Inside tips to visiting Oahu and having a great time on the island
Oahu is such a fun Hawaiian island to visit that combines both urban and city fun with outdoor adventure and exploring the best of island lifestyle around the island. There’s so much to see and do if you like the city and busy activities or more lowkey in the outer areas, beach fun and outdoor adventures.
Here are some tips to visiting Oahu and making it fun and easy
If you plan on visiting Oahu in the near future, check out these inside tips to travel like a local, save on your budget and really experience the best of Oahu life and adventure the way you want to experience it.
Explore the island and do some cool hikes
There are so many wonderful outdoor hiking venues around the island to enjoy the experience and see some amazing waterfalls, outdoor vistas and enjoying some of the wonderful locals around the island. Also, hiking is free, good exercise and an easy to more challenging adventure experience depending on what you are up to.
Check out my hiking experiences to these easy hiking spots around different parts of the island
The Gathering Place
Oahu is called the gathering place on the islands and no wonder with bringing the most visitors to the islands and being the main flying hub at Honolulu. Oahu is also the most populated island with government and most of large businesses centered on the island.
The 50th State
Hawaii is the 50th state of the United States and added in 1959 and the only state made primarily of islands. Ever since 1898, Hawaii was a US territory and by referendum of 93% of voters approving the proposition that Hawaii become the latest state included to the United States. Oahu is the central government of the state and the main business center all the islands.
It is distinct but still part of the USA
Even though Hawaii has a distinct culture, traditions, foods and history, it is also a part of the United States which allows for travel to the islands without a passport.
Things move at a slower pace on Oahu
Unlike the mainland USA, things on Oahu are definitely on island time and at a slower pace. If you are visiting do allow for absorbing things, doing less and enjoying more of your time here.
Enjoy Picnics, drinks and sunset on the beach
Everything does revolve around beach life and there’s so many fantastic beaches around the island to enjoy. Bringing a nice picnic and enjoying the beach, swimming, snorkeling and water fun makes it easy to spend a fantastic beach day and into sunset to night time. It’s fun, easy and cheap, a perfect combo for enjoying beach time in Oahu.
Oahu is expensive
You definitely need to have a good travel budget to pay for your hotels, meals and entertainment on the islands. We import close to 80 percent of foods, raw materials and other products to the islands which reflect higher prices on the grocery shelves.
But there are easy and cheap things to also do on the islands here for more inspiration and you can do most outdoor activities and recreation for free or cheap if you do it on your own.
A melting pot of people and cultures
You will find Hawaii to be multi-cultural and where everyone is a minority here which makes everything’s cohesive and friendly with the aloha spirit that makes It work here. The only people that are Hawaiians are the people born with Hawaiian blood, they are also known as Kanaka Maoli. Whites and visitors are called Haole or Malahini. Non-Hawaiians living on the islands are referred to as Kama’aina or even locals.
Resort areas are expensive
Expect to pay resort prices for your stay, food and entertainment at the resorts and they make it so easy to stay at the resort the entire time. But do go out and explore and see more of Oahu and the real part away from the resort life.
You can stay in Honolulu but check out the rest of the island
There is plenty to see and do around Honolulu area walking, taxi and public transportation. But do rent a car for a day or two to drive around the island or some other fantastic parts of the island to explore and enjoy more of the beauty away from the urban center. Or if you don’t want to rent and drive, take a round the island tour like this one that will take care of all the travel and fun.
Reserve things in advanced
Oahu is opened up and everything is booked from restaurants, visiting Hanauma Bay and Pearl Harbor and even rental cars. So, you have to be prepared and reserve things in advanced to do the things you want on your bucket list.
Weather on Oahu
Weather on Oahu is close to perfect with temperatures ranging from the low to mid 80s year round and humidity average around 64%. During the cooler winter season from December to February, weather will range in the 70s to 80s with more unpredictable weather patterns to include more rain, wind and higher surf on the shorelines.
Spring to early fall and the weather again ranges from low to mid 80s but summer season is also hurricane season with some unpredictable weather and storms coming from the west coast and primarily Mexico and Latin American and up through the islands starting on the Big Island.
Oahu is filled with microclimates and changes depending on elevation and where you are located on the island. Windward side will get more windy days or moisture compared to leeward which is dryer and arid. By the ocean is typically drier compared to the cooler and wetter mountain areas of the island.
Big waves in winter time
Winter is a great time to visit to avoid colder parts of the country, but our winters here includes more rain, wind and big waves around the islands. Water time, snorkeling and surfing is difficult and dangerous in many areas of the island so always look at where you are going and if it is safe to do so. Watching big surf and advanced surfing is also a fun thing to enjoy on the shoreline.
Oahu is a foodie Paradise
Eating on the island is such an amazing experience and the international blending of favorite foods, local and street foods and farm to table experiences really make eating in Oahu a delicious experience.
You’ll enjoy all the delicious food courts, food trucks, local foods and even fine dining with farm to table at the best venues in town. Food is popular any time for pau Hana and happy hour, picnics on the beach, farmers markets and specialty foods and drinks and delicious meals with gorgeous views. There’s plenty of choices and here’s a nice primer on Hawaiian food here and what is popular to eat on the islands.
Or check out these other food inspired topics
Peak season and low season on Oahu
Peak season tends to be the sunnier and better months but also popular, busy and more expensive to be on Oahu. This typically runs from winter months from mid-December to March and in the summer months from Mid June to end of August to tie in with typical summer vacations from the mainland USA.
Off peak season covers those areas in between from mid-April to mid-June and fall time from September to mid-December but not including Thanksgiving holiday season. Prices for flights, hotels and entertainment venues tend to be cheaper with less crowds in the shoulder season.
Check out this post on when to visit Hawaii here or if you are visiting the North Shore of Oahu, check out this post on the best time to visit the area.
Must visit attractions and activities on Oahu
There are a few popular must visit attractions you should check out while visiting Oahu and this includes these fantastic adventures:
Do a day trip and explore the North Shore of Oahu and beaches for fun beach time, checking out Haleiwa town, hiking or other fun adventures outdoors on the North Shore.
Do a snorkel swim in Hanauma Bay – a natural nature and marine preserve filled with tropical fish, coral and marine life. This is also a wonderful non profit organization that takes care and Malama (care) the aina and ocean life and its preservation. Reservations are required but you can work with this outfitter here to help secure a date for you visit to this marine preserve.
If you haven’t experienced any Hawaiian or Polynesian culture or tradition then have a fun experience at the Polynesian Cultural center here and visiting the major islands of Polynesia with this immersive and fantastic experience on the east side of Oahu.
Check out all the top things to do in Honolulu here for more inspiration and fun things to do in an urban environment.
Climb Diamond head for a fantastic and fun hike with inspiring views of the east side of the island and also downtown Honolulu and Waikiki.
Do an around the island tour on your own or work with an outfitter here to handle all the details, pick up and fun attractions and all you have to do is show up.
Visit to historic Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona or do an arranged tour of Pearl Harbor and some other fun attractions in the area.
If you want to splurge and see things from above, why not do a helicopter experience here and seeing the lush valleys, coastlines, waterfalls and other island attractions on this fantastic hour long helicopter ride of a lifetime.
Conclusion of Tips to visiting Oahu
For more Oahu fun, you’ll love explore all fun activities and tips while visiting Oahu island. Hope this gives you some great ideas of things to do and see around the town and outlying areas to visit.
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