The island of Oahu is the third largest of the islands. Honolulu is known for being the capital of Hawaii and is the economic center of the islands.
Honolulu is also recognized throughout the other islands for its notorious nightlife, surf competitions and city traffic; however, this island does have its own distinct Hawaiian charm and is nicknamed “The Gathering Place.”
The population of Oahu is 909,683 and the climate ranges from 71-80 degrees F. Pearl Harbor, Iolani Palace (the only palace on American soil) and Diamond Head (an extinct volcano) are main attractions on this island. The main airport is Honolulu airport and is the 22nd busiest airport in the nation.
Waikiki, although busy has, wonderful and timeless Hawaiian charm. A fun thing for all ages is to head down to the beach on a Sunday and go surfing in a Beach Boy Canoe. It’s easy since the beach boys do all the work and it really is a blast. After you are pau (done) you can stroll over to Dukes for some great food and live music played by local musicians. Waikiki can provide a fantastic time if you don’t mind hundreds of other tourists and the hustle and bustle of a small city.
If you want to get out of the constant activity of Waikiki, head to the historical town of Kaimuki. A hip restaurant to enjoy is a place called Town, where they use fresh produce grown on the island.
If you want a more secluded beach experience, drive over the Pali Highway to the little town of For world class snorkeling, I highly recommend heading to Hanama Bay. The water is clear and calm and it makes it perfect to see Hawaii’s aquatic world alive with Manini, Parrot fish or an occasional turtle.
I also suggest going to the Polynesian Cultural Center while on Oahu. This is a true in depth Hawaiian learning experience and the Luau can’t be beat. All of the performers are on exchange from the South Pacific, giving the shows a truly authentic feel.
You can learn some basic hula, ancient crafts and play ulu maika (Hawaiian bowling) or konane (Hawaiian checkers).
The infamous North Shore is a delightful drive and once you arrive in Haliewa with its cult like local following you will see the country side of the island. There are surf shops and a Sush Bar. If sushi is not your bag, then head on over to the local burger joint called Koa Aina for a tasty burgers, fish sandwiches and some of the best fries in the state. Be sure to try some Shave Ice which is a local favorite while in town.
You can also check out the waves at Pipeline Beach where the huge surf competitions happen every winter. Be advised that you should not go in the water if you are not an experienced swimmer, a better place would be Waimea Bay down the road in Kailua. Here you can rent kayaks, windsurf or just relax on a beautiful beach. When you get hungry, head over to Buzzes for a Mai Tai and Pupus (appetizers), they have outdoor seating and it’s an excellent place to watch the sunset.
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