Nicknamed the gathering place, Oahu is not the largest of Hawaii’s islands. In fact, it’s the third. It is very much the heartland which is home to the regional capital Honolulu and the spot most frequented by Hawaii’s more than ample volumes of tourists. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, that depends entirely what you’re looking for.
What Oahu lacks is the serenity that many head for a tropical beach in search of in the first place. It’s resort-filled, heavy on the nightlife and – though it does have a certain amount of natural beauty in the stunning mountain ranges found in its heart – not really comparable to the rest of the islands when it comes to escapism. In short, if you’re after a party, stay here. If not, best use it as a transport hub and head off somewhere a little more remote.
Of course, life is simpler in Oahu, with all the facilities of a typical major city to offer in Honolulu. The Polynesian Cultural Center welcomes you to explore the indigenous cultures of an entire selection of Pacific Islands. The notorious Bansai Pipeline has turned into an international class surfing spot, with waves peaking at an intense 40 feet on a rough day, while you can explore the wreckage of Pearl Harbor and a feast of insightful museums commemorating the tragic events of World War II.
There’s no way you’ll spend any length of time in Oahu without lounging on a beach somewhere, and the island has them in ample supply, from the beach parks and the invariably perfect spots for swimming and catching some rays, to the more sedate and less touristified spots like Three Tables, where surf permitting you can wade amongst the tide pools and snorkel through mammoth shoals of fish.
If you’re looking for a tropical party spot, Honolulu and it’s grass skirt bars won’t let you down. For the crowd with more adventurous ambitions unless they revolve around surfing, which is world class, might leave you disappointed. Then there are always the other islands..
Even the exotic name of this particular Hawaiian island, Oahu, conjures up images of grass hula skirts, beachside bars, surfing, cocktails and coconuts. You could happily drift away for weeks…