make your visit go smoother.
Let’s start with the most populated, and popular, island – O’ahu.
O’ahu is nicknamed “The Gathering Place” and is where the state capital, Honolulu, is located. There are three major areas: metropolitan Honolulu, the North Shore and the central farmlands in the middle of the island.
Honolulu has a major city vibe, but without the hustle and bustle. People here are low-key and casual. And, there’s so much to do! The main resort area is Waikiki with its crescent-shaped beach sitting next to the iconic Diamond Head volcanic crater. This is where you’ll find the bulk of Honolulu’s hotels along with world-class shopping, dining, entertainment and a variety of activities.
Diamond Head has become a pretty popular hiking destination featuring panoramic views of Waikiki and Oahu’s south shore. If a fairly strenuous hike isn’t you’re thing, you can also drive through a tunnel into the interior of the crater!
On the cultural side, visit Iolani Palace, the only royal residence built on US soil and the official residence of the Hawaiian Kingdom’s last two monarchs. Then there’s the Bishop Museum which is the state museum of Natural and Cultural History and of course, Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor is the only naval base in the U.S. to be designated a National Historic Landmark and is actually a complex of memorials dedicated to the aerial attack of December 7, 1941 which brought the United States into World War II. The featured memorial is the USS Arizona Memorial which was constructed astride the sunken battleship and is dedicated to the servicemen onboard who lost their lives during the attack. There are also several other World War II exhibits here, such as the USS Missouri, the USS Bowfin submarine and the Pacific Aviation Museum. Obviously, there’s a lot going on here, so give yourself plenty of time to see it all.
The North Shore is Hawaii’s famous surfing mecca and is home to Waimea Bay which attracts the best surfers in the world. Big wave season is November – February, so swimming at Waimea Bay during this season can be iffy. But, in the summer, the waves subside making Waimea a perfect beach for swimming, sunbathing and picnics. After a beach day, stop by the quaint village of Haleiwa for unique island shopping (including and great eats).
The North Shore is also home to the Polynesian Cultural Center. The Center authentically re-creates seven South Pacific islands like New Zealand and Tahiti. You can also attend an award-winning luau and the evening Breath of Life show featuring over 100 performers and Samoan fire knife dancing. It’s a great family outing.
The central part of O’ahu is a fertile valley with a history of island agriculture. To get a peek into Hawaii’s plantation history, visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation. Tackle the Pineapple Garden Maze constructed of 14,000 native Hawaiian plants, then take a 20-minute tour on the Pineapple Express, a narrated train ride that takes you around the plantation.
Hawaii is on sale! Check out this limited time offer! Must book by April 30, 2018!