Is Oahu worth visiting? You Bet! 9 Good Reasons to Go

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Is Oahu worth visiting? If you have this doubt in your mind, then you have come to the right place to get an answer. In this article, I will explain why Oahu is worth every penny you spend.

Oahu is definitely worth a visit. Oahu offers an outstanding urban vacation experience with its world-class beaches, numerous cosmopolitan activities, affordable accommodation, and beautiful landscapes. From stunning beaches to vibrant nightlife and lush green mountains, Oahu has everything you could want.

Is Oahu worth visiting?

Most Beautiful Beaches in Hawaii

Is Oahu worth visiting for its beaches alone? Absolutely! Oahu is home to some of  Hawaii’s most beautiful beaches. Oahu not only has beautiful beaches, but it also has a diverse range of beach experiences to offer. Whatever type of beach you’re looking for, Oahu has it!!

Oahu beach
Waikiki Beach

The world-famous Waikiki beach is the place to go in Oahu if you want a more lively beach experience. With its beautiful sand and calm waves, Waikiki Beach is a popular spot for water sports like surfing and snorkeling. People who love a vibrant ambiance and urban conveniences will enjoy Waikiki beach.

Lanikai and Waimanalo beaches: Is Oahu worth visiting?

However, if you’re not into big city vibes and prefer tranquil and calm beaches with a touch of nature, fear not; Oahu has those as well!! The windward side of the Oahu has popular but unspoiled beaches like Lanikai beach and Waimanalo beach. The Windward side offers less crowded and relaxing beaches that are away from the hustle and bustle of Honolulu.

Hanuama bay
Hanauma Bay

If you want to have a fantastic snorkeling experience, go to Hanauma Bay, which boasts some of the best snorkeling in Hawaii due to its crystal clear water and diverse marine life.

In other words, if you enjoy spending time at the beach, Oahu is the place to be. Whatever type of beach experience you seek, Oahu will offer it!!

Oahu offers most Activities of all Hawaiian islands

Is it worth visiting Oahu just for the activities? Yes, absolutely. If you’re wondering why so many people think it’s worth visiting Oahu again and again, the answer is the endless list of activities that Oahu offers to tourists. There is little doubt that Oahu is the hotspot of Hawaii’s activities. It provides a diverse selection of activities, including cosmopolitan activities, adventure activities, cultural activities, and water sport activities.

Waikiki beach Honolulu
Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head, Honolulu, Oahu Island

If you want to engage in endless cosmopolitan activities then head to Honolulu, the bustling capital city of Oahu. Honolulu is teaming with top-notch shopping malls and dining halls, theatres, and museums.

Manoa falls trails and Waimea falls

If you want to explore water sports activities then head to Waikiki beach which is known as a hotspot for water sports activities in Hawaii. If you want to go hiking then there are many scenic hiking trails on Oahu like Diamond head hike, Manoa falls trails and Waimea falls park.

If you don’t want hustle and bustle of the city and want to explore nature and adventure activities then head to the windward side of Oahu. The Windward side of Oahu offers an abundance of outdoor activities with its lush green mountains and breathtaking natural scenery.

But, it doesn’t end here. There are many historic and cultural sites in Oahu for history lovers. You can go visit the famous Iolani Palace which is the only royal palace in the USA or you can visit Pearl harbor or Bishop museum where you can see thousands of artifacts about Hawaii and Polynesian cultures.

Oahu is the most Affordable island in Hawaii

The below table shows, the Average Daily Rate for Hotel rooms in different islands of Hawaii (August 2021)

Islands Average Daily Rate
Oahu$245
Maui$596
Big island$385
Kauai$357
(Source: The Hawaii Tourism Authority)

As you can see in the above table, Oahu offers quite affordable accommodation options as compared to other Hawaiian islands. In fact, it is the cheapest island of all the Hawaiian islands.

You can save more money on lodging if you stay on Oahu’s North Shore. In addition, Oahu has an excellent transportation system. Without renting a car, you can easily get around the island for a few dollars. It is possible to explore Oahu on a tight budget with appropriate planning and study.

Oahu is Gifted with Divine Natural Scenery

Oahu windward
Oahu’s windward Coast landscape

If you are a nature enthusiast who enjoys exploring natural landscapes, there is another reason to visit Oahu. I don’t have to tell you that all Hawaiian islands are gifted with unbelievable natural beauty. Especially, Oahu’s windward side and north shore are must-visit places for the nature enthusiasts.

When you drive from Honolulu’s bustling downtown to the Windward side, you will come upon one of Hawaii’s most magnificent landscapes. On the windward side, you’ll find lush green landscapes, mountains, valleys, and forests that are hidden from Honolulu’s hustle and bustle.

Koolau mountain range
Koolau mountain range, Oahu

The Koolau mountain range, in particular, on the windward side, is a very popular destination for nature enthusiasts. All year, you’ll come across deep forests, waterfalls, lush green valleys, rare plants, and spectacular views. It is the lusher, more beautiful, and slower-paced region of Hawaii that every nature lover desires.

Oahu is the Surfing Mecca of the World

Oahu surfing

Oahu is the surfing mecca of the world. That’s why you will encounter surfers everywhere on North shore and Waikiki beach of Oahu. In fact, Oahu holds some of the best surfing competitions in the world.

But the most important thing I admire about Oahu is that it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an experienced surfer; Oahu is a place for everyone. If you are a beginner-level surfer or want to learn surfing then there is no better place than Waikiki beach in Oahu. Waikiki beach is an ideal spot for learning the basics of surfing due to its calm waters. Also, you can take surfing lessons here, from experienced surfers.

However, if you are an experienced surfer, head to Oahu’s north shore. The north shore of Oahu is well-known for its big, strong waves that are only suitable for experienced surfers.

Oahu has one of the Best Snorkeling spots

Maui snorkeling
Snorkeling with turtles, Oahu

Snorkeling in Oahu is one of the best in the world. With its warm and calm waters, Oahu has many great snorkeling spots like Hanauma Bay, Kahe point beach park, and Shark’s cove.

But, especially, we would recommend Hanauma Bay for snorkeling where you can snorkel with tropical fishes. Hanauma Bay is one of the most visited snorkeling spots in the world. Its’s marine life is protected that’s why you would encounter various marine life there while snorkeling. Hanauma Bay has calm and shallow waters making it an ideal snorekeling spot for the aged people.

Oahu has most Nightclubs and Bars in Hawaii

Nightlife

If you’re a party animal, stay in Oahu’s Waikiki area. Oahu’s thriving nightlife is only one of the many things that set it apart from the other Hawaiian islands. Maui, Kaui, and the big island have laid-back nightlife. But when it comes to Oahu, it has the most nightclubs and bars of all the other Hawaiian islands. That’s why it is also known as the party island of Hawaii.

When the sun sets over Waikiki, Oahu’s nightclubs and bars come back to life. Oahu’s nightlife is much busier and livelier than that of other Hawaiian islands. From Honolulu’s lively nightclubs to its renowned world-class shopping malls, there are plenty of nighttime entertainment options in Honolulu for you.

Oahu is Great place for a Family vacation

Family vacation in Hawaii

According to the data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority report, 61.4% of family visitors (who came with children 17 years and under) who came to Hawaii in 2019 went to Oahu. This data clearly indicates that Oahu is the first choice for many people for a family vacation. This is because Oahu offers endless family-friendly activities that can keep families busy for many days.

Especially, Waikiki beach is quite famous for family vacations. Waikiki has white sand beaches with calm waters and multiple lifeguard stations that make it an ideal spot for families with little ones.

Apart from beaches and water activities, there are many other things to do for families in Oahu. You can visit the famous Kahala hotel where your kids can swim with the dolphins. It is really a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Oahu activities

You can go whale watching in Makapu’u Lighthouse. If you are interested in history you can visit the Oahu’s historic sites like the Pearl Harbor memorial, Bishop Museum, and Iolani Palace. In other words, there are endless things to do for families in Oahu.

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Oahu is a great place for Honeymoon

Maui romance

According to Hawaii Tourism Authority, over 5,00,000 people came to Hawaii for their honeymoon and 75% of them visited Oahu. This data clearly indicates that Oahu is a very popular honeymoon destination.

There are many reasons why Oahu is so popular among honeymooners. The first reason is that Oahu boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii like Waikiki and Lanikai beaches.

Another reason is that Oahu offers a diverse range of activities. If your spouse loves cosmopolitan activities then visit Honolulu where you would find top-notch shopping malls, dining, and world-class beaches. If your spouse loves nature then visit the lush green Kailua mountain range. If you want to go hiking then visit Diamond head and Manoa falls. In other words, there are endless activities for lovebirds in Oahu.

And the other big reason is that Oahu is the most affordable island of all other Hawaiian islands. Oahu offers far affordable accommodation as compared to other Hawaiian islands. If you’re on the lookout for a romantic honeymoon spot, Oahu is a great option.

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How many days in Oahu is enough?

At least, seven days are required to fully tour Oahu. If you want to experience the cosmopolitan activities in Waikiki, the pleasant beaches on the North Shore, and the lush green mountains on the eastern shore, you’ll need at least seven days.

Where to stay in Oahu?

If you enjoy big city vibes and wish to explore Oahu’s cosmopolitan activities, stay in Waikiki, Honolulu. However, if you want to get away from the city and enjoy a laid-back atmosphere with pleasant beaches, stay on Oahu’s North Shore.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Diamond Head Worth Visiting?

Waikiki beach Honolulu

Diamond Head is one of the most popular hikes in Oahu. It is a relatively easy hike that takes around 40 minutes to complete. However, once you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of Oahu’s south shore and amazing coastal views.

Is Waikiki Beach Crowded?

Oahu beach

Waikiki Beach is often overcrowded. Beaches directly in front of popular hotels are very busy. The beaches become less congested as you go further from the famous hotels. If you want to avoid crowds, April and May are the best months to visit Waikiki beach.

Is Lanikai Beach Crowded?

Lanikai and Waimanalo beaches: Is Oahu worth visiting?

On weekends, Lanikai Beach is typically packed. However, Lanikai beach is still better than Waikiki. If you want to avoid crowds, visit during the week. The morning, in particular, is the finest time to enjoy some tranquil minutes on Lanikai beach.

Is Kailua Beach Good for Snorkeling?

Maui snorkeling

Kailua’s warm water is great for swimming. Snorkeling is also good in Kailua Beach, but not quite as nice as in other snorkeling locations on Oahu, like as Hanauma Bay Park and Shark’s Cove. Kailua Beach does not have the tropical marine environment that Hanauma and Shark’s Cove do.

Is Hanauma Bay Worth It?

Hanuama bay

Hanauma Bay is an absolute must-see. The thrill of snorkeling with tropical fish in the warm, crystal clear water at Hanauma Bay is unmatched. Hanauma Bay is perfect for families due to its calm shallow waters. Apart from snorkeling, Hanauma Bay is known for its gorgeous scenery.

Photo of author
About the author
Chetan Patil
Hello there, wanderlust. I've been traveling around the world with my friend Aditya for the last three years since finally quitting my job, and life has been a thrilling roller coaster ride so far. Traveling is a spiritual experience for me, not just something I do for fun. Traveling has taught me that "the only certain thing about life is uncertainty." So, embrace uncertainty and make the most out of every moment.

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