Oahu means gathering place in Hawaiian, and is appropriate for this, the most populated island. If you like great food and bars and nightlife and lots of entertainment and people, Oahu is probably the island you would enjoy the most. It also has Waikiki Beach which is a fantastic beach for learning to surf, as the water is shallow for hundreds of feet, and the waves are gentle but constant. Plus the water is warm. Oahu is a great island to whet your appetite for more of Hawaii!
Oahu is the most populated island in the Hawaiian chain of paradise found islands. For that reason I have usually stopped there only briefly on my way to another island like Maui or Kauai, since I love them so much! But I have stayed at the North Shore of Oahu twice and it was very lovely both times. I’v also stayed in Honolulu itself and while it was beautiful and fun it was also crowded and felt like a regular city. It does have Hawaiian symbols everywhere and there are palm trees everywhere and Diamond Head is visible all over. That said, if you stay in a nice hotel like the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach you will enjoy your stay on Oahu!
But many people end up in one of the high rises that line the beautiful beach. Droves of tourists pour out of them day and night. Those rooms are small and have zero charm but some people tell me they don’t stay in their room anyway, except to sleep, so who cares? It’s your trip so do it your way, I’m just warning you. Honolulu has a few famous malls to shop in, and several WWII monuments so if that’s your thing you can do all those tours. I don’t go to Hawaii to see relics of war though. I go there to drink the fresh air and the coconut and plumeria smells and to enjoy the ocean breezes.
Leaving Honolulu towards the North Shore you have 2 choices. Take the road that winds along the beach all the way there. Or take the one that heads North and cuts East along the base of the mountains to meet the beach road up North. Both are amazing, the beach one takes longer and meanders past old plantation homes and shacks too while you ride along the shore. The other one runs along the base of those jagged peaks that rise up straight out of the plains and capture the air long enough to blow it down on you. You feel the breath of Nature and it is wonderful! I always say the Gods must vacation right there in that spot.
Once there you will be in a windy spot! World class surfers abound here to take advantage of the big big waves! But the hotels have all been rebuilt after getting battered in hurricanes a few years ago so it’s all new and beautiful and distinctly Hawaiian in spirit and decor.
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