The third largest Hawaiian island is home to the majority of Hawaii’s diverse population, a fusion of cultures from East and West and rooted in the values and traditions of the Native Hawaiian people. This contrast between the ancient and the modern makes discovering Oahu so enjoyable. From indulging in fine cuisine to escaping to unforgettable natural wonders, Oahu’s countless “town and country” experiences are unrivaled.
Oahu is best known for Waikiki (historic gathering place for the world), Pearl Harbor (memorials to the December 7, 1941 attack), the North Shore (legendary surf spot), historic places (including Iolani Palace, Nuuanu Pali Lookout, and Bishop Museum), shopping, nightlife, and fine Hawaii Regional Cuisine.
Travel to Oahu:
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu is Hawaii’s major airport, serving as the entry point for most of Hawaii’s visitors. All major domestic carriers and many international carriers serve Oahu, so you can get here from just about anywhere. Since Hawaii is the 50th state, you won’t need your passport unless you’re visiting from outside the United States or traveling to another country beyond Hawaii.
Geography of Oahu:
Oahu occupies 597 square miles and is the second oldest of the six Islands of Aloha, lying between Kauai and Maui. Oahu is made up of two major mountain ranges that were once shield volcanoes that are now extinct. These two mountain ranges – the Waianae range to the west and Koolau range to the east – run almost parallel to each other. Over a hundred ridges extend from the spines of each range creating beautiful valleys and stunning mountain vistas. You can get a fantastic view of the Koolau cliffs from the Nuuanu Pali Lookout.
There are several post-shield volcanic outcroppings scattered throughout the island, all of which are extinct. The most famous of these include Mt. Leahi (Diamond Head) and Punchbowl crater (home to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific), both popular visitor attractions. Koko Head crater sits on the youngest part of Oahu at about 32,000 years old.
Weather on Oahu:
Oahu is generally drier on the Leeward (west) Coast and wetter and greener on the Windward (east) Coast . The resort area of Waikiki offers pleasant weather year round. There are two seasons on Oahu: Winter (November through April), when temperatures typically range in the low-70s to mid-80s, and summer when the high temperatures can reach the low-90s. Average air temperature ranges from 74˚ F (23 degrees C) to 88˚ F (31 degrees C) during the day. Gentle trade winds keep even the warmest months comfortable.