The third largest island in Hawaii, and also the most populated, Oahu is home to approximately two-thirds of Hawaii’s population. And because of this, many people believe Oahu is entirely overrated – it’s too crowded, too busy, too developed, etc. You get the picture. But this lovely little island isn’t all bad – in fact, it is home to some of the most beautiful scenery in America, as well as its status as the commercial and business center of the state. Here are 13 reasons we absolutely love Oahu.
1. Our beaches are out of this world.
Kailua Beach, pictured, is consistently rated as one of the best beaches in America, as well as Hanauma Bay, Lanikai and Waimanalo beaches.
2. We’ve got the best hiking around.
Nowhere will you find more incredible hiking opportunities than on Oahu - some of which you'll find without leaving Honolulu's city limits.
3. We have plenty of culture and history.
From the Polynesian Cultural Center to Honolulu's Bishop Museum and various art galleries, the island of Oahu is home to more culture and history than anyone could visit in their lifetime.
4. Including Pearl Harbor.
The December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor triggered the United State’s entry into World War II. You may not have known that Hawaii was put under martial law until the end of the war. Today, Pearl Harbor houses a variety of historical sites, and is home to more than 160 commands. If you only see one thing while visiting Pearl Harbor, it has to be the famous USS Arizona Memorial.
5. Oahu is home to America’s only palace.
While there are countless castles scattered throughout the United States, there is only one royal palace on American soil – and that is Hawaii’s own Iolani Palace, a place of pure magic and beauty nestled in Honolulu’s capitol district. The breathtaking Iolani Palace tells a fascinating story of Hawaii’s history, and has been the home to a royal family, executive building for a new republic, prison to an overthrown queen, capitol building for a territory, martial law headquarters, treasure to Hawaii’s first governor, and now a cultural icon, museum, and National Historical Landmark.
6. The famous north shore is absolutely incredible.
While Oahu’s north shore is known for its massive waves and professional surf competitions during the winter months, this beautiful stretch of coastline has so much more to offer. From the best acai bowls and shave ice in Haleiwa to snorkel spots, secluded beaches and phenomenal hiking, you could spend a year exploring the north shore without visiting the same place twice.
7. As is the windward coast.
Nowhere will you find more incredible views, crystalline turquoise waters, or magnificent beaches than Oahu's striking windward coast.
8. The nightlife cannot be beat.
If you're interested in nightlife, Oahu - particularly Waikiki - is the place to be. You won't find better nightlife anywhere in Hawaii.
9. Our gardens are truly second to none.
From the Cactus Garden at Kapiolani Community College to the stunning and lush Waimea Valley, Oahu's gardens are sure to impress.
10. And the waterfalls are absolutely breathtaking.
While you will have to hike to Oahu's best waterfalls, they will not disappoint. My favorites are Manoa Falls, pictured, Maunawili Falls, and Lulumahu Falls.
11. Don’t even get me started on the views.
Sure, Oahu may be more developed than any of Hawaii's main islands, but that doesn't mean that the views aren't just as stunning.
12. There’s always something to do.
From kayaking to the Mokulua Islands and exploring incredible beaches to strolling through magnificent art galleries and shopping in Waikiki, there is no shortage of things to do while on Oahu.
13. Oahu is even home to some awe-inspiring natural wonders.
See incredible geological formations, breathtaking mountaintops and lush valleys without leaving the island.
Tell us, what do you love about Oahu? And if you’re still not convinced, we imagine you’ll change your mind once you complete the
Ultimate Oahu Road Trip.